Summer 2008     ISSN 1096-1453     Volume 12, Issue 2     Editorial (1)

Teaching Leadership and Teaching Leaders With this issue of Academic Exchange Quarterly, we first congratulate Dr. Bonnie Fusarelli as reviewers named her essay an Editor’s Choice article. Titled The Changing Nature of Leadership Preparation, Fusarelli shares her research about how school leader preparation has changed in significant ways and how leading has become re-oriented toward a holistic role that encompasses knowledge of research, effective administrative practice, collaboration, and social justice activism. We invite you to read Dr. Fusarelli’s work in addition to the work of a variety of scholars who, with varying foci, reinforce Fusarelli’s point that leadership preparation is indeed changing. These scholars focus on developing leaders and leadership from classroom theory and practices to leader practices to programs for leader preparation.

In conjunction with Fusarelli’s contentions, Forbes proposes including critical concepts of followership and group-as-a-whole to leadership courses to create a more comprehensive understanding of leadership, thus preparing a new generation of more well-rounded leaders. To develop students’ thinking and reflective skills, Couturier and Mengel employ a case study to share with readers conceptual modeling as a useful pedagogical technique in leadership studies. Using computer assisted text analysis, Couturier and Mengel measure the reflection occurring in student thinking over time and conclude that student learning seems consistent with the learning activities. Additionally, Sawyer and Duncan present a mid-career master’s level leadership theory and practice course and the components that engage students in self-evaluation, reflection and the application of leadership theories to organizational settings.

Because leadership development is a complex phenomenon to comprehend, Williams uses popular media, more specifically the Harry Potter series, to help future leaders understand the complexity of leadership character development over time. Additionally, through their research, Witte, Jones, Guarino, Wang, and Taylor demonstrate the effectiveness of engineering student design competitions as an ideal way to develop and enhance female leadership skills in a university environment. Barbour adds a pragmatic idea to leadership education in her essay as she explains the path graduate students undertake and the products they develop for a capstone project, a meaningful action research product for their work as school leaders.

Bridging classroom to leadership practice, Boske discusses the value of using problem-based learning for aspiring school leaders to gain a deeper understanding and application of theory by translating their new knowledge into school practice working directly with local school communities. Abrego, Morgan, and Abrego describe a unique partnership in which educational leadership graduate students share their areas of expertise and knowledge of teaching and learning with student teachers and alternatively certified teacher interns. The focus of Lease and Smith is on preparatory steps needed for successful educational reform, which include significantly involving stakeholders and team building to form a strong bond and trust. To promote shared learning and community building among key stakeholders, Brown suggests developmental opportunities with written assignments assembled in a standards-based portfolio.

From classroom practices to authentic leadership practices, preparation of leaders takes place in programs of study. The focus of five essays in this issue is on the programs in which the classroom and leadership practices occur. For instance, Sims notes research that suggests many college graduates lack leadership skills to be effective employees and managers. She discusses a mentorship academy created to develop workplace leadership skills of college students. Korach discusses a principal preparation program designed by analyzing answers to the guiding question, “How do we prepare principals to tackle adaptive challenges and lead second order change?” Readers learn the program’s theoretical framework, values, knowledge base and pedagogy. Snow-Gerono and Budge describe an assignment to investigate self- and social- understanding through education narratives, part of an innovative program for developing educational leaders for “public intellectual leadership” to serve the purpose of leading and learning in a democracy.

Nicholson, Taylor, Calwell, and Lawson interviewed higher education leaders in West Virginia about their perceptions of the statewide, merit-based scholarship program, PROMISE. These scholars share findings related to social justice issues within the PROMISE scholarship program. Finally, Mackenzie, Donaldson, and Ackerman report successful assessment methods in documenting learning in leadership knowledge domains and identify issues and dilemmas found when focusing on leadership performance.

In conclusion, we are reminded that Fusarelli noted leader preparation is significantly changing. As educators of future leaders whether in education, the arts, military, business or the sciences, we have a responsibility to change our ways of teaching and to provide opportunities for our students to practice leadership. Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes held that “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” Let us stretch the minds of the future leaders in our care by new and ever challenging classroom and field experiences.

JoAnn Danelo Barbour, Ph.D.
Professor of Educational Leadership, Texas Woman’s University
Feature Editor, Leadership
Editor, Academic Exchange Quarterly

CFP for the next LEADERSHIP issue Teaching Leadership/Teaching Leaders Summer 2009.
See all published LEADERSHIP articles.