The Leading Edge

Brown: His Enterprising Leadership Incubator sends student teams into local community

Brown: His Enterprising Leadership Incubator sends student teams into local community. Photo: Les Todd


The Hart Leadership Program at Duke is "one of the best-known leadership programs in the country," according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. Launched in 1986 through a seed gift from the Milledge A. Hart III Family Endowment, the program has gained the attention of other national organizations, as well. It will be showcased in a new book, Can Leadership be Taught?, to be published next year by Harvard Business School Press and the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching selected the Hart program to participate in its three-year Political Engagement Project, which documents and disseminates the most successful educational models for promoting political engagement among young people.

And the U.S. Department of Education is helping to fund "Scholarship with a Civic Mission," a three-stage national model for promoting intellectual, ethical, and civic engagement through service learning. The initiative was designed by the Hart Leadership Program and the Kenan Institute for Ethics.

More than 6,000 students have participated in the Hart Leadership Program's academic courses and service-learning experiences off campus.

The Hart Program has four components:

SOL (Service Opportunities in Leadership): an intensive twelve-month program incorporating classroom study, challenging field placements around the world, and a final policy research and reflection project. Recent research projects include micro-enterprise initiatives in South Africa and child-care and education models for low-income families.

ELI (Enterprising Leadership Incubator): Open to all undergraduates, the course requires students to develop a venture idea for a community-based project that they may implement on campus, in a summer internship, or as a community-volunteer activity. Spring-semester projects included a mentoring program for black males at a local high school, a Duke student-employee child-care initiative, and a new organization dedicated to mental-health education and awareness.

LANY (Leadership and the Arts in New York): Students take four courses over a semester in New York focusing on arts and public policy, ethics, the challenges of publicly funded arts organizations, leadership models in the arts, and the role of philanthropy, while also exploring galleries and attending concerts, plays, dance performances, and the opera. Last semester, for example, students saw a dozen operas and thirty-seven plays, including King Lear, The Producers, and Mourning Becomes Electra; met with professionals such as playwright Julia Cho (The Architecture of Loss); and attended several dance world premieres.

HFP (Hart Fellows Program): Recent Duke graduates are paired with experienced mentors in organizations around the globe to provide services, conduct research, and help build capacity in the hosting organization. Recent Hart Fellows have researched barriers to health care in rural India, assessed the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Cambodian communities, and explored male perceptions of men's roles in Tanzanian families and society.


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