Danczyk Lectures on Leadership Strategies in Mexico MPA Class
By Ben Dimapindan
Paul Danczyk, associate director of state capital programs at the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development, shared lessons in leadership strategy with a class of master of public administration students at Mexico’s Universidad Anáhuac, Xalapa during a two-day guest lecture earlier this month.
Danczyk, who holds a Ph.D. in Public and International Relations from the University of Pittsburgh, said the lecture “focused heavily on the role of values and trust in leading public organizations, as well as strategic decision-making and evaluation techniques.”
“The basic message I was sending is that it’s important to find positive examples of public administrators and public officials in action,” Danczyk said. “While it is easy to identify when people are misbehaving, we must model our behavior from examples that shape our society in engaging and beneficial ways.
“I wanted to leave them with tools to shape their leadership styles, including strategic thinking and evaluation techniques,” he added.
Most of the 21 students in the course – titled Leadership in Public Administration – are current public sector professionals, including several policy advisers and healthcare policy advisers working in the governor’s office or executive branch in the state of Veracruz, according to Danczyk.
“My experience adds to SPPD’s mission ‘to improve the quality of life for people and communities, here and abroad,’” he said. “I’m able to help make a difference in Northern California through our master and leadership programs, and this was my first opportunity to go abroad in this capacity. It is important to study our field through a comparative approach so that leaders can apply the best of all societies.”
In addition, Richard Callahan, SPPD associate dean and director of leadership programs, noted that Danczyk’s work is part of the school’s on-going relationship with the Mexican university.
“We work with the university to bring faculty and to support their academic program,” he said. “It gives the students a range of perspectives and in-depth knowledge from our teachers. And, it also helps the university build connectedness with the international public administration and public policy community.”
Besides Callahan and Danczyk, other SPPD faculty members, including Chester Newland, Juliet Musso, Peter Robertson and Elisabeth Kersten, have taught at the Mexican university, Callahan said.
“Oftentimes, their students – like SPPD’s students in Sacramento – are working professionals in state government and state agencies,” he said. “And so, our school’s experiences are able to tie in, both content-wise and in terms of our engagement with state government.”