FOCUS Leadership: Developing Leaders of the Future

by Public Relations

Cedarville University’s Student Life Department is developing leaders of character on campus and beyond through an interactive program called FOCUS Leadership. In its third year, the program offers opportunities for students to receive leadership training, explore leadership styles and engage in mentoring relationships with faculty, staff and fellow student leaders.

“FOCUS helps students to define leadership on campus and focuses on character leadership,” said Bob Lutz, associate dean for student leadership development. “The program is also working to make sure students are equipped for leadership challenges they will face outside of Cedarville.”

Required for student leaders on campus but also open to aspiring leaders, FOCUS Leadership engages students in four areas of focus: personal, community, skill and vision. Students must attend specific sessions in each focus area in order to complete the program. They must also serve in a leadership position by either participating in a ministrymissions trip or by serving as a staff member for Junior JamCedarMania or the High School Leadership Conference held annually at Cedarville.

The courses are taught by key faculty and staff who have backgrounds in areas such as counseling, mentoring and diversity awareness.

The four focuses of the program equip students with the skills necessary to become engaging leaders. The first two focuses, personal and community, give students a foundation of personal understanding and community awareness. The skill and vision focus refine leadership skills and encourages students to expand their vision for character leadership beyond college life.

The program is designed to inspire students to high standards of leadership and provides opportunities for mentoring and accountability by peer, faculty and staff mentors.

“FOCUS Leadership program was a great resource to receive free, practical, leadership training for not only leadership on Cedarville's campus but for life outside of the University,” said Rebecca DeRose, a junior who serves as leadership director for the student government association at Cedarville. “It was also a great avenue for me to meet people and get involved in different leadership positions on campus.”

Lutz said the program is designed to encourage students to actively participate in campus leadership positions as well as prepare them for real-world leadership.

“We don’t want to just offer another thing for students to do on campus,” Lutz said. “We want students to use FOCUS as a time to reflect on their own lives, leadership styles and character.

Over 300 different students participate in the program each school year, and over 200 complete the view component of the program.

Lutz said the leadership council is currently working towards providing weekend-based experiential learning opportunities, such as excursions and team building events. Lutz also said that they may offer classes online in the future to give students more accessibility to the courses.

Cedarville University attracts 3,300 undergraduate, graduate and online students to more than 100 areas of study. Cedarville is a Christ-centered learning community recognized nationally for rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. Visit the University online at