Public Matters 2012 Syllabus

Public Matters:
Lowell’s Leaders
January – June, 2012

Program Description:

Public Matters provides a setting for experiential learning in the context of the City of Lowell. We focus on Lowell National Historical Park as we seek to examine, understand, and appreciate the city’s industrial past, the current cultural revitalization, and historic preservation efforts. Members will observe, define, analyze and practice leadership skills through a variety of activities following a progression that begins with ME, expands to YOU, and culminates in US. The course will encompass demonstration, lecture, video presentation, simulation, cooperative learning, class discussion, observation and analysis of Lowell-based case studies, interviews of community leaders, and field trips.

Public Matters Sponsors:

Public Matters is made possible through the generous support of The Lowell Plan, Inc.; Lowell National Historical Park; The Theodore Edson Parker Foundation; The Greater Lowell Community Foundation; and The Lowell Heritage Partnership.

Project Team:

Rosemary Noon, Public Matters Director and Assistant Director of The Lowell Plan,, 978-459-9899
Sue Andrews, Acting Assistant Superintendent for Operations, Director of Communication and Collaboration, LNHP
David Blackburn, Chief of Cultural Resources and Programs, LNHP
Public Matters is administered by The Lowell Plan, Inc., 11 Kearney Square, Lowell, 01852

Program Requirements:

Public Matters will meet 4 – 7:30 pm on two Wednesdays each month, unless otherwise indicated, beginning January 4 and concluding June 22, 2012. Three extended sessions will be held on Saturdays. Members are expected to commit themselves to the meeting schedule and participate in meetings, lectures, presentations, and field trips. Members should be accessible to their cohort who seek professional advice and counsel and be willing to share their experiences regarding working and/or living in Lowell and the challenges facing emerging leaders in the city.

Confirmation of attendance:

You will receive a bi-weekly email confirming session locations and notice of any meeting cancellations due to inclement weather. Please confirm your attendance by responding to the email.


A Public Matters journal will be provided for program members. The journal is your scrapbook. It will be the place for notes and observations. You may find it helpful to record other people's leadership examples that you observe or read about that pertain to program discussions.


A light supper will be provided for each evening session and lunch will be provided for the Saturday sessions.


Course Schedule:

Wednesday, January 4    Introduction to Public Matters
     Meeting Location: 5th floor, Boott Mills Museum
     Topic: Expectations, logistics, and general orientation
Presenter: Rosemary Noon
Welcome: Michael Creasey, Superintendent, Lowell National Historical Park
Topic: DiSC Classic program
Presenter: Beckley Gaudette

The DiSC Profile is a nonjudgmental tool for understanding behavioral types and personality styles. It helps people explore behavior across four primary dimensions: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness.



Understand scope and scale of program.

Establish expectation for participation.

Wednesday, January 18
(1 of 2)    A City of Collaborators
     Meeting location: Gallery, Boott Mills Museum
Topic: History of Lowell
Lowell National Historical Park was established in 1978. It started out as the vision of a few and turned into a force for regenerating a city. Many of those early visionaries were considered crazed optimists. But as we have seen over the years, the power of place matched with the imagination of a big idea caught fire and Lowell became a city of proud collaborators. The creation of this national park was an expression of faith in the future. It reinforced the great innovations that occurred in the 19th century and challenged us to be innovators for the 21st century.

Overview:  Many post-industrial cities have never fully recovered from the boom and bust cycles. They were dominated by single industry bases such as the textile industry, automobile manufacturing, etc. Lowell, on the other hand is known as a place that has seen numerous recoveries since the days that textile operations moved south in the early 20th century. Beginning with an overview of Lowell’s historical significance and its designation as the nation’s first urban national cultural park, this session will examine how Lowell has developed a long-lasting strategy for reinventing itself and how that vision was developed through layers of partnerships.

