If a conference can be judged by how memorable it was, then the 19th Annual International Leadership Association Conference held in Brussels, Oct 12-15, may just have people talking about several University of Phoenix faculty and student accomplishments for years to come. Rising to its theme, Leadership in Turbulent Times, several University scholars demonstrated their depth and breadth of tying the literature to the practice with a profound sense of immediacy.
Among the many memorable faculty contributions included Research Fellow & Associate Faculty, School of Advanced Studies (SAS), Cheryl L. Burleigh, who asked participants to consider innovative ways to empower students to become leaders with morals and ethics amidst her presentation dubbed, The Aftermath of Trump: A Challenge for Education and Community Leaders and the rise of Youth Activism. SAS Lead Chair Kevin Bottomley got people thinking about how they interact with millennials, the largest current employment generation in his presentation, Leadership skills for millennials: challenging the status quo. Dr. Bottomley co-authored the chapter Crafting community and change through books and pads: The Tikondwe teachers project to Domasi, Malawi in the new 2017 ILA book Grassroots Leadership and the Arts for Social Change by Emerald Publishing.
Dr. Renee Green, business chair, Hawaii Campus and ILA 2018 chair leadership development, later followed the discussion on millennials with co-presenter Erik Bean, Ed.D, Center for Leadership Studies and Educational Research (CLSER) associate university research chair. The two engaged the last of the conference’s Sunday audience with an interactive crossword puzzle on the vocabulary of the millennials (YOLO, FAM, among others) in their presentation, Millennials and followership – Creating a DIGITAL connection.
Dr. Janice Cardwell, Detroit campus director, presented Creating a Culture of Intellectual Inquiry, with Bonnie Eliis, V.P. academic affairs, and Yvonne Phelps, regional V.P. Also representing Detroit, Veteran Associate Faculty, Katherine Temple shared her passionate work From despair to hope: Prophetic leadership in turbulent times, a local and practical example of leadership with middle school children in the Detroit Public School System.
CLSER Senior Fellow and Distinguished Scholar Dr. Lynne Devnew presented First Cracks: Reflections of a Pioneer within a session led by Dr. Green, dubbed Cracking the Glass Ceiling. She also presented, Using Intergenerational Narratives and the Medicine Wheel to describe women's leader development, a collaborative effort with Lead Ann Berghout Austin, Utah State University, Marlene Janzen Le Ber, Brescia University College, Judith LaValley, Kansas State, and Chanda Elbert, Texas A&M.
Other intriguing projects from SAS faculty included, A Study of trust in global leadership during turbulent times, by Debra Sandberg & Michael Linquist. Rita Carver, SAS university research methodologist chair presented her study, Turbulent times -- A clarion call for leadership: Four African American women who responded and finally, Mary Lind shared her work on Digital natives vs digital immigrant at work: Evaluating computer self-efficacy. Unfortunately other University of Phoenix faculty scheduled to present, Sandra Nunn, Lunthita Duthely, John Avella, and Arfe Ozcan, were not able to attend.
A session befitting of its category, The Use of Digital Communication and Old-Fashioned Story Telling, dubbed Starbucks social media and business leadership renewal during challenging times found two “Beans” talking about coffee. While Dr. Bean presented in studio 315 of the Square Conference Center, brother Jeofrey Bean, University of California Extension, San Diego was on hand via Skype 9 time zones behind. The connection demonstrated the effectiveness of time and collaboration three-quarters of the world away. For Bean the timing could not have been better as his recent chapter Benchmark Academy Study Ties Customer Experience to Emotional Branding: A University of Phoenix Center for Leadership Studies and Educational Research Assessment, within the new IGI book, Driving Customer Appeal Through the Use of Emotional Branding was released that week. Like the leadership at Starbucks, the chapter recognizes purposeful customer experience leadership needed to foster an emotional connection to products and services.
But perhaps the most memorable of all was Dr. Jim Turner’s once in a life-time meeting with Retired General and Leading Military Authority David Petraeus, who was the Saturday ILA plenary guest. Turner, a retired general and recent University of Phoenix SAS doctoral graduate yielded a dissertation and resulting presentation topic Servant Military Leadership can be Most Effective During Unstable Times attracting Petraeus to a high-level leadership discussion between himself and including Mark McCaslin, UOPX dean of research and scholarship and Erik Bean (Co-presenter). The four gentlemen met in an undisclosed setting to discuss the operational definition of servant leadership and its merit in military training that some believe can curtail suicide and contribute to higher military employment retention. See complete story here.
Finally, prior to the conference Erik Bean was appointed editor of a new Journal of Leadership Studies (John Wiley & Sons) section dubbed Leadership Perspectives, a call for practitioner based pieces with a sense of immediacy based on Boyers four domains of scholarship. The new section was shared by JLS Editor, Mark R. Ludorf, Austin State University associate professor of psychology and Mark McCaslin, University of Phoenix dean of research and scholarship during their interactive discussion on how the journal provides publishing opportunities for leadership research that may or may not be hidden within a single discipline. The journal’s editorial board includes: Hinrich Eylers, Executive Dean, School of Advanced Studies, University of Phoenix (Co-Author), Anthony Middlebrooks, associate professor & director of graduate programs, Horn Program in Entrepreneurship, University of Delaware, Daniel Jenkins, chair & associate professor, Leadership & Organizational Studies, University of Southern Maine, and Clinton M. Stephens, director, Leadership Studies Center, Emporia State University.
The International Leadership Association is already gearing up for next year’s conference to be held in West Palm Beach, Florida. Dr. Bean is inviting all those interested in attending a strategy session on prospective presentation submission to examine a call for participation in the next couple of weeks. The conference rotates a national and international presence every two years. The next international session will occur in Ottawa in 2019.