DePaul University has a shared understanding of leadership that is a reflection of our Vincentian heritage and current models of student leadership development.
The development of socially responsible leaders in today's complex, global, and ever-changing world requires a commitment to students' holistic and integrated learning by a community of faculty, staff and University partners who accompany and mentor students on their developmental path. Moreover, it requires that the University community itself embody what it seeks to develop in its students, thus acting as an effective mentoring community and environment.
At DePaul, five broad categories have emerged as central to our understanding of socially responsible leadership:
1. Self-Understanding & Personal Integrity
Socially responsible leaders have achieved a sense of self-authorship or personal agency. They critically assess and actively discern how their personal gifts, talents, resources, and abilities might best contribute to the broader human community. They articulate and live with a sense of authenticity, purpose, and ethical integrity. They maintain an appreciation for the transcendent dimension of human life, and seek ongoing personal and spiritual development and growth. They understand their personal values within the context of deeper cultural, historical, and philosophical/theological roots.
2. Taking Seriously the Perspective of Others
Socially responsible leaders engage and listen compassionately to alternative and diverse perspectives and people. Rooted in the spirit of the Vincentian tradition, they have a particularly keen recognition and appreciation for the sacred dignity of each human person, especially those who are poor or marginalized. They demonstrate the ability to work in a team or a community of people and to interact and communicate effectively with diverse others in a variety of social situations.
3. Contributing to a Larger Community
Socially responsible leaders articulate, actively reflect upon, and live a commitment in their life and work to contribute to a community beyond themselves – locally, nationally and/or globally. Their sense of purpose, mission, and vocation extends to consider the broader social and environmental implications of their decisions and actions. They actively participate in civic and political processes and demonstrate an ability to think systemically about social problems and opportunities in light of some normative understanding of the just society.
4. Knowledge and Intellectual Competence
Socially responsible leaders have the ability to think critically. They actively seek historical and contextual knowledge relevant to the concrete situations they experience or confront. They show the ability to apply knowledge from their expertise or discipline of study to their particular life experiences and social situations in fruitful ways and in dialogue with other perspectives and disciplines. In addition, they seek to integrate and synthesize knowledge from a variety of sources and perspectives.
5. Striving for Excellence
Socially responsible leaders sustain long-term commitments worthy of their attention over a lifetime or career. They consistently strive for self-improvement and higher standards, and through their actions and words they effectively inspire others to do the same. They exercise ethical decision-making and leadership by developing creative and innovative responses to both emerging and persistent human and societal questions. They are lifelong learners who pursue and work for an ever-renewed vision of the common good.