Power of Leadership
SLAM students begin with a gateway course called Entrepreneurial Leadership and Problem Solving in a Dynamic Economy. They continue with required or recommended courses such as Microeconomics and Ethics in Business and Management; electives cover much wider ground, including in-demand offerings like sections of world languages geared to business, everyday skills such as Technical Writing, and thought-provoking areas of study like Wealth, Power and Inequality. Some of the courses can also be grouped into learning pathways like Project Management, Arts Administration, and Global Commerce and Trade.
In professor Mallory Monaco Caterine’s Classical Leadership Lab, which she designed for SLAM and also for the Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship minor (offered by the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking), “students learn how to critically analyze historical, literary and documentary evidence from the ancient Mediterranean through a leadership framework, including questions about how one becomes a leader, the role emotional intelligence plays in leadership, and how to navigate transitions in power.”
The lab presents case studies, such as the relationship between young Telemachus and the goddess Athena, who guides him in Homer’s Odyssey.
“What makes someone receptive to being mentored? How does a mentor build trust with their mentee?” asked Monaco Caterine, a senior professor of practice and holder of the Greenberg Family Professorship in Social Entrepreneurship. “I want students to understand that the leadership issues we face today are not new and that looking for leadership in the narratives and artifacts of other cultures and times can provide us with inspiration to creatively meet 21st-century challenges.”
Similarly, Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance Leslie Scott brought her arts administration experience to the Philanthropy and Social Change course, where students lead research on local nonprofits over a semester and eventually award grants to deserving organizations. This past December, the class donated $10,000 to two nonprofit groups that use music and dance to educate and promote cultural awareness.
Three years ago, during the 2019-20 academic year, Edwards charged a task force to determine how best to structure what would become the Strategy, Leadership and Analytics minor, what he called SLAM 2.0. The group reached out to employers, recent alumni and current students to consider the skills employers look for. How could Tulane present these skills in a useful way? Today’s students need to know how to lead creatively and critically. They should be able to manage a budget. And they almost certainly would have to handle large amounts of data.
“We live in a digital economy, meaning data is one of our most valuable assets,” said business owner and Professor of Practice Allyson Heumann (NC ’96, B ’97). Her course Introduction to Data Analytics helps students gain basic data literacy. “Data comes in many forms; the key to successful analytics is to codify quantitative and qualitative data to tell the end user a compelling story.”
Noting that today’s college students are among the first to grow up in a fully digital generation, she wants them to not only interact with technology but to understand it, as employers will be seeking workers who can provide outcomes based on data analytics problem-solving.
“Students learn how data analysis works in a practical setting throughout the semester. Assignments are primarily pitches for or against the use of technology,” Heumann said of the course, which also teaches skills such as collaboration and persuasive thinking.
“Part of SLAM’s success is its focus on practical data and management skills that have wide application,” said Patrick Button, associate professor of economics and the inaugural executive director of The Data Hub, Tulane’s new campus center for interdisciplinary data literacy and data science programming. Button has taught the popular SLAM course Labor Economics. “How SLAM is incorporating data skills and data-driven decision making into its courses is a clear model for what the Data Hub hopes to build on.”