Wall Fellows Curriculum
The Wall Fellows program is a for-credit learning experience in each semester of a student’s tenure in the program. However, experience tells us that the outside reading, team projects, independent study, preparation for class and assigned Wall Fellows projects require additional time that is at least equal to, and often in excess of, the total of a students' weekly time required by the traditional non-Wall Fellows curriculum. This fact is an indication of the rigor and seriousness that characterize the program.
The program provides the student one-on-one career and personal coaching in order to prepare them for his or her desired career. It includes a required three-credit hour course each semester that covers specific nontraditional areas including interpersonal and communications skills, personal and business ethics, business and social etiquette, organizational skills and cross-cultural skills. These skills prepare the Wall Fellows for a series of internships, including at least one required full-time semester-long internship away from campus with a major organization, as well as the opportunity for international experiences.
In addition, the Wall Fellows interact with key outside leaders in workshops and mentoring experiences designed to broaden their classroom learning opportunities. Finally, the Wall Fellows serve the university and local communities through work with various organizations, including hosting visiting dignitaries and working at community development events on behalf of the University.
The curriculum is divided into three core areas:
- The development of communication skills include a focus on vocabulary, rhetoric, critical thinking and analysis, presentations, negotiations, conversation, giving and taking criticism, verbal information exchange, correspondence, and writing for results.
- The development of behavioral skills includes a focus on personal ethics, social and business etiquette, professional dress and appearance, the art of civilized behavior, interviewing skills, appropriate cross-cultural awareness and networking.
- The development of organizational skills includes a focus on team leadership, team participation, career strategy and management, project management, mentoring, travel and meeting planning, and leadership development.
These interrelated skills are developed with a combination of classroom discussion, individual reading, written self-reflection, and the planning, execution, and the evaluation of a broad range of interrelated projects.
One of the fundamental skills sought in new graduates is the ability to manage complex, often overlapping and competing, projects to a successful conclusion. The training of Wall Fellows is contained in broad student administered exercises in project management that integrate all aspects of a Wall Fellow’s development. Through this method, students develop short and long-term planning skills, as well as the ability to conceptualize complex projects in the abstract and move them to a conclusion. They learn to develop and manage their personal agenda and then integrate collaboratively their personal agenda with that of their colleagues.
This daily regimen of life in the Wall Fellows is exemplified in regular team meetings, coupled with repeated practice of the skills required to be both effective team leader and effective team participant. The program develops an ability in each student to communicate openly and effectively within a group setting, an awareness of trust and trustworthy behavior, an attention to detail, an awareness of how one’s conduct and behavior affects those of others, and the recognition of the value of collaboration in the development and execution of ideas.
Thus, students become accustomed to and adept at working in ambiguous environments in a strategically prepared manner. They learn experientially that life is about planning for encounters and that successful managers consider the various scenarios they may encounter within a given setting and are prepared for all contingencies.