ALCT: Duluth

Academic Leadership in Challenging Times – Duluth Cohort

Greetings and welcome to the Academic Leadership in Challenging Times program of the National Center for Professional and Research Ethics (NCPRE). Our goal is to support your growth as an academic leader.

You are in a cohort with colleagues from UM-Duluth Swenson College of Science and Engineering, tailored to your interests, and supported by resources in the NCPRE online Leadership Collection. This is a pilot program, and will be shaped as we go in response to your feedback and interests. We will start with individual online meetings to get to know you. The program will be offered through on-line group Zoom sessions augmented by outside readings and your reflections and analyses. 

NCPRE creates and shares resources to support better ethical and leadership practices in academic and other professional contexts. Leadership—and particularly ethical leadership—is central to creating a culture that establishes healthy and productive professional interactions. We equip you with evidence-based tools to support intentional leadership development and institutional integrity.  Dr. Robert Easter, President Emeritus of the University of Illinois, is the cohort leader for your program, and you can meet all the Academic Leadership Excellence Program team here.

Please feel free to contact Sarah Mustered, the Cohort Coordinator for this program, if you have any questions: mustered@illinois.edu

General Reference Materials:

Session Five: Exploring Leadership

Session Date: 9/24/20 1-2:30pm CDT

This session will focus on leadership through the lens of preparing for (and responding to) paradigm shifts–Leadership Through Challenging Times, if you will. In preparation for this week’s sessionwe ask that you take the time to:
1) consider and identify a fundamental change occurring in your field and be prepared to describe how your unit will adapt to it. Consider the impact that Einstein’s Theory of Relativity had on Newtonian Physics, or the impact of genetic engineering on agriculture, or the introduction of satellites on meteorology. These are all examples of major paradigm shifts. Other changes are smaller in scale and still impactful. How you recognize and respond to these events is key to being a successful academic leader. Please prepare to discuss the fundamental changes occurring in your fields in breakout sessions.
2) In addition, we ask that you remember to have your definition of leadership from our first session on hand and ready to discuss

Session Materials:

Session Four: Difficult Conversations and Personal Scripts

Session Date: 8/27/20 1-3:00pm CDT

Thank you for your responsiveness in scheduling for this week. This is to confirm that our next session, Difficult Conversationswill be this Thursday, August 27 from 1:00-3:00pm CDT. Please be prepared to share your one-minute elevator pitch and to report back on your Critical Friends sessions.
I have attached the conflict self-assessment we sent once before. We ask that you continue to keep this in mind as you consider your conflict style and how you tend to react to difficult conversations. Among other topics we will cover, we will revisit your conflict comfort and style and introduce the And Stance, a powerful tool that grows out of work on influence and persuasion at the Harvard Project on Negotiation. The idea behind the And Stance is that ‘but’ is a stopper word in American English; the exercise is to practice moving to the And Stance, where you use “and” instead of “but” (or “however” or “although”)– without changing your message. If you have time to look over the exercise in advance, we can spend more time discussing and working on it during the session. 
We look forward to seeing you Thursday. 

Session Materials:

Leadership Collection Reference Materials:

Slide Deck Reference (for Personal Use Only):

Homework Assigned:

  • Practice applying the And Stance in your everyday life. First, try to go one week without using “but” in an email, instead restructuring the statement with “and” in order to align with others. Then, try to go 24 hours without saying “but” at all. This is a very difficult and worthwhile exercise that helps make you aware of just how often you use stopper words and where you can change your approach.
  • Start reading either Crucial Conversations or Crucial Accountability. (If you haven’t read either, start with Crucial Conversations.) Both are readily available for purchase online. We wish to provide time for all members of the cohort to read one or the other before we start a discussion, so are providing a head start for a future discussion.
  • Prepare personal scripts and share them with other members of the cohort, using the Personal Scripts Quick Tips as a guide. Also consider the Complaint-Handling Guidelines. You may find these helpful for handling difficult conversations and for constructing personal scripts when faced with these scenarios.
  • Before our next session, find and have ready the definition of leadership you recorded in your journals during the first session. Prepare to discuss.