Objectives: (1) to provide an historical perspective of the city of Lowell, Public Matters members will be immersed in the historic Boott Mills and learn of Lowell’s significance as the first planned industrial city in America. We will explore Lowell’s entrepreneurial and collaborative spirit – past, present and future; (2) to learn lessons on collaborative leadership and; (3) to engage in conversation with leaders involved with Lowell’s renaissance from perspectives relating to business, government, and the private non-profit community interests.

Wednesday, January 18 
(2 of 2)    America’s First Planned Industrial City: Lowell
Location: Boott Cotton Mills Museum

Presenter: Lowell National Park Ranger

The Intentional City: A presentation of Lowell’s industrial past using the historic Boot Cotton Mills Museum as the backdrop for learning.

Panelists: James Milinazzo, former Mayor and City Councilor of the City of Lowell, and Vice President, Business Services, Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union; Steve Joncas, Chief Executive Officer, Common Ground Development Corporation

Facilitator: Michael Creasey, Superintendent, Lowell National Historical Park



Understand Lowell’s significance as the first planned industrial city in America.

Learn about Lowell’s renaissance from perspectives relating to business, government, and the private non-profit community interests.

Understand the importance of collaborative leadership and how this is a critical tool for the revitalization of Lowell from the 70s through today.

Wednesday, February 1    Civic Conversations Differences
     Meeting location: Passe Temps Club, 371 Moody Street     
Topic: Differences     
Led by facilitators from Public Conversations Project (PCP), Public Matters members will be asked to reflect on a time when they experienced themselves as different in some way, and how that affected their participation in that situation, their perceptions of themselves, and what they could speak about at that time. Members will have a chance to ask each other questions about what they’ve said. The experience will be used as a tool for the Public Matters members to come to know each other in a new way, to consider the effect of (real or perceived) differences on interaction and collaboration.

PCP sees dialogue as a structured conversation, or series of conversations, intended to create, deepen, and build human relationships and understanding. Founded in 1989 in Cambridge, PCP has pioneered a distinctive, effective approach to dialogue that shifts communication to enhance understanding, repair relationships, and rebuild trust. Drawing upon mediation, traditional conflict resolution, and consensus building, the organization developed dialogue practices that have been tested throughout the world in conflicts ranging from religion to the environment.


Understand the use of dialogue as a structured conversation to create, deepen, and build relationships and understanding.

Develop dialogue practices.

Consider the effect of (real of perceived) differences on interaction and collaboration.

Saturday, February 4    Blending National Park and Community Values - Bus Tour of Lowell
Location: Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union, One Tremont Place

Time: 9 am – 1 pm

Topic: Blending National Park and Community Values     
Presenters: Peter Aucella, Acting Superintendent, Lowell National Historical Park; and Adam Baacke, Assistant City Manager/Department of Planning and Development Director

Overview:  A tour of Lowell with the chief preservationist for Lowell National Historical Park and the development officer for the City of Lowell will provide a look at Lowell, Then and Now. The bus tour will establish the context for a preservation movement that has blended with the City’s economic development strategy. Lowell, because of its rich history and legacy of architecturally significant buildings has a particular history to protect and retain. Tour will establish the context for a preservation movement that has led to economic development. The tour will include a discussion of the 15-acre Hamilton Canal District


Understand how an historic preservation effort blended with the city’s economic development strategy.

Establish the context for the preservation movement by touring specific examples in the city.

See the real-life application of theory by touring the city.

Wednesday, February 29    Public Narrative
Location: Charles Allen House, UMass Lowell, South Campus, One Solomont Drive

Overview: Public Narrative is a leadership practice. It is the art of translating values into action – a discursive process through which individuals, communities, and nations learn to make choices, construct identity, and inspire action. Leadership often requires telling a new public story, or adapting an old one: a story of self, a story of us, and a story of now.  A story of self communicates the values that are calling you to act. A story of us communicates values shared by those whom you hope to motivate to act. And a story of now communicates the urgent challenge to those values that demands action now. Leaders use public narrative to interpret their values to others, engage others in a sense of shared community, and inspire others to join them in acting on challenges their community must face. The intent of this session is to introduce members to ways in which they can develop their own narratives through deeper understanding of their passions and values.     
Workshop: “Story of Self”

Presenter: Ariel Group is a training and coaching firm comprised of performing artists and business professionals. Members of Ariel Group will explore the unique personal histories of the Public Matters members to create and strengthen an authentic, individual leadership style.


