One Class, One Day- OLPD 1301W: Personal Leadership in the University

OLPD 1301W: Personal Leadership in the University

Instructors: Christen Christopherson and Amanda Larson

It’s safe to say that you know all of your professors by name (or at least we hope you do!), but what about your peers? Can you match their faces with names? The students in OLPD 1301W can because they are constantly interacting and communicating effectively with their fellow classmates.

What else can these students do? They can design their own classroom attendance policy. The instructors of this course asked the enrolled students to draft up an attendance policy that everyone in the class could agree upon, and then they made a deal with their students. The arrangement was that if the combined total of student absences accumulated to 10 or less over the course of the semester, the class did not have to take a final exam. Typically speaking, when a student misses a class (for whatever reason), it is on them. It affects them and only them. But, in OLPD 1301W, an individual’s absence affects the group as a whole. Thus, not only does this attendance agreement policy give students an incentive to come to class, but it also teaches students how to be accountable for their actions and it forces them to collaborate with their peers and work towards a common goal.

Furthermore, OLPD 1301W teaches students that with diversity comes both beauty and strength. While observing this class, the students took part in a participation activity where 4 students were designated as “leaders”. These 4 students had 2 minutes to strategize and 7 minutes to complete a task. At first, I thought the task itself was what was important. However, looking back on things, I realize that the takeaways from this activity are what matter most. While debriefing what had happened, the class learned that 3 out of the 4 chosen leaders have a very competitive nature. Their top strength from the StrengthsFinder test was “competition”. As a result of this, a point system had been implemented to motivate them to succeed. The instructors explained that competitive individuals are driven by rewards, so each task on their sheets was accompanied by a specified point value. Despite the fact that each of the four leaders were handed different tasks, the point values were all very similar. Additionally, the individual tasks were all worth less than their shared group task, and each of the competitive leaders focused their efforts primarily on their individual assignments.

Despite the participants’ competitive nature, they still didn’t have a lot of success in terms of reaching their goals. The three competitive ones weren’t able to meet their individual goals, the team goal was not met, and the group wasn’t strategic about racking up points. In fact, the only leader who ended up meeting her individual goal was the one who wasn’t very competitive- oh the irony! Overall, this group of leaders was quick to jump the gun on the execution phase and didn’t take full advantage of the planning process. I, along with the rest of the class, thought this was interesting. The class then discussed how this experiment might have played out differently if other students, who possessed different strengths, were selected as the designated “leaders”. If people who honed a variety of different skills were paired together, chances are that the team would have been more successful. After both an engaging and compelling classroom discussion, the students came to an important realization. They realized that there’s beauty in diversity and it’s good that everyone occupies different skill sets. The key takeaway here was that a well-rounded team performs well.

On that same note, the class was asked to break up into groups based upon their talent domains (as determined from the StrengthsFinder test). The domains were as follows: executing, influencing, relationship building, and strategic thinking. They were then asked to answer a list of questions including: Does this accurately define your main source of strength? How does this show up in your life? And, how might being in this domain affect how you “show up” as a leader? The group discussed their thoughts in regards to these questions and then Professor Amanda Larson simply said it best when she stated, “The goal is not for one individual to possess all of these strengths, that’s what the group is for. Learn your personal strengths and then know where to “show up” when working with others.”

After the students finished talking about their personal strengths, Professor Christen Christopherson shared her leadership story with her students. I found this to be very moving. Not only did she talk about her strengths, but she also focused on her weaknesses, failures, and fears. This Professor was open and honest with those in the class, and she was exceedingly self-aware. She didn’t paint herself as being a perfect leader; she painted herself as being a work in progress. She made mention of her faults, which was something her students could relate to. What she said was real and her story was inspiring.

All in all, this discussion section taught me that there is no such thing as a perfect leader, and that you don’t need to be perfect to inspire others. Although everyone may have their weaknesses, not everyone lets their weaknesses define them. The curriculum for this course is unique and the atmosphere in this classroom is one of a kind. I think this class would be beneficial to anyone who took it, and therefore, I would recommend it to all of you.

Gophers, keep this class on your radar when registering for spring semester!

Photo Cred.: Leadership

Your Winter Break Study Abroad Options!

Have you thought about how you’ll spend your winter break? It’ll definitely be a nice break from the pressures of class, but maybe it will also be more. Maybe it’ll be spent relaxing in Japanese hot springs and visiting Temples; maybe it’ll be spent seeing the places in Ireland where influential books and plays were written; maybe still it’ll be spent doing volunteer work and exploring Senegal.

