Hello, my name is John Burkhardt. I'm a professor of clinical practice at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and I am passionate about the challenges that are facing leaders into the future and how those should shape the way we think about this important topic. This is a course that will focus on the challenges faced by leaders within our colleges and universities and how those challenges will change and even intensify over the careers of individuals now approaching positions of influence in higher education. And the course will introduce new aspects of knowledge, a set of important tools, and will even try and inspire greater courage, courage that is going to be needed if we're to advance higher education's core commitments in an increasingly difficult environment. The course is organized around three big questions. First, what will it take to lead on behalf of our communities, institutions, businesses, and society in the future? And how will our understanding and our expectations of leaders change as demographics, communication, political and economic patterns change here and around the world? In particular, how will the need to maintain a sense of higher education's identity as a cogent, focused, helpful societal influence, one that has been traditionally associated with an idealized faith in our meritocratic orientation. How will this be achieved in combination with our need to further diversify and make more equitable everything we do and stand for? And thirdly, consistent with those two challenges, how can we prepare the kinds of leaders and grow the capacity of more people to lead wisely, skillfully, and with greater vision and courage? Inevitably, these questions will cause us to think differently about leaders, leadership, and our approaches to leadership development. And those of us who have organized this course are fully convinced of the fact that that this is important. Conclusions drawn from the latest scholarship taking place in the field of leadership just plain makes this clear. The rapidly changing context within and around our institutions require new responses that blend the internal and external leadership like never before. And the work that we are conducting in the field, through which we're experimenting with new approaches to developing future leaders, has told us that people are willing to be challenged in new ways – they want to be ready to take on the most important issues facing us all, and they don't mind thinking differently. Ultimately, they want to be able to act with greater confidence in their roles as leaders. And they believe they can do so if they have faith in themselves, their peers, and their preparation. This course is based on materials and teaching strategies that we've used with leadership groups sponsored by the nation's largest associations and foundations. Until now, this training has been conducted face-to-face and occasionally even involved one-on-one coaching. That type of focus is still effective and powerful, but in organizing this online course we hope to reach more people. It may even inspire them to seek out other, possibly more traditional, leadership development programs, and that's great. Leadership is not something mastered in a seminar, a single program, nor is it learned once and pasted as a credential for the remainder of one's career. I think you'll find that the concepts addressed in this course will give you insights that are seldom covered in most formalized leadership development programs. And we feel that these ideas are at the core of the leadership challenge, especially as it pertains to issues of inclusion, diversity, and equity in higher education and society. For a phenomenon that is so integrally linked to our human history, you'd think that we have learned long ago most of what there was to know about leadership and how it works. Since leadership has always been seen to have a shaping influence on our collective lives, why wouldn't we have figured it out? Well the problem is that in many ways, we do have a set of beliefs about this critical process, it's just that our understanding was and is, in many respects, just wrong. While we've been aware of the importance of leadership and we've been glorifying leaders for thousands of years in this legends, poetry, song, and stories, the more formal study of leadership only began just about a hundred years ago. Prior to that time, we associated leaders too often with gods or at least made them out to be godlike. We did this in our stories about how they came to prominence and how they achieved seemingly miraculous things. When we did take up the more serious study of leadership, early efforts to define the topic suffered from the biases of historians and psychologists that only saw leadership in a limited set of circumstances and practiced by a limited number of people. They often drew examples from military, occasionally political, and more recently business settings. See, leaders were men – the men were famous, dominant, ambitious. And building on the assumption that certain people were somehow born to lead, the men came almost exclusively from white, privileged backgrounds. Thankfully, much of this early speculation about leaders and leadership has been disproven. I say disproven, not abandoned, as society and its institutions started to open up more opportunities to more people and gave rise to greater possibilities. And at the same time, our institutions, all of them across society, became more complex, more important to determining society's future. But still, many old myths and a lot of old thinking still influence all of us in ways that we need to deeply consider. Incorporating what we've learned over the last quarter century and reflecting on what we will need to meet the challenges we face into the future, we're going to need to figure out how we can assure leadership is seen as a systemic capacity, expressed at every level within our colleges and universities, and see that the leaders and their practice of leadership is better-informed and consequently more effective. More people see and seek a path to leadership, whether that's in a positional role or in the context of where they work or live. Even as we constantly abridge our learning about leaders and leadership, we still occasionally cycle back on old views of what leadership requires, and in this there are so many paradoxes to consider. You see, we want strength and we want compassion. We sometimes seem to be attracted to confidence, even arrogance, but we believe that leaders are good listeners and that they adapt by constant learning. We seek out leaders who have a strong grasp of complex issues, but we occasionally will dismiss someone for being too intellectual, too academic. Perhaps upon closer study, these apparent inconsistencies may not be as illogical as they first seem. But whether we focus on the latest blunder by a college official, the most recent higher education scandal, the unmet needs of important groups or the current political discourse that surrounds higher education, I think you'll agree that we still have much to learn about this topic and even to really know what we believe about it ourselves. One thing we do know about leadership is that it is socially constructed. That suggests that we understand it differently and we can expect it to be expressed differently based on the context, the society, if you will, big or small in which it is observed. This isn't surprising when you think about your own experiences. If you were to walk into a meeting of volunteers at a soup kitchen or shadow a factory manager for a day or step into the middle of a basketball team during a time-out, If you were to join a prayer group or get yourself appointed to the city planning commission, you'd expect different forms of behavior, and the expectations of others who joined you there would probably be roughly similar to your own. Is it leadership being practiced in all these places? Yes. Is it the same? Is it thought of in the same way, exercised in the same way? Are the expectations the same? No, although there may be some common threads. So what does predict the differences from one context to another? Here it is: the group, the task at hand, the rules, whether they are explicit or implicit, and most importantly, the expectations that are shared between members and leaders. The variance in leadership behaviors across social settings is not hard to appreciate, and we can learn to adjust rather quickly when we come upon a new context with new requirements for both the leaders and the followers. But we don't always recognize that leadership plays out and that different expectations surround leaders in different places on the very same campus. Leadership within a student organization is different than what we may expect at a meeting of student affairs staff. The form of leadership that's enacted in a departmental faculty meeting is probably different than any one of those individual faculty members might anticipate and even actively try to establish in her or his classroom. A conductor works in different ways than a coach or the director of a research lab or the person holding the single pivotal vote on the board of trustees. You see, context matters. Intended outcomes matter. Expectations matter. You see, in effect, we are about to step into a new context for higher education leadership. Now it'll undoubtedly draw on past traditions and existing expectations, but it will be different enough from what we've experienced to this point to constitute a new social environment, at least for the purposes of leading and leadership. Central to the challenges we will face will be our attempt to achieve greater inclusivity, diversity, and equity across our entire system of U.S. colleges and universities. Now this will require a transformation of our institutions, and it begins with a transformation of our thinking. This new leadership means new knowledge, new tools, and an entirely new level of courage. We will need all three if we're to succeed.