Students enrolled in The University of Tulsa’s inaugural Presidential Leaders Fellowship recently completed their fall project: a sample piece of legislation that is being presented to state Rep. Monroe Nichols, D-Tulsa, for consideration.
The 2017 fellowship class is comprised of 135 freshmen who participated in a once-a-week fall course led by TU President Gerard Clancy. The theme was “How to Get Things Done in a Complex Environment.” Students looked at several complicated issues, explored ways to create solutions and created an action plan. They read several books, including The Worst Hard Times, The World and Me and Age of Ambition. The class was instructed that it must generate policies to solve selected problems and reach consensus by the end of the semester – regardless of personal opinions.
The fellows titled their proposed legislation the Oklahoma Economic Development Long-term Investment Act. It offers a plan to improve the health and education of residents as a means to bolster the state economy. Introducing innovative fixes to the lagging K-12 system, which includes ensuring that children attend classes and/or enrichment activities at least five days a week, are key to the students’ plan. Preventive health and wellness policies also are proposed along with funding mechanisms and a push to advance global trade.
“I couldn’t be prouder of these future leaders. Young adults are hungry to learn about the biggest problems facing their community and their planet, and – even more impressive – they’re eager to identify solutions, set aside differences and pitch in to create change,” Clancy said. “Anything The University of Tulsa can do to foster ‘big-picture thinking’ will better equip this generation with the skills they need to make a positive difference.”
The fellowship program continues next semester when students examine social entrepreneurship. As sophomores, 25 of the fellows will be chosen to tackle a persistent problem in the Tulsa community in real-time, offering fresh ideas and an infusion of energy.