Leadership Development

Highsmith Student Union's leadership framework is informed by the Social Change Model (SCM) of Leadership Development. According to Skendall, Ostick, Komives, Wagner, and Associates (2017), "the SCM was created specifically for college students who seek to lead in a more socially responsible way and who want to learn to work effectively with others to create social change over their lifetimes" (p. 1). The SCM focuses on building students' understanding of individual, group, and society/community values to help students learn how to implement positive, lasting change within their communities on and off-campus. Highsmith Student Union strives to infuse the SCM into every aspect of the building, from leadership workshops to engaging employment and more.

Skendall, K. C., Ostick, D. T., Komives, S. R., Wagner, W., & Associates. (2017). The social change model: Facilitating leadership development. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Leadership Development Series

Want to enhance your leadership skills? The Leadership Development Series is a free, one-hour, leadership development series designed to help students advance their leadership styles by practicing and learning essential skills to become a well-rounded leader at UNC Asheville and the greater community. A faculty or staff member that specializes on the leadership topic will lead the session. Registration is not required.

Spring 2019 Workshops:

  • January 24, 6 PM to 7 PM, HIG Room 125 - New Year, New You: Reflecting On and Reactivating Your Leadership
  • February 26, 12 PM to 1 PM, HIG Room 125 - Reaching Across the Aisle: Effective Communication in Leadership Roles
  • March 21, 6 PM to 7 PM, HIG Room 125 - Empower and Inspire: Using Your Leadership Tools to Motivate Yourself and Others
  • April 23, 12 PM to 1 PM, HIG Room 237 - Passing the Torch: Transitions in Leadership and How to Navigate Them

Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) Leadership Honor Society

Omicron Delta Kappa is a national leadership honor society for junior and senior level students, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni. Students are nominated to join the organization by faculty and staff based on their participation in at least two of the following criteria:

  1. GPA
  2. Campus Involvement
  3. Scholarly Accomplishments
  4. Athletics

Contact Information:

Keith Norris, Assistant Director
Highsmith Student Union
209A Highsmith Union
1 University Heights
Asheville, NC 28804

UNC Asheville Leadership Summit

YOU'RE INVITED to UNC Asheville's 4th Annual Leadership Summit! Join Highsmith Student Union and Leadership Development on Saturday, February 9, from 9AM to 2PM, in Highsmith Student Union. Lunch is provided to all registered participants, with registration capacity at 200. Even more, the Leadership Summit is a UNCA-approved DEEP event!

About the Leadership Summit Keynote, Dr. Tiece Ruffin

Tiece Ruffin received her Ph.D. from Ohio University in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Special Education and cognate in Reading Education. Also, she received a B.S.Ed. and M.Ed. from Ohio University in Special Education, with an emphasis in learning disabilities and intellectual disabilities; and Secondary education, with an emphasis in reading education, respectively. Tiece Ruffin has past teaching experiences as a licensed special educator (K-12) and reading educator (K-12) teaching youth with and without disabilities from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds in both rural and urban contexts. Additionally, her teaching experience spans various educational settings such as the public school, correctional institution, and home/hospital. Lastly, her school administration experience was as a local education agency representative for a large urban public school district monitoring placement and educational services for students with disabilities who attended private schools.

Her research interests include learners with special needs, diverse learners, pedagogical approaches for the diverse and inclusive classroom, service learning, and the internationalization of teacher education. She has authored and co-authored several publications and presented at both National and International Conferences. Her book, Somalis and disability: Cultural context and implications for practice, is considered one of the best descriptions of the cultural context that structures our understanding of ability and disability for Somali African refugees, and how culturally responsive education systems can bridge or break assumptions we hold about our students and create new opportunities for educational growth.

Past accomplishments include four notable fellowships: the prestigious honor of being selected as a Past-President's Fellow of the National Association of State Directors of Special Education, U.S.A. (2002), a Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar in the U.S. Department of Education (2003), a 2016-2017 North Carolina-West Education Policy Fellow, and a 2017/2018 Fulbright U.S. Scholar at the University of Education, Winneba, in Ghana, West Africa. Currently, she is an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina Asheville.