PPDGJ: Chapter 14 LEADERSHIP AS SERVICE A New Model for Higher Education in a New Century KENT A. FARNSWORTH

Chapter 14
Leadership for a New Century

These two transformations—in information, and in technology in general—are often discussed as being synonymous, but have unique and critical differences that require separate examination. A third transformation has been geopolitical. In less time than most of us dreamed possible, we have witnessed a “self-determination” revolution that divided the former Soviet Union into independent republics, The fourth transformation has been the inevitable consequence of explosive population growth and the accompanying increases in human consumption. In the very roots of our society, a fifth transformation is occurring. The twentyfirst century will be the first in the history of the human species into which we entered, at least in Western society, with commitment to gender and racial equality.
Each of these five transformations requires reexamination of virtually every social, political, and economic assumption that has directed our past, including those about leadership, what it is, and how it works. Each, taken alone, suggests that traditional top-down, authoritarian models of leadership will no longer work. In combination, they portend that continuation of old approaches will be disastrous.

Universities must constantly be scanning the technological waters, anticipating and recognizing significant new currents, and quickly adapting curricula. This will continue to be a weakness until the basic ingredients of participative, team-based, power-with leadership become the norm. The unparalleled changes wrought by technology in the world of information place even greater demands on higher education and its leadership. Unless we recognize the revolutionary role technology can play in enhancing and expanding access to higher education, we will find ourselves sitting on the sidelines, watching a game that we barely recognize being played by the dozens of entrepreneurial for-profit institutions hungry for that market.

Most students, aware that the day they leave the academy they step onto a field where competition is in international board rooms, in global financial markets, and in production of innovative ideas, will opt for the flexible, involving, integrating institution that is fully committed to preparing them for this ever-changing marketplace. Opportunity will be based upon knowledge and the ability to constantly be acquiring it.

The information revolution provides two additional challenges to faculty and to those who lead them. Even the best informed specialist is being forced to again become a learner—of new information concerning the discipline, of new presentation techniques, of new ways to communicate with colleagues and acquire information. Teaching must become an art of facilitation—of teaching students how to learn, where to find information, and how to analyze it critically and use it with discrimination. The academic leader will be called upon to facilitate colleague learning and collaboration, just as the professor facilitates it among students.

If we are to serve as academic leaders in higher education in the new century, we must aggressively improve our national position as a source of valuable human capital. We will probably never compete again as a source of inexpensive labor, so our only recourse is to produce intellectual capital that is globally adept. We have no choice but to forge stronger alliances with our elementary and secondary systems, strengthen and focus curricula in the sciences, mathematics, and language, and insist on performance before we credential a graduate. To do otherwise is to fail to serve.

The fourth area of transformation during this century need only brief mention. If we are to serve effectively as educational leaders, we must promote and energize the national discussion about how to conserve our natural resources and protect our environment. No student should be allowed to graduate from our institutions without fully understanding the implications of the personal decisions he or she makes on environmental matters.

There is always a lingering concern that becoming too integrated and too collaborative in our approach to crisis management and problem solving will stifle the individuality, independence, and unique sense of vision that has characterized us as a nation and as the leading creative force in the world. That is neither the intent nor the result of leadership as service. If properly employed, it invites
and celebrates individual creativity and vision

Robert Greenleaf and Mary Parker Follet talked about the service-centered leader;
This leader:
honestly embraces the concept of servant first, showing a willingness to subordinate personal gain to the needs of others;
shapes a vision of the institution by evaluating its reasons for being and envisioning how those purposes can be accomplished with constant consideration for the welfare and growth of all involved;
helps others understand and clarify the institution’s purposes and encourages them to shape their own vision of how these purposes can be accomplished;
believes that each person touched by the institution should grow from that experience, coming away from it better able and more inclined to serve;
believes that each organizational member is a person of value, cares for each person, demonstrates that caring in action and encourages others to do the same;
is a constant student of the institution and its members, and is continuously listening;
believes that differences in view are opportunities to clarify vision and direction, and helps institutional members use differences to better understand each other, see the connections between their individual desires, and build common goals, which embrace those interests;
believes that there are enduring values that include integrity, honesty, trust, and personal responsibility. Demonstrates those values and expects and encourages the same in others;
accepts the Law of the Situation, believing that each situation contains its solution, but that the best solution will emerge only if as many people as the situation allows are given an opportunity to look for it;
believes that organizational power is organic, with part of its vitality held by each member. Power is increased and used most fully when it is pooled and exercised as power-with rather than power-over;
accepts that, if information is power, and power is to be shared, information should be shared as widely as considerations of law and confidentiality permit;
is open to ideas, willing to risk, quick to praise and slow to judge;
self-assesses and encourages development of mechanisms for institutional selfassessment. Views bad news as important information;
carries his or her own burdens, and whenever possible, shares the burdens of others;
does not ask or expect of others what he or she would not be willing to do, if needed;
realizes that service within the context of the organization does not mean giving everybody what they want, but means balancing individual desires with the need of the organization to accomplish its mission;
understands that, to serve as a leader in education, one must have the courage to aggressively present, pursue, provoke, and promote a public agenda that addresses the most important issues of our time and refuse to let the public ignore them.

If we maintain a collective vision based on service to all, then perhaps historians will look back on the beginning of the twenty-first century not as the beginning of the end for the great tradition of excellence in higher education that has marked our past, but as the point of congruence of six transformations: in technology, in information, in our geopolitical world, in environmental awareness, in our social order, and in education.


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