Recently, I was replaced as the Chair for Servant-Leadership on campus. DeAnna Leitzke, Professor in CAECM, is the new Chair! You can learn more about Professor Leitzke at http://www.msoe.edu/community/campus-life/servant-leadership/page/1515/servant-leadership.
DeAnna started her involvement with the office of Servant-Leadership in 2010. We started a relationship with Blue Lotus Farm and Retreat Center—a non-profit organization that provides a summer-camp experience for kids with mental and physical handicaps. In 2010, we built an 1,800 square-foot deck; in order to build the deck, we needed to have someone survey the area. DeAnna created a lab in CM-212, a course in surveying, which gave students the opportunity to conduct a survey for Blue Lotus Farm and Retreat. The project was partially funded by the Pieper Foundation since DeAnna received a Servant-Leadership Mini-Grant that quarter.
As a result of this experience, DeAnna established a relationship with the owners of Blue Lotus. As the years progressed, she helped her students design and construct a boat dock, boardwalk, deck and benches—all of which were connected to the original deck. This multi-year project mobilized over 100 MSOE students to serve others with the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom and empowered dozens of students to become servant leaders.
DeAnna started to say “yes” to other leadership opportunities that would enable her CEACM students to exercise their leadership and service:
- She worked with the MACC Fund Candy Cane Lane initiative in 2012 and 2011, facilitating the construction of 2 playhouses for donation (each year, a different student emerged as a servant-leader through this opportunity that raised thousands of dollars for the MACC Fund by raffling the playhouses)
- In the spring of 2011, DeAnna coordinated and supervised a group of 10 students in the construction of a shed for donation to the MSOE Alumni Association
- At the end of 2011, she organized a model façade senior project competition as well as the construction of a large-scale façade for display at WinterFest
- At the end of 2013, DeAnna helped a student organize the first annual Christmas on Campus event to serve 30 of Milwaukee’s youth from Our Next Generation. This event brought together 30 MSOE student volunteers and 30 elementary school children from the Milwaukee Public School System to celebrate the holiday together and help the children craft gifts for their families.
DeAnna has also presented at local conferences to share the work she has completed at MSOE. In September 2012, she presented on “The Benefits of Teaching at an Institution that Embraces Servant-Leadership” at the Lilly North Conference on College and University Teaching. Then, in the summer of 2013, she presented at the World Affairs Seminar on her experiences in Uganda as it related to gender equity and social justice—a presentation that was shared with Matt Peterson, one of her students.
Finally, DeAnna Led a group of three MSOE students in the summer of 2013 to Uganda to demonstrate best practices in concrete design. She also helped the students learn the art of bamboo hut building through this culture exchange initiative. Taking students on international initiatives is a commitment, one that DeAnna was not initially ready for. It is why I value the growth she is experienced over the last four years, one that started with a strong domestic presence and worked its way into one in East Africa.
DeAnna is going to be a great Chair. Please join me in congratulating her on this achievement!