Reflecting on an extraordinary year at Jepson

July 2009

As we reflect on all that we have been able to do at the Jepson School this year we must keep in mind that this has been a defining moment in history. This extraordinary year underscores the ongoing need for a School that teaches for and about leadership. Critical thinking, research methods, theories of leadership, and ethics: these comprise the tools for leadership today, whether the leader is a homebuyer, PTA member, teacher, politician, philanthropist or a person in business.

It's perhaps no wonder, then, that the Jepson School had a fabulous year. An unusually large number of applicants to the School led to a 20 percent increase in our admitted students. This year 72 bright and energetic young men and women, with interests as diverse as business, international affairs and community activism, joined our Jepson academic community. I was delighted to teach a new course this fall, Competition, Cooperation and Choice, which was cross-listed in the Robins School of Business.

Because we now enjoy a critical mass of extraordinary faculty members with diverse areas of specialization, our students have increased their own research efforts on a wide variety of projects. Xenia Schneider's honors thesis resulted in a paper, "A New Approach to the Ethical Treatment of Animals"; in a national competition she was chosen to present at a special session of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics Annual Meeting this spring.

Our students also continue to land exciting internships. As part of a new collaboration between the Jepson School and the American Community Schools in Athens, Greece, Danielle Mosher will intern in Athens. Katie Moyer, a double major in Leadership Studies and History, will intern with The Smithsonian Associates in Washington, D.C. Matt Yakob will intern under Tripp Perrin, a Jepson alumnus (Class of 1995!) at Care Advantage, Inc., a Richmond-based management consulting company.

Jepson faculty members published books and articles on the role of religion in public life, leadership ethics and leadership and the liberal arts. Outreach in the community remained a hallmark of the School, through our Forum series on Lincoln's Legacy of Leadership, our connections to Richmond and the surrounding counties in community service, and our leader-in-residence, Leland Melvin, who inspired local middle school children to think about careers in science.

There are many leadership challenges ahead. As we prepare to launch our "Jepson Promise" in support of the University's new strategic plan, we reaffirm our conviction at Jepson that we make a difference by preparing students to meet these challenges.

Best wishes,

Sandra J. Peart
Dean, Jepson School of Leadership Studies
University of Richmond