UBC Community Leadership Program


What is the UBC Community Leadership Program (CLP)?

The UBC Community Leadership Program (CLP) is an innovative leadership development opportunity designed for aspiring staff leaders and provides an opportunity for learners to explore leadership concepts and principles in a cohort learning environment through a series of interactive, participatory workshops and experiential learning. Participant leaders apply and practice new skills and knowledge by leading a group of UBC undergraduate students through a three-day community-service learning project in a school or non-profit organization during the UBC Reading Week break in February. In addition to learning about leadership, project leaders assist UBC students to cultivate their own leadership capacity and reflect on some of the real issues in community.

CLP was collaboratively developed in 2006 by three units and is delivered in partnership by UBC Human Resources and the UBC Centre for Community Engaged Learning. The program has proven a rich and multi-dimensional applied learning environment that currently attracts staff and graduate students from the University, employees from UBC corporate partners, and professional staff from community non-profit organizations.

Come to an information session to find out more about the program.

What Are the Individual Outcomes for CLP Participants?

Learning and Professional Development Goals

Through the program’s unique combination of content-driven workshops reinforced by the practical application of leadership concepts through the shared Reading Week project experience, CLP participants:

  • Grow their leadership capabilities – particularly by developing a different understanding of strengths (using the *StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment from Gallup, Inc.).
  • Gain management or team leadership experience – through leveraging their own strengths and tapping into the strengths of other team members.
  • Develop team development skills – by being challenged to play an educator role for UBC students who volunteer their time to be part of a Reading Week project.
  • Practice practical project management – through scoping a Reading Week project and setting and achieving goals in a complex community setting with multiple stakeholders and often changing parameters.
  • Explore different manifestations of the complexity of community – particularly through the challenge of building a community within a project team while developing a relationship with a project partner (whether a school or a non-profit) and a connection with their community as well.

Program Components and Participant Investment

Each year CLP is made up of the following components that spread out between mid-October and mid-March:

  1. Four full-day interactive and experiential workshops between October and January;
  2. Planning and delivery of a UBC Reading Week Community Service Learning Project that begins in November, with projects delivered over three full days in mid-February; and
  3. Program wrap-up and reflection event held in March.

For more information, visit the Program Outline to find out more about the program.

What past participants say:

Kevin Mo, CLP participant 2015:

The Community Leadership Program helped guide my personal and professional decision making towards my new career. Being a project leader with a non-profit organization allowed me to work with community leaders and UBC students to learn about my personal strengths in leading volunteers and facilitating a program, while also benefitting the community. The experience gave me the opportunity to identify my leadership and interpersonal communication styles, and promoted appreciative inquiry to work effectively with teams to reach an objective. I found the experience very rewarding and it has motivated me to pursue a career as a volunteer coordinator and beyond.

Dorothy Tran, CLP participant 2015:

The beauty of the Community Leader Program is that it creates a safe environment and playing field in which to discover what leadership is. Through the workshops and my project, I discovered that leadership can take many shapes and forms, and that I am a much more effective leader when I use my strengths. I’ve always been more of an introvert, someone who needs her space and time to process and reflect through things, and who enjoys working with small groups of people. I know that whenever I start to wish that I were more like other people, I falter in my ability to lead because I am simply trying too hard and using a style that doesn’t reflect who I am as a person. The program helped me to recognize that being an introverted leader is ok and that part of growing as a leader is trying to find ways to lead that fits with who I am while still looking for opportunities to push my boundaries and limits.

Melissa Friesen, CLP participant 2013:

For me, the Community Leadership Program was a hands-on opportunity to practice leadership in a supported environment.  I appreciated that the learning opportunities created by the CLP crew were always deliberate and multi-dimensional.  In particular, the program provided tools for enabling team building and reflection and, most importantly, an opportunity to develop a personal approach for using these tools through the implementation of a community project.  I left the program with a greater awareness of strengths as a leader (and manager) and how my strengths differ from and complement the strengths of others.

Jazel Argente, CLP Participant 2013:

From the beginning I knew what I wanted to gain from the Community Leadership Program: experience in project management and insight into my own capacity as a Leader. CLP provided the perfect opportunity to gain the learning experience I sought, and allowed me to work with individuals who share my interest in the arts while serving the community in a positive way. The program supplies the essential tools and resources for participants to define their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. CLP only broadened my skills on a professional level, and was also an impetus to my personal growth.

Ashish Morzaria, CLP participant 2012:

Something that surprised me was how people can light up. We saw our UBC students light up once they started working and got engaged [with the community]. What I got out of this was the power of inspiration, and how we can lead that inspiration into great results. I learned to lead through passion, through influence, and through inspiration.

Saskia Battersby, CLP participant 2012:

Working with my UBC student leader, I recognized that she was very passionate about leading her peers, facilitating team-building and helping them reflect critically. The two of us were able to complement each other’s passions. Bringing this lesson to my work, maybe it’s not about doing everything myself, but about finding those team members whose strengths complement my strengths, and dividing the work along those lines. This fits well with our culture at work, which is one of consensus and collaboration.