Next 'Common Theme' will tackle leadership issues

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Common Theme for the 2010-11 academic year will be “The Leadership Question.”

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Thomas Harden revealed the next Common Theme at Tuesday’s (Jan. 19) Mid-Year Convocation, an all-campus gathering of faculty and staff.

The Common Theme is a yearlong program to engage the University and community in the ideals of a liberal arts education and the UW-Green Bay interdisciplinary mission. The Common Theme encourages students, faculty, staff, and community members to focus on a general theme from a variety of perspectives with open discussion and critical thinking.

“If for no other reason than for the benefit of our students, I think that a Common Theme examination of ‘The Leadership Question’ is very important,” Harden said. He alluded to his own experience, on several occasions, of talking to young people who expressed reluctance to step up to leadership roles, or their indifference toward leadership.

Harden explained ‘The Leadership Question’ by reading a statement from the Common Theme task force:

“Opportunities to make a difference (in our own lives and the lives of others) often present themselves to us. And we choose the role we will play: Am I passionate enough and prepared enough to take the lead? Will I choose instead, to follow someone else’s lead? Will I choose to lead or follow a different path? Or will I opt out this time and focus my talents and skills on other priorities? Each time we encounter ‘The Leadership Question,’ we have the opportunity to choose a response. In the words of Thomas Paine, we can, ‘lead, follow, or get out of the way.’”

In the meantime, there are still activities and event related to the Common Theme for 2009-2010 of “Realizing our Sustainable Future.” Here are three example of how the Common Theme is occurring this spring in the life of UW-Green Bay:

  • On campus – On Feb. 2, the University will host Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes; a company that gives away a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair that is purchased. Organizers of the event describe him as an example of a social entrepreneur, doing good works while doing good business.
  • In the classroom – The Division of Outreach and Adult Access is offering a single-credit graduate course for educators, “Introduction to Sustainability.”
  • In the community – This spring ta Great Books discussion at the Brown County Central Library will focus on Red Sky at Morning by James Gustave Speth.

More information about the Common Theme can be found at: