MGA Receives Grant To Grow Student Leadership And Character Development

Author: Sheron Smith
Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2024 12:00 AM
Categories: Pressroom | Students | Faculty/Staff | School of Business

Macon, GA


Middle Georgia State University (MGA) will use a new grant to initiate a comprehensive program aimed at helping students develop greater leadership and character skills.

The $50,000 Capacity-Building grant, awarded through Wake Forest University’s Educating Character Initiative, will help MGA unify existing initiatives and build others, all aimed at empowering students to grow in their ability to become ethical leaders in their fields and in other endeavors. Ultimately, MGA is deliberately creating a University wide program that will develop leaders of character who will have a significant positive impact on their communities. Additionally, this program will directly interface with the Center for Middle Georgia Studies to impact a wide variety of MGA’s stakeholders. 

“MGA already has a robust set of leadership education programs, and we provide a variety of specific ethics classes,” said Rafael Villamil, coordinator for Student Leadership programs for the University’s Center for Career & Leadership Development. “This grant will help us start the work of bringing all these pieces together in a comprehensive effort that we hope will help MGA students develop the skills, knowledge, and virtues necessary to succeed - not just as skilled professionals but also as ethical professionals, able to balance the good of their organizations with the good of the global community.”

The Educating Character Initiative is part of Wake Forest’s Program for Leadership and Character. The program’s goal is to inspire, educate, and empower leaders of character to serve humanity through innovative teaching, creative programming, and cutting-edge research. As described in information material, the program aims to “transform the lives of students, foster an inclusive culture and character, and catalyze a broader public conversation that places character at the center of leadership.”

While most of MGA’s individual leadership and character development programs for students are based in the Center for Career & Leadership Development, the School of Business and MGA’s other schools and departments are teaching virtue-based courses in leadership and ethics. The grant will help the University pull all related activities together into a more comprehensive, unified effort.

“We are grateful and honored to have been selected as one of the first recipients of the Capacity-Building grants,” said Dr. Winfield Tufts, who heads up the leadership courses and related activities in MGA’s School of Business. “We will use it to unify our leadership and character initiatives, tailor a comprehensive program that fits our students, and help us recruit additional participating faculty and staff, thereby producing leaders of character who will have a major positive influence on the Middle Georgia area and beyond.” 

MGA faculty and staff who worked on the grant application, besides Villamil and Tufts, were Dr. Rebecca Lanning, Dr. Donna Balding, Dr. Mary Roberts, and Liz Riley.