In each edition of Engaging U, we will feature a University of Minnesota engagement unit or center. If you have suggestions for upcoming profiles, please contact Amber Cameron (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For this edition of our Engaging U spotlight we meet Laura Bloomberg and Leah Lundquist, Executive Director and Program Manager of the Center for Integrative Leadership. In the interview below, Bloomberg and Lundquist provide highlights of their office's engagement work in the surrounding communities.
1) Describe the work of your office.
The Center for Integrative Leadership (CIL) is dedicated to examining and advancing a vision for leadership that fosters collective action across boundaries to advance the common good and address grand challenges. We engage in collaborative teaching, community engagement, and research initiatives with schools and centers across the University and partners external to the University.
At CIL, understanding the elements of leadership required to address multi-faceted grand challenges will be our focus for the next several years.
2) What is a current engagement project your unit is working?
One of the approaches we find helpful to fostering collective action across boundaries is a powerful suite of facilitative practices and practical frameworks called The Art of Hosting Conversations that Matter. Over the course of two summers, we've trained over 120 staff and faculty from 21 colleges and departments across the University in these practices. Many of these individuals are now transforming their engagement work through these practices and patterns.
Most recently, we co-hosted a community conversation on the impact of sex trafficking and trading on urban communities with the Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center and the Northside Women's Space - a safe place for sexually-exploited girls and women in North Minneapolis.
3) What communities does CIL partner with?
While CIL continues to be committed to building leadership capacity across Minnesota through involvement with InCommons—a statewide effort to inspire and support community-powered problem solving, we also are highly engaged right here in our own neighborhood through CHANCE and the Neighborhood Business Fellows—initiatives that strengthen the interdependent relationship between Cedar-Riverside residents and business owners and students at both the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and the Carlson School of Management.
4) What impact is this project having?
By creating the opportunity for individuals to experience a different way to talk about and address cross-boundary issues such as sex trafficking, we hope to inspire students, faculty, and staff across the U to not only continue to address grand challenges but to do so more inclusively and more effectively. Over the next few years, we look forward to continuing to foster integrative leadership in areas such as regional economic and social vitality, healthy development and educational achievement, global food safety and food security, and postsecondary education's role in society.
For the full interview, visit our blog.