Leadership in Times of Crisis program expands participation for community



Photo 1: Members and professors of the first Leadership in Times of Crisis class include, left to right: front row: Matt Levin (in between front and middle rows), Frank Scafaria, Wendy Price, Matt Hall; middle row: adjunct professor (and Conflict Resolution Center director) Graham Ward, Richelle Weaver Watson and (at far right after a gap) Tiffany Baker; back row, Professor Victoria Vuletich, Dan Petersen, Frank Price, David Kane, Brent Green, Cody Brooks, Professor Devin Schindler, Daniel Grzywacz.

Photo 2: West Michigan community members and students from WMU-Cooley Law School discuss President Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon during the Leadership in Times of Crisis course in September. Registrations are being accepted for the winter 2017 class, jointly offered by the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, WMU-Cooley Law School and Western Michigan University.

From local sources

Course is collaboration between WMU-Cooley, Western Michigan University, and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Nov. 22, 2017 – Earlier this year, WMU-Cooley Law School launched “Leadership in Times of Crisis,” a course developed to educate and inspire individuals to adopt the ethical leadership standards exhibited by President Gerald R. Ford throughout his life. The program, a collaboration between WMU-Cooley, Western Michigan University, and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum (GRFPM), has expanded enrollment to allow increased public participation in the sessions offered during the first three months of 2017. The course is taught at the GRFPM in the DeVos Learning Center, located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan.

“Led by WMU and WMU-Cooley faculty, and various community leaders, the class evaluates the rights and duties of major stakeholders when making decisions,” said WMU-Cooley Professor Victoria Vuletich, who teaches legal ethics courses and served as the State Bar of Michigan’s deputy director of the Professional Standards Division.  “Those participating in the class will learn how to distinguish between legal, ethical and moral obligations and to identify true leadership in times of crisis.”

The program uses several of President Ford’s difficult and controversial decisions as vehicles for exploring leadership with integrity. During the fall program, topics discussed included President Ford’s handling of the New York City bankruptcy and its relevance today, leadership lessons from the fall of Saigon and the Helsinki Accords, and Ford’s pardon of former President Richard Nixon.

“This class truly helps us fulfill our mission and President Ford’s vision for the museum,” said Barbara McGregor, GRFPM education specialist. “It’s a wonderful collaboration and good fit for all partners. We’re thrilled with it and have high expectations as we move forward.”

WMU-Cooley student Matt Levin said the course and what he has learned about Ford’s leadership skills during some of the nation’s toughest times has inspired him.

“I loved this class,” noted Levin. “It really was a life-changing experience.  I found myself emotionally moved and inspired on several occasions.

The class, which consists of three Saturday sessions, approximately three to four hours each, is being offered as a non-credit course for any individual. Students enrolled at WMU and WMU-Cooley will have an opportunity to earn credits toward completion of their various degrees. Participants who successfully complete the program receive a certificate from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum reflecting their participation in the program. The program has also received the support of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation. The foundation has provided students with a copy of the DVD, Gerald R. Ford, A Test of Character, which was commissioned by the Peter F. Secchia Family.

Individuals Interested in participating in the winter 2017 session, should contact Vuletich at WMU-Cooley’s Grand Rapids campus, 616-301-6800, ext. 6960, vuleticv@cooley.edu.