June 2010 cover SCAN"St. Catherine University St. Catherine University
February 2011
 
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The World, Upside Down

Now 25 years strong, St. Kate's MAOL program builds leaders fit for a brave new world.

BY ELIZABETH CHILD

Five years into the 21st century, journalist and social commentator
Thomas Friedman told us that the world is flat. Now, the faculty of St. Catherine
University's Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) program would like us to consider the idea that the world is upside down.

In her office, MAOL Program Director Rebecca Hawthorne has upended the familiar world map so the United States is in the bottom left corner — no longer the center of the world. "The point is to challenge people to rethink their role in the world and their absolute understanding of the world," Hawthorne explains.

This year the MAOL is celebrating a quarter century of challenging people's perspectives. Founding director Julie Belle White-Newman, who retired in 2008, refuted the autocratic, top-down model of leadership, saying that, to excel in today's world, a leader must be "effective, ethical and enduring." Those recepts have infused all MAOL courses since the 1980s.

Now, global perspective is part of the mix. It's a bridge between Internationalism and multiculturalism that incorporates variables such as age, religion and gender.

MAOL faculty member Brenda Ellingboe '05, an internationalization consultant, began three years ago to work with faculty members to incorporate a global
perspective into every MAOL course. Finance courses, for example, analyze international companies within a global context, addressing international sources of funding and different financial practices across various countries and cultures. Students in marketing classes evaluate the potential for taking a product to market internationally or in a particular cultural environment
in the United States.

"Most people are centered on their own countries, and that influences how you think about others and yourself," says Josef A. Mestenhauser, who co-teaches the course "Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Leadership" with Ellingboe. "In American culture, we believe we are exceptional people by virtue of fate. We make assumptions about how people desire to be like us. That's a dangerous concept because we ignore other influences."

Mestenhauser's addition to the St. Catherine faculty brings a world authority on cultural leadership to the MAOL experience. A Distinguished International Emeritus professor at the University of Minnesota, Mestenhauser left his native Czechoslovakia during World War II and has 180 articles and books to his name.

Hawthorne believes that the need for cross-cultural competence is critical to success— whether you are a leader working in the Twin Cities or internationally. She has seen the faculty's early efforts help to transform graduates' careers.

At Cargill, one MAOL graduate made the move from wheat scientist to international changemanagement consultant. Nursing leaders in the Twin Cities have learned to collaborate with four generations of colleagues who bring differing views about workplace practices and policies. Nonprofit managers say that they are better equipped to serve widely diverse client populations.

Graduate study abroad

A campus-wide effort is underway to globalize the curriculum at St. Kate's.
That includes incorporating study abroad into graduate programs, and the
MAOL is leading the way, according to Director of Global Studies Catherine
Spaeth. "Graduate programs across the United States are starting to realize that students who had study-abroad experiences as undergraduates want them in graduate programs, too," she explains.

St. Catherine partners with Hamline University to offer MAOL students a
graduate study-abroad opportunity in Budapest. And in fall 2011, Associate
Professor Martha Hardesty will launch the University's first study-abroad
course exclusively for MAOL students and graduates. On-campus study will
complement a two-week trip to Japan in mid-semester. The course compares
American and Japanese theories and practices of leadership.

These international experiences can revitalize careers. "At 47, I had felt stuck in my sales career at Cisco Systems," says Alex Masui, MAOL '11. She seized the opportunity to study mediation in Budapest, though the course was outside of her general leadership focus.

"In retrospect, it was one of the best leadership classes I could have taken,"
Masui says. Students were from Turkey, the former Soviet Union, China, the Philippines, Iraq and Afghanistan. Masui heard points of view she otherwise
never would have encountered, and discovered an interest in the nuances of how language is interpreted within different cultures.

When a prime job opened up for a global business development manager in Cisco Systems' Enterprise Translation Services Group, Masui was hired. Now she travels far and wide to ensure culturally correct, consistent translations
of the Cisco services she once sold. "Without the program in Budapest, I
never would have been considered for my recent promotion," she says.

On campus, the emerging global focus is opening doors for students and faculty to share ideas on global issues across disciplines. Professors are developing coursework in which students reflect on their own cultures and immerse themselves in other cultures — with the objective of cultivating effective, ethical and enduring leadership in a global context.

 

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More about MAOL

You and your guests are invited

25th Anniversary Celebration
of the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership

The Art of Leadership:
Past Practices to Future Forecasts

Featuring:

  • Bill George, Harvard Business School professor, former Medtronic chariman and CEO
  • Cathy Wurzer, host of Minnesota Public Radio's "Morning Edition" and co-host of Twin Cities Public Television's "Almanac"

Monday, April 4, 2011

Rauenhorst Hall • Coeur de Catherine
St. Paul campus • St. Catherine University

Networking Reception 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Hors d'oeuvres and wine

Program 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Coffee and Dessert 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Tickets are $35. Register online before March 28: maol25.com.

Questions? Contact Val Krech: 651-690-6420 or vakrech@stkate.edu