Community collaboration launches Wabash Valley Leadership Institute

September 18th, 2014 | SMWC

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) and the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce announce the launch of the Wabash Valley Leadership Institute (WVLI) presented by Duke Energy. As a collaborative effort between the two organizations and with the support of community organizations and sponsors, the purpose of the WVLI is to engage and energize leadership efforts in the Wabash Valley. Program curriculum will focus on leadership skills with the intended effects of personal growth in leadership, organizational behavioral skills and potential community growth in a leadership capacity.

“Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is committed to the partnership with Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce to implement a high energy, trend-setting leadership development program that will empower and equip the next generation of community leaders,” said Dottie King, Ph.D., president, SMWC. “As a higher education institution, we have a social responsibility to provide educational support to the Wabash Valley, and I look forward to seeing the success of these graduates and even more to the impact they will make on the west central Indiana region,” added King. 

Through this program, participants will study leadership curriculum, explore leadership skills and gain community knowledge in a measured environment. Participants will engage in a variety of learning methodologies, including self-assessments, lecture, case study review, reflection, team building and peer coaching. Upon graduation, the participants will be capable of building a better team, using conflict resolution skills effectively and building personal leadership skills. Specific course topics include:

Wabash Valley Leadership Institute
  • Leadership Identity
  • Communication Strategies
  • Resource Management
  • Creative Leadership
  • Community Collaboration and
  • Team Building

“We know it is not possible to have an enterprise which is growing and evolving if leadership is not - the same can be said of a community. Without an effective program to develop leaders, the Wabash Valley cannot continue to grow and compete at a national or global level. To help meet this need, the Wabash Valley Leadership Institute was formed,” said David D. Haynes, president, Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce. “The Chamber is very fortunate to have a strong partner in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, as well as a growing list of community supporters, as we move forward to fulfill this critical need for the community. By working together, we are building a stronger, brighter future for the business community in the Wabash Valley.”

The WVLI sessions will be presented twice a year at SMWC. The week-long (Sunday-Friday) schedule will be intense and require overnight stays on the campus at the Guest House. Twenty participants will be chosen for each cohort based on their display of upward mobility behaviors such as patience, fortitude, humility and accountability. Individuals who have shown leadership skills in their professional and personal lives and wish to learn additional skills or refine those skills are the ideal candidates for this program. In addition, those participants who successfully complete the Wabash Valley Leadership Institute will receive three credit hours towards a master’s degree.

The WVLI was created based on a master’s thesis written by two students in the Master of Leadership Develop program at SMWC – Rachel Leslie and Susan Turner from Terre Haute, Ind. Leslie and Turner researched the feasibility and sustainability of a leadership development program in the Wabash Valley. Following months of research and hundreds of interviews, the need for such a program was demonstrated along with a plan to sustain it into the future.

Registration for the April 2015 cohort is now open and applications can be found online at For more information, please contact Susan Turner, senior director of advancement and alumni relations, at 812-535-5143 or via email at sturner3(at)

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