Darin_Eich_web.jpgThe topic of leadership was a highlight when Mayville State University faculty, staff, and student leaders gathered for the traditional pre-fall semester activities held on the MSU campus Aug. 21 through 23. Dr. Darin Eich, a professional speaker, facilitator, and innovation consultant, facilitated three workshops and served as a leadership consultant for the Larson Leadership Program. Other activities included MSU President Dr. Gary Hagen’s state of the university address, as well as informational sessions and faculty meetings.  

Dr. Eich’s presence at Mayville State was funded through MSU’s Larson Leadership Program. Funded by the Edson and Margaret Larson Foundation, the purpose of the program is to prepare all Mayville State University students to become future leaders for North Dakota.

Dr. Darin Eich has a passion for helping people find their strengths while they become more creative, innovative, and successful leaders. He has led innovation projects with organizations like P&G, the United Nations, and USA TODAY. He has been a leadership educator at the University of Maryland, Dartmouth, College of William and Mary, and the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Eich earned his Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Wisconsin. He lives in Madison, Wis.

Dr. Eich’s keynote presentation at Mayville State on the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 21 focused on the four skill sets of leadership - critical thinking/problem solving, communication, creativity/innovation, and collaboration. During this interactive session, approximately 80 faculty, staff, and students formed two large circles around the Classroom Building Auditorium telling “what they are working on” with their colleagues. Eich encouraged participants to use their innovation skills to create, collaborate, and communicate. The combination of one person using stories, activities, metaphors, and visuals to share; and the receiver of this information associating, networking, questioning, experimenting, and observing to respond; leads to change and enhancing leadership. Participants enjoyed the level of activity and felt the demonstrated strategies could be used successfully for a brainstorming change session.

Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Eich worked with more than 50 faculty members and academic leaders on best practices, tools, and techniques for facilitating learning and leadership development. This interactive session demonstrated a number of best practices faculty could incorporate into their respective classrooms. Faculty were encouraged to build and sustain a learning community, to focus on student-centered experiential learning, and to enhance leadership development. Dr. Eich demonstrated several of these practices by having session participants use introductions, around the horn, brain rain, think-pair-share, free-for-all, and other activities.

Campus student leaders - residence hall assistants, peer leaders, members of student government and student organizations, athletic leaders, Larson Leadership scholars, and freshman leadership core members - participated in a third workshop coordinated by Dr. Darin Eich Thursday, Aug. 22. The energizing and interactive workshop was designed to accelerate Mayville State University experiences around student strengths, interests, and values. The fast-paced program had students connecting quickly and often with each other at a new level of leadership, motivation, innovation, and learning.

Dr. Eich encouraged the 35-plus student participants to take past experiences, deconstruct and reconstruct the variables, and then re-create the kind of future that brings out the best for better results in the short- and long-term. Students focused on critical thinking/problem solving, communication, creativity/innovation, and collaboration, all for the advancement of leadership.

In addition to leading three workshops, Dr. Eich also consulted with Larson Leadership Program personnel while he was at Mayville State. As author of Root Down & Branch Out - Best Practices for Leadership Development Programs, Dr. Eich has researched higher education leadership programs across the United States and has assembled attributes of high-quality programs. Those attributes were shared with personnel and led to a discussion of ideas and ideals for Larson Leadership Program enhancement and improvement.

Mayville State University’s Larson Leadership Program is designed to enhance the leadership awareness and skill set of Mayville State students, making graduates better leaders. This enhancement is accomplished through campus activities and events. For more information about the Larson Leadership Program, contact Terry Kemmer, program coordinator, at terry.kemmer@mayvillestate.edu.