Friday, January 9, 2015

This Professor Uses Great Literature, Including Slave Narratives, To Teach Empathy To Future Public Servants

Huffington Post - Education
January 7th, 2015

When public policies go into effect, they don't always seem rooted in empathy and compassion. That's one reason an educator at the University of San Francisco is making the humanities central to a class she teaches to future public administrators.
According to Kimberly Connor, the director of Interdisciplinary Studies at the university's Department of Public and Nonprofit Administration, the best way to instill empathy in developing leaders is to not give them a one-size-fits-all blueprint, but rather share a variety of world perspectives and let them resonate naturally. Harnessing the power of the humanities, she includes only one general ethics text in her Leadership Ethics course syllabus, and surrounds it with a variety of classic literature, poetry, comedic videos and even slave narratives. This might seem like an unusual approach to teaching young professionals how to become more empathetic managers, but she says that she is simply teaching what she knows best.

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