“What is leadership studies?”

It’s a familiar question to the Jepson School of Leadership Studies community. In her new blog, Leadership Speculations, Jepson School Dean Sandra J. Peart hopes to raise awareness of new theories and experiments in leadership among a wide audience.

“It seems that every day we are reminded of the urgent need for leadership in all walks-of-life. My hope is that the blog will add to public understanding of this subject, which we at Jepson hold so dear,” says Peart.

When the Jepson School was founded in 1992, it was the first program of its kind, examining the phenomenon of leadership from an array of disciplines across the liberal arts. Now in its 25th anniversary year, the School has served as a model for leadership programs around the world, but to many, the field is still relatively unknown.

In her first post, Peart writes, “Few generalizations about leadership exist, and it sometimes seems as though the ones we know are not actually in public discourse. For many, the field consists of aphorisms from self-help books.”

Peart is looking to fill this gap. Leadership Speculations will tackle leadership as it relates to current events but promises to do so “with a grounding in evidence or experience.” Academic at its core, the blog’s title plays on Peart’s background in economics. “I wanted the title to be forward looking, as the field continues to advance at a rapid pace, and I also wanted it to encompass the idea of ‘risk’ in leadership,” says Peart.

In a post titled “Ethics in an even more uncivil age,” a nod to an editorial Peart published in USA Today in 2010, Peart considers how a curricular focus on ethics can encourage students to practice listening and engaging in civil debate on campuses.

“It was the Jepson School’s commitment to ethics that drew me to the University,” says Peart. “Everyone faces morally fraught decisions, so ethics is more neutral than many other subjects. Leadership ethics teaches us how to understand and deal with temptations.”

Peart says that she will stick to writing about what she knows: the Jepson School and its programs and alumni, leadership studies research, her own experience as a dean in higher education, and her research on the history of economic ideas.

“The Jepson School is a unique place with a faculty that continues to shape the field of leadership studies and accomplished alumni who are prepared to tackle the complex problems facing our world today,” says Peart.