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Giving Structure to Service (and Leadership): An Ethnographic Study

Howell DavidPresenter: David Howell

Professional Title: Pieper Family Endowed Chair for Servant-Leadership, Associate Professor

Institution: Milwaukee School of Engineering

Background Experience: David Howell has served as the chair for servant-leadership for the last four years, has also served as the lead investigator for over a dozen research initiatives, is an associate professor in a technical communication degree program, and, before he pursued a career in the academy, worked in the high-tech sector as a project manager, instructional designer, and technical writer.



Three years ago, the Chair for Servant-Leadership at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) initiated a longitudinal ethnographic study to answer the question, “How is Servant-Leadership implemented at MSOE?” The result is an ongoing study that helps determine how Servant-Leadership takes shape in a university environment. Through surveys, field observations, and interviews, the researchers triangulated their data and drew conclusions pertaining to the social responsibility of developing leaders at an urban academic institution.

Session Experience: The content of the session reaches out to a variety of audiences: those interested in Servant-Leadership, in qualitative research, in leadership theory, in engineering, etc. The session is interactive; the audience is encouraged to ask questions and make comments throughout. Of course, the smaller the audience, the more likely interaction ensues.

Extending the Experience: After the session, participants will . .  be encouraged to follow-up with the presenter if they want to continue to receive yearly reports regarding the longitudinal ethnographic research project.