For 50 years, CCL’s philosophy and training has been a vital component of N.C. State University’s Caldwell Fellows Program. A CCL associate is involved in selecting Caldwell Fellows during their freshman year, and CCL runs an intensive, 3-day training program during students’ junior or senior year as a capstone experience.
Students apply to the Caldwell Fellows program after their first semester in college, ensuring that Fellows have proven they can handle the academic rigors of college. The selection process is intensive, including 3 essays and multiple interviews for a group of about 50 finalists.
The goal is not necessarily to choose the students who always win the top scholarships, but those “diamonds in the rough,” says Bill Sternbergh, a CCL senior fellow for leadership education who has taught Caldwell Fellows since the program’s inception and is involved in selecting Fellows. “There’s a glow, there’s a spark about wanting to have an impact on the world,” he says. It’s not uncommon for at least a few of the 25 Fellows selected each year to be the first in their families to go to college. Some of them come from rural North Carolina, others from overseas.
Caldwell Fellows receive an academic scholarship, leadership and service opportunities, and an annual experiential learning stipend. The stipend requires students to write a proposal before using the money; often it goes to service-learning projects.
After 3-4 years in the program, students go to the Greensboro CCL campus to spend 3 days in an intensive, hands-on leadership development program. The 3 days are capped with a one-on-one personal coaching session in which the students receive feedback based on their assessments and leadership training. Fellows discuss with their coaches what the feedback and personal insights mean, and how they might apply them as students and future professionals.
There are now more than 1,300 active Caldwell Fellows alumni. Their anecdotes about the impact of the program and the CCL training are telling. Fellows say their CCL experience helps them be better professionals and leaders, from handling significant corporate responsibilities to making life-or-death decisions.
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