Taking Her Expertise to Spain

Day in and day out, Clarkson College faculty commit themselves to enlightening students to become well-rounded, competent and caring health care providers. Every once in a while, that impact extends beyond the campus border—or even across seas.

General Education Assistant Professor Katie Kirkpatrick had the distinct honor of presenting at the 2016 International Leadership Association Conference (ILA) held in Barcelona, Spain Oct. 14–17. The conference’s theme, Leading Across Borders and Generations, explored how different generations perceive and experience the concepts of borders (literal and metaphorical) and leading. She gave an individual panel presentation titled “Doctoral Student Writing in Leadership Programs: Emerging Trends for Pedagogical and Curricular Best Practices” and co-presented “Scholar and Business Practitioner Collaboration: Opportunities and Best Practices.”

Katie has been expanding minds at Clarkson College since 2009 and is currently pursuing her Ed.D. in Interdisciplinary Leadership Studies at Creighton University. Here, she shares how she and her work are contributing

How were you selected to present at the ILA Conference?

The opportunity arose via my current research endeavors, which focus on doctoral students in online leadership programs. I had two proposals accepted to the conference. I presented “,” which focused on my preliminary review of literature. I also submitted a proposal to co-lead a workshop on scholar-practitioner collaboration with my colleague, Stephen Brody, from Greenleaf Financial Services.

Was this your first time visiting the city?

In 2000, I traveled to Barcelona for the first time with a friend, and we back-packed across Europe for the entire summer on unlimited Eurail passes. It was an unforgettable experience. We saw many, many cities and countries, but I always remembered Barcelona as one of my favorite cities on the trip, so I was excited to visit the city again.

Can you describe the room on your presentation day?

I presented Thursday morning, Oct. 15 with Stephen Brody. We had a well-rounded audience from some rather big organizations. Some of them used our workshop to create collaboration opportunities for academic institutions, and some of them used our workshop to create collaboration opportunities for larger international businesses. The ILA attracts leaders from all walks of life, and it was interesting to see such an array of applications for the same concept.

I presented my individual panel presentation on Saturday morning, Oct. 17 with a great panel of presenters—all on doctoral leadership students. Some discussed programmatic issues, some discussed progression issues. It was a great panel and discussion all around. We had a very full audience for that presentation, and most of them were from academic backgrounds, likely due to the topic.

Regarding the crowd, at last count, I believe there were over 1,000 attendees from approximately 53 different countries. I met individuals from the UK, Africa, South America, Canada, Australia, and of course Europe. The conference was in English, but I definitely heard accents from all walks of the globe. I also attended one presentation where individuals discussed their service work in Middle Eastern leadership. An American woman who has lived in Qatar for over a decade discussed her research, which found that leadership in the country is often hired externally, rather than from Qatar. For some reason (her research is ongoing), the population does not trust home-grown leaders—very interesting!

Can you describe what it was like presenting in such an eclectic setting?

I enjoyed presenting in a different country with a different culture. As I mentioned, the conference was in English, but hearing about how the same issues affect individuals from around the globe in different (and similar) ways is enlightening. I learned that the writing issues that I am finding in American doctoral students are just as relevant in the UK, Canada, Australia and South Africa.

Did this experience affect you or the way you view your profession in any way?

The main impacts on my profession were in relation to my current research. Before leaving for Spain, I had heard from a faculty member in my doctoral program that my topic was not germane to leadership studies, which had somewhat deflated me. However, after presenting on my findings thus far, it became clear that many individuals in leadership studies were extremely interested in the topic. Multiple individuals approached me after my presentation wanting to exchange cards and receive a copy of my presentation. It was gratifying to know that my work is relevant, after all.

What did you and your husband do in your free time?

Mark and I had a blast in our free time. Of course, we saw some of the sites, such as the Sagrada Familia [the city’s monumental cathedral and original creation of Spanish architect Antonio Gaudí], but we are more meanderers when we travel, so we did a ton of walking, did a little shopping, ate lots of delicious tapas, drank some lovely wine, and just enjoyed each other’s company and the company of everyone we met. Everybody was so nice! My husband also added to his tattoo collection while I was at the conference on Thursday.

Have you had the opportunity to present in any other countries?

This was my first time presenting in another country. I had a proposal accepted to Vancouver, Canada earlier this fall, but the opportunity in Barcelona arose a month later, so I chose the latter. I hope that my future holds at least a few more opportunities for international presentations. I would not hesitate to do it again.

Do you have a final note you’d like to share?

It was a great opportunity. The ILA Conference was fascinating, and Barcelona is a beautiful, energetic city with tons of art, architecture, culture and just a plain good vibe