New Tool To Help JLLA Members Measure Leadership Development

JLLA members attend a meeting on Feb. 18, 2020. Photo by Allison O’Donnell

By: Allison O’Donnell, Written Communications Specialist, UConn School of Engineering

John Lof Leadership Academy is getting a new tool- and it will serve to boost the leadership  strength of an already gifted group.


The program, Mind Garden’s multifactor leadership questionnaire(MLQ), provides a holistic assessment of individual leadership by comparing self-assessment to assessment by: higher level, lower level and same level peers. Comparing each of these evaluations will create individualized action plans to achieve transformational leaders. 


“This resource is a validated research instrument, and it’s important for [JLLA] to use tools that are recognized as accurate and effective. If someone rates themself lower than their peers, that is something we can address and improve upon,” said Vice President Stephany Santos, who investigated and introduced the new software to JLLA members.


Investing in the enhancement of the members will ensure the effectiveness of JLLA’s curriculumand guarantee that the members get the most out of the two-year leadership tenure. This tool will identify how individuals view their leadership in relation to others and assist in mitigating that disconnect and promoting further growth. 


“It is exciting to be able to measure the impact of our organization and quantify those initiatives,” said Santos. 


JLLA President- Randi Mendes- stated the salience of accessing  a personalized evaluation, so JLLA can cater to the needs of each member and promote the overall success of the program. 


“Getting [feedback] from different perspectives is especially helpful if someone learns they have a strength in something they did not previously realize. It is important for [JLLA members] to have this tool, because nobody can improve on their skills without a way to gauge where they are at,” said Mendes. 


The MLQ “Helps emphasize that leaders are, at the end of the day, individuals. So, we want to be sure our program is going to accentuate each individuals’ leadership abilities,” said Mendes.


Members have a diverse set of leadership capabilities, and thus require a program that can be adapted to those needs. JLLA will be reevaluating their growth throughout the semester to measure the success of the leadership curriculum and confirm the effectiveness of the program. 


For more information about JLLA, you can visit their website


The John Lof Leadership Academy’s Feedback Event

John Lof Leadership Academy members participate in a feedback workshop

Photo by Allison O’Donnell

By: Allison O’Donnell, Written Communications Specialist, UConn School of Engineering

University of Connecticut graduate engineering students accepted into the John Lof Leadership Academy have the opportunity to promote the development of leadership and professional skills. 


In order to foster these skills, JLLA has created a focused curriculum entitled “Applying Your Leadership Philosophy” for the Spring 2020 semester. In this curriculum, students will focus on developing three transferable skills: leading, resource management and ethics. 


On February 4, JLLA members participated in the first workshop, which

 involved discussion of properly conveying information through exercises in giving feedback. 


A group of graduate engineering students working together to present a data set

Photo by Allison O’Donnell


In order to put these skills into practice, members were given an hour and a half to create posters relating to respective data sets: metal-music bands by country, states with the most UFO sightings, shark attack victims, pizza consumption by state and health ratings of cereal brands. 


JLLA members were required to think critically about: “what would make this information more engaging?” In addition to speculating: “what do consumers of this data want to know?”


As pictured below, groups decided on different visuals to best explain their findings when presenting to their peers. Feedback on the presentations pertained to the visual engagement and clarity of each infographic. 


The activity served as an exercise for JLLA members to receive feedback objectively and be open to criticism of maximizing their effectiveness. In addition, practicing being the giver of constructive criticism to their peers. 


JLLA members display their respective infographics after the feedback workshop on February 4. Photo by Allison O’Donnell


Julia Czarnecki, an Environmental Engineer, commended her peers’ creativity in using non-traditional methods of presenting information. Straying from the typical bar graph makes information more personable and engaging, said Czarnecki. 

Students interested in becoming a JLLA member can get more information about the application process through their page.