To learn more about the programs offered through the university’s Learning Abroad Center, attend an information session and read on! Also, as you’re considering winter break study abroad options, make sure to refresh you memory on some of the great CEHD-faculty led programs!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with g3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
Your study abroad resources!

Global Seminars

Global Seminars are three week, three-credit experiences in different countries. Each of this year’s five programs offers credit in a different subject areas and a cultural learning experience like no other! In each of the programs, students stay in hotels or apartments and are led through their program by a university instructor or staff member.


How many times have you read a truly great book and wished you could see the place it was written about? This program is a dream come true for those with the desire to study both dramatic and literary work in the place in which they were created. This Dublin-based program will also take students from the hustle and bustle of the city to the peace of the countryside with excursions ranging from Abbey Theatre, Glendalough, Belfast, the Hill of Tara, and more!

  • Estimated cost: $5,400 (including airfare)
  • Trip dates: December 28, 2014–January 18, 2015
  • Application deadline: October 15


Leadership has played a huge role in governing Turkey through recent protests and in preserving and celebrating the country’s rich history. Meet with public officials and community leaders to discover how leadership style can influence political change and how you can apply the same skills to help you become a better leader. This trip visits sites such as the Hagia Sophia mosque, the Grand Bazaar, and the Blue Mosque.

  • Estimated cost: $5,180  (including airfare)
  • Trip dates: December 27, 2014—January 18, 2015
  • Application deadline: October 15


Every college student needs to job hunt, so why not get some practice in Australia? This program compares American and Australian workplaces, while students practice job hunting skills such as resume workshops, networking, interviewing, and digital job searching. Don’t be confused; however, this trip may be about work, but it’s all fun. Excursions include the Great Barrier Reef and University of Sydney.

  • Estimated Cost: $6,650  (including airfare)
  • Trip Dates: December 27, 2014–January 18, 2015
  • Application Deadline: October 15


Get an inside look at Japanese culture and the importance that resilience has played in overcoming natural disasters and conflict. Although based in Tokyo, this program will explore parts of Japan many visitors never see, such as cities recovering from the 2011 tsunami. There will also be excursions to temples, museums, hot springs, and tea ceremonies.

  • Estimated Cost: $6,500- 7,000  (including airfare)
  • Trip Dates: December 27, 2014–January 18, 2015
  • Deadline: October 15


Social media plays a large role in motivating political change, but seemingly nowhere more than in the Middle East. Experience this first hand by venturing to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to take classes about social media and the Arab Uprising. The trip will be supplemented by excursions to CNN Arabic, Al Jazeera studios, the Souk Wakif market, and the State Mosque of Qatar.

  • Estimated Cost: $6,500- 7,000  (including airfare)
  • Trip Dates: December 27, 2014–January 18, 2015
  • Deadline: October 15

Volunteer and Community Engagement Abroad

These programs offer a chance for students to see new parts of the world while benefiting local communities through volunteer work. Programs are home stay, do not offer credit, and do not require a language pre-requisite.


Visit Senegal’s capital, Dakar, and the more rural area of Toubacouta on a trip to Senegal. Dakar will offer excursions to museums, mosques, markets, and Gorée Island. After a six day stay with Senegalese host family, students will travel to Toubacouta to stay in a hostel and volunteer. Past trips have offered students to help the community through education, music, business management, social service, local governance, and human rights.

  • Estimated Cost: $4,082 (including airfare)
  • Trip Dates: January 2–17, 2015
  • Deadline: October 15
Note: There are two Volunteer and Community Engagement trips that over spring break, but their deadline is still quickly approaching on November 14! Visit the Learning Abroad Website to learn more about spring break programs in Guatemala and Ecuador.
*Photos from the Learning Abroad Center website.

Seven Snacks To Pack

What goes hand-in-hand with studying? Brain food! Everyone needs a little something to munch on when they’re hitting the books. So next time you’re heading to the lib for a study session, don’t forget to pack these snacks. 

#1. Nutella Energy Balls. This super snack is delicious and nutritious! The oats, ground flax seeds, honey-roasted hazelnuts, shredded coconut, and chia seeds will give you a much needed energy boost and the Nutella will serve to satisfy your sweet tooth. The best part? This recipe only takes about 15 minutes to make.

