Summer Reading

Dean's Reflections

I must admit, I have enjoyed many a Memorial Day weekend in the past—the unofficial start of summer, the first in a line of long, sunny days ahead. However, I don't know if any previous Memorial Day has topped 2012 when we watched Loyola's men's lacrosse team win the national championship. For every fan of college athletics, a national championship is the pinnacle of success, and these men handled the experience with class and good grace. What a weekend to be a Greyhound.

Now, the other component of summer that I enjoy is a shift from the daily activities of university life to a more strategic approach to envisioning the Sellinger School's future. Summer finds me on more planes and with more time to read, so like many of you, I spend part of the early days of summer lining up the books for my summer reading list. Here are some of the ones on my list this summer:

The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop, and Keep Tomorrow's Employees Today by Jeanne C. Meister and Karie Willyerd is one of the books at the top of my list. As we begin to think about the future construct of universities, it becomes important to picture the changing nature of our students and the impact this change will have in how we teach. Our future is being shaped by technology and individuals who have grown up surrounded by technology. The way we market our companies, our products, and the way we portray ourselves is being shaped by technology. Within the next few years, our work places will contain five generations of employees. How do we utilize technology, and the knowledge housed by these different generations, for maximum value?

Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading by Ronald A. Heifetz and Martin Linksky was published a decade ago and is just as relevant today. Leading requires a comfort level with risk and uncertainty: rarely in our history has change been more apparent than in the future we face over the course of the next few years. Becoming adept at disrupting the status quo and moving organizations, and people within, forward will be critical in this adaptive, complex global economy.

Mindfulness by Ellen Langer is my reflective book for the summer. I have been warned that this book is dense and requires the reader to unpack and decipher the author’s research on the difference between the automatic behaviors of mindless practice and the thoughtful processes of mindful practice. What it provides is an opportunity to think about your assumptions, the genesis of these assumptions, and means for challenging them. The goal is to enhance the reader's creativity through a redefinition of the process to arrive at changing long-standing behaviors.

Finally, there have to be some fun, just-for-pleasure, books on any summer reading list. Ron Hansen is a professor at Santa Clara University, and he and I serve on a committee to think about integrating mission more fully within our schools. You may recognize the name: Ron spoke at the 2009 Loyola Commencement Exercises. He is also the author of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, a book turned into a Brad Pitt movie a few years ago. Ron is known for his portrayal of historic events and real people; this summer I will be reading Ron’s A Wild Surge of Guilty Passion:  A Novel, the retelling of a sensational 1927 New York City murder case and subsequent trial involving a salacious affair that rocked the tabloids of the day.

Here are a few more short lists complied by some of our Sellinger faculty:

Harsha Desai, Ph.D., professor of management, recommends books examining leadership and the science of creativity:

Paul DiGangi, Ph.D., professor of information systems, suggests a few books relating to social media, “big data” and the developments of an increasingly networked society, and consumer demands for increased transparency:

Nan Ellis, J.D., professor of law and social responsibility, will be reading on corruption in corporate culture and its consequences for society:

Peter Lorenzi, Ph.D., professor of management, suggests a few works analyzing the global economy and how entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurship are transforming it:

Enjoy the lazy days of summer ahead, and happy reading. As always, if you have any thoughts on this topic, please contact me at sellingerdean@loyola.edu.

Karyl

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