Continuing our review and identification of key episodes from the NASPA Student Leadership Podcast, hosted by Myles Surrett – we turn today to Episode 4, with the guest Wendy Wagner.   

2016 was the 20th anniversary of the Social Change Model (SCM). In this episode, Wendy Wagner, faculty member at George Washington University in the Human Services and Social Justice Program, discusses why the SCM is still the dominant model for student leadership development.

According to Wendy, a key reason is that the SCM is a relatively simple framework: it has just three overarching categories – individual, group, and community – and seven underlying critical values (the 7 C’s). The C’s are: consciousness of self, congruence, commitment, collaboration, common purpose, controversy with civility and citizenship.  Although the framework is simple, each C holds complex learning outcomes that provide opportunity for growth. In addition, the SCM is memorable, allowing students to take and apply the framework outside of the classroom. The framework creates a common language that allows students to articulate, process, and reflect upon their learning.

Prior to the SCM, leadership generally meant positional leadership, and was discussed in business-related language which was less relevant to the types of social change goals that college students pursued. Indeed, change is at the core of the SCM: The SCM provides a language and model that includes thinking about the goals and outcomes of leadership and is well-suited to student development.

In addition to the SCM, Wendy also muses on the impact that growing up in a small town had on her views of collaborative leadership, the importance of cross-discipline communication, and her pet peeve of reality TV’s habit of “blaming the leader” for group failures. You can listen to all this and more at the NASPA Student Leadership Programs podcasts, hosted by Myles Surrett, at iTunes or SoundCloud.