Georgia College Cultivates Women Leaders through Unique Sorority Program

Staff Report From Middle Georgia CEO

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

A new “Living and Learning Community” is being launched at Georgia College – to promote more women to leadership positions through close residential ties and the opportunity to earn a leadership certificate.
“To our knowledge, Georgia College is the first to intentionally build a living-learning community for sorority women dedicated to women’s leadership development and empowerment,” said Tiffany Bayne, assistant director of fraternity and sorority life.

It’s not unusual for colleges to partner with sororities and provide housing for members. Some universities also have living-learning communities centered on various themes and disciplines.

But the Sorority Living and Learning Community at Georgia College is designed specifically to mold women into future leaders. New members will live together next year in an apartment-style residential hall on West Campus. They’ll also complete activities to earn the women’s leadership certificate. The curriculum is still being planned, but activities for a similar program at Georgia College include: courses, workshops, community service, forums with visiting executives, panel discussions and career development.

Women have made strides in recent years, becoming CEOs and heads of state. But a 2016 Forbes report put the proportion of women in senior business roles at only 24 percent.

To help bridge that gap, Panhellenic President Jordan Thomas and Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Kelli Brown signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the three-year pilot program. The idea originated from President Steve Dorman’s challenge for the university to provide unique leadership development opportunities for students.

Championed by the student-led Panhellenic Council, all seven Panhellenic organizations on campus voted to take part in the program.

With an undergraduate population of about 6,000 and more than 1,300 sorority members – Georgia College has some of the largest chapters in the state. In some cases, larger than those at institutions with student populations of 30,000.

Participants will graduate well-equipped to become next-generation leaders, impacting their communities, schools and workplaces, Brown said.

Delta Gamma President Rilee Harris said, “I’m excited for this opportunity for our future members. This leadership program will have an impact while they’re in college and after college. They can use this on their resume.”

“This will give these women a leg-up,” said Alyssa Gann, Panhellenic delegate for Kappa Delta, “because leadership’s one thing employers look for.”