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Teaching Leadership

Bridging Theory and Practice

Gama Perruci and Sadhana W. Hall

We can teach leadership. The authors share their personal experiences of how they have bridged theory and practice in curricular and co-curricular settings to set the pace and tone for leadership development and life-long learning. Starting from theories of leadership, they share how it can be taught with rigor, intentionality, structure, and organization. Assessment is key from conception to implementation. Scholars, educators, and practitioners from different fields and professions are invited to adjust, adopt, and adapt concepts, ideas, methods and processes discussed in this book to their own institutional contexts and reality.
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Gama Perruci and Sadhana W. Hall

When reviewing the promotional materials of most colleges and universities in the United States, we are hard pressed to find any without the use of the word “leader” or “leadership.” Yet, when we delve deeper into their catalogues and websites, the numbers dwindle. Teaching leadership goes beyond mission statements in which leadership is articulated. This chapter reviews the evolution of teaching leadership and its place in higher education. We approach the teaching of leadership as having three conceptual approaches – as an intellectual enterprise (the study of leadership), a focus on competency-building (leadership training), and the promotion of leadership development. We frame the teaching of leadership through four levels of analysis – individual, team/community, organizational, and global. At the end of the chapter, we combine these two perspectives (the three conceptual approaches and the four levels of analysis) to create an overarching map of the different topics that are used in the teaching of leadership.

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Gama Perruci and Sadhana W. Hall

Students need to develop vibrant networks of mentors from whom they can seek input for problems they face or decisions they need to make. By leaning on their support networks, leaders are able to make the best decision possible with all the data related to an issue they are trying to resolve. This chapter covers the many different ways an educator can approach student growth and guidance and how mentorship and networks can play a role. First, mentorship is defined through a review of the current literature, followed by an examination of the benefits of mentorship to mentors and mentees alike. The chapter provides examples of mentoring programs that students have found useful and outlines lessons learned as a result of program implementation. The chapter ends with an examination of the concept of networking and how it can support personal and professional growth.

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Gama Perruci and Sadhana W. Hall

Much has been written about the use of technology in the classroom. The term “smart” has become associated with a technology-enhanced classroom. In this chapter, we offer a different take on the term “‘smart’ classroom.” A “smart” classroom is one in which the educator and the learners alike engage in a transformative process. Technology may be part of that process, but it is not an end in itself. In the first section of the chapter, we examine the assumptions we make about the term “‘smart’ classroom.” The second section of the chapter introduces strategies that educators can use to increase learner engagement in the classroom (e.g., the Socratic method, use of artifacts, case studies). The chapter closes with an examination of “nontraditional” approaches to leadership pedagogy, for example service-learning projects, simulations, the flipped classroom, and the “mobile” classroom.

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Gama Perruci and Sadhana W. Hall

Leadership programming is at the core of leadership education, training, and development. In this chapter, we describe how to conceptualize and develop co-curricular leadership programming. First, steps should be taken to identify and understand the target population for the program. Then educators should assess the available resources and assemble a team of similarly motivated individuals to assist in the development process. From there, research should be conducted to help further conceptualize the program. Finally, educators should establish initial program goals and SMART student learning outcomes for their program to ensure that the needs of both the students and the educators will be fulfilled by the proposed design. The chapter provides a systematic path forward based on seven core pillars of program design.

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Gama Perruci and Sadhana W. Hall

Leadership educators should create a robust program assessment and evaluation culture at the launch of a leadership program. Ideally, such a culture promotes an ethos of continuous quality improvement and evidence-based decision-making. The data and information it yields form the basis for understanding the program’s achievement of goals and its impact. It helps educators to determine how well the content is advancing student learning and how program results satisfy the interests of key stakeholders. An evidence-based plan that measures learning, satisfaction, and program efficiency can play a critical role in promoting the program and providing funding justification to donors. This chapter presents a systematic assessment framework that thrives on a culture of continuous quality improvement and can be implemented within a single program or across multiple programs.

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Gama Perruci and Sadhana W. Hall

Excellent leadership programs are developed through rigorous attention to detail. Well-designed sessions convey the educator’s dedication to the material and respect for the learners’ time and effort. Put simply, by intentionally crafting and organizing each session, educators communicate a devotion to doing things right, which puts them well on their way to establishing trust, credibility, and respect as stepping-stones to leadership. This chapter begins with a general overview of the components of effective session design as follows: assessing audience maturity level and readiness; establishing SMART learning outcomes; identifying key concepts; incorporating leadership categories and competencies; outlining content and roles; and creating time for reflection. With a session design in place, the chapter focuses on logistical considerations for its implementation, including some tools used for organizing sessions within a program.

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Gama Perruci and Sadhana W. Hall

This chapter focuses on educators’ self-reflection. It begins by detailing the self-awareness, cultural, and technical competencies educators must first cultivate in themselves, so they may model the values, attitudes, and behaviors the program seeks to develop in its learners. Leadership educators in curricular and co-curricular programs need to continually assess their leadership presence, understand their audience, and strive to demonstrate congruence between values and behavior. The chapter presents strategies for using self-awareness to create an optimal learning environment. The chapter begins with a discussion of what is meant by self-awareness, and then presents examples of how a number of educators have cultivated this awareness and effectively applied it in shaping their learning environments. Leadership educators must continually evaluate their effectiveness in creating an emotionally, socially, and intellectually supportive space for their learners.

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Gama Perruci and Sadhana W. Hall

This chapter offers brief descriptions of programs from two institutions that can be adopted, adapted, or adjusted. The intention behind this chapter is to share program designs and activities and provide a space for reflection on how these activities may translate into others’ own institutional reality. The examples provided in this chapter give educators a wide variety of activities that can be generated through careful consideration of students’ maturity and developmental stages. For example, in some cases, programs are intentionally targeted to first-year students and help them transition to a higher level of learning beyond high school. In other instances, programs focus on seniors as they prepare to make the transition out of college.

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Gama Perruci and Sadhana W. Hall

Leadership development is deeply personal. Part of the leadership development experience is to recognize that there is no easy way to become a successful leader, and that leaders require a certain level of humility. Practical wisdom is gained by developing the habits of doing the right thing in the right way at the right time through experience. Learners need to be able to understand the choices they make and the consequences of the decisions they take. This chapter includes examples of activities educators can use for creating an environment in which their learners can gain practical wisdom and highlights a few program strategies that develop leadership capacities in learners when working with others. Finally, the chapter examines the role of failure in gaining practical wisdom.