The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

16W

Cultural Expectations and Social Behavior

The January 11th RGLP session kicked off with several metaphoric activities intended to get students thinking about perspective. Holly Lanagely '19 and Ashley Dotson ’18 share their reactions here.

Steve Peterson: Systems Thinking

On January 8, Engineering Senior Lecturer Steve Peterson joined the Rocky Leadership Fellows winter retreat to lead a session on Systems Thinking. He started off the session by asking fellows what big issues they viewed as being important over the next 5-10 years: Climate Change, Multi-Dimensional Inequality, Guns, Immigration, Education were all answers that fellows gave. Professor Peterson proposed Systems Thinking as an important tool for analyzing complex issues in today’s world. He described the technique as dynamic in nature, transcending boundaries and focusing on the interdependency between many factors.

Terie Norelli: Gender and Leadership in the Workplace

During the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows Winter Retreat, on January 8, 2016, fellows had the unique opportunity to explore the impact of gender and leadership in the workplace with President and CEO of the NH Women’s Foundation, Terie Norelli.

Norelli’s session at the retreat was a powerful reminder of the influence that subconscious bias has in our every day interactions, despite our best efforts to eradicate it from our behavior. Prior to the retreat, Norelli encouraged all of the fellows to take an implicit bias test designed by researchers at Harvard University. Many of us, including myself, were surprised to discover that we had subconscious associations of women with family and men with career. I found this particularly fascinating in our group, given our presumed desire for egalitarian ethics within our organizations.

Steve Peterson: Systems Thinking

On January 8, Engineering Senior Lecturer Steve Peterson joined the Rocky Leadership Fellows winter retreat to lead a session on Systems Thinking. He started off the session by asking fellows what big issues they viewed as being important over the next 5-10 years: Climate Change, Multi-Dimensional Inequality, Guns, Immigration, Education were all answers that fellows gave. Professor Peterson proposed Systems Thinking as an important tool for analyzing complex issues in today’s world. He described the technique as dynamic in nature, transcending boundaries and focusing on the interdependency between many factors.

“What is common sense?”

On Tuesday, January 5, 2016, the Management and Leadership Development Program kicked off its first session, with guest speaker, Sadhana Hall, Deputy Director of the Rockefeller Center.

Sadhana first spoke about how leadership is showing up and not just physically, but mentally as well. She then went on to explain the importance of leaders being lifelong learners. “What is common sense?” Sadhana asked the group. One participant replied, “When you think something is common sense, you think you already know it.” Sadhana raised her hands in excitement, “Exactly! And when you assume you know something, the learning process stops.”

She took the group through some exercises that brought home the message that when we assume something is common sense, we assume everyone grew up in the same culture or has the same perspective on life, and that’s when the learning stops. As leaders we must commit to lifelong learning and always keep an open mind, and by challenging our assumptions on things we initially thought were common sense.  

New Public Policy Minor Course Winter Term (16W)

Professor Charlie Wheelan will be teaching Education 20: Educational Issues in Contemporary Society (10A) this coming winter term (16W). This course can count towards the public policy minor and will be of particular interest to those students studying the interplay of education and public policy.

This course gives students a critical introduction to the public institution they know best – the American school. As Professor Wheelan points out, “[Students] have already spent at least twelve years ‘studying’ schools from the inside, though [they] have probably only considered a small piece of the broader education system.”

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