We recognize that meeting the ambitious agenda of the Vision for the 2nd Century will require, above all else, the capacity of our own team to work effectively across school and divisional boundaries to put Rice’s stamp on local, national, and global issues of importance to us. We also recognize we have not carefully and systematically supported the development of a university-wide team with the tools and skills necessary to achieve our vision as a great research institution. RiceLeaders is designed to address this need, and will be one of a series of efforts to enable us to confront and use change creatively to meet our collective goals. Seven cohorts of faculty and staff have participated in the program since 2007.
To improve the collective capacity of the university to achieve our goals by:
- Expanding individual performance and
- Leveraging individual performance through more effective team performance
As a result of completing the program, each cohort member will:
- Collaborate more effectively and
- Support fellow and future groups of staff and faculty in this program as well as other development efforts
The program was developed in 2006 (and launched in 2007) to support the execution of Rice University’s Vision for the Second Century (V2C). Research has shown that leadership plays an increasingly important role in organizational change efforts, but focusing leadership development on individuals is increasingly ineffective because:
- the point of intervention is wrong (it maximizes the contribution of the individual vs. the organization)
- it misses the organizational context
- it focuses too much on either end of the execution spectrum (grand strategy or tactics), instead of at the operational level, where the real leverage exists
- there’s no supporting structure once the employee returns to work.
The leadership development available through RiceLeaders occurs
- over time
- in cohort groups
- with a focus on the implementation level
Kevin Kirby, Ed.D., the Vice President for Administration, and Mary Cronin (firstname.lastname@example.org), the Associate Vice President for Human Resources, engaged Brent Smith, Ph.D., a faculty member at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business and The London School of Business, to lead the program design initiative because of his expertise in the field, and his previous experience designing similar programs.
Based on their collective experiences, Kirby, Cronin and Smith brainstormed the key topic areas of the curriculum which included:
- self- awareness-based leadership and assessments
- strategy (implementation is the responsibility of each individual, not Rice as an institution)
- teams (the V2C implementation would require teamwork)
In addition, the program was designed to include:
- coaching support participants’ interpretations of their assessment results, and bridge the gap “white space” between modules
- action learning projects to apply skills learned in the program, and provide continuity between modules
RiceLeaders Action Learning Projects
Similar to the students at the Jones Graduate School of Business, the completion of a major project is one of the major matriuclation requirements that must be accomplished by all RiceLeaders participants. The projects are intended to
- give participants opportunities to practice leadership and teambuilding skills learned in the program
- enable participants to build stronger ties with other members of their project groups
- bridge the gap between modules and keep participants engaged in the RiceLeaders conversation
- provide a direct connection between participants, the President, and the Provost
President David Leebron and former Provost Gene Levy asked the RiceLeaders participants in cohorts 1 – 4 to make recommendations on the topics that follow, all of which are closely related to Rice’s Vision for the Second Century:
- V2C Success Criteria
- Engagement & Influence Strategy for City of Houston
- Campus Vibrancy
- Teaching Opportunities for Graduate Students
- Enhancing Interactions with the Texas Medical Center
- Welcome to Rice: Improving Orientation for Faculty & Staff
- Prospective Students’ & Parents’ First Impressions of Rice
- Enhancing Interactions with the Texas Medical Center: Universal Agreement for Subcontracts; Use of TMC Library Electronic Resources
- Improving Campus Vibrancy: Activating the Center of Campus
- Rice / Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) Merger: Strategy (7-S Model)
- Rice / Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) Merger: Structure (7-S Model)
- Rice / Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) Merger: Systems (7-S Model)
- Rice / Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) Merger: Culture
- Rice / Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) Merger: Engagement
In addition, President David Leebron and Provost George McClendon asked the RiceLeaders participants in cohort 5 to make recommendations on the topics that follow, all of which also are closely related to Rice’s Vision for the Second Century:
- Implementation of Rice University’s Holistic Corporate Relations Initiative
- Joint Degree Programs with UT School of Public Health
- Leadership Development for Graduate Students
- Strengthening the Role of Departmental / School Administrators
Under the direction of Brent Smith of the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business, we have developed a 12-day curriculum, offered in four modules over a year’s period. The focus is on the critically important capacities of leadership, teamwork, creativity and strategy implementation. Along with the curriculum, RiceLeaders participants are responsible for completing action learning projects, which are designed both to advance some key V2C initiatives and give participants practical experience in trying out new leadership skills. Each participant’s examination of his or her own leadership strengths and weaknesses is aided by a series of assessments by colleagues, subordinates and supervisors, and by dedicated time with an executive coach. The modules include:
Cohort and Session Schedule
|Cohort 1||January 2007||May 2007||September 2007||January 2008|
|Cohort 2||September 2007||May 2008||October 2008||January 2008|
|Cohort 3||May 2008||December 2008||January 2009||April 2009|
|Cohort 4||October 2008||January 2009||September 2009||April 2009|
|Cohort 5||October 2011||January 2012||September 2012||April 2012|
|Cohort 6||January 2012||September 2012||January 2013||April 2012|
To help them gain a deeper understanding of themselves, both from their own and others' perspectives, RiceLeaders participants engage in three different assessments at two key points of the program.
