The Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate (GILC) is a nine-week online course covering concepts such as leadership and identity theory, cultural humility, critical race theory, intercultural communication, perspective shifting and emotional agility. Having never taken a leadership course I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was a very worthwhile experience and I would recommend it.
The course has nine modules of self-paced learning, with a new module opening each week. Course content is a mix of theory, case studies and personal reflections guided by questions. I was a little surprised at how much thought and time the personal reflection part of the course took, but it was rewarding and gave me personal insights I would not have come to without the course. The workload was reasonable – around 4-6 hours per week, with variation from week to week. The flexible nature of the module learning was beneficial to balance with university work and allowed for time to reflect properly on the course content too. There are a few submissions during the course – a two-page critical incident reflection, a perspective shifting exercise, some video reflections and a final project. These reinforced the course content well.
I found the perspective shifting exercise and surrounding teaching on empathy and emotional agility to be particularly useful. Perspective shifting and empathy are not concepts that are explicitly taught in many courses. If mentioned, they usually come in the form of buzzwords. The concrete skills and methods GILC introduced were not something I had come across before, and were useful not only in a career context but also as life skills.
One of the best things about the course was the three zoom sessions with a relatively small cohort of 12-15 people from around the world. Meeting people from many different countries with different perspectives and experiences was thought provoking and enjoyable. The course has strong organisation and support systems – the course coordinator, Lizzy, was happy to help with questions. The University of Auckland 360 team were also supportive – they checked in throughout the course, which I really appreciated.
While a leadership course could hypothetically be quite intimidating, the GILC team make no assumptions about whether you define yourself as a ‘leader’ already or not. It is more focussed on teaching students the skills to be critical thinkers, and empathetic, intercultural communicators – ultimately giving students the tools to progress towards inclusive, confident and competent leadership. I’m very grateful to have been given this opportunity, and I will use the knowledge and skills I have learned with me throughout my tertiary education and in my career.