Session Three: Vibrant Academic Units

Session Date: 8/13/20 10-11:30am CDT

We ask you to be prepared to discuss the AUDiT that you filled out for your unit along with the real or hypothetical situation you developed for use with a Critical Friends group. I have also attached a self-assessment document that we will be using during today’s session. Please download it to have at hand during our meeting.
As always, please make sure that you have your journals at hand. We will be asking you to refer back to them throughout the program. 

Pre-Session Materials:

Slide Deck Reference (for Personal Use Only):

Homework Assigned:

  • Create a ONE MINUTE or shorter elevator pitch for your unit, based in its purpose and mission.
  • Participate in a Critical Friends discussion: be prepared to report back.
  • Remember that there are books available to support your development—use your funds! 

Session Two: Critical Friends/Group Problem Solving

Session Date: 7/30/20 10-11:30am CDT

For this session, we would like you to watch, in advance, the video provided below. This one is a bit longer than last time, around 9-10 minutes. It depicts a staged meeting discussing the Thomas Santo case study we addressed in the first cohort meeting, using a protocol created by the Annenberg Institute known as Critical Friends. We have provided a description of the protocol along with the full background from the Annenberg Institute for reference. We also have included a quick reference summary sheet of the Decision Making Framework (DMF) discussed in our last meeting that many find useful during a Critical Friends session. We will discuss the protocol, its uses, and do an abbreviated Critical Friends session during our upcoming online meeting.
We will be opening with your reviews of items in the Leadership Collection and the Testing Yourself prompts provided as homework after our last meeting, and discussing the AUDiT assessments you started.

Pre-Session Materials:

Slide Deck Reference (for Personal Use Only):

Homework Assigned:

  • Review the AUDiT you filled out for your unit; be prepared to discuss 
  • Develop a real or hypothetical situation to use in a Critical Friends group 

Session One: The Special Challenges of the Academic Environment

Session Date: 7/16/20 2-2:30pm CDT

Prior to our Zoom Call on Thursday afternoon, we ask that you watch this short vignette that was filmed as part of our larger Leadership Collection. This particular clip features a faculty member named “Professor Major” having a conversation with a new Department Head on his first day.

As you watch the scene unfold and the behavior of the characters within it, we invite you to think about what is really happening in this interaction. Please consider the questions posed within the video and write some thoughts down in the Journal we have asked you to maintain as part of the program.

We will begin Thursday’s session by discussing this scenario, after which we will take some time to explore the unique challenges our environment presents.

Pre-Session Materials:

Slide Deck Reference (for Personal Use Only):

Homework Assigned

  • We invite you all to take a look through NCPRE’s Leadership Collection. This library of resources has been developed over several years, built on the experiences and wisdom of our experts. The collection includes Quick Tips, Executive Briefings and Annotated Bibliographies, as well as many video interviews with our experts themselves sharing their thoughts on a variety of subjects. Please take some time to browse the collection – during our second session we will ask each of you to share a couple of the assets you found most interesting or useful.
  • Find attached the Testing Yourself exercise and take a few minutes to respond to the prompts within. We will discuss these prompts and share responses in our next session when we dive deeper into handling contentious situations like these.
  • Also attached is a copy of the AUDiT Dashboard, developed by NCPRE to help systematically assess the health of your department. Our observation has been that many leaders tend to focus on areas that they think are problematic. The AUDiT approach helps ensure that your assessment is comprehensive. Use the AUDiT table to score your unit. Start by putting a number in each cell – the more the cell describes your unit, the higher the number should be. In the green and red columns, scores run from 0 to 5; in the yellow column, it is 0 to 3. When you are finished, add up your green scores and subtract the totals from your yellow and red scores. We will be revisiting this tool throughout the course so please keep the original with your journal.

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