Faculty from the University of Georgia’s J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development and the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication presented an innovative practice paper at this year’s annual conference of the Association of Leadership Educators in Chicago.
The presentation resulted from an ongoing collaboration between the Fanning Institute’s Brandy Walker and Rich McCline and Grady’s Keith Herndon. Walker and McCline developed Q-Perspectives®, a proprietary tool for teaching key leadership theories. Herndon was an early adopter of the tool in his course called Managing News Organizations.
“Teaching leadership theory in a management course can be a daunting undertaking because you want the students to grasp the scope and depth of the material, but you don’t want it to take over the entire semester,” explained Herndon, director of the James M. Cox Jr Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership. “The tool developed by my colleagues at Fanning presented an efficient solution for engaging the students in deeper reflection of the material.”
Walker, the principle architect of the tool, explained that sharing leadership theories is challenging given the vast amount of publications that propose to share guiding principles, best practices, intervention techniques and other insights on leadership development and training.
“We have taken the often under-utilized Q methodology and used it to create a leadership teaching exercise that actually encourages participants to construct their own sense of leadership theory,” Walker said. “They are drawing from the insights of established theories, but are unrestricted by just one framework they might choose to adopt or the instructor might favor.”
Fanning developed the tool with game theory in mind and offers it as a flexible and versatile tool that can be used in face-to-face, online or in flipped classroom settings. The tool provides real-time analyses of results and generates individual and group worksheets for encouraging further discussion.
“Our tool offers a powerful alternative to surveys and traditional statistical analyses of participants’ perspectives,” said McCline. “We allow participants’ voices to emerge and coalesce across the wide-ranging net of leadership theories.”
Walker, McCline and their team have further refined the tool and its processes over the past year, and Herndon is looking forward to using it again during the fall semester. “This tool allows for a dynamic construction of a student’s personal perception of important leadership competencies,” he said. “It will be the catalyst for another round of robust discussions.”
For additional information on Q-Perspectives® or to arrange demo of the online version, please contact Brandy Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the second year, the Cox Institute was a sponsor of the ALE conference’s opening reception, a financial contribution that recognizes the importance of the organization in providing support for leadership educators.