Sowing the seeds of servant leadership

File Under: Outcomes

Shanice Lockhart ’17, now an adjunct professor of counseling and human development, knows firsthand how a model servant leadership to her students.

“When I was deciding where to pursue my graduate education, it was important to me that I felt comfortable in my learning community,” Lockhart said. “From the moment I expressed interest in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Malone, I received immediate and thorough answers to my questions and felt warmly welcomed. I remember being genuinely nervous after interactions with programs at other universities, but the admissions counselor at Malone quickly made me feel at ease.”

As an undergraduate, Lockhart was on a career course towards physical therapy but realized during her senior year that she wasn’t connecting with the course content. She was beginning to feel a pull in the direction of counseling but wasn’t sure what to do next, so she completed a degree in psychology then transitioned into the work force.

“After graduation, I worked for a couple of years at an adolescent drug rehabilitation center until that site closed, then I began working at a residential facility that primarily housed children who were waiting to be fostered or adopted,” she said. “These environments reinforced for me that I was called to be a counselor. I have always felt most connected to my purpose while in roles where I am encouraging and helping people be better versions of themselves.”

Lockhart learned servant leadership at Malone, where it was modeled to her inside and outside of the classroom.

“My first impressions of servant leadership came from Drs. Kara Kaelber and Christina Schnyders during the interview process,” she said. “For all of us going through the group interview process, even before we started the program, both of them presented with such grace and modeled to us their passion for the counseling profession. I had complete peace that they wanted to help us succeed in the profession.”

In the midst of an especially challenging era for counselors and clients alike, Lockhart recognizes that Malone helped her to grow not only as a practitioner but also as an individual.

“Our course content included self-reflections and assignments that encouraged me to take an in-depth look at who I am in a spiritual sense,” she said. “Our discussions and classwork helped me feel secure in my purpose and prepared to be an effective counselor when encountering so many people who are lost and hurting. The circumstances of our world have left people searching for purpose and guidance, and I am grateful to use what I learned at Malone to sow seeds of positivity in others as a result of my own flourishing as a Malone student.”  

This seed-sowing is especially evident now as she teaches current Malone students who are finding their own way in the counseling profession.

“As an instructor, I hope to also model servant leadership and help students along their journeys,” Lockhart said. “It brings me a lot of joy to help other students find their purpose and be prepared to serve others in ways that are meaningful to them.”