Background on the Conference
NCSSM Ethics and Leadership Initiative
There is a pervasive need for leadership in the world. The challenges that face us, whether seen as opportunities or problems, demand effective and coordinated action. Curriculum that addresses development of both the skills and the ethical foundations of effective leadership is, therefore, an important undertaking. Bright, motivated high school students have great potential for acquiring leadership skills and problem-solving abilities as part of their education to become effective, ethical leaders.
NCSSM in cooperation with high school educators and students from throughout North Carolina is developing curriculum for teaching leadership skills and facilitating character development of high school students. This curriculum is seen as addressing the need for effective global leadership in such areas as science, technology, education, the arts, international relations, and others. It is being developed within a project called the NCSSM Ethics and Leadership Initiative.
The starting point for the NCSSM leadership curriculum was a Cooperation Agreement signed between leaders of the Israel Arts and Science Academy (IASA) and NCSSM on September 20, 1995. Discussions with NCSSM faculty, administrators, and students during the succeeding months defined a possible framework and components for the curriculum. These were examined in light of information obtained about leadership programs for college and high school students at other institutions in the U.S. The resulting curriculum was first offered as a yearlong seminar for approximately 30 seniors in 1996-97. Eight of these students attended a two-week curriculum development conference the following summer at the Israel Academy, entitled “Ethics in Science and Humanities.” Particularly in the first year and continuing to the present, student input has been relied upon heavily to shape the NCSSM course materials. These have been developed into two trimester-long courses which attract 100-110 students annually, and a semester-long Interactive videoconferencing course offered through NCSSM’s Distance Education and Extended Programs division. The Initiative also includes an annual conference and an occasional teacher workshop conducted via NCSSM's Distance Education network.