Innovative Leadership

Elaine Maimon, Governors State University
Elaine Maimon discussing educational reform.

Leadership matters. Elaine Maimon defines leadership as empowerment, not “power over” others, but the “power to” accomplish goals. In her widely used composition textbook, A Writer’s Resource, now in its sixth edition, she endeavors to empower students to find a voice and make a difference.

Leadership is strategic. A chapter title in Dr. Maimon’s book, Leading Academic Change, puts it concisely, “A Vision Without a Strategy is a Fantasy.” She emphasizes peripheral vision, the ability to focus but to also see what is approaching from the sidelines. A lifelong feminist, she sees leadership as transformative, not transactional.

Leadership does not depend on formal institutional power, as Dr. Maimon discovered early in her work in writing across the curriculum. At the other end of the spectrum, she recognizes the special responsibility of university presidents to empower faculty, staff, students, and community members to bring about needed reforms in higher education.