UC Davis students jump head-first into leadership

UC Davis students jump head-first into leadership

Nov 01, 2001

Davis, Calif.-Madeline Yamate knows how to be a team player. With an MBA in marketing and organizational behavior, she's got the basics of negotiation, time management and project solving covered.

So when this first-year UC Davis veterinary student decided to cut summer break short and partake in a week-long program on leadership, she didn't anticipate hearing anything new.

Instead, Yamate discovered a program that's anything but conventional.

"I expected to go through cerebral exercises, and we did, but I was delighted to find they were presented in a way that was enjoyable in addition to being educational," she says. "Imagine learning in an environment that is warm, supportive and open to different view points.

"Every night I went home feeling really excited about what we had done and learned, and although I was physically and psychologically fatigued, I was also invigorated by all the positive experiences I had during the day."

A new way to educate

The Veterinary Leadership Project, a pilot educational program in its second year, is five full days of workshops designed to develop skills in listening, decision-making, conflict management and negotiation, to name a few.

Held in late August, the program offers hands-on exercises that aren't traditionally taught in the classroom but are key to developing a successful career in veterinary medicine, says project coordinator Donald Klingborg, DVM.

"The veterinary profession has a solid history of community leadership, but the rates and magnitude of change in veterinary medicine requires ever-improving leadership assets and commitment," says Klingborg, assistant dean for public programs. "These workshops are designed to provide students with a toolbox of skills that will help them balance complex demands of career, community involvement and personal life."

Life lessons

Michele Hoag, another first-year student, says she acquired skills she'll use the rest of her life.

"It was so much better than I could've expected," Hoag says. "I basically thought they were going to give us information on how to survive vet school. What they gave us was leadership training that I think I will use my entire life, both in school as well as in practice.

"The week we spent at the training was tough but it made my transition into veterinary school so much smoother and gave me more confidence."

Yamate, too, is ready to tackle four years of work. "We received skills and tools that will aid us both in the immediate future and further down the road. If nothing else it allows you to create bonds with your fellow students, which certainly makes the vet school environment more welcoming."

Schnurmacher Foundations, Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc., and UC Davis sponsor the program.