Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The role of aesthetics in the perception of leadership


When I first wanted to ask this question of the group there wasn't a category. Now that their is our discussion the other week about aesthetics in leadership reminded me about it and I've been thinking about this quite a bit more. I'm not sure if the blog will be up after class (or if anybody will be continuing discussions here) but I wanted to at least ask just in case.

I know there were only a few female characters in Bel Canto book to begin with, but I was curious about their development and how their own personal aesthetic played in with their role. Carmen was beautiful and striking from the get-go (even though they assumed she was a beautiful-faced boy.) She also turned out to be intelligent and a quick learner! Beatriz was, (to summarize crudely), portrayed as ugly, surly and stupid.

My questions are:
In literature, do females need to be beautiful to be valuable characters? (or even in real life - valuable leaders?)

Does personal aesthetic (not just clothes, but one's personal appearance) make a difference in the perception of one's leadership abilities, their intelligence and whether or not we want to interact with them?

Here's a lighthearted example - it isn't a leadership video but it illustrates the question quite well:
"NYU Student Conducts Most Adorable Robot Experiment Ever"
Students set a little self-propelled robot at one side of central park with a note to see what happened. Would people steal the robot? Would they kick it or damage it? Would people help the robot along the way? They set the robot in the park and taped its travels. The results were unbearably cute, and the group used it as an example to argue that humanity really isn't as bad as we think it is. I would like to see them perform the same study again with a larger, less-cute robot and see what the next set of findings are.

Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009

LARPT Summary of Findings

To access the LARPT Summary of Findings please click on the link below:


Link Action Research Project

Thank you to everyone who actively listened and engaged in thought provoking discussion during our presentation last night. As follow up, below you will find a link to an interesting article recently posted in the Star Tribune.


Altered Esthetics - Outreach Project

Our goal was to conduct an outreach project, learn from the experience and provide a template to use for future outreach needs. Even though we incurred some roadblocks (and also because of them) the project was successful and we're happy to be able share the following resources:

Class Presentation
Slideshare - Full Presentation
Printable version of the slideshow (pdf)

I Hate Artists!
Full Video on YouTube

Ten Steps for Outreach Handout (pdf)
Stakeholder Survey Results (pdf)
Our WikiAction Research Page (FYI, anyone can view the wiki but for security purposes you must be logged in to download wiki-specific files.)

~Jamie, Janayah, Lindy and Nduka

Monday, Apr 27, 2009

Liberal Arts Action Research Project

The link to access our University of Minnesota wiki, LiberalArtsMajorsUnite is: https://wiki.umn.edu/view/LiberalArtsMajorsUnite/WebHome

The link to our Facebook Group is: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=157265220310

If you would like to receive a copy of our PowerPoint presentation: Email either Laura (smit3879@umn.edu) or Michael (satt0080@umn.edu) and we'll be happy to send it to you!

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009

Altered Esthetics - Action Research Updates

Hello class,

We have two sets of updates/notes for you this week. Exciting!

Last week we met, discussed “connecting the connections” that we made, and we also continued to work on our presentation. We talked about change, best practices and agreed to think about “what worked and what didn’t” in preparation for the following week.

Over the weekend we compiled some of the information from our Stakeholder survey so we could begin making observations about that. We received a very good response from our stakeholders and the data was helpful so that was fun to share with each other.

This week when we met we continued to discuss our presentation. We also talked about what worked throughout the process and what didn’t, began to discuss some of the final numbers and started to make some of our notes for the future. 
Next week we plan to wrap up final numbers, our presentation, and help each other with our individual projects as is appropriate/needed.

We also have two invitations to extend to you - also exciting!

1) Altered Esthetics is turning 5 this month, and we’re having a celebration in conjunction with our annual spring fundraiser this Friday, April 17. The celebration will include music, games, a wood-themed art exhibit, etc. It is free to attend and it would be a fun opportunity for everybody to see in person what this is all about. You can find more about the specific event at alteredesthetics.org/fiveyears

2) Just a reminder of what Nduka noted in class - we value your feedback to this process and invite you to give us your impressions or thoughts on what we’ve been doing.

Thanks - and have a good week! ~Nduka, Lindy, Janayah and Jamie.

P.S. For notes/agendas please view the extended entry.

Monday, Apr 13, 2009

The World Is Flat.

Week 12- April 13, 2009

Never considered myself of a fan of Friedman, but now, I am rethinking my stance. I appreciate the way he is engaging in the global issues of the world and challenging himself, readers, and the world to think outside the box. It seems to me that the term “flat” is synonymous for interconnectedness on a positive and prosperous level. The unflat world is not so much, thus the “only way out is through new ways of collaboration between” the two worlds.

The beginning of this collaboration will also usher in the beginning of “trust” and at the decline of “fear.” Different players with different views will seize to feel threatened but seek to understand, to “use their imagination…to lift people up” (p. 613). We will be more careful about bombing nations for which we have little just cause, and more eager to engage them in mutual respect. Way to bring trust into the conversation Pat!

To address this question of “when fear or love has affected…ability to bridge cultural…divides?” I will have to disagree with Friedman and say that it was our era of being the only superpower, with “the world [as] our oyster” that has contributed to the fear that limits American leaders from bridging gaps. For example with China’s rise in power and affluence, I am not particularly concerned about China’s (and Asia’s) response to America’s number 1 status than I am of our response to their ascension. We’ve made up all these reasons to why China’s rise is concerning, when I think it is simply because we are experiencing humiliation at not being the sole power. We need to want to be part of those cultures that thrive on “sudden opportunities for collaboration” (p. 555). It will be the only way for us to remain a beloved superpower—if we so desperately want to keep the title!

And nice choice on the Kiwi-Strawberry Nathan might just get one tomorrow! ;o)

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs