This blog is designed for posts of general interest to leadership educators.  ALE members have access to the discussion board for posting items like job announcements or engaging in less formal dialogue.
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  • 31 Mar 2014 12:51 AM | Eric Kaufman (Administrator)
    Are you familiar with the Lemony Snicket series on All the Wrong Questions?  It is the story of young Lemony Snicket’s apprenticeship, where he starts by asking all the wrong questions.  (The first book in the series is one I bought for my son last Christmas.)  Sometimes I wonder if I am asking the wrong questions, and I find myself getting frustrated by others who seem to be asking the wrong questions.  However, I need to be forgiving of those doubts and frustrations, because I believe it is better to start with the wrong questions than no question at all.  In fact, I have been intrigued by the notion of “leading with questions,” and I was pleased to find a book by this title a few years ago.  There is now a revised and updated version of Leading with Questions: How Leaders Find the Right Solutions by Knowing What to Ask.  I don’t have the new edition yet, but it is on my list, because I feel like I am still in the apprenticeship stage of leading with questions.  While I continue to explore the right questions to ask, one thing I can do is promote a questioning culture.  I need to admit, “I don’t know.”  Furthermore, my goal is to encourage questions from others and emphasize the process of asking questions and searching for answers rather than finding the “right” answers.  Will you help me with this?  In the near future, I anticipate sharing a draft of the Association of Leadership Educators’ strategic plan, and my hope is that it will be a useful guide for the association and board of directors over the next few years.  However, it will contain few answers.  Instead, the document will outline strategic directions, which will surface many new questions.  I am grateful for those that pose questions and embrace the journey of searching for the answers.  I believe that process is core to our role as leadership educators.
  • 26 Feb 2014 5:22 PM | Eric Kaufman (Administrator)
    I am pleased to announce that ALE has a new social media coordinator, Kati Ingerson!  Kati is the 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator for Marshall County, Indiana. She attended Ball State University where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations and Advertising.  Kati then went to North Carolina State where she earned a Master’s Degree in Extension Education with a focus on leadership.  Her interest in social media started as an undergrad while learning the ins and outs of successful public relations/advertising campaigns that utilized social media.  While at NC State, Kati had the opportunity to combine her social media interest with her passion for leadership by completing research that involved both.  In 2012, she attended the ALE conference in Key West and presented a poster on Leadership on Facebook and delivered a presentation on Leadership in the Twitterverse. In her current roll, Kati worked with the Marshall County 4-H program to double their social media presence, which has led to increased communication and better connections with youth members and their parents.  We are excited to have Kati Ingerson as our new social media coordinator!
  • 10 Feb 2014 11:03 AM | Eric Kaufman (Administrator)
    ALE has a new vision statement! "The Association of Leadership Educators' vision is to set the standard for Leadership Education. ALE will be the leading resource for the exchange and development of quality ideas, scholarship, and practice that impacts the field of Leadership Education. ALE establishes the bridge between research and practice in Leadership Education through an inclusive and engaging community of dynamic leadership educators, committed to consistently growing, thriving, and advancing the field of Leadership Education."

    Let us know how you are contributing toward pursuit of this vision.  Your insights will help us as we finalize our strategic plan for 2014-2019.
  • 31 Jan 2014 12:34 PM | Eric Kaufman (Administrator)

    I am in the process of facilitating a new, graduate-level, academic course on "Leading Teams through Change.”  It is the type of class I wish I had as a student, because it is relevant to so many of my past experiences.  What about you?  Are you currently leading a team through change (or being led through change)?  As leadership educators, we cannot afford to sit still.  Times are changing, and much work lies ahead.  I am glad to take this opportunity to highlight a few examples within the Association of Leadership Educators (ALE).

    The ALE board met in early January to engage in strategic planning for the association.  We started with a retrospective of where ALE has been over the last 25 years, which led us to a better understanding of who ALE serves and why.  From this, we crafted a shared vision for the future, one in which we set the standard for leadership education.  ALE will be the leading resource for the exchange and development of quality ideas, scholarship, and practice that impacts the field of Leadership Education.  ALE establishes the bridge between research and practice in Leadership Education through an inclusive and engaging community of dynamic leadership educators, committed to consistently growing, thriving, and advancing the field of Leadership Education.  We will accomplish this through news strategic imperatives that we will be sharing with the membership in the coming months.  We welcome your ideas and feedback.

    One of the primary opportunities for all ALE members to make our vision a reality is through our annual conference.  Are you preparing a submission?  Proposals are due March 1st, and you can find all of the details on the conference website.  Kelleen Stine-Cheyne and the entire conference planning committee have been working tirelessly to ensure a high quality experience in San Antonio.  I suspect one of the highlights will be the educator workshops, which are a chance for more active, in-depth participation in innovative educational practice.  I always look forward to the research sessions too, particularly the posters on emerging research.  I cannot think of a better way to fulfill this year’s conference theme, Visions of Leadership: Reflecting on the past, focusing on the future.  The key to the success of the conference is quality presentations, so put your proposal together now, and encourage your colleagues too!

    You may have noticed recent improvements to the Journal of Leadership Education (JOLE), and there are more on the way.  We have been increasing our investment in JOLE in recent years, and with good reason.  JOLE provides a forum for development of the knowledge and practice of leadership education; it promotes a dialogue that engages both academics and practitioners.  I saw the need for this first-hand in an editorial review of a submission I co-authored for another journal.  My co-authors and I chose that particular journal, because we believe the readers need to know more about the leadership education opportunities in their field (and they are not likely to be JOLE readers).  The comments we received back said, “The paper is well-written and well- referenced….”  However, “My experience has been that leaders are born not made!!!!”  While this comment left me frustrated with the lack of appreciation for leadership education, a follow-up comment left me confused: “You don't become a ‘project leader’ without considerable field experience.”  Huh?  If leaders are born, not made, why would they need so much experience before being placed in a leadership role?  I know ALE members value and promote experiential learning, and I thought the manuscript highlighted opportunities for applied leadership education.  Bottom line:  We need a high quality journal to showcase the work that we do, and I am glad that JOLE is taking steps every day to advance its prominence and reputation.

    So, what can ALE members do to strengthen and sustain the expertise of professional leadership educators?  Beyond contributing to the conference and the Journal, you can nominate yourself or others for one of the ALE awards.  Those nominations are due May 1st.  Are you willing to get more involved?  We are currently accepting nominations for ALE board positions.  Please consider becoming more involved with YOUR professional organization, the Association of Leadership Educators.  As expressed in the quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, “You must be the change that you want to see in the world.”  This is a message for all of us and something I want my students to aspire toward as they engage in leading teams through change.

    Eric K. Kaufman

    2013-14 ALE President

  • 26 Nov 2013 2:40 PM | Eric Kaufman (Administrator)

    As I prepare for the strategic planning session that will occur during the ALE board meeting in January, I am finding it helpful to think about the development of the association over the last 25 years.  The idea for ALE emerged during the late 1980s out of a need for professional development among those who were working with leadership programs.  The Association formed as a result of annual leadership development seminars where participants recognized the need for information sharing regarding leadership research, teaching, and practice.  ALE was formalized in 1990 at the third annual seminar. The first official ALE conference and annual meeting was held in Denver, Colorado, in 1991.  A decade later, the leadership of ALE intentionally sought future guidance for the future of ALE, and they published their findings in the quarterly newsletter.  Some of the comments seem representative of the time, while others are strikingly similar to input collected over the last few years.  It is amazing how strengths and weaknesses of our association endure.  As the ALE board develops goals and strategy for future success, the ideas must be grounded in a quality member experience.  A new book by Hickman and Sorenson (2014) promotes The Power of Invisible Leadership: How Compelling Common Purpose Inspires Exceptional Leadership.  While I believe ALE has benefitted from this “invisible leadership,” I believe we can do better.  What ideas do you have for continuing our leadership odyssey?


