Collaborative Management Skills: Training Engaged Civic Leaders

By Diane Ellen Schmidt.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

With increasing frequency, many government and nongovernmental programs have moved beyond promoting domestic and/or global cooperation to encouraging, or even mandating, collaboration between governmental and nongovernmental organizations in resolving community or global problems. As such, contemporary public managers need skills in leadership and organizational skills that are particular to collaborative community management. As a response to this market demand, I created a course that combines theory and practice in leadership, civic engagement, and place-based politics and administration. This paper provides the theoretical and practical argument for using collaborative management skills for training an engage civic leader in a single course within small to medium sized academic program where faculty availability and limited budgets constrain the number of offerings to professionals. The paper provides both a description of the professional skills developed as well as evidence of course effectiveness. More specifically, as an introduction to the theory and practice of collaborative management, the course is designed to provide students an opportunity to examine case studies of successful practices of collaboration as well as to critique strategies and methods used in fostering collaborative management. The course topics include leadership, negotiation, consensus building, organizational change, network analysis, and civic engagement. Over the course of the semester students will have been involved in a real time civic engagement project, managed an inter-organizational collaborative in the community, facilitated an intra-organizational collaborative within the classroom, developed executive writing skills, created a project report, and prepared a public presentation about the collaboration results. As such, in a single course, students are provided the skills and abilities necessary for productive civic leadership in their communities or as global leaders working for transformative change.

Keywords: Collaboration, Collaborative Management, Civic Leadership, Civic Engagement

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.127-146. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.495MB).

Dr. Diane Ellen Schmidt

Professor, Coordinator, Undergraduate Public Administration Program, Department of Political Science, California State University, Chico, California, USA

I have been teaching for over 25 years in public policy and government. I am a professional policy analyst and have worked as a community consultant in policy analysis and, most recently, in collaborative community management. I consult in communities as a facilitator for collaborative projects and teach courses in collaborative management and program evaluation. I have published and/or presented my research on collaborative management in a variety of forums including the subfields of community development and public administration. I am also the author of a widely recognized writing text entitled, Writing in Political Science, forthcoming in its 4th edition in 2009.


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