by Sena Baker
Dallas, TX – This summer marked the 10th year for students in DBU doctoral leadership programs to travel to Washington, D. C., as part of a week-long intensive seminar.
Launched in the summer of 2005, the Washington D. C. Institute allows students who are beginning their second year of study to experience and study leadership on a national level.
“It has been my privilege to lead the Washington D. C. Institute for the past ten years for DBU’s doctoral programs,” explained Dr. Mike Williams, DBU professor of history and lecturer on the trip.
“Our nation’s capital and the surrounding locations provide countless lessons in leadership from our nation’s past, and there is nothing like being able to stand where our country’s greatest leaders have stood and consider the decisions that they made that still influence our nation’s pathways even today.”.
The group of 39, which included students in both the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Ph.D. in Leadership Studies programs, explored the discipline of leadership through the lives of historical figures such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr. They also toured historical sites and heard from contemporary leaders in business, politics, and education. In addition, the group had the opportunity to worship on Sunday morning at the Washington National Cathedral and enjoyed a private tour given by part-time DBU staff member, Robert Whitfield, who volunteers monthly as an usher at the Washington National Cathedral.
During a visit to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, Captain Doug Rau, a graduate of the DBU Ph.D. program, provided a thought-provoking presentation on leadership as he engaged the students in a discussion about the definition of leadership and reminded them that true leadership requires a covenant rather than a contract with the followers.
The students also visited notable sites such as George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the U. S. Capitol, the Pentagon, the Holocaust Museum, Ford’s Theater, and the Supreme Court. In addition, the group spent a day in Philadelphia where they toured Independence Hall and another day surveying the civil war battlegrounds of Antietam and Gettysburg, led by Dr. Williams, whose specialty is Civil War studies.
“The time spent in Washington always makes me incredibly aware of the sacrifices that others made so that our ‘nation might live,’” explained Dr. Williams. “It also reminds me of the tremendous challenges that leaders today face in living up to their great legacy and that Christian leaders face in honoring God with our service.”
The Washington D. C. Institute is one of three such summer experiences and one of several travel study options for doctoral students, which include seminars in Dallas, Israel, and Oxford.