Follow the Leader
Each quarter, several dozen applicants apply to the Leadership Job Shadow program hoping to be chosen for one of Chancellor Gary S. May’s signature opportunities.
As May explained when launching the program in spring 2018, students are “encouraged to learn more about UC Davis by spending a day with a campus leader. One of the goals of the program is to offer insight into the complexity and challenges of running a top 10 university.”
Another goal is for campus leaders to hear from students about what matters to them.
Ideally, a student and a leader will be a good match, and each learns from the other. A committee meets each quarter to review the applications — which include questions about a student’s major, career goals and hopes for the experience — with an eye toward pairing people with similar interests and fields.
An example of an ideal match came in the fall quarter. Renetta Garrison Tull, vice chancellor of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, who also earned her Ph.D. in electrical engineering, was partnered with an electrical engineering student whose long-term career goal is “to go back to my country (Turkey) and work on promoting diversity and inclusion in STEM there.”
Upon learning of her match, Tull wrote the student an email introducing herself — “I’m an EE too! Engineers unite!” She suggested that during their day together they would attend a chancellor’s cabinet meeting, a DEI team meeting and “if there is an opportunity, perhaps we can Zoom with a friend of mine from Turkey, who is the president of the Global Engineering Deans Council and also an EE!”
There would be time in the day as well, Tull said, to discuss the student’s Ph.D. program, as well as hear her perspective on DEI and STEM education.
Tull’s student reported on LinkedIn that her experience was “inspiring,” and that she has new ideas on how “to incorporate DEI values in my own career journey.”
All students who participate in the Leadership Job Shadow Program are asked to share their stories via social media to encourage others to apply. One undergraduate’s review about his time shadowing Kelly Ratliff, vice chancellor for Finance, Operations and Administration, highlighted one of the program’s most valuable purposes.
“Seeing all of the other vice chancellors there in one room and being the only student was incredibly nerve-wracking, but being in that room really showed me that our administrators are human and want to help and serve our community. I felt inspired and wanted to be like them one day, too.”