What exactly IS leadership?
Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He also is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators, and was a co-creator of the wildly popular video series, Did You Know? (Shift Happens). He has received numerous national awards for his technology leadership work, including recognitions from the cable industry, Phi Delta Kappa, and the National School Boards Association. In Spring 2011 he was a Visiting Canterbury Fellow at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Dr. McLeod blogs regularly about technology leadership issues at Dangerously Irrelevant and Mind Dump, and occasionally at The Huffington Post. He can be reached at scottmcleod.net.
Is the term leadership a euphemism? If so, for\nwhat?
Since about half of America is holding a primary or a caucus today, that\nquestion seemed relevant. I'm not sure most people know what leadership\nis.\n
I've been listening to what the presidential candidates are saying about\nthemselves and each other over the past few weeks. One of the most interesting\ndiscussions is between John McCain and Mitt Romney over the question of which of\nthem is more qualified to be president. Romney, in a nutshell, says McCain lacks\nsome important basic skills. Romney says that his own Harvard MBA, his business\nresume and his executive experience as a state governor give him the theoretical\nbackground knowledge and the experience needed to fix our government and\neconomy. John McCain's response, basically, is that he doesn't think Romney was\nthat great a governor, and that he can hire someone with a Harvard MBA and some\nbusiness experience to work for him when he becomes president. McCain says that\nRomney's background makes him a manager in a country that needs\nleaders. And (surprise) McCain, of course, thinks of\nhimself as that leader.\n
Whether you agree with either of them, the discussion provides some\ncontrasting images of just what might constitute leadership. I think that one of\nour problems in education (or in America, for that matter) is that we're not\nsure what leadership is. The fact that two men who both want to be president are\nhaving this discussion seems to indicate that even our leaders don't know\nclearly what leadership is or at least they don't agree on what it is.\n\n
I think one of the problems is that leadership, whatever that is, is usually\nonly one component of most administrative jobs. School administrators do have to\nmanage. They also do have to remain educators. As basic as that sounds,\nI've met principals who didn't think it was their job to be an educator anymore.\nThey didn't think they were obligated to keep up with the research or changes in\nbest practices. They thought their job was to manage and that the\nschool had other people who were responsible for all that educational stuff.\nHeck, they'd become a principal partly because they didn't really like education\nvery much!
The corollary to this is simple, but also often overlooked. You don't have to\nbe an administrator to be a leader. In almost every educational environment I've\never been in, some of the most effective leaders weren't administrators; they\nwere just committed educators whose character and values required them to lead.\n\n
I can't articulate a definition of leadership that satisfies me. I know what\nit isn't. I know it overlaps with many things. But I'm still looking for a\ncrystalline definition. I worry sometimes that because the idea is difficult to\ndefine, people will think it is a euphemism for administration and thus miss the\nreal nature of leadership.\n
I do know that I don't have to be an administrator to be a leader.\n\n
Greg Cruey, Guest Blogger\n
Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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