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