Women in Leadership Development: W.I.L.D

As a women's university, our primary focus is to help women develop knowledge, skills and values necessary to confidently step into leadership roles in society. WILD is designed to enhance your ability to lead others, both personally and professionally.

What is WILD?

An ambitious and exciting initiative, WILD is one of several outstanding programs and activities that set GCU apart from other universities. The program encourages you to work with other GCU women and to assume critical leadership roles in the community and your chosen field. Because of its four year-long phases, WILD attracts hardworking, motivated women who seek opportunities for advancement in the program, in strong leadership roles on campus, and in our communities, locally and globally.

How can I be a WILD woman?

Faculty and administration nominate students with leadership potential to WILD. Applicants can also self-nominate! We want women who are interested in learning more about themselves and how they can become stronger leaders in their personal and professional lives. Applications are reviewed at the beginning of each academic year, and residential scholarships are available to incoming freshmen.

WILD Phases

WILD members experience four phases of leadership development during their time in the program, which is divided into:

Phase I, which focuses on a personal exploration of one’s life journey, skills, and talents through assessments and feedback [i.e. Life Mapping, DISC Personality Profile, Student Leadership Practices Inventory (SLPI), and Self-Esteem Assessment]. By discovering a combination of unique experiences, skills, and values, each student becomes more aware of herself and others, and begins to enhance her leadership abilities.

Phase II, which integrates personal and professional development. Each student is engaged through seminars, mentoring experiences, networking events, and intensive weekend retreats that further explore the meaning of leadership. Emphasis is placed on personal commitment—integrated with the Mercy core values of respect, integrity, service, compassion, and justice. These experiences prepare students for the more advanced issues of Phases III and IV.

Phase III, which implements a framework and philosophy of leadership. At this stage, each student has developed an appreciation for her own unique style of leadership and knows how to lead with authenticity, clarifying spiritual and personal values. She also understands how those values fit into leadership roles. She will build on the leadership skills acquired in Phases I and II, and incorporate them into her everyday life. During this phase, the student leads at her personal best through the five practices learned from the Student Leadership Practices Inventory in Phase I: Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart.

Phase IV, which applies the knowledge and skills each woman has acquired during her WILD journey. WILD women are encouraged to pursue various leadership positions on and off campus and are often directly connected with influential women leaders to gain practical insights on how to succeed as a leader beyond their college years. By applying their leadership experiences to real-life situations, WILD women take ownership of their overall development by participating in service projects outside of the GCU community and volunteering to mentor incoming WILD participants.


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