From Bruce’s Early History: “We were playing a role in the emerging national movement for leadership studies, and in the national community service movement. I spoke regularly at meetings in Greensboro, Washington, and a range of other locations. I cherish my friends in the leadership studies movement from those days, and I still play a role on the board of the International Leadership Association, but we had more than enough to do at Duke, and [I] probably shouldn’t have taken time for anything else in those first two or three years.
The excitement of those first three years of the program remains in my memory, and so does the exhaustion. I had, from the beginning of my leadership course, included the importance of considering convalescence to what we were teaching about risk as a part of making changes—something I had learned about in a deep way during my civil rights years. But we had in many ways run the Leadership Program with the all-out commitment of a social movement—trying too many new things, building more alliances than we could sustain, pushing our students and ourselves to the limit.
My original agreement in 1985 was that I would run the Leadership Program for three years, at the end of which I would have a sabbatical. Mitch was pretty confident I could do the job. I was not. I had already had more than fifteen years in academic life, and during that time I had learned that my own ups and downs left me ill-suited for high-level administrative responsibility.
Still, at the end of our first three years or so, I was not willing to leave. I meant to stay and try to fix the things we hadn’t done well. I owe my friends a great debt of gratitude for talking me into resigning from the job as director and going back into full time teaching. When I did, I soon discovered that I had along the way acquired far more practical knowledge about leadership than that with which I had begun, and the business of teaching once again became the principal satisfaction of my life.
Still, the hopes that were stimulated by those early days were never entirely stilled. I thought I had learned something about strategy, how to think about teaching and universities in ways that would make a more substantial impact on the lives of our students, and a bigger difference on the worlds in which they would inhabit. As I taught leadership and ethics over the next five years, working happily with my colleagues and learning more every week from Tony Brown and Susan King, I was, gradually, working on a plan. That plan, in 1996, became Leadership and the Arts: A Duke University Semester in New York City.”