One Campus: Many Perspectives Uniting and Engaging Student Leaders through Powerful Conversations

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One Campus: Many PerspectivesUniting and Engaging Student Leaders through Powerful Conversations Kerry PriestAllison Dunn

Session ObjectivesDescribe the World Caf as a leadership learning toolHighlight Virginia Techs Stepping Into Leadership Conference as an example of using a World Caf Demonstrate World Caf techniques for practical application

2Key Concepts Learning is a relational, social process Conversation and interaction leads to new meanings, interpersonal skills, and identity developmentIncreases capacity to practice effective citizenship (Baxter-Magolda, 2004) Increases capacity for leadership

Leaders co-create identities, relationships, communities, and cultures through a process of communication (Barge & Fairhurst, 2008)Students constructions of leadership (what leadership is and who can be a leader) are influenced by their changing view of self with others (Komives et al., 2005)As students interact with others who have differing points of view, they develop advanced ways of knowing, interpersonal skills, and an opportunity to reflect on their own identity. These are factors necessary for effective citizenship (Baxter-Magolda, 2004).

3The World Caf

A simple, effective, and flexible format for facilitating group dialogue that is designed around the following design principles:Creating a Hospitable EnvironmentClarify Purpose and Set Context Explore Questions That MatterEngage in Small Group Conversation (Multiple Rounds)Collect and Share Insights and ResultsConnect Diverse Perspectives

4Stepping Into Leadership Conference Uniting Student Leaders

Student Centers and Activities

Residential Leadership CommunityPartnership between academic programs and student affairs.

Opportunity to merge resources and expertise to address learning needs.

Common goal: developing leaders who can take on the professional, civic, and personal challenges within their workplace and communities.

Virginia Tech Mission includes: challenge students, including undergraduates, to pursue the discovery of new knowledge (Board of Visitors, 2006).

Opportunity for students to engage with larger leadership community at Virginia Tech.

Provide training and resources to help students advance toward leadership roles and positions.

5Engage in meaningful conversation around knowledge and experiencesLearn from leaders in various communitiesSynthesize and apply concepts from the conference concepts to their lives

Goals for these Student Leaders

Three 20 minute rounds2 minutes to rotateTable facilitators to assist with discussionDont forget to write things down!

Synthesize:Most important CONTENTMost important aspect of the EXPERIENCEMost important consideration for APPLICATION

6Topic: Using a world caf strategy in your own learning environment/contextsLets try it out Round 1What are some topics or contexts in which you could use a world caf?

How do you see yourself using the world caf? Why do you think the world caf would be effective?

What are some key learning considerations for you and your context as you seek to use this strategy? What would help you be successful? What could be a challenge?What value does a world caf bring to your learning context?

7Topic: Using a world caf strategy in your own learning environment/contextsRound 2What are some key learning considerations for you and your context as you seek to use this strategy?

What would help you be successful? What could be a challenge?

What value does a world caf bring to your learning context?

8If there was a single voice in the room, what would it be saying?What deeper questions are emerging as a result of this conversation?Do we notice any patterns and what do those patterns point to, how do they inform us?What do we now see and know (or plan to do) as a result of these conversations? Final Round/Reflection

World Cafe images in this presentation are sourced from The World Cafe Community Foundation ( and used by permission.

For more information about the World Cafe and to access their numerous resources including a large international community, visit their website at

World Caf ResourcesReferencesBaxter Magolda, M. B. (2004). Self-authorship as the common goal of 21st century education. In M. B. Baxter Magolda and P. M. King (Eds.), Learning partnerships: Theory and models of practice to educate for self-authorship (pp. 1-35). Sterling, VA: Stylus.Brown, J., Isaacs, D., & Associates (2005). The world cafe: Shaping our futures through conversations that matter. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.Komives, S. R., Owen, J. E., Longerbeam, S. D., Mainella, F. C., & Osteen, L. (2005). Developing a leadership identity: A Grounded theory. Journal of College Student Development, 46(4), 593-611. DOI: 10.1353/csd.2005.0061