Marygrove College to revise curriculum to develop urban leadership

on . Posted in Press Releases

read this article on the freepBOLD Column in the Detroit Free PressDETROIT, April 9, 2012 — Marygrove College today announced a program to revise its entire curriculum to develop leadership skills in each of its students, no matter what their major focus of study.

The initiative, entitled Building our Leadership in Detroit (BOLD) is grounded in the belief that everyone has a potential for leadership if given the proper support and guidance and is designed to make Marygrove a significant leader in the drive to rebuild Detroit.  It is being underwritten by a $1.5 million grant from the W. K. Kellogg foundation.

“The premise is that everyone has the potential for leadership and that it can be taught,” said Marygrove President Dr. David J. Fike.  “With this grant, we are pursuing our goal of turning Marygrove into a significant leadership training institution.  W. K. Kellogg once said that his goal in creating his foundation was to ‘invest in people.’  This grant is doing exactly that.”

Fike said that a majority of Marygrove’s 1,000 students come from Detroit or immediately contiguous areas, which means that instilling them with leadership skills as a part of their educational journey will yield immediate results in Detroit.  The BOLD initiative will develop students as leaders, with a critical challenge for them to carry their leadership skills into the community to be agents for social change.

Additionally, BOLD will transform the institutional capacity of Marygrove College at all levels – curriculum, faculty and programs – to teach, develop and promote students and community residents to be “urban leaders.” By supporting curricular and faculty development—the core foundation of the academic institution—BOLD will enable the College to sustain a long term commitment to enhance urban leaders and produce meaningful community change in Detroit.

“We have an important responsibility as an institution serving this community and will be capitalizing on our location in the center of Detroit,” Fike said.  “We are organizing teams within the university now to restructure our curriculum.  They will look at issues such as ‘What is it that makes good leaders?’, ‘How do you maintain stamina and energy in the face of adversity?’ and ‘How does a leader communicate?’

“At the end of three years we will have established a four-year curriculum with new courses and new requirements.  Our goal is to train people who see themselves as leaders and who make a difference.” 

Components of the BOLD initiative include:

  1. Transforming Marygrove’s curriculum by incorporating a four-year urban leadership training plan into programming for all students.
  2. Connecting leadership talent locally and globally by designing leadership development programs that connect local Detroit leaders with national experts.
  3. Promoting systemic change throughout the College by developing relationships, networks, policies and practices among faculty and staff to embed an understanding and appreciation of leadership practices.

Fike said the grant will provide funding to enable faculty and staff time to develop the new curriculum, support faculty travel and participation in conferences related to leadership and support an office within the college to coordinate community engagement for students as the program gets underway.

“The funding will give the faculty the space and time and incentive needed to do work involved in creating the new curriculum,” he said.  “We will start the initial pilot courses and activities next fall.  As we move forward we will be engaging the community and holders of expert knowledge.  This is not going to be a top down process.  We will be working directly with the community.”

He continued, “Since adopting the Strategic Vision to foster Urban Leadership a few years ago, Marygrove has begun various initiatives to provide leadership around neighborhood improvement issues; to develop and nurture leadership talent; and, to compel increasing numbers of students, community members, and organizations to join us in making this vision a reality. The partnership of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the launching of the BOLD initiative is a major step forward in the process.”


The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, established in 1930, supports children, families and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society. Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and southern Africa.

For further information on the foundation, please visit



Founded by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) in 1905, Marygrove College is an independent liberal arts college and a Catholic institution of higher learning committed to developing leaders for the new global society. The main campus is situated on 53 wooded acres in northwest Detroit.

8425 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit, MI 48221

Recent Tweets