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
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
"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.
St. Catherine partners with Hamline
University to offer MAOL students a
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,"
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
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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