Zachary German is a second-year CIPA fellow and a CIPA admissions ambassador. He is concentrating his studies on Social Policy, with a specific focus on health care. You can read his full bio here.
“In addition to the [CIPA] program’s constructive and diverse curriculum, professional staff and faculty, and welcoming environment, the flexibility to pursue summer opportunities like these reminds me of how effective the program is at developing and accommodating my individual professional and academic interests.”
I spent the beginning of my summer at the Air University in Montgomery, Alabama, completing Officer Training School (OTS) with the United States Air Force and the end of my summer in Ithaca participating in a leadership assessment course (Leadership Assessment for Managers: ILRHR 7451) with Cornell’s ILR School.
The purpose of OTS was to train each officer to establish excellence in teamwork, personal discipline, attention to detail, fundamentals of military leadership, and commitment to service. The course ran for six weeks and daily training ran from 4:30am to 7:30pm, six days per week. Every day had its own focus and was designed to challenge students mentally and physically. These days were also grouped into four separate phases: orientation, development, application, and transition. Orientation Phase emphasized the importance of teamwork, necessity of discipline, and the standard of excellence. Development Phase taught the class strategy for accomplishing tasks through goal setting, championing conflict with interpersonal communication, and conquering challenges with effective leadership and teamwork. Application Phase put our newly gained skills to the test. We were closely evaluated and given feedback for our performance in leadership and followership roles during a Leadership Reaction Course, professionalism during advocacy briefs (sometimes in front of hundreds of people), and effectiveness during a mock deployment in which we faced challenges during natural disaster and emergency response and management scenarios. Transition Phase was the culmination of the training. During this phase we received staff and peer feedback, which identified our individual leadership strengths and areas for improvement. This phase also served as the transition and acclimation from the training environment to the operational Air Force.
Back at Cornell, the leadership assessment for managers course was a three-and-a half day intensive class. The course provided each student the opportunity to gather feedback from peers, supervisors, and professional coaches regarding their strengths and areas for development. Each day’s content was predicated on student team interactions; experimental exercises, which mimicked real life scenarios; and self-assessment instruments. Each student completed and was coached on a Leadership 360 Assessment, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Thomas-kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI), and the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation-Behavior (FIRO-B). This course has been one of the more influential courses I have taken at Cornell since it did a marvelous job at getting me out of my comfort zone, challenging my interpersonal skills, and developing my self-awareness in professional environments.
The combination of these opportunities in close succession has been very influential for my professional development in leadership positions, team environments, and self-awareness. Considering my many pursuits, this summer has re-emphasized my appreciation for CIPA. In addition to the program’s constructive and diverse curriculum, professional staff and faculty, and welcoming environment, the flexibility to pursue summer opportunities like these reminds me of how effective the program is at developing and accommodating my individual professional and academic interests.
So finally, after a long and productive break, I am once again looking forward to returning to my MPA courses at CIPA.