Kellogg World Alumni Magazine Winter 2006Kellogg School of Management
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Professor Buck named director of leadership initiatives
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  Professor Michelle Buck
  Professor Michelle Buck  Photo © Nathan Mandell
Professor Buck named director of leadership initiatives

In September, Kellogg School Clinical Associate Professor of Management and Organizations Michelle Buck took on a new role in addition to her teaching responsibilities and position as associate director of Executive Education.

The scholar, whose research and teaching includes leadership, negotiations, and organizational behavior, became director of leadership initiatives at Kellogg. Dean Dipak C. Jain appointed Buck to the role, designed to help integrate, coordinate and leverage existing Kellogg leadership-related offerings and identify additional opportunities.

Buck, who earned a doctorate in social psychology from Princeton University, has been a faculty member at Kellogg since 2001, although previously (1992-1994) she had been a visiting assistant professor at the Kellogg Dispute Resolution Research Center.

Kellogg World recently spoke with Professor Buck about her new appointment and what the situation means for leadership opportunities at the school.

Kellogg World: How did this new position come about and how does it fit within the overall leadership strategy that Kellogg has put forward?

Prof. Michelle Buck: It emerges from the Kellogg School's desire to expand the leadership development of our students. The school has always been known for its expertise in teamwork and for its culture that supports collaborative learning, but the school wanted to build upon those strengths. Dean Jain has spoken about the school distinguishing itself in team leadership, thought leadership and civic leadership.  The school's mission is to create knowledge and develop socially responsible global leaders. For two years, a leadership task force composed of students, faculty and administrators has met to explore ways that the school can leverage existing offerings in the area of leadership and generate new ones. Part of that discussion was to create a position so that one faculty member would be a  "point person" for these leadership-related initiatives.

Kellogg World: What are the position's main responsibilities or objectives?

Prof. Buck: There are two primary areas of focus. The first is to integrate, coordinate and leverage existing leadership-related offerings. There are already a lot of leadership-related activities going on in the school. Students have many opportunities to fill leadership roles in clubs, associations and committees. They demonstrate leadership in the many ways that they contribute to the school's curriculum, programs and culture. This is true in all our MBA programs. Faculty are already doing research on many leadership-related topics, even when the word "leadership" may not explicitly appear as part of their work's title. And there are many programs that enable students to further their leadership development while they are here. We need to weave a thread through all these initiatives: What is the Kellogg leadership experience? What are the opportunities? What are examples of leadership in action at Kellogg? This new position enables us to better leverage existing offerings by presenting a clear focus on what we have to offer in the leadership area.

Secondly, the position helps create new leadership initiatives, programs and opportunities. We want to do everything we can to support our students and alumni in becoming socially responsible global leaders who make a positive difference in their organizations and communities.

Kellogg World: What makes you most excited about this new role?

Prof. Buck: It's great to be in a position to build existing strengths and explore new possibilities. The Kellogg community is already so strong in its commitment, creativity and expertise. This new position is incredibly exciting because we can collectively ask: What does it mean for Kellogg to be a leader in the area of leadership? What an exciting question. What is the common "story" that unites our many leadership initiatives? What type of leadership is uniquely aligned with Kellogg culture and values? How can a school support leadership development throughout the student's educational experience? Kellogg has already been exploring these issues, but the new position enables a stronger, more integrated approach.  — MG

©2002 Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University