The Margo F. Souza Student Leadership Center provides a variety of programs to help students develop leadership skills during their years at UC Merced. The center staff has developed a three-tier Bobcat Leader certification program and a variety of other opportunities for student leaders.
Souza Center Tier 1 Certification
This is the first tier of the Souza Center Leadership Certification Program. It can be completed by joining the Souza Center and then completing one of the following programs:
- Completion of the Bobcat Leadership Series 1.0 (A General Education Badge Program)
- Completion of semester one of the Yosemite Leadership Program (A General Education Badge Program)
The Bobcat Leadership Series 1.0 is a semester long leadership development experience focused on developing students' leadership skills, knowledge, capacity, and self-efficacy while also empowering them to thrive as life-long learners and leaders in the 21st century. Students in this program will learn about a variety of leadership theories through the lens of the Social Change Model of Leadership Development. Students will also apply their learning through service in the Merced community. Students’ participation will satisfy the Leadership, Community, and Engaging the World Intellectual Experience Badge.
The Yosemite Leadership Program offers unique opportunities for leadership and professional development, including a two-year leadership development experience and internships in Yosemite National Park. Participants have incredible opportunities to recreate in parks and protected lands, network with other rising and established leaders during ongoing seminars, and make their own impact through community engagement projects.
The first year elements combine to increase participants' belief in their own abilities and inspire them to recognize their own potential. It is a series of inter-related elements that give participants a better understanding of the Social-Change Model of leadership development, their community, National Parks, the environment and themselves.
- Leadership Seminars
- Wilderness and Team-Building Experiences
- Speaker Series Events
- Cohort Meetings
- Networking Opportunities
Souza Center Tier 2 Certification
This is the second tier of the Souza Center Leadership Certification Program. It can be completed after Tier 1 and through one of the following programs:
- Completion of the Bobcat Leadership Series 2.0
- Completion of semester two of the Yosemite Leadership Program
The Bobcat Leadership Series 2.0 is a semester long leadership development experience focused on building on the learning that took place in BLS 1.0. Students in this program will explore the theory of Servant Leadership and its related 10 characteristics of servant leaders and connect that theory to the Social Change Model of Leadership Development. Students will also spend time further developing their CliftonStrengths themes and learning to create Strengths Based Teams.
The second semester of YLP builds off of the learning in the first semester and expands upon student self-knowledge and understanding of the Social Change Model of Leadership Development.
Souza Center Tier 3 Certification
This is the third tier of the Souza Center Leadership Certification Program. It can be completed after students finish Tier 2. The final tier requires a resume review with staff in the Career Center, completion of a LinkedIn profile and through one of two different programs:
- Completion of the Bobcat Leadership Series 3.0
- Completion of the Yosemite Leadership Program Practicum
The Bobcat Leadership Series 3.0 is a capstone program for students who have received Tier 2 Bobcat Leader Certification. Students in BLS 3.0 will integrate the leadership skills, knowledge, and capacity they developed in the Tier 1 and Tier 2 programs and create a program to benefit the campus or the surrounding community. Students will meet with Souza Center staff to develop their program and will receive up to a $150 grant upon approval. In addition to their program, students will read an article of their choosing each month; submit reflections, and a final reflection paper.
In order to complete this program, receive certification in Bobcat Leadership Tier 3, and receive a Leadership Center stole for graduation participants must complete each of the following tasks:
- Begin implementing their program at the start of the semester
- Complete 3 monthly reflections
- Unlock their Full 34 CliftonStrenghts sequence (Access code provided) and particiapte in a 60min coaching session
- Attend 2 of the monthly meetings or 1:1 check-ins with Souza Center Staff
- Read 3 articles on leadership
- Submit a 5 page final reflection/research paper
- Complete a LinkedIn profile
- Have their resume reviewed by a Career Counselor
The second year of YLP consists of a community-based, applied capstone project, practical leadership development curriculum, opportunities to mentor local high school students, community volunteer hours and workshops. Projects are developed in partnership with community-serving programs and/or UC Merced student groups and provide students with real-world experience in executing projects from design to implementation.
These components allow students to continue building on the foundation of skills and knowledge they have gained through their first year and internship experiences in order to help create the social and environmental change they want to see in the world. All of these elements build to a culminating experience that reinforces the social change model of leadership, stewardship, personal reflection and professional growth.