|UND administrators get leadership batteries recharged at Harvard|
Alice Hoffert, associate vice president for enrollment management, and Donna Brown, assistant director of UND’s American Indian Student Services, got a hefty dose of practical leadership wisdom at Harvard University earlier this year in a bid to boost their level of understanding, commitment, and managerial know-how. Hoffert attended the Institute for Management and Leadership in Education (MLE) and Brown completed the Management Development Program (MDP).
MLE is designed for experienced administrators — deans, directors, provosts, vice presidents — who will help their institutions adapt to a changing future.
MDP provides innovative and practical ideas about critical management challenges facing mid-level administrators in the early years of their professional careers; it prepares participants to become better leaders of their unit, department, or school.
There’s a close UND-Harvard connection with these leadership training programs: Vito Perrone, a strong proponent of the telling-is-not-teaching philosophy and the former dean of the UND Center for Teaching and Learning (since incorporated into the College of Education and Human Development), was director of teacher education in Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.
Perrone’s philosophy of learning, quoted in a recent issue of the Harvard University Gazette, is that there needs to be a connection between what people learn and what they see in the world. That means that teachers must know not only the subjects they teach but also the students they're teaching.
“This philosophy permeates the training that we received at Harvard,” said Hoffert. It’s also part of a longstanding tradition at UND, founded in 1883 in part to promote teacher education and educational leadership.
MDP provides ideas that enable you to spend less time “putting out fires” and more time providing forward-thinking leadership, Brown notes.
“In addition,” Brown said, “by providing a more sophisticated understanding of how different institutional units function, MDP enables you to incorporate broader strategic considerations into management decisions.”
“I have and will continue to use some of the things I learned at Harvard in my daily work such as human relations skills, hiring practices, fundraising strategies, and strategic planning,” Brown said. “This institute helped me to see the university as a whole rather than just the perspective I had from my office and my position.”
Hoffert says she took several valuable lessons away from the MLE program. For example, she says, “Don’t look for perfect solutions in human resource management; there aren’t any. Look for ideas that work in practice and don’t generate much negative noise in the system.”
And, she notes, “Don’t allow social science to overwhelm common sense.”
Among the “less official” lessons learned, Hoffert noted, was this quote from Albert Einstein: Not everything that can be counted, counts; and not everything that counts can be counted.