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New Programs at KLI

Posted May 5, 2015 in News

By Stephanie Haft ’15

Leadership is a dynamic field, as the Kravis Leadership Institute’s programs are constantly changing and developing to meet the leadership needs of students and an ever changing world. This academic year saw expansion of the Athletic Training Module, and the institution of two new KLI programs: YOU@CMC and the Team Retreat Leadership Program.


Athletics Leadership Module

KLI has organized leadership training sessions for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) sports teams in the past, but expanded the program this fall. On August 28th and 29th, fall sports teams participated in a two-hour-long Athletic Training Module. “Our intent is to help each team improve its communication and better understand team leadership in this context,” said Sara Thompson, Director of Leadership Programs, who led the module along with Professor Jay Conger and Neela Rajendra, Director of KLI Entrepreneurial Initiatives. The first part of the module involved experiential learning through a rope-and-string game designed to demonstrate dynamics of good communication. The goal was to transfer these communication skills to the field, in hopes of improving team dynamics while engaged in sport. A debrief of this activity proved to be insightful – Jacob Bishop CMC ’15, captain of the CMS men’s soccer team, said: “We just started hitting on topics that were pretty valuable. We talked about how to get the most value out of our season. It was pretty cool having the younger kids, the sophomores and freshmen, feel comfortable sharing their thoughts.” The second part of the module was derived from the book Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing, and was designed to explore the fear of failure as well as “understanding the difference between playing to win and playing not to lose,” according to Thompson. The module concluded with this focus on mentality, leaving the teams with a better understanding of communication and leadership with which to approach their respective seasons. To read more click here.


YOU@CMC is a pilot program developed by Sara Thompson and her group of student program assistants. Thompson described the workshop aimed at teaching self-leadership and authentic leadership as part of “a KLI effort to do more outside-of-the-classroom leadership development.” Specifically, the program objectives are to:

  • Share personal stories and how they connect to the story of CMC
  • Explore Who Am I?, Who are We?, Who Do I Want to Be?
  • Explore the foundations of authentic leadership
  • Leave inspired and curious about other opportunities on campus

On August 31st 2014, 315 new students, including the freshman class and transfer students, participated in YOU@CMC as part of orientation. Thompson said that the participants were “very positive” about the experience, but that she has plans to improve and expand the workshop next year. Next year, additional activities and programs will be added to develop other competencies. To read more about the first pilot of YOU@CMC, click here.

Team Retreat Leadership Program

On a warm weekend in February, three CMC teams were selected to attend the Team KLI Retreat pilot program. The goal of the retreat – held at Lake Arrowhead – was to work with student organizations on campus and facilitate learning in holding peers accountable, making decisions, delegating tasks, and keeping members inspired. This years student organizations included the Center for Writing and Public Discourse (CWPD), Claremont Colleges Against Cancer (CCAC), and the Center for Civic Engagement. Ultimately, the goal of the weekend was to build capacity, strengthen team bonds, and improve the organization’s results. Although feedback is still being gathered from the participants, the initial report is positive – team members came back to campus feeling more goal-oriented with common visions.