New Reader’s College Series Established – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

New Reader’s College Series Established

Five new spring courses offered by the Centennial Center for Leadership

With goals of connecting academic work with important world issues and enhancing students’ ability to think independently and critically, foster a greater commitment to public and civic life, and be a leader in their chosen field, the Centennial Center for Leadership presents a spring 2009 Reader’s College Series-featuring a wide variety of courses taught by HWS faculty and staff that offers something for everyone.

“As interim director of the Centennial Center for Leadership, I wanted to broaden the course offerings beyond HWS Leads,” says Susan Pliner, who is also Associate Dean for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment.  “This series is designed to provide courses in which students can examine leadership in different contexts.  My hope is that members of faculty will continue to participate so we can offer more courses across many disciplines.”

Professor of Sociology Jack Harris and Leadership Development Coordinator Lynn Shollen will teach “HWS Leads: Minds Wide Open,” the gateway into the HWS Leads Leadership Development Certificate Program.  The program is based on the assumption that leaders are not born but are developed, and focuses on behaviors, not competencies.  In “HWS Leads,” current and aspiring leaders will study, read and discuss various components and practices of effective leadership, learning what it means to lead with an inclusive, ethical, and values-based approach.  Invited speakers, workshops, and experiential activities add depth and breadth to the content. Please see the Leadership page or contact for more information on the Leadership Certificate Program requirements and application process.

Examine contemporary and historical social movements in major U.S. cities, “Leadership and Social Change” will be taught by the Director of the Centennial Center for Leadership Susan Pliner, Assistant Professor of Education Khuram Hussain and Dean of William Smith Cerri Banks.  The course will include an introduction to theories and histories of social movements and an exploration of the role of leadership in advancing social change in education, politics and law, and contemporary social issues.  The range of topics will include: The Harlem Children’s Zone Project, environmental justice and urban neighborhoods, and policies such as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” For more information, contact Susan Pliner at or call (315) 781-3554.

Assistant Professor of Psychology Jon Iuzzini will teach “Intergroup Leadership,” which will explore what it means to be a transformative leader of people and groups whose differences can often overwhelm what they have in common.  Intergroup leadership is a new model that emphasizes how we can motivate people of different backgrounds to work together toward common goals. We will discuss the steps to facilitating collaboration between groups that have the potential to be in conflict by analyzing cases that range from multi-ethnic countries to religious communities to elected legislatures to multi-unit corporations. Readings will include “Crossing the Divide: Intergroup Leadership in a World of Difference.” Contact  Iuzzini at for more information.

E. W. Quimbaya-Winship, PEHR coordinator, and Ruth Shields, assistant director of Center for Teaching and Learning, will teach “Public Speaking,” which will introduce students to the basics of public speaking and presentation skills.  Using Cicero’s Canon as a foundation, this course will provide students with a practical opportunity to become better presenters and public speakers.  Topics covered will include (but are not limited to): critiquing a speech, analyzing your audience, exploring a topic, arranging a speech, the use of the language and the performance of speech through the voice and body.  For more information, contact Shields at  or (315) 781-3959.

Beth Kinne, assistant professor of environmental studies, and James Landi, sustainability coordinator, will teach the final Centennial Center for Leadership Reader’s College of the semester, titled “Leadership in Environmental Sustainability.”  This Reader’s College will examine the role that different types of leadership play in shifting culture, practices and policy to address environmental issues. It will include an introduction to a variety of leaders, ranging from ‘extreme’ grass roots leaders to ‘non-partisan’ leaders in the world of science.  Contact Kinne at or (315) 781-3913 for more information.