The TCU Master Leaders Program (MLP) recently graduated its third cohort. Despite the disruption of COVID-19, the highly selective, 11-month leadership development program still managed to engage faculty and staff from across campus, albeit – like many other things – slightly different than planned.
“What stood out to me about this cohort was their perseverance and willingness to engage virtually,” said Mariam MacGregor, director of employee engagement and organizational strategy. “The other thing that stands out is the strength of relationships that were built even in the virtual delivery.”
She said individuals and teams found ways to connect during breakout sessions or off-line after sessions. It still provided the bonding element of a shared experience – something many were missing due to the social isolation of living through a pandemic.
“When this cohort finally met in person on April 7 until graduation in June, the interactions felt inspirationally intimate and magical,” MacGregor said. “The optimism, energy and commitment to affecting positive change on campus is equally inspiring as other classes. The Master Leaders Program is designed to be personally and professionally transformative, and participation requires significant time and emotional investment. Graduates consistently say you get out of it what you put in. It’s more than something you check off on a to-do list.”
Program applications are announced and open in April each year. The fourth cohort was selected in May and begins July 21 with a casual meet and greet. Each cohort of the MLP brings together a network of individuals committed to enriching TCU’s workplace culture through self-awareness, developing skills for effective and impactful leadership, building capacity to lead and manage others and investigating organizational influence.
“When people start the program, their titles and positions are dropped. Everyone enters on equal footing with a seat at the table.” MacGregor said. “Individuals from every corner of campus are eligible to apply and participate. The class is intentionally diverse in all ways – role, title, faculty/staff, exempt/non-exempt, race, gender, identity, age, length of service at TCU, etc.”
After each cohort, sessions occasionally change based on feedback, MacGregor said. The evolution of TCU’s workplace culture and the nature of cultivating true everyday leadership also drives these changes. With more than 100 graduates at this point, two program managers/mentors were selected. Amanda Duvall (MLP1), career consultant in Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences, and Leah Carnahan (MLP2), assistant director of Title IX advocacy and education, will assist with program management, supporting participants, guiding accountability teams and offering one-on-one coaching.
“Adding these roles allows space to develop alumni programs and networking among graduates as we all strive to build an institution with thoughtful, outwardly-minded leaders at all levels, benefitting our workforce and students alike,” MacGregor said.
In addition to the Master Leaders Program, there are several other cohort programs offered by Human Resources, including Manager Foundations, a six-week online curriculum and coaching program for all managers; the Professional Leadership Rotation, a six-month program focused on professional presence, career-pathing and engagement outside one’s home department; and the R.I.S.E. Certificate, a seven-month program offered in collaboration with TCU’s office of Diversity and Inclusion focused on advancing personal and professional development in diversity, equity and inclusion.