Executive education: Focus on leadership

By Sara Johnson, director of Executive Education, Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs |

As another presidential election campaign races to its conclusion, the topics of public management and leadership are getting a lot of attention and scrutiny. Questions such as “Whom do you trust?” or “Who is the most qualified?” are in the news every day.

For those vying for the top leadership position in the United States, there are obvious differences in style, experience and philosophy. Clearly, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to effective leadership of government and other organizations that exist to serve the public.

Still there are common bonds, and perhaps “serve the public” is the key phrase here. If we assume those who seek leadership positions in organizations that “serve the public” are there to truly serve, would we not expect them to be “servant leaders?” Robert K. Greenleaf, who established the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, first coined the term in 1970.

According to Greenleaf, this philosophy and set of practices focuses on “enriching the lives of individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately creates a more just and caring world.” To create a more just and caring world, one must have a heart for serving others and exhibit effective leadership traits.

That’s where taking courses in Public Management and Nonprofit Management can create an advantage. Skills learned and applied in these programs at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs prepare leaders for the unique practices and challenges in organizations that serve the public.

Executive Education courses at SPEA offer both graduate credit and non-credit programs to working professionals. Public Management and Nonprofit Management Certificates can be earned using a blended format of both in-person and online courses. Graduate credit earned in these certificates can then be applied toward a master’s degree in public affairs.

These Executive Education programs are specifically designed to develop leadership skills that will strengthen public and nonprofit organizations as they respond to their unique challenges, such as funding structures, breadth of stakeholders and potentially working with a large population of volunteer workers. The Executive Education program at Indiana University can also customize non-credit training for an organization’s employees, administrative team or board.

Besides offering solid course work, the programs are receiving national recognition. The most recent rankings from U.S. News & World Report rated the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs first and fourth in the nation in nonprofit management (Bloomington and IUPUI) and third in public management based on ratings by educators at peer schools.

Faculty members are industry experts, many of whom have led nonprofit and public organizations prior to teaching, and include former mayors, economic and health policy experts and authors of books about nonprofit governance.

Why not build your leadership skills by working with some of the industry’s best?

For more information about SPEA Executive Education visit the website at Click Here call 317-274-3418 or email execeduc@iupui.edu.


sara-johnsonSara Johnson is the director of Executive Education and a clinical assistant professor at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Johnson has been a lecturer for SPEA, where she teaches executive leadership, as well as the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI, where she taught both graduate and undergraduate students and was director of undergraduate programs.

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