Purdue Calumet introduces Leadership Center

Developing effective leaders through research and practice is the focus of the recently-established Purdue University Calumet Leadership Center.

This interdisciplinary center seeks to advance successful leadership through application of critical, related concepts intended to benefit both experienced and emerging leaders.

“Our world today is in need of capable, honorable leaders,” Purdue Calumet Chancellor Thomas Keon said. “The Leadership Center has been established at Purdue Calumet to help generate greater understanding of effectual leadership, while providing the necessary instruction valued by our local and global society to benefit current and future leaders.”

The Leadership Center

The Leadership Center seeks to train, transform and empower leaders to influence others in profound ways that effect positive change, according to Center Co-Director and Assistant Professor of Management Rachel Clapp-Smith.

A distinctive point of emphasis, she indicated, is the center’s integration of current research findings with programs to improve leadership practice. Individuals in current positions of leadership, as well as students and emerging leaders can benefit from activities and initiatives of the center.

“Leadership is a lifelong activity,” she said. “We envision this center being a resource for providing building blocks to help individuals grow in leadership throughout their lives.”

Drawing from the expertise and research interests of Purdue Calumet faculty and staff members, the center intends to serve as a laboratory for studying leadership. It also will help individuals and organizations address practical leadership challenges with contemporary thinking from relevant perspectives of knowledge and research.

“Our center will be collaborative, working with others interested in leadership to expand awareness of the body of effective leadership knowledge and practice,” Purdue Calumet Chancellor Emeritus, Professor of Philosophy and Center Co-Director Howard Cohen said. “The ethics of leadership is a key component of our focus.”

Built on Current Initiatives

The Leadership Center is built on current Purdue Calumet initiatives including leadership-related courses and programs and a student leadership series. Center faculty and staff members also plan to conduct research to study and explore leadership in northwest Indiana, as well as provide consultation services.

“We want this center to provide research-based expertise, partner with existing organizations and attract aspiring student leaders who want to become involved on an extracurricular basis,” Cohen said.

Clapp-Smith, who teaches courses in leadership, indicated that The Leadership Center also is a vehicle for advancing Purdue Calumet’s experiential learning initiative, which integrates traditional and applied learning in a real world manner.

An advisory board with representation from industrial, non-profit and alumni sectors supports the center.

Collaborative effort

In a collaborative pilot effort, the center is partnering with Fifth Third Bank to offer a “Leaders for Life” program series to a class of Hammond Morton High School students. The series calls for Purdue Calumet experiential learning management students and bank representatives to direct sessions about leadership and financial literacy.

Purdue Calumet’s focus on regional and global leadership is the newest of the university’s applied research centers and institutes, which seek to further northwest Indiana and provide greater understanding in matters of societal importance.

More information about the center can be obtained by contacting Professor Clapp-Smith via email or by phoning 219/989-3216.