The Gordon Institute, a school within the Tufts School of Engineering, has introduced a new minor this semester called Foundations for Future Leadership. The minor seeks to equip students with personal and professional skills needed to develop their leadership abilities and tackle future challenges.
Will Trevor, director of programs, operations and marketing for the Gordon Institute, described how the minor fits with the institution’s overarching goal of helping students become transformative leaders.
“[The minor] really comes from the idea that the Gordon Institute is all about creating a community of transformative leaders with profound purpose or with profound heart,” Trevor said. “We want to make sure that the leaders that we are helping to encourage to grow … have that mindset that they have an ethical responsibility to wider society.”
While only students in the undergraduate School of Engineering will be able to declare the minor, the courses are open to all Tufts students. Students in the School of Arts and Sciences have an academic minor requirement of 15 credits, so they cannot declare the minor as it only requires eight credits, according to the Gordon Institute website. However, they can still take the courses and use them to fulfill other closely related minors, including entrepreneurship or engineering management.
Trevor emphasized that there are many paths students may choose to take with this minor.
“It’s really intended for students who perhaps have some hope in the future of taking some position of leadership,” Trevor explained. “Whether that’s leadership in the corporate world, whether that’s leadership in nonprofit, charitable or some church … whatever organization somebody wishes to take up a position of leadership.”
Students will receive the minor after completing four courses: three half-semester core courses of two credits each and one elective course from Tufts Gordon Institute’s portfolio of 100-level courses. The core classes include Preparing New and Aspiring Leaders (TGI 110) and Communication Skills for Personal and Professional Lives (TGI 112).
According to Trevor, students are also encouraged to bolster their studies with relevant courses and cocurriculars offered by the Derby Entrepreneurship Center, also part of the Gordon Institute.
Malakia Silcott, assistant director of the Tufts Career Center, will be teaching one of the 100-level elective courses within the Gordon Institute that students can use to fulfill the minor, “Developing a Career Focus: Planning Your Career Pathway.”
“By the time a student completes the course, each student will be able to identify how a liberal arts education allows them to develop career competencies that are in demand by employers and each student will have a set of personal resources that helps them to identify and move closer towards their own personal career goals,” Silcott wrote in an email to the Daily.
Silcott’s class has a capacity of 25 students, and it is open for students of any class year interested in exploring career development at all levels.
“We also go through a lot of electronic resources … that can support those who are currently in [the] process of choosing and exploring majors but can also support those students who are declared and are wanting a structured way to understand different career paths that are associated with academic majors and build a career plan for themselves while on campus and beyond Tufts,” Silcott wrote.
George Blount, a lecturer for TGI 111, a financial literacy course, noted that he has been impressed by students’ engagement so far. The TGI 111 course format consists of three-hour sessions and includes a phase where students analyze monetary topics through a behavioral sciences lens.
Blount emphasized that the course seeks to help future leaders understand how to approach financial choices.
“As a financial therapist, I focus on an individual’s emotional relationship with money, and biases may prevent people from seeing opportunities,” Blount wrote in an email to the Daily. “My approach allows me to delve into the topics of personal finance, corporate finance, and entrepreneurial finance to show that wealth and equity are built through prudent financial decision-making.”
The minor was approved in the early summer of 2022, but it is already promising to grow in popularity and impact, according to Trevor. He noted that he is hopeful that the Gordon Institute will continue to further promote the minor in the next year.
“I think it’s very timely,” Trevor remarked. “And I think I can only see it growing in the years ahead.”