March 10, 2016 at 11:15am
Dane Lisser

Building the Best Imagination of Millikin

There are many opportunities for students at Millikin University to develop leadership skills both in and outside the classroom. Millikin faculty members explored how leadership can build the best imagination of Millikin during the institution's annual Interdisciplinary Faculty Conference (MIFC) on March 4. Faculty also discussed the best leadership practices across campus in teaching, scholarship and service.

This year's conference featured 18 presentations from 25 faculty and students highlighting the various ways in which leadership defines Millikin's campus community. The conference included three presentation tracks: understanding leadership, exploring campus leadership and collaborative community leadership.

Millikin Faculty Conference

"This year proved to be another exciting and meaningful year for the Millikin Interdisciplinary Faculty Conference," said Dr. J. Mark Munoz, interim dean of the Tabor School of Business and conference chairman. "The leadership theme was selected to expand understanding on leadership and explore its best practices in the classroom and within the community."

Among the first presentations was Dr. Denice Love's insight into developing leaders in inclusive education. Dr. Denice Love, assistant professor of education, discussed the School of Education's new Special Education Endorsement program and how the program's goals are consistent with Millikin's commitment to the discovery of knowledge in a way that demonstrates dignity and respect for all individuals in diverse and inclusive classrooms.

"The biggest benefit of the program as that the students are more able to meet the needs of students with disabilities because of inclusion," Dr. Love said. "It provides a unique opportunity to create candidates who have a real breadth of knowledge."

Millikin Faculty Conference 

Dr. Larry Stapleton, associate professor of business, and Kimberly Mungaray, assistant professor of accounting, discussed the various characteristics of Servant Leadership and how the characteristics relate to the instruction of today's students, how they support the concept of shared governance and how they support the principles promoted by Millikin University.

"The idea behind Servant Leadership is that other people's needs are at the highest priority and servant leaders listen to the one who may wish to communicate," Mungaray said. "Rather than preaching the leadership, servant leaders first listen and evaluate what the highest needs of the followership are before implementing any strategies."

Dr. Melissa Scircle, assistant professor of psychology, presented psychological research on the experiences of underrepresented students with the goal of applying the findings to Millikin's classroom leadership and in mentoring Millikin student leaders.

Millikin Faculty Conference

"In leading this project, students were learning what psychology tells them about intergroup relations and applying it to their own thoughts and experiences," Dr. Scircle said. "It was valuable for students to have those discussions."

The leadership theme was selected to expand understanding on leadership and explore its best practices in the classroom and within the community.

The final sessions of the conference included presentations from Julie Shields and Dr. Paul Toure. Shields, director of Millikin's Center for Entrepreneurship, discussed the Quality Assurance Agency model of Enterprise Education and Entrepreneurship Education and how both constructive leadership education and Millikin's Performance Learning method of instruction relate to that model. Dr. Toure, assistant professor of French, explained the five levels of hierarchy in leadership as defined by Jim Collins in his book "Good to Great."

Millikin Faculty Conference

"If you want to be effective, you have to have the attitude to make an impact on students," Dr. Toure said. "To reach that goal it takes three skills – open-mindedness, responsibility and wholeheartedness."

Millikin Faculty Conference

Prior to the presentations, keynote speaker Dr. Gayle Spencer, director of the Illinois Leadership Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, spoke to Millikin faculty and guests on how to design intentional leadership learning and development using leadership competencies in the classroom.

Spencer's presentation covered how a campus can develop a leadership philosophy and competencies that will enable a campus community to collaboratively assist students in their leadership learning and development.

"One of the important aspects is to have students understand what they've learned and how that connects to their career readiness," Spencer said. "We need to think about how career readiness is part of a leadership development journey through college. We have a responsibility to help students think about that."

Millikin Faculty Conference

The conference concluded with an awards banquet in Richards Treat University Center and a performance of "A Palace of Strangers is No City" by Dr. Chung-Ha Kim, adjunct professor of music, and Dr. Stephen Frech, associate professor of English.

Click here to read more about the conference in an article from the Herald & Review.