November 24, 2004
Contact: Dr. Carl Koch, 608-796-3706 or firstname.lastname@example.org, director, MA in Servant Leadership Program
VITERBO LAUNCHES NATIONAL SERVANT LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE
LA CROSSE, Wis -- Viterbo University's graduate program in Servant Leadership will go national in June 2005.
This latest move comes just three year after Viterbo's initial launch of a Master of Arts in Servant Leadership Program (MASL) on the La Crosse campus, the first of its kind in the nation. Over 65 students are currently enrolled in the program and because of the strong response, university officials decided to expand the program and create an institute that would offer flexibility for adults who could earn their master's degree by attending classes at Viterbo each summer for two weeks over a four-year cycle. Students will be sent their coursework in early spring and begin working with faculty at a distance using the Internet. Independent projects will take place over the winter.
“This program has really attracted attention and the participants who have enrolled are from all walks of life. Bankers, teachers, accountants, individuals working in church-related occupations are all sharing the same classroom and studying the servant-leadership model and how it can work in their organization,” said Dr. Carl Koch, director of the MASL program.
Because of the popularity of the program, Koch said he has received queries from individuals living in other regions of the country, which lead to the move to expand. “We knew the traditional classroom format wouldn't work for busy adults living hundreds of miles from campus. But, by using the tools of distance education along with the on-campus summer coursework, we are able to create an institute that will be attractive to adults who want to study and practice servant leadership.”
The term “servant leadership” was coined by Robert Greenleaf in 1970. The former AT&T executive believed that the roles of servant and leader needed to be fused together to create organizations which were healthier, efficient and in many cases more profitable than traditional “top-down” organizations. He went on to establish the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, writing numerous books and essays on the theme of the servant as leader.
Koch believes it is Viterbo's Franciscan heritage that makes the MASL program a perfect fit at the university. “St. Francis-in every way-was a servant and a leader. And the founders of Viterbo, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, practiced servant leadership in the way they taught and administered. The sisters have been very supportive of the MASL, and I see the success of this program as a tribute to their work.”
Viterbo has hired Trevor Hall, a former educator from Aquinas High School to coordinate the activities of the summer institute. “This new program really offers something exciting to the adult who is not looking for the traditional approach to leadership,” Hall said. We are expecting applicants from all over because a graduate program of this kind is unique and there is nothing else like it out there right now. The bottom line is that this program will offer plenty of interaction with other professionals seeking a different way to lead.”