Josie and the Podcast hosted by Dr. Josie Ahlquist
Episode 18: John Dugan // Disrupting Leadership Education, Proposing a Twitter Ethic of Care & Unapologetically Nerdy/Apologetically Awkward

This week, we add a new podcast to our Leadership Thoughts series, Josie and the Podcast. Dr. Josie Ahlquist connects tech and leadership in higher education. Her guest this episode is Dr. John Dugan, the MSL Principal Investigator. In this episode, John and Josie discuss how social media and technology are woven into every aspect of a student’s life, and the need to help engage with these tools. John discusses new questions being added to the MSL about the use of technology and its relationship with leadership development, using social media in teaching, and more.

The MSL2018 will include new questions to measure technology and its influence on leadership development. Michelle Kusel, along with the MSL team, are developing questions around how online interactions shape relationship building, identity, self-awareness, and social perspective taking.

They discuss the premise that leadership development doesn’t begin during first year. A key finding from the last MSL was that over half of what a student knows about leadership is learned before they begin college. This provides an opportunity to invest and apply high impact practices at a younger age, perhaps partnering with key high school groups such as 4H and Boys and Girls Club. To that end, the MSL is broadening to reach non-university organizations to continue scaffolding leadership development.

John argues that we cannot bifurcate identity – digital and physical identities are integrated. He discusses three key findings from integrating Twitter in a class. First, there is a “social sixth sense” that emerges as a byproduct of using Twitter – students learn more about each other as people (for example, seeing pictures of pets or hobbies), and this cultivates a connection beyond the classroom space. Second, it provides an accessible opportunity to build social capital and to network. Finally, it helps with focused learning – students must succinctly write, clarify, and discuss. The power of tools like Twitter, he argues, is that it connects divergent ideas and people across distance.

Importantly, every recent social movement has involved social media, so we need to equip our students to engage with these tools. To hear more about leadership development and technology, using tech to amplify voices, and balancing the personal and professional, tune in to Josie and the Podcast.