    Eric K. Kaufman

    2013-14 ALE President

  • 24 Oct 2013 10:34 PM | Eric Kaufman (Administrator)

    Do you like college football like I do?  If I am not careful, it can consume an entire Saturday, but I didn’t used to be such a fan.  I used to believe that the game was a matter of having the biggest, strongest, and fastest players on your team.  (I never fit into any of those categories, so I never played organized football.)  However, I am increasingly impressed by the importance of coaching, strategy, and decision-making under pressure.  Much of the success on game day is heavily dependent on the preparation in the off-season and the time between games.

    Over the years, my ideas about the success of ALE have also evolved.  When I joined the association ten years ago, ALE’s value seemed to be solely dependent upon quality conference presentations.  Behind the scenes, though, the association leadership was making some strategic decisions.  The Journal of Leadership Education launched in 2002 as a forum for further development of the knowledge base and professional practice of leadership education.  In recent years, I’ve noticed further efforts to strengthen and sustain the expertise of professional leadership educators.  We now have webinars throughout the year, highlighting both new and time-tested approaches to success in leadership education.  For example, Barry Posner highlighted the Student Leadership Challenge, and Dan Jenkins explored signature pedagogies in leadership education.  We’ve also increased the regularity of communication with members by supplementing the quarterly newsletter with The Fast Forum newsletter and social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter.  Through intentional recruitment efforts, we have connected more with areas of leadership education that deserve a stronger presence in ALE, including the military and corporate consultants.  Moving forward, I am confident the National Leadership Education Research Agenda will drive the association’s work to advance the scholarship of leadership education.  In many ways, it can serve as a “playbook” for ALE members (and others) that want to engage in applied scholarship and further define leadership education as a discipline.

    While I believe great football teams depend heavily on a superior playbook, coupled with high quality coaching, those are not enough.  The reason I watch college football is because I know the games are won on the field; the players are the ones who fulfill the potential for success.  In the same way, ALE depends upon its members.  Right now, we have a team of members working on various committees.  Also, many of you are beginning to work on your proposals for the 2014 ALE conference.  If you want to become more involved, contact one of the ALE board members.  Success depends upon each of us contributing our talents and strengths.  Thank you for your membership and your contributions to the success of ALE!


    Eric K. Kaufman

    2013-14 ALE President


  • 30 Aug 2013 1:20 PM | Eric Kaufman (Administrator)

    As we head into the fall, I am reminded of the changing seasons.  I think about more than the start of football season and the beauty of the changing leaves (though I am excited to see both); I think about the changes I see in my professional life, including the Association of Leadership Educators.  It was only a few years ago that ALE was struggling to maintain membership numbers.  For the 2009-10 membership year, we had hit a low of 96 members, with only 34% of members renewing from the previous year.  The ALE board recognized that the organization would not survive by maintaining the status quo, so there was a renewed effort to focus on our organizational mission, “to strengthen and sustain the expertise of professional leadership educators.”  We needed to place more emphasis on member benefits and do a better job of marketing those benefits to both existing and potential members.  As a precursor to that plan, the ALE board conducted a survey in November 2010, soliciting input and feedback from both current and former members.  We received usable responses from 180 individuals, representing a 52% response rate.  A summary of findings were published in the Winter 2011 issue of The Forum, and the ALE board used the data to guide a strategic plan.  Based on implementation of that plan, ALE doubled its membership in three years’ time, reaching 215 members at the close of the 2012-13 membership year.  Perhaps even better, we have nearly doubled our annual membership renewal rate, which is an important measure of member satisfaction.  Although I am thrilled at the progress we have made, I am also eager to achieve the gains I see on the horizon.  The ALE board members, all of whom are volunteers, are continuing to work to improve our communication efforts and member benefit opportunities.  As you have ideas, we want to hear from you.  With some ideas, you are already seeing the results; with other ideas, we will be able to work them into a strategic plan for 2014-2019, which will be the focus of our mid-year board meeting.  In the meantime, take advantage of the opportunities currently available and share your enthusiasm for ALE with your colleagues.  According to Marketing General Incorporated’s “2013 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report,” 86% of members initially discover an association by “word-of-mouth recommendation.”  Thank you for doing your part to grow ALE so that we can “strengthen and sustain the expertise of professional leadership educators.”  We are headed into a new season of ALE, and I am excited about the prospects that lie ahead!

    Eric K. Kaufman

    2013-14 ALE President

  • 04 Aug 2013 11:04 PM | Eric Kaufman (Administrator)

    The summer is quickly passing us by, and memories of the ALE conference in New Orleans are already starting to fade as we think ahead to the 2014 ALE conference in San Antonio!  Before get too far ahead, though, let’s reflect on the lessons of resilience we learned from our time together in New Orleans.  In the conference evaluation, several attendees commented that the keynote speakers were especially good this year.  You may recall that Ted Thomas challenged us with the 3H leadership model, interpreting the Army’s Be-Know-Do model as a function of Heart, Head, and Hands.  Based on his military experience, Ted Thomas was able to convey the role of routines and relationships in promoting resilience of heart, head, and hands.

    Ira Chaleff challenged us to adopt a new model of leader-follower relationships, one that embraces courageous followership.  His presentation helped us recognize that the process of creating resiliency involves the development of courageous followers who: (1) assume responsibility for the common purpose, (2) support the leader and group energetically, (3) constructively challenge counterproductive policies & behaviors, (4) participate in transformation, and (5) take moral action when needed.  Courage is central to the model and courage is central to creating resiliency. 

    So, how are you going to create resiliency in the year to come?  I feel fortunate to be in the field of education, where I can relay these messages to others and develop leaders who will affect positive change.  However, I recognize that I must first start with me.  I need to foster the routines and relationships necessary to keep my heart, head, and hands focused on the vision that lies ahead for me.  I do not always need to be the leader, but I cannot afford to be a passive follower; I need to be a courageous follower, and I plan to challenge those around me to do the same.  (I used to be a skeptic of the followership literature, but Ira Chaleff’s model has inspired me to add it to the curricula I teach.)

    The ALE board will also be adopting these principles as we move the Association forward.  Will you join us on this journey?  Please consider joining one of the committees.  As a membership organization, the health and success of ALE depends on your involvement.


    Eric K. Kaufman

    2013-14 ALE President

  • 25 Jul 2013 7:21 PM | Summer Odom (Administrator)
    It is so exciting to see all of the great things happening in the ALE community.  Through the ALE Awards, we can recognize some great individuals and programs which are making great impacts in leadership education. Congratulations to each of the award winners this year!  The following is a recap of the award winners, which were recognized at the 2013 ALE Conference:

    Founding Mothers Award-Student Scholarships

    Laura Lemons-Texas Tech University

    Laura Lemons recently graduated with her Ph.D. in Agricultural Education from Texas Tech University.  Laura had this to say in her application with regard to what role she sees leadership education playing in our world’s future: “Leadership is an absolute necessity for students today. It is well documented that employers seek graduates who possess skills taught in leadership education. It is imperative that rigorous courses and programs be developed and delivered. Leadership theory must be purposefully paired with experiential learning opportunities to apply the learned skill                                       

    Jessica Benson-University of Georgia

    Jessica Benson is pursuing a Master’s degree in Agricultural Leadership from the University of Georgia.  Jessica’s career goals include teaching leadership theory and application in higher education and working with student organizations to foster and develop the leadership skills of group members. Her immediate goals include finishing a master’s degree in agricultural leadership and gaining experience teaching and researching in the leadership field.  

    Caroline Tart-Undergraduate, North Carolina State University

    In her application, Caroline reflected on her experiences which drew her to leadership education: “My passion for leadership began as a State FFA officer where I was engaged in teaching leadership skills to members. That led me to NCSU, where I enrolled in leadership courses, further confirming my passion and desire to be more knowledgeable! I only look forward to learning more at ALE!”

    Jana Kubecka-Undergraduate, Texas A&M University

    Jana wrote about her desire to study leadership in her application.  She said “Leaders are made, not born, and in the last decade our country has failed at producing quality leaders. I chose to study leadership in order to develop my personal leadership style so that I may have a positive impact in my community and be a valuable asset to the workforce.”

    Each of these individuals have received a $250 scholarship to cover the cost of registration to the ALE conference.  

