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Developing Leaders for 21st-Century Revolutionary Challenges

Dickinson community members are helping students reach their goals.

Dickinson community members are helping students reach their goals.

Proposal centers on values- and competency-driven language

by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

The idea for Developing Leaders for 21st-Century Revolutionary Challenges, one of four Revolutionary Challenge finalists, arose from conversations between two alumni, Robert Paull ’62, professor emeritus at Pepperdine University, and Paul Kovach ’71, a retired business executive and consultant. Drawing on their combined experience in education and business, Paull and Kovach underscore that it’s not enough for the Dickinson liberal-arts education to provide students with the tools and opportunities they need to lead and contribute meaningfully in the 21st century. Students also must be able articulate the value of their educations, and why they’re ready to make strong contributions, to potential employers and graduate-school officers.

The team envisions a values- and competencies-driven common vocabulary. This vocabulary would zero in on the intrinsic value of a Dickinson liberal-arts education, including the ways that Dickinson’s core competencies—global studies, civic engagement, sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion—and would articulate Dickinson’s focus on fostering skilled relationship-driven leaders and collaborators.

Professors and staff would be invited to use this shared language to communicate with students about student experiences inside and outside of the classroom. Students would use it to recognize, process and articulate the value of their educational milestones and accomplishments.

This distinctive, relationship-based and values-based plan dovetails a goal in Dickinson’s most recent strategic plan, notes Michael Fratantuono, associate professor of international studies and international business & management. And because it helps students prepare for the job market that awaits them, it is appealing to all Dickinsonians—students and their families, alumni, faculty, staff and prospective students and families.

“Students will learn to think hard about their individual, group, and community values, and how those values come into play as they act to influence change,” Fratantuono explains. “When they look around themselves and see that all types and models of leadership rest on a foundation of values—that is a useful template.”

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Published September 23, 2020

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