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Leadership Center has integrated approach

Updated: January 8, 2013 6:14AM



What makes an effective leader, and what proven qualities nurture effective leadership?

Responses to those two questions are driving the new Purdue University Calumet Leadership Center. This interdisciplinary center seeks to advance successful leadership through application of critical, related concepts intended to benefit experienced and emerging leaders.

“Our world today is in need of capable, honorable leaders,” PUC Chancellor Thomas Keon said. “The Leadership Center has been established at Purdue Calumet to help generate greater understanding of effectual leadership, while providing the necessary instruction valued by our local and global society to benefit current and future leaders.”

The Leadership Center seeks to train, transform and empower leaders to influence others in profound ways that effect positive change, said Rachel Clapp-Smith, center co-director and assistant professor of management.

A point of emphasis, she said, is the center’s integration of current research findings with programs to improve leadership practice. Those in current positions of leadership, plus students and emerging leaders, can benefit from activities and initiatives of the center.

“Leadership is a lifelong activity,” Clapp-Smith said. “We envision this center being a resource for providing building blocks to help individuals grow in leadership throughout their lives.”

Drawing from the expertise and research interests of PUC faculty and staff members, the center intends to serve as a laboratory for studying leadership. It also will help people and groups address practical leadership challenges with contemporary thinking from relevant perspectives of knowledge and research.

“Our center will be collaborative, working with others interested in leadership to expand awareness of the body of effective leadership knowledge and practice,” said Howard Cohen, PUC chancellor emeritus, professor of philosophy and center co-director. “The ethics of leadership is a key component of our focus.”

The Leadership Center is built on current PUC initiatives, including leadership-related courses and programs, and a student leadership series.

Center faculty and staff members also plan to conduct research to study and explore leadership in Northwest Indiana, and provide consultations.

“We want this center to provide research-based expertise, partner with existing organizations and attract aspiring student leaders who want to become involved on an extracurricular basis,” Cohen said.

Clapp-Smith, who teaches courses in leadership, said the Leadership Center also is a vehicle for advancing PUC’s experiential learning initiative, which integrates traditional and applied learning in a real-world manner.

An advisory board — with representation from industrial, not-for-profit and alumni sectors — supports the center.

In a collaborative pilot effort, the center is partnering with Fifth Third Bank to offer a “Leaders for Life” program series to a class of Hammond Morton High School students. The series calls for PUC experiential learning management students and bank officials to direct sessions about leadership and financial literacy.

PUC’s focus on regional and global leadership is the newest of the university’s applied research centers and institutes, which seek to further Northwest Indiana and provide greater understanding in matters of societal importance.

For more information about the center, contact Clapp-Smith at smith939@purduecal.edu or by calling 989-3216.

Apply now for spring semester: Priority registration for the spring semester at PUC continues through Friday, Dec. 21.

Before registering for classes, new and transferring students, plus those who are returning to PUC after an absence of two or more years, first must apply for admission.

Prospective students can obtain more information at webs.purduecal.edu/admissions/ or by phoning PUC’s Enrollment Services Center at 989-2213.

With more than 325 spring course sections already filled and closed, prospective students are encouraged to apply for admission as soon as possible.



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