Leadership & URISE

July 31, 2017
Jepson School of Leadership Studies faculty showcase critical thinking in programs for URISE students

Anyone who has ever taken a class with Dr. Julian Hayter has heard him say “context matters,” so it’s no surprise that the historian and assistant professor of leadership studies says these words at the very beginning of the tour of Richmond he gave for University of Richmond students in the URISE program.

A pre-first year program offered through the University’s School of Arts & Sciences, URISE is designed “to increase the number of students from groups traditionally underrepresented in science and math disciplines.” The program is coordinated by Dr. Shannon Jones, director of biological instruction, and is now in its fourth year. This year, Hayter and Dr. Jessica Flanigan both participated in URISE programming to introduce students to leadership studies and discuss topics related to critical thinking.

Hayter and the URISE students took a shuttle from the University of Richmond campus to the statue of Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue, Historic Tredegar, and Lumpkin’s Slave Jail. Along the way, Hayter encouraged students to give their own perspectives, highlighting how their varied hometowns and backgrounds form different viewpoints.

As the students surveyed the figure of Lee on Monument Avenue, Hayter asked, “Should the monument stay or go?” Students shared their views on the issue, which is currently being faced by city leaders across the country.

Leadership studies does not just mean studying leadership, Hayter explained. Rather, he says, it allows us to “interrogate the issue of human organization.”

At the end of the tour, Hayter took the students to Richmond favorite Bottom’s Up Pizza for dinner.

While Hayter’s tour gave students an introduction to both the city in which they will spend the next four years and leadership studies, Flanigan’s discussion gave students a taste of how leadership studies and STEM fields overlap. She spoke with the URISE students about the intersections of leadership, ethics, and the sciences, including status quo bias and resource allocation.

“The students discussed a thought experiment related to hospital resource allocation during a pandemic, and they weighed the advantages and disadvantages of different allocative principles,” says Flanigan, giving examples of principles such as treating the youngest first and first-come-first-served.

Flanigan, who is assistant professor of leadership studies and philosophy, politics, economics and law, teaches courses such as leadership ethics and ethical decision making in healthcare and serves as a faculty director of the Jepson School’s Science Leadership Scholars program.

“This discussion enabled students to discuss competing principles of justice with reference to a concrete case that leaders in healthcare could face.”