Art of Participatory Leadership

History of AoPL

In 2009, then-University President Robert Bruininks sponsored an innovative design process with the Bush Foundation to consider how the University might better support the effectiveness of community-based leadership throughout Minnesota. The resulting initiative, InCommons, which operated from 2010–2013, focused on connecting individuals so they could find and share credible tools, knowledge, and resources to solve community problems (Sandfort & Bloomberg, 2012). The University’s Center for Integrative Leadership was an operational partner of InCommons and, in the spirit of the initiative, focused attention on building capacity within the University for effective and widespread community engagement. CIL leaders, along with a handful of University of Minnesota faculty and staff, were trained in the Art of Hosting workshop with other participants from Minnesota sponsored by the Bush Foundation. The success of the training inspired the Center and other units on campus to initiate the training program for members of the University across its four campuses.

The Center continues to support trainings for faculty and staff from across the University of Minnesota in The Art of Hosting Conversations that Matter – a powerful suite of facilitative practices and practical frameworks to help groups more effectively work across traditional boundaries. To date, more than 190 people working for the University, including faculty, students, teaching, research, administrative staff, and collegiate deans are trained.

Connect with the UMN Art of Participatory Leadership Community of Practice

The University of Minnesota Art of Participatory Leadership Community of Practice fosters collaborative practices and dynamic learning to address emerging and complex challenges.

To learn more about application of these practices at the University of Minnesota by a growing, self-organized community of practice, visit the  Community of Practice website or facebook.

Other Resources

  • Cultivating Change in the Academy: Practicing the Art of Hosting Conversations that Matter

This e-book explores the emerging applications of the Art of Hosting and Harvesting Conversations that Matter (hereafter, “Art of Hosting”) within a higher education institution. The stories showcase innovation and leadership within and across colleges, schools, departments, and classrooms. They offer insight into how unexpected and significant change can unfold, even in large public bureaucracies. They inspire us all to think about how slowing down at the right time to have focused conversations has the potential to change everything. These accounts offer hope. 
We hope the product acts as an invitation to be courageous in pursuing change from “where you sit.” Higher education needs such courageous leadership to respond to challenges of this era.  Use this link to download the e-book.