The History of the Center for Leadership & Social Change: A Story of Three Centers and Two Mergers
The work of the Center for Leadership & Social Change is rooted in three former offices at Florida State University. Building on a collective 55 years of wisdom and experience, the Center integrates diversity, leadership, and service to facilitate educational experiences for students.
Center for Multicultural Affairs
In 1972, the Office of Minority Affairs was established. The office reported directly to the President of the University and was primarily responsible for the implementation of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action laws in employment. John Burt served as the first director. During the mid-1970s, the office was designated the Office of Human Affairs, responsible for the development, implementation, and monitoring of FSU's Affirmative Action Program. In the late 1970s, FSU established the Office of Minority Student Affairs in response to the needs of minority students at FSU. From the late 1970s through the early 1990s, the Office of Minority Student Affairs sponsored many activities and programs designed to educate students about racial and ethnic diversity on campus. These included the Black Student Leadership Conference, Unity Day Interfaith Services, Multicultural Student Support Center, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship. Additionally, the office published a monthly newsletter and administered the Black Cultural Center and Horizons Unlimited, an academic retention program. During this time, the Office of Minority Student Affairs greatly expanded its activities. In the mid 1990s, it became the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the Office of Multicultural Affairs expanded programming and advised many student organizations and agencies. On October 14, 1998, the Office of Multicultural Affairs hosted the first FSUnity Day. In 2010, the office moved from the Oglesby Student Union to the Center for Global and Multicultural Engagement and was renamed the Center for Multicultural Affairs.
Center for Civic Education & Service
In 1995, the Center for Civic Education & Service opened. President Sandy D'Alemberte, Vice President for Student Affairs Jon Dalton, and Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Sherrill Ragans supported the establishment of the Center. Bill Moeller served as the first director of the Center. Located in a two-story brick house in the heart of campus, the Center connected students, faculty, and staff to service opportunities in the community through curricular and co-curricular programs. The first fifteen years of the Center saw the development of many programs and partnerships including Service Scholars, Alternative Break Corps, America Reads, Service Leadership Seminar, and the Community Outreach Program, to name a few. In 1996, the Center for Civic Education & Service launched the ServScript Program, which allowed students to record their service hours on their academic transcript. The Center has also hosted statewide and national community engagement programs. In 1998, Florida Campus Compact, a federation of 28 colleges and universities, moved to FSU. From 2000 through 2007, Break Away, the national alternative breaks organization, was housed at the Center for Civic Education & Service. In the early 2000s, the Center nurtured existing partnerships and established new programs in order to expand their work.
The LEAD Center opened its doors on July 1, 2004. As a result of Florida State University's Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), the LEAD Center was created. Laura Osteen, Vanessa Solomon, and Jenn Latino, along with a team of amazing student assistants, were the founding staff team of the Center. A campus-wide leadership learning program, the LEAD Center developed programs and initiatives to enable and empower the Florida State faculty, staff and student community to make a difference in their scholarly/creative, campus, professional, and wider communities. Through the eleven QEP initiatives, the LEAD Center coordinated, facilitated and evaluated leadership learning opportunities on campus. The LEAD Center was located in the ground floor glass corner offices of the Oglesby Union Turner Building. Office desks and chairs came from the VPSA and Office of Multicultural Affairs offices that were undergoing renovation; with additional furnishing from a successful shopping trip at FSU Surplus. With bright yellow walls and borrowed furniture, the LEAD Center spent 4 great years as a welcomed guest in the Oglesby Union. During those four years, the LEAD Center established many programs including the Noles Leadership Book Club, Undergraduate Certificate in Leadership Studies, Lead-Ins at the Rez, and LeaderShape.
LEAD Center and Center for Leadership & Civic Education merge to create the Center for Leadership & Civic Education
Already colleagues and collaborators, when talk of the new building to house the Center for Civic Education and Service, LEAD Center, and Career Center began, Bill Moeller and Laura Osteen brainstormed future collaborations and integration of programs and services. In 2007, through the recognition of shared values and vision, the LEAD Center and the Center for Civic Education and Service created a new center for the training, development, education, and engagement of responsible citizenship and effective leadership: the Center for Leadership and Civic Education. In August 2008, the Center moved into the brand new Student Success Center, which they shared with the Career Center. Through state of the art physical and technological resources, the Center was able to exponentially enhance the ability to reach and serve Florida State students. Over the course of the next few years, the Center experienced significant growth and development, adding new programs such as PeaceJam Southeast, Without Words, TEDxFSU, and the Community Ambassador Program.
Center for Multicultural Affairs and Center for Leadership & Civic Education merge to create the Center for Leadership & Social Change
In 2012, the Center for Multicultural Affairs and the Center for Leadership & Civic Education merged to become the Center for Leadership & Social Change. The merger created an enhanced capacity for engaging students in leadership education, identity development, and community engagement. Today the Center for Leadership and Social change is located in the Dunlap Success Center and Center for Global Engagement. The center has 35 programs that encourage student to learn, serve, and transform through programming that encompasses diversity, leadership, and service. The Center's approach to diversity is deeply rooted in the work of the former FSU Office of Minority Affairs and the former Center for Multicultural Affairs, two keystone offices that advocated for diversity and inclusion on campus. Today, the Center strives to continue their work by being a strong voice for equality at Florida State University. The Center believes service is an effective way for students to learn about themselves and others. Engaging with the community through direct service, indirect service, advocacy, and research allows students to address areas of community need while also gaining valuable knowledge and skills. The Center offers resources to connect students with non-profit agencies and community partners, whether it is serving locally, domestically, or globally. The Center believes leadership goes beyond a title or position. Rather, leadership is a process forged by our identities, values and experiences. The Center believes that anyone has the potential to become a leader and Center programs can support students in their leadership development journey.