Leadership and Shaping Values

This Week’s Big Issue

This week’s big issue is leadership and the role SPEA’s educational programs play in shaping the values of our students. Paul O’Neill (IUB MPA 1966) visited SPEA last week to discuss this topic. He met with students and faculty to learn more about the School’s efforts to promote leadership (and character) development.

A trademark of SPEA’s educational programs is our desire to shape the analytic approach of our students. We do this in a number of ways but primarily through technical courses designed to provide students with practical skills that they can apply to real world problems. Specifically, the values we tend to promote are (1) looking for evidence and rationale for conclusions, (2) avoiding pre-commitment on an issue until appropriate analysis is performed, (3) respecting the roles of stakeholders and public participation in governance, and (4) respecting the legitimacy of alternative conceptions of the public good and openness toward alternative ways of expressing those values in a democratic process.

While we spend considerable time helping students cultivate their analytic skills, we struggle (and frequently disagree) on the role we should play in shaping their hearts.

Many educational organizations approach the issue of leadership and character development as a function of selecting individuals into educational programs that share the organization’s values. This passive approach can be balanced with more deliberate strategies of actively working with students to give them the opportunity to explore the ethical challenges they will likely face in their careers.

Given the unique and unprecedented challenges our country (and the world) faces, I encourage you to think and share approaches we should take to cultivate our students to become responsible leaders.

What’s Happening in SPEA Bloomington?

Last week the SPEA D.C. Alumni Group convened a seminar on “Rebuilding A Better Haiti: Are Recovery Efforts Aiding Development?” at the Ronald Reagan Building. The event was moderated by Mollie Lemon (SPEA alumnus and U.S. EPA) and featured presentations by Jonathan Nash (Director of Environmental and Social Assessment for the Millennium Challenge Corporation), Marie Gladys Guerrier Archange (Senior Environmental Specialist with the Fulbright Program), Gene George (Haiti Coordinator with the U.S. Peace Corps), Daniel Petz (Senior Research Assistant with the Brookings Institution) and Leon Waskin (Haiti Task Team Coordinator with the U.S. Agency for International Development). The event was attended by over 80 participants, and represents an important milestone in our efforts to support and cultivate SPEA alumni groups around the country.

SPEA’s Big Number

This week’s big number for SPEA Bloomington is the total number of full-time faculty: 75 (compared to 53 in academic year 2005-06).

Shout-Out to SPEA Bloomington

Please join me in congratulating everyone in SPEA Bloomington on winning first place in the latest round of the IUB Energy Challenge. http://energychallenge.indiana.edu/academicstandings.html

– Dean Reingold


2 responses

  1. I suggest more in depth collaboration with the philosophy, sociology, and political science depts to promote classes that explicitly push students to think about public policy from a normative and/or structural perspective. SPEA's faculty is composed overwhelmingly of economists, policy analysts, and public managers. It simply lacks the personnel to systematically engage students in questions about justice, equality, ethics, "deep structures," or spirituality. We should reach out to those depts on campus who DO have expertise in those topics to forge mutually beneficial relationships.It's an idea, anyway.

  2. It was labeled "What’s Happening in SPEA Bloomington?" but I believe the event took place in Washington. If not, I am extremely upset I as unaware this event was happening in Bloomington.

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