LEWISTON – The University of Southern Maine/Lewiston-Auburn has announced that the second annual Community Leadership Initiative will begin Feb. 13. The program, initiated last year, 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 and enhance skills as community leaders.

Professor Liz Fisher Turesky said, “The uniqueness of this Community Leadership Initiative is in the diversity of the program participants, the integrated design of the sessions themselves and the collaboration between faculty, students, community leaders and participants. Our goal is to recruit individuals from diverse groups who seek to expand or deepen their community engagement in Lewiston-Auburn.”

The core beliefs of the initiative 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 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 within the community, not because it is politically correct but because it produces the best results.

Participants will take part in 13 sessions facilitated by volunteer students, faculty and community leaders.

In addition to group projects that will benefit the community, the topics will include the following: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, cultural competency, power of leadership, effective communication skills, conflict management, change leadership, problem-solving, stages of group development, networking, making meetings work, ethical decision-making, self-direction and community leadership engagement in Lewiston-Auburn.

The initiative is looking for a committed group of individuals with different experiences and backgrounds who desire to deepen and broaden their involvement in a leadership capacity in the greater Androscoggin community.

The institute will meet every Tuesday starting Feb. 13, with a concluding session on May 15. Most sessions will meet from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at USM/L-A, 51 Westminster St.

The cost of the program is $300 for one, but $250 for one and a community partner; someone who may not be able to afford to attend and might be a co-worker, a representative of a group a person works with, a high school student, an elder or a neighbor.

Some scholarships are available. Anyone interested should call 753-6547 for more information or an application. Applications are also available online at www.usm.maine.edu/lac/cli. The application deadline is Monday, Jan. 15.

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