In preparation for the Leadership module and start of the RiceLeaders program, participants complete and nominated raters, to complete on their behalf (Talent Sage 360, NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R) and Innovation Strengths Preference Indicator (ISPI).
Participants receive and review the results of these assessments during their Leadership module, then work with executive coaches following the module to further interpret, and make good use of, the assessment feedback.
The RiceLeaders program was designed to enable organizational transformation, which requires leadership development at the organizational level. This leads to:
- internalization of the vision and strategy;
- higher collective leadership competence of a critical mass of individuals;
- implementation at the operational level, leading to better outcomes; and
- stitching the university together.
To improve the collective leadership competence of Rice to implement the Vision for the 2nd Century through the RiceLeaders program, participants were recruited into cohorts. These groups, which encompass almost all schools and divisions from across the university, each include approximately 25 deans, department chairs, faculty, vice presidents and administrators from across campus. Individuals were selected with an eye on:
- ensuring a balanced mix of participants (faculty and staff, male and female, etc.);
- representation from across campus;
- their position/role (leading voice on campus); and
- their understanding of Rice's strategy, and ability to help implement it.
Which exact participants were in each cohort was much less important than the collective composition of the group. The pathfinders in cohort 1 made sure departments on campus knew about the RiceLeaders program, and recommended participants for future cohorts. To date seven RiceLeaders groups have completed the program.
Since participants take a number of assessments before and during the program, administrators felt responsible to provide the participants with coaching to ensure they understand and make use of the feedback from assessments. As such coaching is an important component of the RiceLeaders program design. This tool helps bridge the gaps between modules, and provides a way for participants to stay engaged in the conversation.
All coaches selected for the program:
- hold a Ph.D.
- coach regularly
- have experience working over a period of time with Brent Smith, the RiceLeaders design consultant and faculty member
Additionally, coaches are expected to:
- take participants through a review of the results of their assessments
- guide participants in identifying important developmental needs on which to focus attention
- support participants in creating personal action and development plans
Some participants may opt to continue working with their coach even after the pre-determined number of coaching sessions have been completed. Still other participants may make coaching opportunities available to members of their schools or departments.
The participation and contribution of the RiceLeaders coaches enriches the value of the learning program and is one of the key means by which professional development at this high stakes level is successfully carried out.
The individuals selected to serve on the faculty of the RiceLeaders program are regarded as experts in their respective fields. While Kevin Kirby (VP for Administration) and Brent Smith (Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business faculty member, and program design consultant for RiceLeaders) designed the starting point for the curriculum, the individual faculty gave input to and helped refine the curriculum, including selecting the cases and readings used.
Leadership and Teams
- Cohorts 1 thru 6: D. Brent Smith – Bio and CV
(Randall Peterson developed the curriculum for the Teams module, but extenuating circumstances precluded his ability to facilitate the sessions. Brent Smith took over and facilitated the Teams module for all four RiceLeaders cohorts.)
- Cohorts 1 thru 4: Margaret Cording – Bio and CV
- Cohort 1: Gale Wiley – Bio and CV
- Cohort 2: Rick Schell – Bio and CV
- Cohorts 5 thru 6: D. Brent Smith – Bio and CV
- Cohorts 5 thru 6: Mike Grojean – Bio and CV