Miami Dade College Students Attend Inauguration Academic Seminar

The inauguration seminar is the final installment of a three-part academic seminar series at The Washington Center

Miami Dade College students.

Miami Dade College students.

Miami - Miami Dade College (MDC) students traveled to Washington, D.C. this week for the start of the Inauguration 2017 Academic Seminar.  This year’s theme, Elevating Political Discourseis particularly relevant given the contentious nature of the presidential campaign in 2016.

Students will take part in daily interactive programming–including guest lectures, small group discussions and budget/policy simulations. Following the programming, students will use the afternoons to meet in groups with faculty leaders, participate in visits to leading organizations and tours of popular, historic D.C. sites.

“Seminar participants have an opportunity to witness the most important event in our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power,” said TWC President Chris Norton. “I think our conversations during this seminar will have a multiplier effect on participants, who will continue this discourse at their institutions, in their careers and in their communities.”  

Some 300 students from select colleges and universities are expected to attend the two week seminar. Since 1985, thousands of students have attended the Inauguration seminar. To date, it remains the only national academic program of its kind and size.

“The seminar provides MDC students with the unique opportunity to experience firsthand our nation’s democratic and political process and to witness history in the making,” said Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, Miami Dade College’s President. “Since MDC is known as Democracy’s College, we are dedicated to preparing students for lifelong civic engagement. Thanks to The Washington Center, we are able to provide our students a wonderful foundation toward this goal.”

For more information about the seminar,  visit our website.   Live updates from Inauguration 2017 will be posted daily at

High School Students Can Now Take UC Davis for a Test Drive

New Pre-College Program gives high school students a chance to sample the UC Davis experience

Davis, Calif.—Starting this summer, high school students will have the opportunity to “test drive” college. The University of California, Davis is launching the Pre-College Program, a summer residential program that gives high school students the opportunity to explore an academic major, live on campus, meet new people, and collaborate with brilliant educators and researchers.

“College is a milestone event for many young adults and choosing the right school and major can be a difficult decision,” said Paul M. McNeil, Dean of UC Davis Extension, which administers the program. “The Pre-College Program is a great opportunity for high school students to experience UC Davis and set themselves on a path towards academic success.”

Incoming college freshmen today are expected to choose an academic major from sometimes more than a hundred options. Often, this important decision is made with limited guidance or information about the subject matter or course requirements. It’s not surprising then that 80 percent of college students nationwide change their major at least once before graduating (USA Today, 2015).

Students enrolled in the Pre-College Program will benefit from a hands-on learning experience in one of four academic “majors”:

  • Coastal & Marine Sciences
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Mind & Brain
  • Veterinary Science

“UC Davis is a premier university and a recognized leader in the subject areas featured in this program,” said Jessica Loudermilk, Director of the UC Davis Pre-College Program. “And the program faculty are eminent in their fields. The guidance and mentorship they’ll provide are an invaluable part of this unique and extraordinary opportunity for students.”

When they’re not hearing lectures from top professors, conducting research or going on career-based field trips, students will be engaged in a variety of social activities—Carnival on the Quad, Movie Night at the Arboretum and bowling at the student union, just to name a few—that will give them a small taste of community life on UC Davis’ campus. The program also features a custom-designed leadership and communication curriculum and dedicated college admissions advising to help guide them through the process of selecting a university and major that is right for them.

Applications for the UC Davis Pre-College Program are now being accepted. Tuition fees for the program are $5,300, plus $1,600 for housing and dining for students who wish to reside on campus. Limited scholarship opportunities are also available.

“Choosing the right college and academic major is one of the most important decisions people will make in their young lives,” added Loudermilk. “What better way is there to make an informed decision than to gain some insight into the college admissions process and the academic endeavor while you’re still in high school?”

To learn more about the Pre-College Program, including course information, application requirements and enrollment deadlines, please visit

UC Davis Extension, the continuing and professional education division of UC Davis, has been an internationally recognized leader in educational outreach for individuals, organizations and communities for more than 50 years. With 58,000 annual enrollments in classroom and online university-level courses, UC Davis Extension serves lifelong learners in the growing Sacramento region, all 50 states and more than 100 countries.  For more information about UC Davis Extension and its programs, visit

Leadership minor, speaker series probe question of what makes a great leader

The University of Colorado Boulder is sharpening its focus on leadership, offering a thriving minor, a speaker series launching next month with a visit by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and new courses aimed at fostering leadership in students with a diverse array of backgrounds and career paths.

“It is a common refrain you hear from employers in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. We need more leaders, better leaders and more effective leadership,” says former CU Boulder President Alexander Bracken, who now holds the Quigg and Virginia S. Newton Endowed Chair in Leadership.

According to one recent survey by, 44 percent of hiring managers say recent college graduates lack leadership skills. To fill the gap, CU Boulder in 2014 launched a new Leadership Studies Minor designed to reach across all colleges, complement any academic major and be open to any undergraduate. Today nearly 400 students – from artists and dancers to physicists and future physicians - are pursuing it. To manage the rapid growth of the program, now housed in the School of Education, CU Boulder recently hired a new program director and is adding course sections to keep class sizes small.

Courses for the 16-credit minor cover everything from leadership theory to the exploration of benevolent and toxic governmental leaders across the globe and throughout history and the value of good writing in affecting change. Students also put their leadership lessons to work via partnerships with community organizations.

Integral to the minor, and to the university’s broader leadership focus, is the idea of exposing students up-close and personal to people who have effectively led people.

To do that, CU Boulder launched the Leo Hill Distinguished Leadership Speaker Series, which kicks off Tuesday, Feb. 28, with a public lecture and classroom visit by Gates. Gates served as secretary of defense under George W. Bush and became the only secretary of defense in U.S. history asked to remain in that office by a newly elected president, Barack Obama.

“He was an amazing bi-partisan leader who was not afraid to ask questions and challenge the normal ways of operating across party lines,” says Kira Pasquesi of Gates. Pasquesi is the program director and an instructor for the leadership minor.

Pasquesi says effective leaders are good listeners, team builders and critical thinkers who have moral courage and keep ethics in mind when framing their decisions. But she says students often have to unlearn certain things they assume about what a leader looks like or what position leaders hold in companies and organizations.

Today’s effective leaders are “less hero” and “more host,” less “all-powerful knower and manager” and more “facilitator who is attentive to people’s needs and recognizes leadership as a process of shared visioning,” she said.

Most importantly, according to Paquesi, students are encouraged to do some self-reflection and identify their own unique leadership skills and the ways they might be able to apply them today in their daily lives and relationships with co-workers.

Lakshmi Karamsetti is doing just that.

She will graduate this May with a major in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology and a minor in leadership studies, which she credits with helping her discover leadership qualities she never knew she had.

“You don’t have to serve in a leadership position specifically to be a leader, but you do need to believe that you can affect change,” says Karamsetti.

She’s now applying to medical schools and hopes to ultimately get a combined medical and master of business administration degree. Someday, she’d like to craft health care policy.

Tickets for the Gates event are free. They will be available to CU Boulder students, faculty and staff on Wednesday, Jan. 25, and to the public on Wednesday, Feb. 1, at