F21 National Assembly

2007 F21 National Assembly: Leaders Developing Leaders Developing Leaders...

November 2 - 4, 2007

Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles
- near the Washington Dulles International Airport -
Chantilly, Virginia
November 2 - 4, 2007


  1. Defining leaders and leadership: Personal perspectives

    Driving questions: What does leadership mean to me, given my responsibilities for the undergraduate STEM learning environment? What are my personal capacities as a leader?

    Leaders need to be self-reflective, developing their capacities for leadership through a careful analysis of personal strengths, limitations, interests and passions-- where and how does one want to make a difference? Leaders have a vision of who they want to be and are clear about steps (goals and strategies) by which to realize that vision. Reflections, individual and communal, are key steps in the process of understanding leadership and engaging as leaders within a community of practice.

  2. Linking leadership practice and theory: In context

    Driving questions: What are the ‘grounding’ theories of leadership that can inform and inspire my evolution as leader, given my institutional context and the larger needs of science and society?

    Research on how people learn offers some insights on leadership development: a) the value of understanding the journey from novice learner to expert learner, at which point one’s ideas and actions are automatic/intuitive, rather than forced; b) the value of learning in context-- moving back and forth between theory and practice as one explores a field; c) that one is always learning. Thus, the development of leaders (see definition, above) is embedded in institutional policies and practices, part of the institutional culture, serving the larger institutional mission, vision, and goals.

  3. Understanding the role of mentors, networks and communities in developing leaders and leadership

    Driving questions: What resources help develop the capacity of STEM faculty to serve as leaders, given the local, regional and national communities of which they are a part?

    Leaders are part of an intentional community (or perhaps more than one community) in which there are formal and informal mechanisms to build the leadership capacity of individuals within that community. Mentoring is one such mechanism, within and beyond a department and/or a single campus, engaging colleagues at difference career stages, disciplines, spheres of responsibility. Networking is another means to build a community in which leaders flourish.

  4. Defining and developing leaders and leadership: Contextual perspectives

    Driving questions: How do the institutional culture and the broader societal context play a role in defining and shaping leaders and leadership within the undergraduate STEM community?

    The context in which one serves as leader both defines the character of leadership and affects the potential to develop as leader. That is, the community culture exerts an ‘observer effect’ on the process of developing as leaders and exercising one’s leadership responsibilities. The contextual reality of leadership defining and developing is particularly important at critical junctures: as one accepts new kinds of leadership responsibilities; as the campus community explores major programmatic changes, significant administrative changes, strategic planning initiatives for capital projects, etc.


The agendas for PKAL meetings (workshops, seminars, national assemblies) follow a common template. There is intentional and explicit connection:

  • between theory and practice: considering both the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of transforming the undergraduate STEM learning environment, in the context of the meeting theme. Attention to this connection results in a carefully orchestrated rhythm of plenaries, break-out sessions, consulting clusters, time for personal reflection, etc.

  • to 21st century goals for student learning and the pedagogies that serve those goals. Attention to this connection results in the selection of a variety of pedagogies that give attendees a first-hand opportunity to experience and reflect on approaches that are having documented success in enhancing critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as the capacity for collaborative work for undergraduate STEM students (an opportunity to become a student once-again)
  • to people, ideas and material making a difference for students, science, and society. Attention to this connection results in the identification as planners, presenters, consultants, mentors, and facilitators and of those whose work is recognized as having demonstrable impact on their community or communities— local, regional or national, again in the context of the meeting theme.
  • between planning and action, between goals and strategies, between individual and institutional visions for the future. Attention to this connection results in the development of a ‘take-home’ product, an agenda for action (by an individual or a team) that specifies next steps— immediate and short-term— through which the best ideas and promising practices learned at the event are implemented on the home campus most efficiently and effectively.

Each of the four themes to be explored during the 2007 PKAL Faculty for the 21st Century National Assembly will be introduced in a plenary, during which there will be reflections on major issues (theory) relevant to that theme, followed by at-the-table discussions/exercises, concluding with reflections and reporting out.

A series of break-out sessions will follow each plenary, designed for leaders in different spheres of responsibility, at different career stages (department chairs, senior academic officers, pre-tenure faculty, etc.). Given the ‘leaders develop leaders develop leaders’ motif for the assembly, there will be formal and informal opportunities for mentoring and networking (and for learning about the ‘how-to’ of mentoring and networking).

