SOE News

Eugenie Samier promotes integration of humanities into training of educational leaders

Professor Eugenie Samier of Canada’s Simon Fraser University addressed School of Education faculty and students on Thursday, Feb. 2 on the need to integrate the humanities into the training of educational leaders.  The 10 a.m. presentation was called “Educating Administrative Humanists: Principles, Values and Practices of Critical Professionalism.”

Samier teaches graduate and undergraduate students at Simon Fraser and has traveled and lectured extensively throughout North America and Europe.  Recently, she became a founding member of a new international, multilingual publication titled “Administrative Culture.”

“What I have been working on,” began Samier, “is redefining administration as a humanities discipline.  In other words, what is the view of administration from the perspective of the liberal arts?” 

For over a decade, Samier has endeavored to answer that question.

By approaching administration from a liberal arts perspective, incorporating the views of anthropology, philosophy, literature and history, she has created a broad picture of what she feels educational administration should look like.  She has developed a model for preparing humane leaders in education. 

“Once one becomes accustomed to the technical part of administrative work, one discovers that the deep and difficult problems are really human ones,” said Samier. 

Samier discussed ways to address those problems through literary, historical and fine arts traditions, stimulating conversation and dialogue among those in attendance.

While Samier touched on the importance of integrating ethics and aesthetics into educational administration, she particularly emphasized the use of world literature to describe the culture, politics and purpose of organizational structure and leadership.  She suggested that by studying various literary works and traditions, one can learn a great deal about administrative themes and theories, as well as the types of dominant personality traits present in administrative leaders. 

“We should approach educational administration with liberal humanistic values,” said Samier.  “That is the foundation of what educational administration should look like.”

Dean Tom James closed the lecture by asking everyone to consider individuals and organizations in today’s world that embody these types of characteristics, and to look to those people as mentors.