Click here to check it out!

#2. Banana Dog Bites. This recipe is so easy to whip up that it’s bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Also, did you know that bananas are an energy-boosting carbohydrate? This snack only takes 2 minutes to make and it only calls for 3 ingredients: bananas, peanut butter, and tortillas. Interested in trying it out?

Then, click here.

#3. Apple Sandwiches with Almond Butter and Granola. This compact snack is great when you’re always on-the-go and it’s good for you! The following recipe serves 1-2 people and it takes only a matter of minutes (5 to be exact!) to create.

Don’t be shy, click here to give it a try.


#4. Frozen Yogurt-Covered Blueberries. Are you a fan of fro-yo? If so, you’re bound to love these bite-size balls. They’re made with frozen yogurt and real fruit.

View the recipe, you know you want to.


#5. Chocolate Avocado Pudding. This tasty treat will boost both your endorphin levels and your energy level. Need to know more? It feeds 2-4 hungry college kids and can be ready within 10 minutes.

Don’t delay and check out this recipe today!


#6. Peanut Butter Honey Yogurt Dip. What’s the scoop here? This recipe is made with Greek yogurt and it’s loaded with PB. Must we say more?

Without a doubt, you should check it out!


#7. Toasted Pumpkin Seeds. Pumpkin seeds boost memory, and they are packed with zinc (which helps to promote immune function to fight illness and supports healthy cell growth and development). After you carve pumpkins this fall, try out the following recipe. It’s delish!


Let’s face the facts, successful students don’t lack snacks. Try out these tasty treats- all the recipes are quick and easy!

Photo Cred.:Nutella Energy Balls, Banana Dog Bites, Apple Sandwiches with Almond Butter and Granola, Frozen Yogurt-Covered Blueberries, Chocolate Avocado Pudding, Peanut Butter Honey Yogurt Dip, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Lunchboxes

10 Things to Love about the U Right Now

10. The Pride of Minnesota’s New Drum Major


If you’ve made it to any football games, you’re sure to have noticed a new fixture on the field—and no, we’re not talking about a player. Meet Joe Walsh, the newest Pride of Minnesota drum major. Between pumping up the student section and leading the band, Walsh leaves it all on the field! Get to know him with a few fast facts from the School of Music website:

  • CLA student with a major in philosophy and a leadership minor
  • Spent three years as a member of the trumpet section
  • Enjoys spending time with friends, and playing hockey or baseball

9. Farmer’s Market

IMG_6065   IMG_6068   IMG_6067

No words necessary.


8. Piek Goldy


Look at this hidden treasure found in the Peik Gym? Did you have any idea Goldy had such gymnastic prowess? But then again, what can’t Goldy do?


7. Gopheralls


You’re all about Gopher spirit and what better way to show that spirit than with an ode to the classic bib overall? How great is it to be able to relive to our childhood fashion with this trendy maroon and gold look*?


6. Smoke Free Campus


Taking a breather during a stressful day of classes just got a lot nicer. As of July 1st, a new policy banned students, staff, faculty, and visitors from smoking and using, selling, free distributing, and advertising tobacco products and electronic cigarettes in all facilities and on all University property. 


5. Honeycrisp Apple

"Explosively crisp!"
“Explosively crisp!”

The weather is getting cooler, the leaves are turning orange, and our pride to be attending the school that created the Honeycrisp* is turned up as high as heat in your apartment will be in a few weeks. Enjoy an apple and an afternoon at orchard in celebration Minnesota’s state fruit.


4. Surdyks Café in Northrop

IMG_6010   IMG_6029   IMG_5889

Do you need a favorite study spot? Or maybe you need a place to grab and delicious bite to eat. Either way, you’ve got to check out Surdyks in Northrop. Check out the menu online and prepare for an awesome dining experience.


3. University Avenue Circulator


Every Thursday through Saturday just got better thanks to the University Avenue Circulator. The route will run from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. from 3rd to 23rd Avenue. For more information, check out this article by the Minnesota Daily.*


2. ReUse Center Facebook Page


You’ve never heard a file cabinet sound as good as on the ReUse Center Facebook page. ReUse, which resells items no longer used by university departments, posts weekly photo albums of their offerings, which range from chairs and desks to gas regulators and test tubes. The Facebook page offers hilarious captions for its pictures and great insights on how you can use even the most obscure of items. It’s worth a like AND a visit.


