Davis College of Business and Economics provides grants to Radford University faculty for interdisciplinary course development in social and ethical leadership


Radford University’s Davis College of Business and Economics recently awarded grants to four University faculty members for the purpose of developing and offering interdisciplinary courses geared toward social and ethical leadership.

The grants are awarded through Davis College’s newly created BB&T Leadership Development Program, which is designed to expand opportunities for students and assist faculty in building expertise and knowledge in ethical and social leadership.

“These courses will have a wide impact reach, focusing on community engagement, vulnerable populations, local high school and middle school engagement, student development and scholarly activity,” said BB&T Leadership Scholar and Associate Professor of Management Danylle Kunkel, Ph.D., who also leads the BB&T Leadership Development program.

In all, 11 faculty members submitted course development proposals across a broad scope of disciplines that stretched beyond the Davis College of Business and Economics and included English, Peace Studies, Mathematics, International Studies, Management, Public Health and Occupational Therapy. From those proposals, a committee selected four courses that best fit the program’s criteria.

“All of the proposals contained really strong course ideas that could further our students’ knowledge and their own leadership development,” Kunkel said. “We could only pick four courses for the grant, and so the committee picked the proposals that we thought would make the largest impact for our students.

“All the proposals were great,” Kunkel continued, ”so, it was a difficult decision to choose only four.”

Some courses will be offered as early as the fall semester, and courses will be offered at least twice over a five-year period.

Faculty members who were awarded grants, and the courses they will develop are:

  • Thomas Castor, Waldron College of Health and Human Services, Department of Public Health and Healthcare Leadership: Interprofessional Community Collaboration and Advocacy Course (PBHL 390);
  • Viki Neurauter, Ph.D., Waldron College of Health and Human Services, Department of Occupational Therapy: Practicum in Community-Based Services (OCTH 628);
  • Ann Roberts, Ph.D., Middle School Teacher Education, Peace Studies: Communication and Peace: For Activism and Leadership (PEAC 310); and
  • Katie Garahan, Ph.D., English: Writing About Science (ENGL 313).

“When we think of leadership, it becomes more than just business leadership, and it spreads across the campus in every discipline,” Kunkel said. “I love the idea of being able to teach and demonstrate what leadership looks like in English, for example, or what it looks like in math and other disciplines.”

The course Cantor is developing will be a full semester, online synchronous course providing students in the field of public health with the opportunity to learn and hone newly acquired skills and interprofessional competencies.

“With an emphasis on working with interprofessional teams and members of the community, PBHL 390 will explore fundamental concepts of community collaboration and advocacy efforts that bring about meaningful and sustainable change in a community’s health,” Cantor said. “I wanted to create this course to teach entry-level professionals the skills and techniques they will need to address the ever-changing need for interprofessional collaboration.”

Occupational Therapy graduate students who enroll in Neurauter’s OCTH 628 course will have the opportunity to develop social and ethical leadership skills through identifying new populations of occupational therapy to engage and provide services; engaging with community leaders such as school administrators, counselors, school resource officers and teachers; and by providing necessary interventions to a population in need to enhance individual competencies for age-specific occupations.

“From a pure leadership perspective, working with youths in this context allows for the students to gain leadership experiences as they are required to lead interventions designed to address student needs,” Neurauter said. “Because these interventions address underlying behaviors and issues which interfere

with the at-risk student’s engagement and participation in his/her education, such actions take on social and ethical leadership roles as well.”

Therefore, Neurauter continued, “provision of these services has the potential to not only improve the youths’ performance on an individual student/educational level, but also to improve the community at large by reducing youths’ risky behavior and poor decision making within the community.”

Roberts’ PEAC 310 course is designed to provide theoretical frameworks, practical skills and processes relating to peace and how people develop activism and leadership in peace initiatives.

“The goal is to develop the necessary practical skills when students are dealing in relationships, groups and general audiences in roles of activism and leadership,” Roberts said. “This course will focus on reflective listening, conflict resolution, group facilitation, leadership and written communication.”

The ENGL 313, Writing About Science, course will enable students of any major to write about science in a way that is accessible to a variety of audiences. Students will learn key skills – such as, constructing narratives, writing audience-based prose, and synthesizing sources – and directly apply them to public-facing science writing.

“My field of study is rhetoric and writing, and over the past several years, I have worked closely with undergraduates, graduate students and faculty in STEM fields to help them apply the tools of rhetoric to their writing,” Garahan said. “Rhetorically effective science writing can educate non-experts, encourage ethical decision- and policy-making, and ensure research funding.”

Davis College Dean Joy Bhadury, Ph.D. said “The awarding of these course development grants further assimilates the teaching of valuable leadership skills in various courses across our University. I wish to offer my thanks to Dr. Kunkel for overseeing this program and my congratulations and best wishes to all my colleagues who received an award."

Jun 10, 2020
Chad Osborne