Dr. Kathy Kretman Receives Leslie Whittington Faculty Member of the Year Award

Spring 2019 Philanthropy and Racial Justice in America Class

Posted in News Story

In May 2019, Dr. Kathy Kretman, director of the Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership and Waldemar A. Nielsen Chair in Philanthropy at the McCourt School of Public Policy, was presented with the Leslie Whittington Faculty Member of the Year Award for her commitment to teaching. Leslie Whittington was a beloved professor at McCourt who passed away on September 11, 2001.

With 22 years of experience in teaching, Dr. Kretman enjoys motivating her students and helping them develop their own leadership skills. She says, “I always begin my leadership class by asking the students, ‘What policy issue are you passionate about?’ They often respond with affordable housing, health, education, national security, etc. My passion is teaching – encouraging students to direct their passion to exercise leadership in their own way, for the public good.”   

Dr. Kretman’s passion for leadership education is evident in her fall semester class, Public Leadership: Principles, Practices, and Realities. She teaches her students to think critically about the moral responsibilities and ethical dilemmas facing today’s leaders and examine their own capacity for leadership. A student in the class commented, “Her dedication and commitment to shaping the public leaders of the future is inspiring, and her classes are but one way she demonstrates her genuine devotedness to imparting the leadership skills and lessons needed to tackle the complex public policy challenges we face this century.”

During the 2019 spring semester, Kretman led a class on Philanthropy and Racial Justice in America that explored the power, influence, and social impact of philanthropists and the effects of structural racism and implicit bias on individuals, institutions, and society. One of her students remarked, “Professor Kretman’s Philanthropy and Race in America course dares to engage students in vulnerable personal and policy conversations that are necessary in order to achieve racial equity.”

Dr. Kretman keeps her students engaged by bringing in compelling guest speakers, facilitating challenging class discussions, and offering experimental learning opportunities. “She brings incredible enthusiasm to her classes and goes to great lengths to make sure each student learns and grows according to their own needs and experiences,” one student said.

The Leslie Whittington Faculty Member of the Year is awarded based on student nominations. One student noted that, “Professor Kretman’s passion for teaching and overall thoughtfulness has made my McCourt experience feel complete as I not only feel that I have gained quantitative skills, but that I have become a more conscious person when considering the type of work and leadership I would like to pursue after leaving the Hilltop.”