Wisdom Earned in Selection, Learning through Action ~ Year-End Presentation By Cycle 2 Students

Wisdom Earned in Selection, Learning through Action

End-of-Cycle Presentation of NTU Leadership Development Program By Cycle 2 Students

 The NTU Leadership Development Program (LDP) aims to cultivate students as the future leaders in all aspects. Through activity-oriented curriculum and various course projects, students will learn to manage resources and make decisions under different conditions. As the program study route shows, the Spring semester of 2010 will be the last term for the Cycle 2 students. Hence, from May 11 to 21, the students plan to build a huge Mani-stone —a carved stone from the Himalayas—on the green lawn behind NTU Main Library. Within the giant stone, a photo exhibition themed Choice, showing the challenges and harvests they had met and earned in the past 2 years, will be held.

Sung-Tsan Yeh, a junior from Dept. of Anthropology, is in charge of the preparation. “A presentation is nothing but an end in form, to display what we have learned, seen, and experienced through this 2-year training. In reality, we will be able to truly fulfill our potentials in serving the society from the day we graduate from this program,” said Yeh.

Wisdom in Selection 

In LDP, students have to make decisions at all times. Decisions cannot only be tangible as themes for projects, schedules, and degrees of execution, but also be intangible as time and energy devoted outside the course. The tangible parts can be settled through constant communication, while the intangible ones are resolved by self-evaluation. Through various activities, Students have practiced to assess the SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) of different conditions as well as resources, so as to make strategic planning. This process has also strengthened their courage in decision-making and analytical thinking.

Before their expedition to the Himalayas last year, the Cycle 2 students had come up with an idea of biking in Europe and making exhibitions along the way to promote Taiwan. In order to carry this plan out, the team proposed the itineraries and budgets, and tried raising funds from the society. In short, they fully demonstrated their will and power in achieving this goal. Although the volcanic eruption in Iceland had temporarily stopped them from going to Europe, they still insisted on accomplishing the plan. However, this plan failed in the end due to insufficient time for a full and detailed preparation. Fortunately, the Cycle 2 team has learned a lesson from this experience—about how to take the other path at the right moment.

Cheng-Han Wu, a senior from Dept. of Electrical Engineering and meanwhile leader of the Europe Project, said, “It was a pity to give up. However this process has made us grow. At least we have learned to accept the reality due to some practical considerations.” Wei-Hao Lin, a junior from Dept. of Chinese Literatures, also mentioned, “The difficult part does not lie in giving up a project but in giving up our passion for it.” “We did not fail. We just made a choice of letting go,” claimed Pei-wen Chien from Dept. of Economics.

Other than such executive choices as setting a project theme or looking for resources from the society, LDP values the most on how much students decide to get involved. Many people have already respectively played leading roles in their extra curricula groups. Therefore it is challenging for them to make time to discuss and carry out LDP projects. Che-An Wu from Dept. of Engineering Science and Ocean Engineering believed that “Everyone has his/her own choice to make and has to be responsible for it. Choices are made based on personal values. Decisions today will also influence  one’s personal values in the future. There is no choice of right or wrong, but wise and unwise.”

Learning through Action

Projects require action and execution, which, however, is usually of no concrete example to follow. “Most of the time I don’t know how to do. But I can make it eventually once I start,” said Chih-Yuan Lin from Dept. of Engineering Science and Ocean Engineering. Chia-Jung Yu from Dept. of Agricultural Economics added, “The ideas of the projects are very creative. So the only way is to learn by doing, which is quite different from working on projects in the school clubs.”

Many Cycle 2 students had never made a project proposal, gone for fund-raising, tidied up meeting minutes or written a report before joining LDP. Nevertheless, they’ve become experienced after several first trials. Countless meetings have strengthened their skills in communication, while activities have enhanced their abilities to integrate resources. Hao-jie Chang, a senior Dentistry student said, “Everyone should decide for themselves how much they want to be involved. As you sow, so shall you reap. I’m convinced that only those who are willing to devote will obtain valuable experiences.”

 Additionally, LDP also encourages students to take action to make some meaningful attempts. For example, in “International Leadership” students were asked to pick an European country and be inspired through its cultural, economic, social, and historical perspectives, and later write a poem for it. “Were it not for this course, I wouldn’t have had any idea about Turkey. Now I’m so familiar with the country as to go backpacking there,” said Pei-Chun Liao, a senior from Dept. of Foreign Languages and Literatures. In the other course, the Cycle 2 team held an event called “Recycled Love” to exchange and recycle second hand clothes. This event was popular among the NTU students. The chief organizer and also a senior student in Dept. of Sociology, Yu-Ting Chen told, “I saw my own capability and value for the very first time when I found the event which I organized a big success. I had great sense of accomplishment when seeing the fruit of my action. It was out of the question to have such powerful experience if I hadn’t dedicated myself to it.”

A Stage to Learn 

Yu-Ting Gao, a senior from Dept. of Politics, said, “What I own are not only chances to cooperate with classmates but also valuable experiences to work with companies and NGOs.” Through various projects, students extend their experience beyond the classroom and connect themselves to the society. For instance, “Citizen Congress Watch” was a project calling on students’ participation in supervising the Congress. Sue Su, a senior from Dept. of Finance, explained, “The projects in LDP have provided us with room for thoughts and action. We are able to come up with ideas and look for the ideal partners to cooperate with. The program has really given us a stage to perform.” This is exactly what the LDP has tried to offer—a potential direction instead of a precise instruction. Thus spontaneous learning plays a crucial part in the studies of the LDP.

 In addition to spontaneous learning, innovation is also highly valued in the program. Yen-An Chen from Dept. of Mechanical Engineering said, “Innovation means not only coming up with what has never existed, but also thinking over the existing ideas and putting them into practical actions, so as to prove them workable!” The only requirement for LDP projects is that public welfare should be taken into consideration by any means. All in all, the LDP expects students to make some contributions to the world through their imagination and creativity. Ying-Chi Liao, a junior in Dept. of Psychology, said, “What really matters in a project, to me, isn’t the fact it’s successful or failing but its positive influences towards our society. LDP has given me the perfect freedom and room to think on how to make this world a better place.”

This program offers a rare opportunity for a group of excellent students to gather, brainstorm together and learn from one another. The final presentation of LDP Cycle 2 students will uncover and display all the growth they have had from the program. Their wisdom in selection and learning through action will be definitely seen on such event. Meanwhile, LDP has begun receiving applications for Cycle 4 admission. Those who are willing to grow through solid trainings are most welcome to join and be led out of personal comfort zones, as well as create wonderful memories in NTU.