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SMWC Ph.D. in Global Leadership Program Engagement Event

Blog | 07.09.2024

By Emilee Roberts ’17G, Ph.D. in Global Leadership student

On April 17-19, the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods (SMWC) Ph.D. in Global Leadership program held an optional in-person, immersive engagement session for doctoral students. These three days were comprised of a publication workshop, opportunities for students to learn from global leaders, networking and students getting an opportunity to dive deeper and immerse themselves into the dissertation process.

Ph.D. in Global Leadership students and faculty gathered for the global engagement event.

Students in the SMWC Ph.D. in Global Leadership program are required to publish two publications before they begin their dissertation process. These peer-reviewed publications can be through a journal submission such as SMWC’s Arete Journal of Excellence in Global Leadership or other journals in the field, a presentation at a conference and co-publishing is encouraged. As an opportunity to encourage students to publish and support them in these efforts, Wednesday of the engagement session was centered around students finding topic areas of interest and providing structured and unstructured time to develop these topics and ideas. Third-year cohort student Lisa Thatcher commented, “The Crafting Scholarly Publications Workshop was incredibly valuable for the dual support of the exploration of concrete tools paired with the time and space to focus on paper development.”

The engagement session continued Thursday with guest speakers such as Peter Kirkland from the International Center, who presented an international protocol workshop and a Fulbright Experiences workshop with Marcelo Pastero, a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence at Indiana State University and Shelly Meyer, Ph.D., a former Fulbright Scholar in Bhutan. Thursday ended with an interactive global dessert lesson with Terre Haute global small business, Sons’ Spice Company. Students, faculty and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods cabinet members enjoyed the education and process of making boba tea and its Taiwan history!

Sons’ Spice Company giving an interactive global dessert lesson.

Friday started with a virtual presentation from keynote speaker Darla Deardorff, Ph.D., on intercultural communication as a global leader. Dr. Deardorff serves as the Executive Director of the Association of International Education Administrators as well as the chairholder of the UNESCO Chair of Intercultural Competences at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Dr. Deardorff presented on intercultural competencies and the importance of story circles in both professional and personal environments.

Over the duration of the last day, students had the opportunity to eat lunch with their Ph.D. mentors, who are Ph.D. in Global Leadership faculty members that are paired based using criteria such as StregnthsFinder results when first starting the doctoral journey in an effort to provide additional doctoral student support. A publication panel with Doug Sperry, Ph.D. and Shelly Meyer, Ph.D. offered advice and insight on when to consider what type of publications and what strengths various publication avenues have. The afternoon ended with students submersing themselves into the dissertation process. From hearing a panel of SMWC employees who have recently gone through a dissertation to a breakout session on qualitative and quantitative research, students were able to map out some of their upcoming steps in the dissertation process.

International Ring Ceremony

First-year student Rob Williford said, “The engagement session workshop ended with a dissertation chair speed dating style workshop, where small groups had five minutes to meet with each chair to get an introduction to their area of research and their style as a dissertation chair. A session that was full of laughter and valuable information. As a first-year student in the Ph.D. in Global Leadership program, I found the engagement session to be a fruitful experience. From beginning to end, I felt as if the event was truly transformative. Time with peers, faculty members and the campus community made me feel more connected, motivated and encouraged to push through the challenging parts of being in a Ph.D. program. I walked away with a wealth of information on writing for publication, the dissertation process, and intercultural competence. I feel more prepared for the coursework ahead, and more than anything, I feel supported by my peers and the faculty members to push my own boundaries and to grow as a leader. 10/10 would recommend!”

The engagement session concluded with the International Ring Ceremony, where Ph.D. students Marianna Foulkrod and Meredith Williams received their SMWC international ring. This honor is given when students have recently taken part in an immersive, global experience. What a remarkable and appropriate ceremony to conclude the Ph.D. engagement session!

For more information about the Ph.D. in Global Leadership program visit Ph.D. in Global Leadership – Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (smwc.edu) or contact Kimberly LaComba, Ph.D. at kim.lacomba@smwc.edu. Applications are open for August 2024!

Emilee Roberts ’17G

Emilee Roberts ’17G is a seasoned community engagement partner with a love of connecting individuals and organizational development through enthusiastic and positive leadership. Her passion is within nonprofit organizations, navigation of leadership challenges and helping nonprofits prepare for next steps and succession plans. Emilee is known for helping such organizations have the crucial conversations they need to grow and improve.

Currently, Emilee serves as the Director of Strategy and Impact for Chances and Services for Youth (CASY) here in Terre Haute, IN and is a third-year doctoral student at SMWC. She was selected to be a member of the inaugural cohort at the historic 200-year institution, as well as serve as a Graduate Assistant in the Ph.D. program. Over the past almost 10-year journey of her career, Emilee has served in higher education roles with Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, as well as served as an Executive Director of the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce – with a life passion of dedication to program development, community connection, organization storytelling and overall organization visibility. Throughout her career, she has led teams through leadership changes, financial deficits, organizational structure challenges, group dynamics, crucial conversations and self-assessments for organizational and individual growth. 


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