New Assistant Professor of Organizational Leadership Shares Her Story

Assistant Professor Donnette Noble during one of her many travels.

Donnette Noble, a new assistant professor of Organizational Leadership, answered questions so that those of us at Roosevelt could get to know her better. Here are her responses.

You are teaching the two introductory Org Lead courses this semester.  What’s your background in Organizational Leadership and/or Organizational Communication and how will that be apparent in your classes?

I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in organizational communication and public administration, a Master of Arts degree in management with a leadership emphasis (both from Doane College), and a doctorate in human science with a specialization in leadership studies (from the University of Nebraska). My academic accomplishments enhance a wealth of practical leadership experience earned through years of executive and front line responsibility in both the non-profit and for-profit arenas. These experiences have equipped me to address organizational leadership and organizational communication from a variety of perspectives.

By blending my professional experience with the range of academic materials I use for the classes, I hope to address all of the issues that arise during each course in a way that is credible, useful, and stimulating for my students. I’m also convinced that newly acquired knowledge is most beneficial when there is a practical application and thus, I work to develop assignments that incorporate textbooks, course materials, and “real” life situations.

As a working mother, I earned two advanced degrees and now, as a member of the Roosevelt University faculty, I am particularly sensitive to the day-to-day challenges being confronted by adult learners. It’s hard work and I know that so, for me, teaching is a unique responsibility of great consequence in the lives of others.  I am committed to my students and make myself available to them to the greatest extent possible and attempt to maintain near constant interaction. Their success is of paramount importance to me.

What are your current research interests and/or projects? Does any of your research make it into your courses?

My research interests focus on issues of diversity and leadership. One of my favorite books is Alex DeTocqueville’s _Democracy in America_. Every time I pick it up, I am reminded that the more our society changes with advances in technology, etc., the more it stays the same. We are battling the same issues today (racism, poverty, religious freedom, government interaction . . .) that divided the country nearly 200 years ago when DeTocqueville first arrived in the United States and set about studying the social fabric of our country.

Sadly, although we have made great strides in terms of civil rights and equity, there is still division and our nation’s evolution in terms of its human relations continues to be problematic in many ways. This reality is one we must not dilute or ignore for to do so would be to dismiss the lives, the hearts, and the dreams of all who have worked to promote the just cause of civil rights and to embrace our collective humanity.

Two years ago I conducted a study that assessed the impact on Black leadership of Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy and subsequent election. The results of my work pointed to a rebirth of hope within the Black community. The election of the nation’s first Black president may have foretold a leveling of the social playing field, but the Southern Poverty Law Center has subsequently reported a dramatic increase in the number of race-related hate groups operating in America. This is an area of concern and, so, I am currently designing a follow-up to my original study.

What courses will you be teaching next semester? And/or what new course(s) do you hope to develop over time?

In addition to teaching OLED 320 and OLED 325 again in Spring 2011, I will be teaching OLED 365 (Diversity in the Workplace). Diversity and Leadership was always one of my favorite courses to teach at the University of Nebraska. I taught the course, which is similar to Diversity in the Workplace, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Given my passion for diversity related issues, this course is a perfect fit!

As a newcomer to Roosevelt University, I am still familiarizing myself with the various courses that are offered in the Organizational Leadership program, but I would be interested in pursuing the development of a course specific to “women and leadership.” Women, like people of color, have made significant inroads in terms of equality, however, while women comprise slightly more than 50 % of our national population they are underrepresented in terms of leadership positions in both public and private organizations.

Finally, tell us something personal about yourself–what’s your favorite ________?

Aside from spending time with my husband and children, one of my favorite things to do is travel. I’ve taken planes, trains, ships, and automobiles across the country and around the world and feel truly fortunate to have visited so many incredible places. Among my many adventures, I’ve strolled the narrow streets of the Isle of Capri off the Amalfi coast in Italy; watched Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia; eaten paella on Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain; marveled at seeing the Acropolis and the Parthenon in Greece; and felt truly humbled standing at the base of the pyramids of Giza in Egypt. Each and every place was special – and the good news is, we no sooner return from one adventure and we’re planning the next.

My favorite sport is baseball! My husband is a Cubs fan and, dare I say it, I’m a Yankee fan but, above all, we love the game; the strategy, the talent, the environment, the umps, the history and lore. Simply said, we’re serious baseball fans. Several years ago, we decided that we should set about experiencing every major league baseball park and, so, our baseball tour began – and what a tour it was! Thirty parks, thirty hot dogs, thirty beers (one spilled into my husband’s lap, but that’s another story), thirty bags of peanuts, thirty bags of crackerjacks, thirty team pennants, thirty programs, one baseball that a Washington Nationals pitcher threw to us, and a lifetime of memories!


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