Storytime at the Batten School

Blog post by Luke Handley, MPP 2014 and Batten Council Treasurer 

Batten Week concluded on Tuesday with Batten’s Best Stories.  The council thought we could strengthen the community by bringing together students and faculty in a no-pressure, no-lecture, relaxed setting.  Instead of gathering for a guest speaker to talk directly about leadership or policy, we sought faculty and administrators to deliver a lesson by telling a story.  The results were far greater than anything we expected.

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Professor Ruhm kicked off the afternoon by talking about his time on the Council of Economic Advisors during Clinton Administration.  One of his articles on medicare reimbursement rates picked up far more attention than he ever expected.
Dean Harding spoke of his day briefing President George HW Bush at Camp David — driving up to the White House; taking a ride on Marine One from the Pentagon; walking passed well-armed Secret Service; standing in front of a “who’s who” in national security.  It is a shame Dan Quayle never became president.
Professor Gibbs story began with her doctoral work when she wrote a paper on HeadStart, which received little (if any) attention.  Fast forward to 2013 when a Daily Show producer calls inquiring about the paper.  A few weeks later her work is referenced by Jon Stewart on air, and is again mentioned in a speech by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Dean Perry told of her research in Morocco.  For years she had been asked to teach a course in French for UVA’s study abroad program, but declined because it was outside the scope of her position.  Eventually she relented and made the trip.  She’s been back several times, is working on a research project on the Tuaregs, and even picked up a little of a local language.
Dean Hoege’s story seemed to just be about how he likes to coach baseball, but the whole audience quickly choked up when little Timothy in right field closed his eyes and caught the fly ball.  In the middle of the inning his teammates swamped him with hugs and high fives.  Watching a bunch of 8 year old ballplayers, including his son, rally around a struggling teammate gave Howard a unique lesson in leadership.
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