Emphasizing this motif is a special invitation for senior administrators (whether or not he/she is an F21 member) to join their institutional team. As signaled by the themes presented above, the vision of assembly planners is that leaders develop leaders develop leaders… not in isolation, but in context. The institutional culture matters, thus the intentional and explicit attention to dissolving boundaries of geography, discipline, career stage, and spheres of responsibility is woven throughout.

Assembly Speakers, Facilitators & Planners:

Susan B. Chaplin, University of St. Thomas
Jason A. Cody, Lake Forest College
Beth A. Cunningham, Illinois Wesleyan University
Veronique A. Delesalle, Gettysburg College
Judith A. Dilts, James Madison University
Terence G. Favero, University of Portland
George B. Forsythe, Westminster College (MO)
Daniel Goroff, Harvard University
Nancy Hensel, Council on Undergraduate Research
Carolyn Herman, Washington University
Theodore Hodapp, American Physical Society
Debra L. Hydorn, University of Mary Washington
Mary M. Kirchhoff, American Chemical Society
David S. Koetje, Calvin College
Catherine Mader, Hope College
Elizabeth F. McCormack, Bryn Mawr College
Marlene Moore, University of Portland
Sylvia F. Nadler, William Jewell College
Jeanne L. Narum, Project Kaleidoscope
Gary P. Radice, University of Richmond
Barbara Alice Reisner, James Madison University
Susan Sciame-Giesecke, Indiana University Kokomo
Pamela E. Scott-Johnson, Morgan State University
Betty Hill Stewart, Midwestern State University
Suzanne Sumner, University of Mary Washington
Katerina V. Thompson, University of Maryland College Park
Thomas C. Wood, George Mason University
Daniel Wubah, University of Florida
Jessica R. Young, Western State College of Colorado

2007 F21 Assembly Notebook
A PKAL essay: Planning, leadership & community
The process of reaching a campus consensus on the shape of programs and/or spaces for the future of undergraduate STEM programs in itself can create a healthy community, one that is informed about, sympathetic with, and supportive of, a strong science program.
Advice for Early-Career STEM Faculty
Best Ideas from 2007 F21 National Assembly
Building a community of leaders: The PKAL F21 Experience
Jeanne L. Narum
The challenge for leaders -- current and rising -- is to build an environment in which ideas flourish, are shared openly and freely, and where risks are taken, and the possibility of failure is acceptable: a community in which people of good faith have come together around a common vision and sense of purpose
Developing Institutional Leaders
Specific examples are presented from a wide range of campuses about how senior administrators establish formal and informal policies and programs to identify and nurture leaders within their faculty.
Examining Unexpected Challenges Facing Department Chairs
It is of paramount importance for institutions to recognize the importance of departmental chairs and to cultivate their leadership abilities.
F21 Members in Positions of Campus Leadership
A listing of members from the Faculty 21 community in formal positions of campus leadership.
Leadership Growth Plan
Sylvia F. Nadler
The Leadership Growth Plan provides the steps towards developing an effective leadership action plan. By following through the process and asking the right questions, a leader can implement this plan in both his professional and personal life.
Leadership in the Context of Shaping a Meaningful Career
Melvin D. George
This essay outlines six essential characteristics of a good leader. By identifying each characteristic, Mel George examines the personal qualities that should be cultivated in all those developing leadership skills.
On Leadership In STEM
Presentation by P. Uri Treisman to the Project Kaleidoscope Leadership Committee
P. Uri Treisman
Leadership in disseminating ideas about reforms and about the process of reform is key to the strength of the 21st century undergraduate STEM community. In this essay, Treisman identifies his notion of "leadership" and he concludes that successful leaders inspire people to work collectively for the greater good.
Reflections on Leadership: The F21 Experience
PKAL Faculty for the 21st Century
Kevin D. Belfield, Veronique A. Delesalle, Rose Mary Zbiek
In 1997, members of the PKAL Faculty for the 21st Century (PKAL F21) community were asked to reflect on the critical challenges (and opportunities) facing faculty leaders in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.
Report for 2007
1994 - 2007
The tasks of leadership
John Gardner
As part of the Leadership Papers series sponsored by INDEPENDENT SECTOR, this essay examines nine leadership tasks and provides examples of each through the accomplishments of historical leaders.
What is Leadership?
Alexander W. Astin, Helen S. Astin
Excerpt from Leadership reconsidered: Engaging higher education in social change