    Outstanding Program

     Shepperd Edge Program

    Noted by reviewers on this program is the impact in numbers of individuals reached. Since the inception of the program in 1995, the Institute has averaged 30 Forums per year with an average of 100 students per forum. To date, they have worked with over 50,000 students in Texas.  Each year they work with approximately 3,000 students in 30 Texas communities to introduce many of the students to leadership concepts for the first time. The Institute has developed a full year curriculum entitled Rising to the Challenge that has been approved by the Texas Education Agency for those schools that are interested in offering leadership as an elective.  They are especially proud of the work done with students who don’t ordinarily get the opportunity to be exposed to leadership education opportunities, such as Migrant students, small school districts, and those students in Alternative schools.

    Rising Star Award

    Jonathan Velez

    The Rising Star Award was presented to Jonathan Velez. This ALE rising star has made notable contributions as a young scholar.  He has created two new leadership courses, developed a yearlong intensive cohort model leadership academy, and has developed and started a new leadership minor.  He was recently awarded the Terence Bradshaw Professorship in Agricultural Sciences Leadership Education endowed professorship, which is rare for an Assistant Professor.  He has been active in fundraising for the leadership academy including raising $225,000 in endowed student scholarship funds and $200,000 in committed statement of intent funds.  Jonathan is an Assistant Professor at Oregon State University.

    Robin Orr Outstanding Practitioner Award

    Kelleen Stine-Cheyne

    Our Robin Orr Outstanding Practitioner Award this year goes to Kelleen Stine-Cheyne.  According to her nominator, Kelleen is someone who “has the tremendous ability to prioritize people and develop their ability to perform at the highest level.”  Her professionalism and initiatives for employee development promote a tremendous foundation of positive leadership at her university and the professional organizations she serves. Her nominator also says “she challenged me to challenge the system of traditional education and create content and instructional design to maximize the learners’ potential.”  She is currently the Director of the Teaching Learning Resource Center (TLRC) at the Texas A&M Health Science Center (HSC) and the Interim Director of the HSC’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).  

    Distinguished Leadership & Service Award

    Susan Komives

    Dr. Susan R. Komives is Professor Emerita of College Student Affairs at the University of Maryland.  Susan has numerous accolades and achievements.  The following are a few highlights.  She was lead author of the Leadership Identity Development model research and was co-principal investigator of the Multi-institutional Study of Leadership project, a 100+ campus study of college student leadership outcomes and campus practices that contribute to those outcomes.  She has authored a dozen books or monographs including Student Services, Exploring Leadership, Leadership for A Better World, and the Handbook for Student Leadership Development.  Susan has been a solid supporter of the Association of Leadership Educators, including serving as a member of the Journal of Leadership Education’s Editing Managing Board since the journal was founded in 2002 and serving as s keynote speaker for the 2006 ALE conference in Big Sky MT.  Although she recently retired from her full-time career in leadership education, her legacy will live on, because she has built a solid foundation for the continuation of our research and understanding of leadership education and development.

  • 25 Jul 2013 7:17 PM | Summer Odom (Administrator)

    Congratulations to the following ALE conference award winners!  

    Outstanding Emerging Research Poster

    “Using Leadership Theories to Develop a Program for Agriculture and Natural Resources Professionals”

    Ashley Powell, Shannon Arnold, and Janelle Booth

    Outstanding Poster (Report from the Field)

    “Getting to Know Tomorrow’s Leaders: Connecting Leadership Skills to Personality and Emotional Intelligence”

    L. J. McElravy and Lindsay Hastings

    Outstanding Case Study Presentation

    “Leading Through Change: The Generational Transition of Ownership of Mama Voodoo’s Shrimp & Oyster House”

    Jackie Bruce and Sara Brierton

    Outstanding Practice Presentation

    “Resiliently Complex: Deconstructing Complexity Leadership Theory Through Experiential Pedagogies”

    Dan Jenkins and Amanda Cutchens

    Outstanding Research Proposal

    “Self vs. Teammate Assessment of Leadership Competence: The Effects of Gender and Motivation to Lead”

    Daniel Collier and David Rosch

    Outstanding Research Paper Presentation

    "Behavioral Integrity: The Effects of Student Perceptions on Student Achievement”

    Barrett Keene, Tony Simons, Kristen Steves, and Erika Hooker

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