My research interests are associated with the influence of mentoring on student leadership development. It is my belief that leadership is something that can be learned through effective reflection on one’s failures as well as successes. It is through immersion into challenging situations and interactions with otherness that one has the opportunity to learn about oneself, including both strengths and weaknesses. It is critical that individuals have an appropriate degree of support to learn from these situations so as to more effectively exercise leadership in future situations. This is why mentoring is beneficial.
I have previously researched how mentoring influences leadership development in a non-profit setting, through the lens of Senge’s (1990) learning organization. I am completed a dissertation addressing how mentoring influences the socially responsible leadership capacity of students, to better understand how the environment of these institutions influences student outcomes related to HERI’s (1996) Social Change Model of leadership.
Dr. Julie Kliegl
Assistant Professor of Business Administration
My area of interest in leadership focuses on the intersection of ethics and integrity in leaders. My dissertation is on perceptions of followers about the leadership and integrity of their supervisors. I am passionate about the role of ethics in leadership and wrestle every day with the news of more companies taking actions that are ethically inappropriate. This paradox of great leaders and poor decisions keeps me challenged every day.
My research focuses on leadership in organizations, primarily for-profit businesses although I also have a background in healthcare and have conducted research in for-profit and not-for-profit healthcare organizations.
I am interested emerging leadership development programs in organizations as well as how those programs may apply in the college setting. Several of the large accounting firms are starting to use sustainable global service learning in their leadership development programs and I am following how this is being implemented and received. I am also interested in how leaders create successful large scale change in organizations. I believe leaders take responsibility for their organizations and get others motivated to act with them to make their organizations more successful. It is a more narrow view than Wartburg’s definition as my focus is not on the community as a whole but the part of the community that business leaders most impact – their organizations.
Dr. Dan Kittle
Director, Center for Community Engagement
I believe that leadership should be informed and intentionally integrated with personal identity development and in response to social challenges and opportunities. How do we know what we know? Why do we believe what we believe? How have we come to understand leadership? These are questions we must address first in order to practice leadership holistically and with integrity.
Then, through analyzing models, critical reading, and personal reflections we can examine leadership theories. How have others thought about leadership? What are the best practices of leadership? Informed by these leadership theories and practices, I believe we must ask our students to explore, identify, and critically examine the challenges and opportunities that they find in today’s communities. In other words, how can students understand and impact aspects of our society that are in need of transformation? And, how can they do this in a way that is informed by their personal identity development and vocational discernment? This is where a service-learning pedagogy challenges and stretches students to engage and reflect on these issues in communities that are often new to them.
Overall, the study of leadership is dynamic because it is rooted in self and informed by multiple disciplines. Like the mission of Wartburg, it is in an invitation for students to reflect on the relationship between education, socialization, liberation, and personal development.
Dr. Bill Soesbe
Assistant Professor of Education
“Taking responsibility for our communities, and making them better through public action” is the definition of leadership within the Leadership Institute and although I have always lived my life with this emphasis it was not until I came to Wartburg that I really understood what it truly meant. I believe that all can be leaders and each one of us has something to offer our communities. It is one of our responsibilities as citizens.
We should not lead in isolation and through collaboration great things happen. I have had numerous opportunities to be a part of great experiences which have made differences in my life and within my communities. My experiences as a coach, teacher, and administer have reinforced the idea that there is not a prescribed program or one way to become leader or a better leader; instead it is an individual journey.
I primarily work with ID 315 classes as part of the Community Builders programs. My role at the college and within the Leadership Institute is to aid students in their personal journey of identifying strengths and maximizing potential while at the same time making a positive difference in the lives of those around them. I help students discover themselves and along the way challenge them to leave their comfort zone and take risks. This is an on-going rewarding journey of self discovery, claiming your calling, and making the world a better place.
Dr. Fred Waldstein
Irving R. Burling Chair in Leadership & Professor of Political Science
The authenticity and utility of leadership and leadership education depend upon their congruence with the mission of the group, organization or institution in which they are practiced. At Wartburg that means congruence with the mission statement, “challenging and nurturing students for lives of leadership and service as a spirited expression of their faith and learning.” This has led to a definition of leadership that compliments the mission of the college and to curricular and co-curricular programs which identify components of leadership that any Wartburg College graduate, regardless of discipline, can find useful in their professional and vocational lives. The working definition of leadership used by the Institute for Leadership Education is, “Taking responsibility for our communities, and making them better through public action.” Implicit in this civic engagement approach to leadership is the belief that all Wartburg students have the potential to contribute positively to their communities, and it is the responsibility of the College to give them the encouragement, tools, and opportunities to do so. The primary pedagogical orientations I use are service-learning, peer learning, and case-in-point learning as means to develop the skills of critical inquiry fundamental to reflective leadership which compliments the Wartburg mission.
Dr. Bill Withers
Associate Professor of Communication Arts
I approach leadership studies from the perspective that those who wish to not only understand and learn, but also evolve into more effective leaders, must understand 'the journey.' We talk about leader-lives as a series of processing events, over time, and how we respond and grow from those. One will never fully understand or grow through those experiences unless the individual understands what I call their "Leader DNA," how they're "wired" and what their strengths are. So, I ask each student to begin by identifying (rigorous assessment) and reflecting on their strengths and personality traits; we then study leadership models and theories, then explore how their strengths and traits can be maximized. Servant Leadership is a theory-base we tend to "orbit" quite a bit, as it articulates best how effective leaders look after the needs of others so that they reach their full potential. A strength of this way of looking at leadership is that it forces us away from self-serving, domineering leadership models, and makes young, emerging leaders think harder about how to respect, value, and motivate others as part of 'their journey.