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7 Questions with Jeffrey Joel Darville
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7 Questions with Jeffrey Joel Darville
Name: Jeffrey Joel Darville
Current title: Professor
Current organisation: La Roche College
With 22 years of experience in business and education, Jeffrey Darville is an insightful professor, keynote speaker, and researcher. As a current Professor of Business at La Roche University and formerly MBA Director and Assistant Professor in the College of Business Administration at the American University in the Emirates, Dubai, UAE he taught Marketing, Negotiations, Change Management, and Leadership. While publishing, leading the MBA program and AACSB member accreditation committee efforts Jeff served as a small group leader at Redeemer Church in Dubai. Through collaborative organizational leadership and strategic marketing, Jeff has implemented changes, built programs, orchestrated profitable growth, and improved curriculum. He worked for Verizon, AIG, PPG, Alcoa, Sony, Bayer, and Siemens-Westinghouse. Completing his B.S. in Marketing and Management from Grove City College in 2000, Jeff gained his M.S. in Organizational Leadership from Geneva College in 2008, and his Ph.D. in Organizational Learning and Leadership from Gannon University in 2017. Jeff has published his model of Kinetic Leadership and Value-Added Statements. His research interests are in strategic decision-making, rationality/intuition, Top Management Teams, Servant Leadership, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Intercultural communication.
1. What have you found most challenging as a Christian school leader?
There are many personal and professional demands placed on our shoulders as leaders. From earning money, publishing our work, and dealing with hiring, placing, and firing individuals school leadership is difficult. We face ethical issues when it comes to equal justice applied evenly to various students and accurate reporting for accreditation purposes. But the greatest challenge I face is being the man of God that he has called me to be. I must be willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of the gospel and the truth of who Jesus Christ is.
2. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I tend to work late so I get up around 7:00 AM. Most days start with coffee and walking my dog which can include a hike through snow covered woods. In warmer weather I will run 2-3 miles at least twice a week with my dog. I feel most invigorated with prayer and meditation on the Bible during my walk. I am currently listening to the Bible in One Year with Nicky Grumble on the You Version Bible App. I begin the workday with breakfast and more coffee, reading and replying to emails, and checking news sites. My news consumption has decreased recently. On days when I teach, I grade assignments, post announcements, prep for class, and lecture. I structure my week for writing on certain days or times. I am most productive between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM, and possibly between 7:00 and 11:00 PM if I am not watching a show or spending time with family. I spend at least 4 hours writing and researching three days per week. I play basketball on Friday nights, tennis and golf when I can. And weekends include church and family time.
3. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Listen more and speak carefully. I must talk a lot as a public speaker. As a professor and leader, I prefer leading discussions and engaging in deep conversations to help make better decisions. However, my job often entails transferring large amounts of information to students. This presents many challenges in terms of the best way to engage students. And, I have found that this same challenge occurs in leadership. When I work with my colleagues, I have discovered that being aware of the needs and perspectives of others is vital. It is essential to discipline your own speech in order to be effective in sharing your ideas. James 3:6, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.”
4. What's one book apart from the Bible that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
In the M.S., Organizational Leadership program at Geneva College we discussed many topics related to advanced leadership theory and practice. I found that Edgar Schein’s book Leadership and Organizational Culture remains one of the most impactful books in my understanding of leadership. He has many gems hidden in his case studies of organizations and taxonomy of organizational culture. But the idea that leadership and culture are opposite sides of the same coin is a profound nugget of truth. Leaders create, manage, and change culture while culture defines what leaders look like in a given organization. As Paul wrote in Romans 12:8, “…the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”
5. How do you find and keep great Christian teachers?
Christian teachers view their role as a mentor and guide as a spiritual calling. The vocation of an instructor requires the very best of ourselves. As it is written in Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” Therefore, we pay teachers exceptionally well to do a job that many people cannot or will not do, link the truths of scripture to the personal and professional goals of students. Faith and practice are intrinsically connected to one another. By providing a secure and supportive work environment that brings out the best of our teachers in a purpose-driven organization we attract and retain many of the highest quality professors in the region.
6. What's most important as a Christian school leader for developing a culture of wellbeing in your staff and students?
Well-being starts with recognizing our sinfulness and limitations. Unless and until each person is convicted of their own sin, we will not turn, repent, and believe in the Lord Jesus. Many students are exploring life and attempting to figure it out. We clearly teach that according to Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” This informs every aspect of courses. From that starting point, we teach that the Christian life is the ideal way to live – not perfect or easy – but most aligned with reality. Living for Christ is the best option because it gives life true meaning and purpose. Psychological and interpersonal conflict can be reduced when we seek to understand each other based on a common understanding of God.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a Christian school leader so far?
I was most humbled and honored to be able to pray for a struggling student. She was having difficulty with the subject, keeping up with the work, and dealing with family issues. Raising children as an adult student is very difficult. I believe that school is part of the real world, not only preparation for it. And in the real world, real people have real problems. As a teacher, I can offer grace and understanding, while providing high expectations and accountability. Certain deadlines and due dates are there for the student’s benefit and may be flexible. But the final exams and grades are not. By outlining and plan and praying for God’s healing and wisdom this student was able to relax, gain perspective, and rededicate herself to pursuing her academic dreams successfully completing her courses and degree.