LEWISTON – The University of Southern Maine/Lewiston-Auburn has announced the launch of a new initiative called the Community Leadership Institute. The institute, which will begin Feb. 9, has been researched and developed by students enrolled in the baccalaureate and master’s programs in leadership and organizational studies.

The program is designed to help participants develop skills as community leaders. Professor Liz Fisher-Turesky said, “The uniqueness of the Community Leadership Institute is in the diversity of the program participants. Our goal is to recruit individuals from various cultures and diverse groups who will foster creativity and the development of leadership skills to expand community engagement in Lewiston-Auburn.”

The core beliefs are as follows:

Leadership potential exists at all levels of organizations and communities and cannot be limited to those with certain positions and titles.

Leadership skills can and should be taught and developed to advance community development.

Quality leadership is, by definition, inclusive and ethical, respects individuals, puts emphasis on both process and outcomes and produces quality results.

Women and men of all colors, creeds, religions or beliefs, sexual orientations, abilities, and ages must share leadership in the community, not because it is politically correct but because it produces the best results.

Program participants will participate in 12 sessions facilitated by volunteers. The topics include valuing diversity, power of leadership, effective communication skills, conflict management, problem-solving, stages of group development, networking, making meetings work, ethical decision-making, managing change, self-direction and community leadership engagement in Lewiston-Auburn.

The institute is looking for a committed group of individuals with different experiences who desire to become involved or more effective in a leadership capacity in the greater Androscoggin community.

At the conclusion of the program, participants will bring their newly acquired leadership skills to a community project, program, board, committee or neighborhood association.

The institute will meet every Thursday from Feb. 9 to May 11. Most sessions will meet from 6 to 8 p.m. at USM/L-A, 51 Westminster St. The cost is $100 a participant, and scholarships are available. Anyone interested should call 753-6501 for more information or an application. Applications are also available on line at www.usm.maine.edu/lac/cli.

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