Tufts Receives Funding for Leadership Education

April 9, 2009

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MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. – Tufts University has received a $250,000 grant from The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations to support the Leadership Studies minor that it launched last fall.

The minor draws on the university's strength in interdisciplinary learning to explore leadership through the prism of the liberal arts and engineering.
 
Unlike many leadership development programs at other institutions, Tufts will administer the new curriculum as an integral part of the School of Arts and Sciences, rather than as an independent, standalone program.
 
A key goal of Leadership Studies, says Tufts Professor of Economics George Norman, who directs and helped create the program, is to create experiences that enable students to recognize and utilize leadership principles in a broad academic context. "Today's leaders face extraordinarily diverse challenges. The best way we can prepare our students is to help them develop an intellectual framework for analysis and decision making," says Norman, who is the William and Joyce Cummings Family Chair of Entrepreneurship and Business Economics.
 
"Can you teach someone to be a leader? No, you can't," says Norman. "Can you teach them to be a more effective leader? Yes, I think you can. Setting objectives and allocating and exercising decision making authority are all issues of leadership. Our intent is to provide our graduates with knowledge that they can apply in the organizations they will get involved with."
 
 Leadership studies underscore the university's commitment to active citizenship notes Tufts Dean of Arts and Science Robert Sternberg. "The goal of the program is to develop the active citizens and leaders of the future-people who will make a positive, meaningful, and durable difference, at any level, from the family up through the world," he says. "Such leaders combine creative, analytical, practical, and wisdom-based skills."

 The minor is structured in three tiers. In the first tier, students explore leadership skills and theories as they apply to a range of liberal arts and engineering disciplines, including economics, psychology, political science, and sociology.

 In the second tier, students study examples of leadership, this time from a wider selection of courses from departments across the university. For example, students studying literature might examine leadership characteristics of King Lear or Othello. They can study industrial organizations and businesses to explore the psychology that is used by the people who run them.
The third tier involves participation in a structured leadership activity, such as an internship, and also the completion of a final paper showing how the classroom experience connected with the real life activity.
 
A portion of the grant will support a seminar series in which professionals with leadership roles in private industry, government or religious organizations discuss their experiences and answer questions from students.
 
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About Tufts University
Tufts University, located on three Massachusetts campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville, and Grafton, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university's schools is widely encouraged.