Leadership Approach

Oaks Scholars believe that leadership is meant to move communities toward becoming more equitable and accessible. Leadership is essential if we are to create positive change in our world.

Oaks Scholars study the systems in which we live and work. Our scholars acknowledge the context and relationship to these systems, and spend time learning about the intersection of these systems and the ways in which they act on (and for) people.

“A good leader is someone who realizes their own power and uses it to make room for others.”

Staci Batchelor (Oaks Class ‘19, ‘20, ‘21/NCSU Class ‘21)

Origin of the Oaks

An academic rom-com worthy meet cute, Dr. Jackie Bruce—then a professor at NC State—and Dr. Katherine McKee—then working part time at NC State while running her own business—met at a diversity and inclusion training in the fall of 2016. Dr. McKee admittedly thought the training was terrible, and watched the room to gauge how other attendees were reacting. She noticed Dr. Bruce, whose face matched exactly what she was thinking. The pair sat together at lunch and bonded over how bad the training was (fun fact: it also took place in the middle of a hurricane). A week later they met up for coffee and it was there, at a cafe in Raleigh, that they mapped out what has become the last five or six years of their work on the back of a napkin; including, and most especially, The Oaks.