Minnesota Nursing magazine

Community engagement builds leadership

Community engagement is a strategic goal of the School of Nursing and the University of Minnesota. Over the past few months the Katharine J. Densford International Center for Nursing Leadership has hosted a number of community groups to build transformational leadership capacity. For example, the center provided space for a group of community leaders to participate in a Massachusetts Institute of Technology massive online course (MOOC) about Theory U and the work of Otto Scharmer. The course delved into the transformational leadership model that is based on deep listening and attention to four levels of conversation, which reveal strategies for generative co-creation. While most of the course was virtual, with more than 20,000 participants, a dedicated group of people met face-to-face at the School of Nursing four times over the semester. Coaching Circles formed to help people process leadership challenges and move to action and impact.

The center also has connected with Building Peaceful Community, founded by Donald Gault, to create teaching and learning resources. Topics included how to communicate and message change efforts, effective organizing strategies, what makes community action programs successful and what it takes to sustain healthy productive work environments. Gault’s 30 years of experience in public health informs his work and commitment to the principle of primary prevention. Daniel Pesut, PhD, RN, FAAN, director of the Densford Center, interviewed Gault to create four videos: Overview of Using Community Systems Organizing Strategy for Sustainable, Positive Change; Epidemiology and the ABC’s of Community Health; A Public Health Approach to Organizing Communities to Prevent Violence; and Creating and Sustaining Healthy, Productive Workplaces. To use view these videos, contact the Densford Center at densford@umn.edu or view them on the Building Peaceful Communities website, www.buildingpeacefulcommunity.org.


Katharine J. Densford International Center for Nursing Leadership

Dan Pesut

Center Director:
Daniel J. Pesut, PhD, RN, FAAN

To improve health and health care worldwide through the education, collaboration,
and promotion of nurses as strong leaders and good partners.

For more information:
Phone: 612-625-1187
Email: densford@umn.edu