Dartmouth College

The Dartmouth Leadership, Attitudes & Behaviors (D-LAB)D-LAB (Dartmouth Leadership Attitudes and Behaviors) is a student-facilitated program designed for first-year students to discover the relationship between leadership and personal values. Through self-reflection and challenging discussion, students will soon find their place among the Dartmouth community and beyond.

Format

  • Audience: The program is targeted to engage first-year students from all over campus.
  • When: D-LAB occurs during the winter term (from January to March)
  • Frequency: A series of five two-hour workshops. The facilitators are trained in the fall (September and October) with five two-hour sessions.
  • Approximate Number of Participants: From 2014 to 2015, the number of participants increased from 65 to 85.
  • Focus of Program: After running the pilot program, we decided to expand the focus on values as a central point of discussion since values (explicit or implicit) provide the foundation for most other leadership work.  
  • Other Participants: The program is co-sponsored by the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy & the Social Sciences and the Collis Center for Student Involvement. Student facilitators work with small groups of participants to encourage intimate conversation. The facilitators are sophomores, juniors and seniors. The final session invites department representatives to participate. This year, 18 departments and centers participated.

Funding and Operations

  • Operations: The cost of running the program each year is about $11,000.  The most significant expenses are food for the sessions and the student program assistants.

 

Description

D-LAB (Dartmouth Leadership, Attitudes & Behaviors), co-sponsored by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Collis Center for Student Involvement, is a student-facilitated program designed to offer first-year students an opportunity for profound self-reflection and challenging discussion in a practical setting. Over a series of hands-on workshops and discussion sessions throughout the winter term, students will engage in important analyses of three primary modes of leadership: (1) leadership from within, (2) leadership with others, and (3) leadership for others. Through this program, participants explore their individual beliefs and values, and how these relate to who they are striving to be. They will also analyze the relationship between perception, intent, and impact and work to align their core values with the greater community. Participants will attend five weekly two-hour sessions in the winter term. Each session covers a different topic that builds upon the last in an intentional way. Participants will enjoy a mix of instruction, small group work and case study work. The end goal is to cultivate thoughtful individuals who understand that in order to become their best self, it is in their own interest to bring out the best in others.

History

The Dartmouth Leadership, Attitudes & Behaviors (D-LAB) Program is in its second year at Dartmouth—our inaugural session launched in January 2014.

 The purpose of this program is to ensure that our first-year students have the tools to think critically and reflectively about their role within the Dartmouth community. We want them to think about this early in their college career, so that they can apply it as they are having congruent experiences. The end goal is to cultivate thoughtful individuals who understand that in order to become their best self, it is in their own interest to bring out the best in others. After running the pilot program, we decided to expand the focus on values as a central point of discussion since values (explicit or implicit) provide the foundation for most other leadership work.  In winter of 2015, we expanded the program from three to five sessions, we provided additional time for discussion, and added a training component for the student facilitators. We also added fifth session, a theory to practice session for participants to find ways to actively apply what they learned by pursuing opportunities in leadership throughout campus. We invited campus partners to represent their opportunities that are natural next steps in the leadership process. The goal was for participants to find opportunities that best match their values, skills, and interests. 

Recommended Resources

Dartmouth D-Lab Program:

  • Overview: http://rockefeller.dartmouth.edu/studentopps/dlab.html
  • Blog: http://rockefellercenteratdartmouth.blogspot.com/search/label/D-LAB
  • The resources that proved most helpful throughout the program’s development, planning, and implementation have been other students. Through focus groups during the conceptualization stage, and through discussions with campus partners, and through reviewing continuum of programs offered at Dartmouth, we settled on topics of significance to the first-year students.
  • Drawing on previous staff experience, as well as leadership development and learning theories (Social Change Model; Kolb) as well as various article (see attached course materials document on Resources page).

Administration/Operations

There are two Student Program Assistants who directly oversee the program’s implementation, guided by two staff members who direct logistical aspects of the program’s planning and development. The Student Program Assistants are also responsible for recruiting, hiring, and training D-LAB facilitators. These upperclassmen facilitators are tasked with leading reflection exercises and catalyzing insightful discussions of leadership, attitudes, and behaviors among first-year students in an unbiased manner. The program aims to assign a team of two facilitators to a group of 8-10 students. From 2014 to 2015, the number of facilitators increased from 12 to 22.

The program is co-sponsored by the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy & the Social Sciences and the Collis Center for Student Involvement. Administrators from each center (Sadhana Hall, David Pack, Robin Frye, and Elizabeth Celtrick) are involved in the planning of the content and logistical implementation. Austin Boral and Sarah Waltcher, both juniors are also heavily involved in developing the pedagogy of the program. 

Assessment

We run focus groups with participants, we have a debrief lunch with the campus partners that participate in the fifth session, and we plan increased follow-up assessment as we develop the program further.