Academic Influence and Leadership


Attributes of leadership

Preparing students

Developing curriculum

 Attributes of Leadership
  1. A sincere desire to serve and make people's lives better
  2. A clear vision of an important and desired future state to be achieved. This includes an understanding of why this future is important.
  3. A realistic understanding of the challenges that lie between the present state and the desired future.
  4. The ability to articulate the vision and challenges to other people so that they are inspired to participate and also understand how they can contribute.
  5. The courage and tenacity to pursue the vision despite the challenges and the lack of vision in other people involved
  6. The ability to continually and effectively adapt to changes in the vision and the challenges as necessary.
  7. Guided by the spirit in selecting a vision, addressing the challenges, inspiring others and discerning when to persevere vs when to adapt.

Preparing students The following are necessary to the preparation of students to have careers of influence
  1. Faculty members who are themselves leaders
  2. Faculty members who are dedicated to making the substantial effort to translate what they know into educational experiences for students.
  3. Faculty who are guided by the spirit

There is no fourth step. With the first three points everything is possible because such faculty members will find a way. Without the first three criteria, no procedure, expectation, motivator, technique, organization or policy will be very effective.

Developing Curriculum Ultimately the desires for student leadership and influence must translate into curriculum. A curriculum is the educational roadmap that students will follow. The following are essential foundations that each faculty member must individually lay in order for a great curriculum to be developed.
  1. One must find a really great future vision that will be a blessing to the world (see leadership).
  2. Identify the key problems that must be solved to reach that vision.
  3. Identify the concepts that students must know to successfully contribute to reaching that vision.
  4. Prioritize the concepts for most effective use of limited curricular opportunities.
  5. Coordinate with other faculty to provide
    • A shared core that provides a foundation upon which students can prepare for the various opportunities that faculty have identified
    • Specializations dictated by the visions, problems and concepts
    • Effective use of resources. Teach what you do best, contribute to the shared core and use the expertise of others both within and outside the department to leverage your own limited capabilities.

    This coordination step must preserve the diversity of visions so that students will not be harmed by a few visions that did not become reality and so that students can be broadly prepared to address a diversity of challenges in their careers.

  6. Pray aways for guidance in selecting a vision, identifying problems and concepts and for the cooperative and humble spirit required to coordinate with others.

A successful curriculum is built by faculty firmly rooted in the future who then look back at how best to help the students that follow. A curriculum aimed towards research developed by true leaders will be a blessing to the students whether they go to graduate school or not. Great research will be the guide to what is needed in a successful future. If the leadership vision is correct and the translation into curriculum is careful the students will be prepared. This is how research and undergraduate education should interact. If research is personal hobby or an exercise to obtain tenure, rather than a program of technical leadership then a great curriculum will not result.