Leadership Interviews

Posted on December 3rd, 2012 in Uncategorized by Jan Bilgen

Welcome Everyone to December!

I’ve long been a big fan of the Bravo’s Inside the Actor’s Studio.  It’s a program hosted by James Lipton.  They began by televising their craft seminar for students of the Actors Studio Drama School, originally a joint venture of the Actors Studio and New School University in 1994, with Paul Newman, a former Actors Studio president as its first guest, and soon became Bravo’s flagship program.  Most of the show is a one-on-one interview conducted by Lipton, with vidoe clips of the actor/director’s work.  It concludes  by the host submitting a questionnaire to the guest. The questionnaire concept was originated by French television personality Bernard Pivot on his show Apostrophes, after the Proust Questionnaire.  The questions are:

The ten questions Lipton asks are:

What is your favorite word?
What is your least favorite word?
What turns you on?
What turns you off?
What sound or noise do you love?
What sound or noise do you hate?
What is your favorite curse word?
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
What profession would you not like to do?
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

We thought this same format might be an interesting way to learn about the many leaders we have on campus that make up what UW-Whitewater is, and  hopes to become.

Our first guest is Dr Mark McPhail.  Dr McPhail is the current Dean of the College of Arts and Comunication and has served UW-Whitewater since 2010. We thought it would be best to start with a leader that is part of the leadership team for UW-Whitewater’s area closest linked to “Inside the Actor’s Studio”.

Brief Bo: He received his Ph.D. in rhetorical and cultural studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where his dissertation was titled “The Language of Racism: A Contemporary Rhetorical Analysis.”

McPhail earned his master’s degree in performance studies from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. He holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Emerson College, Boston.

He has held previous administrative positions at Miami University of Ohio, Oxford, Ohio; the University of Utah, Salt Lake City; the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and Emerson College.

A poet and photographer, McPhail also enjoys scuba diving, bicycling and martial arts.

His Answers

If you could have a dinner with someone who shows or has shown great leadership who would it be and why?

Nelson Mandela, because of his enormous capacity for forgiveness and compassion toward those who treated him unjustly and unfairly.

What is your key to success?    A willingness to try again after failing.

What is your definition of leadership?
Leaders are those that have capacity to understand the difference between problems and possibilities, and to imagine and enact solutions with discipline, compassion, and integrity.

What advice would you give to students about their college experiences and leadership?
Never believe that any job is below you, or that you are too good for any type of work.  Never hesitate to take decisive action, and take responsibility for the decisions that you make. Live your values. Take care of others.

What are your top 2 goals for the 2013?   I am looking forward to:

1).  Supporting faculty, staff, and students success in the college and university by building a stronger endowment.
2).  Learning to play a musical instrument.

What is the last great book you read?
100 Voices:  Americans Talk About Change, by Professor Mary Clare of Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

What is something you are curious about?
Eastern culture and philosophy.  I have had a strong interest in Japanese and Chinese art and spirituality for most of my life, but have only traveled to Asia once.

What is something in life you haven’t done/been part of that you wish you had?
I wish that I had studied a musical instrument when I was younger.  Both my parents were musicians, but none of their children had the opportunity to pursue music.  I also wish that I had had the honor to serve in the military.

Our thanks to Dr McPhail!

Until next time – keep looking for ways to make positive change around you!

Jan Bilgen