Leadership Job Shadow Program Continues With Big Goals, Big Results

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“Have you ever felt like everything was falling into place? That somehow the stars aligned in a way that prepared you for your destiny? That is how I felt when I was chosen to shadow Prasant Mohapatra, vice chancellor of research at UC Davis.”

So said Rosalina Burton, a human development major who was part of the Leadership Job Shadow Program in the fall quarter.

Rosalina Burton with Prasant Mohapatra
Prasant Mohapatra, vice chancellor of research, with Rosalina Burton. (Courtesy)

Burton was one of 43 students chosen to shadow members of Chancellor Gary S. May’s Leadership Council and deans who participated in the chancellor’s program which offers students a look at what it’s like to run a major university.

Last quarter, students sat in on budget and planning meetings, and attended ground-breaking ceremonies and working lunches.

Sustainable environmental design major Brenton Cai said of his experience with Kelly Ratliff, vice chancellor for Finance, Operations and Administration, “It was very enlightening to see how closely she took student problems that were correlated with the university’s budgeting.”

Cai also expressed surprise that he was asked for his thoughts during a meeting which included Interim Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Emily Galindo. “(I) was able to express my own opinion as a student about the best way to communicate to working students about their jobs on campus,” Cai said.

As the Leadership Job Shadow Program is about to start for the winter quarter, applications from dozens of students are being reviewed by a committee; matches are being made with an eye toward pairing students and leaders who share career interests as well as life goals. To wit: One student’s application included his ambitions of improving the conditions of psychiatric hospitals, creating after-school programs for low income schools and “to be people’s idol.”

Aside from helping students choose majors and even career paths, the job shadow program sometimes gives loftier clarity.

As Burton concluded in her summary of her shadow experience, “The most important lesson I learned during my time shadowing Vice Chancellor Mohapatra was that being a leader is not about knowing every single thing that takes place or being able to balance as many hats as possible — that’s micromanaging. Being a leader is surrounding yourself with other leaders. It’s recognizing the strengths in others and utilizing that to reach a common goal.”

The leaders who participated in the fall quarter job shadow program are:

  • Kevin Blue, director of athletics
  • Allison Brashear, dean of the School of Medicine
  • Ken Burtis, faculty adviser to the chancellor and provost
  • Jennifer Curtis, dean of the College of Engineering
  • Karl Engelbach, associate chancellor and chief of staff to the chancellor
  • Emily Galindo, interim vice chancellor for Student Affairs
  • Ralph J. Hexter, provost and executive vice chancellor
  • Christine Lovely, chief human resources officer
  • Gary S. May, chancellor
  • Prasant Mohapatra, vice chancellor of research
  • Kelly Ratliff, vice chancellor of Finance, Operations and Administration
  • Joanna Regulska, vice provost and associate chancellor of Global Affairs
  • Mike Sweeney, chief campus counsel
  • Dana Topousis, chief marketing and communications officer

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