1. CEHD Pinterest

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 10.54.26 PM

If you’re looking for study tips, dorm DIY, recipes, or anything UMN, be sure to give us a follow on Pinterest!

* Link also denotes photo credit


What are YOU loving about the U right now? Tweet us at @CEHDugrad!

5 Apps That Will Help You Survive This Semester

1. Dropbox 

If you’re constantly e-mailing files to yourself so you can access them on other devices, you’re wasting precious time. Discover Dropbox, a free app that acts as a personal cloud storage service. You can store your photos, videos and documents on this app and then access them from any computer or app-supporting device later on. Dropbox adds convenience to your life, makes collaborating on group projects super simple, and makes file sharing a breeze!

(Note: This app is similar to Google Drive, but all of the files being stored do NOT have to be Google Documents.)

Dropbox is a free application available for iOS and Android.


2. Snap2PDF

Can’t keep track of your lecture notes, syllabi, and project assignments? Does organizing all of these files seem like mission impossible? Then look to Snap2PDF! This app utilizes your phone or tablet’s camera to take a photo of any document and then it converts it to an easily accessible PDF file. Also, Snap2PDF allows you to share files with your friends.

When you’re in a hurry and you need to find your Stats syllabus, there’s no need to start digging through your bulging backpack. Instead, open up your Snap2PDF app where the needed file will be stored in your PDF library. It’s only a few taps away!

Snap2PDF costs $1.99 to purchase and it is available for iOS.


3. inClass

This do-it-all app ensures that you’ll stay academically organized. inClass allows you to set courses, terms, instructors and assignments, as well as take text, audio, and visual notes. This data can then be easily synced to your computer or shared via Facebook or iTunes.

inClass displays all of your assignments on a calendar categorized by course, task and priority. It also gives you the ability to set reminders for courses and upcoming tasks, so you’ll never have to worry about missing another due date again. Whew!

inClass is a free application available for iOS.


4. Clear

Are you a lover of to-do lists? Clear helps you keep track of your various to-do lists and lets you sync them onto other devices. Also, Clear allows you to access your lists at any time from anywhere.

The tasks are color-coded and ordered by priority. Once you complete a task, remove it from the list with a single swipe. Clear is a user-friendly application and its easy interface makes it a must-have for all college kids.

Clear can be purchased for $4.99 and is available for iOS.


5.  Mint 

Mint helps you stay within your college budget.  This app allows you to track your spending and it divides your spending into different categories, providing you with a visual representation of how you’re handling your hard earned money. This app also lets you receive alerts based on your account status and will notify you when you are either A) going overboard (AKA over your budget) or B) almost broke.

For those financially savvy students out there, Mint offers advice on how to meet your savings goals and shows you how certain splurges will affect your monthly/yearly budget. Gophers, take responsibility of your finances with Mint and watch your savings stack up.

Mint is a free application that’s available for iOSAndroid, and Windows Phone

Want to download these awesome apps? Gopher it!

You’ll be glad you did.

Photos: Dropbox, Snap2PDF, inClass, Clear, Mint, Apps

Going Back To School: A Story Told In GIFs

Well, today’s the big day. Today, you head back to the U.


When you spot your first roomie, you can’t help but hug them! You then continue to hug them until they mutter, “Dude, please stop hugging me. This is getting awkward”.

After you unload your car, a little voice inside your head says, “You should start unpacking your stuff”. So you do. But, this doesn’t last long…

One of your roommates weaves their way through your sea of boxes and asks you if you want to do something with them. You say yes. Actually, you yell it. You’ll do anything to get out of unpacking.

“Want to go to the bank with me?” “Come watch me get my haircut!” “It’s 2 a.m. and Mesa is still open, let’s gooooo!” If someone suggests doing something, you do it. You never turn down plans, never ever.

 “No”do people actually use this word?!

 Sleep? Nah. Your roommate says, “You can sleep when you’re dead!”

It’s all fine and dandy until someone tells you that classes start tomorrow.

Wait, what? Since when?!

Suddenly, it is tomorrow.

But since you’re a good kid, you go to class.

Your parents would be proud!

It’s only syllabus week, but you already know that this is going to be a great year. Ahhh, it’s good to be back!


GIF Sources: Happy Drive, Bro Hug, Packing Breakdown, Fort, PROCRASTINATION, No Sleep, Gasp!, Emotionally Ready, Sitting in Class, LEGENDARY, School Bus