Enterprising Leadership


tony brown

Course Overview:

This course is part of the Enterprising Leadership Initiative at the Hart Leadership Program. The central goal of this course is to provide students with analytical competence, enterprising leadership identity, and personal agency important to exercising leadership in organizations, in communities, and in life. The course explores the many facets of leadership and leadership development including the processes by which people affect change in a variety of roles and situations. Leadership within a framework of ethics, values, and innovative action are emphasized as a basis for contributing to the process of making good things happen without reliance on formal authority. This is not a traditional course in leadership studies or leading organizations.

News & Observer article about Tony Brown and the Hart Leadership program. 

About ELI (Enterprising Leadership Initiative):

ELI challenges undergraduates and alumni to make positive contributions to society and to pursue innovative ideas that enhance communities.  ELI places a heavy emphasis on teaching, coaching and supporting the leadership development of students and alumni during their time on campus, and well into their professional careers. Because leadership development continues when students graduate, ELI faculty and staff constantly work to find new, meaningful ways to stay involved in the lives of alumni, and to help them aim higher today.

Classes in social entrepreneurship and enterprising leadership provide students with knowledge, analytical competence, and leadership skills that are important to exercise enterprising leadership. ELI focuses on the personal, moral development of students as well as their leadership development, and this approach leads to meaningful benefits for both the students and their community partner organizations.

Faculty and staff work directly with students who are implementing compelling projects by providing mentoring, coaching, and access to additional advisors.  Faculty and staff can also provide information regarding internships, and connect students with ELI alumni across the country who can offer networking opportunities and project assistance.

“The two courses I took through ELI fundamentally changed my academic experiences at Duke, and allowed me to view education from a whole new perspective. They were the most unique, hands-on opportunities I have had in classes at Duke. I was allowed the freedom to experiment with different methods of actually bringing projects to life in the real world. I learned more from my failures and personal struggles in the class than I could have ever learned if I was simply told how to succeed. Even though these were by far the hardest and most work intensive class projects I’ve been involved in, the experiences and lessons I’ve garnered are truly invaluable. They offered me the chance not just to read about others’ successes, but to create my own.”

– David Wang, ‘12

More stories from the Hart Leadership Program can be found here.

About the Professor:

Tony Brown has been a Professor of the Practice at the Sanford School of Public Policy since 1993. In 2007, Brown took a three-year leave of absence to serve as president of the Robertson Scholars Program at Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill.

He has taught leadership courses in enterprising organizational change, social entrepreneurship, moral development, socially responsible businesses, and public-private collaboration. Brown founded and also directs the Hart Leadership Program’s Enterprising Leadership Initiative, a program intended to engage, educate, and empower Duke students to pursue innovative solutions to University, community and global problems. Brown was the recipient of the Howard Johnson Distinguished Teaching Award for undergraduate teaching excellence in 1997 and the Ashoka U – Cordes Foundation Innovation Award for his course Social Entrepreneurship in Action in 2012.

Brown’s current teaching and research interests focus on the leadership development of young adults during college and as young alumni. His courses include Social Entrepreneurship in Action, Leadership Development & Organizations, Moral Courage & Leadership, and Enterprising Leadership & Civic Engagement. His students all participate in producing “real-results” leadership projects based on a pedagogy of action-based, integrated learning experiences.

“Tony helps you shift from being an observer to being a problem solver. He makes you see there are things in this world that, because you have resources, support and knowledge, you can go do something about them. He provides a structure to make changes and gives you confidence and belief in yourself. He literally changes the way people think and challenges you to go out in the world.” – Liz Linzer, ‘09

WATCH: Video interview with Tony Brown:



WATCH: Tony Brown talks about leadership:



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