Explain public narrative as a leadership art, describe its structure, and the reasons why leaders draw on narrative to inspire action.

Evaluate public narrative based on practical and analytical understanding.

Construct a Story of Self around choice points--moments when you faced a challenge, made a choice, experienced an outcome and learned a moral.

Develop a framework for constructing your own public narrative--Story of Self, Story of Us, Story of Now--to translate your values into action.

Wednesday, March 14    Impact of Leadership Styles
     Meeting location: The Lowell Plan, 11 Kearney Square, 4th floor     
Presenters: Jim Cook, Executive Director of the Lowell Development and Financial Corp. and The Lowell Plan, Inc.; Marie Sweeney, Lowell Heritage Partnership, chair of Greater Lowell Area Democrats (GLAD), and a member of the Democratic State Committee.; William Lipchitz, Deputy Executive Director, Community Teamwork, Inc.; and Paul Marion, Executive Director Office of Community and Cultural Affairs & Co-Director, Center for Arts and Ideas, UMass Lowell

Overview:  One of the many ways to characterize leadership styles is the Bolman and Deal (1984) Four Frames Theory: 1) The structural frame—characterized by a mechanistic hierarchy with authoritarian chain of command and structured management systems and decision-making tools; 2) The human resources frame—characterized by collegial relationships, use of empowerment, professional development, shared values, and consensus decision-making; 3) The political frame—characterized by conflict and competition that require bargaining, influence, negotiation, networking and coalition building to reach decisions; and 4) The symbolic frame—characterized by organic structure with shared sense of mission, values and beliefs that provide means of interpretation for meaning where leaders act as facilitators or catalysts to decisions and actions.

The power and responsibility of “position” will be discussed in the context of the leadership styles of Senator Paul Tsongas and Dr. Patrick Mogan.  The panel will reflect on personal experiences with Senator Tsongas and Dr. Mogan and their commitment to “generational responsibility,” views on living with a sense of serious purpose, and being responsible stewards of society.



Identify the four leadership frames and their characteristics as identified by Bolman and Deal.

Recognize the importance of knowing your preferred frame and the ability to adopt other frameworks depending upon the situation.

Recognize the importance of knowing your preferred frame and the ability to adopt other frameworks depending upon the situation.

Articulate the multiple roles and dilemmas of leaders in effecting change.

Reflect on your own experience and the experiences of the leaders presented and discuss ways to connect the material to developing a vision for Lowell's future.

Wednesday, March 28    Democracy Now
     Location: Mayor’s Reception Room, City Hall    
Presenter: Bernard F. Lynch, Lowell City Manager     
Overview:  This session will focus on citizen engagement, social media influences, and democracy.

Bernard F. Lynch was hired as City Manager in August, 2006. As City Manager, he oversees an annual operating and capital budget of $295 million that serves a community of 108,000 residents.  Mr. Lynch supervises the activities of all City departments, which include more than three thousand employees. Prior to leading the City of Lowell, Mr. Lynch served as the Town Manager for the Town of Chelmsford for seventeen years. He has served as an independent consultant to municipalities, as the Executive Director for the Methuen Neighborhood Development Corporation and as a Policy Analyst for the Massachusetts Housing and Finance Agency. The City Manager earned his undergraduate degree in political science at the University of Lowell and earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Massachusetts.


Give an overview of the operation and structure of government, finance, housing, health and social service resources in Lowell.

Describe the theory and practice of good governance as essential elements in meeting the needs of the broader community.

Develop a richer understanding of the people, resources and processes needed for an organization to achieve its goals.

Identify the challenges faced by leaders in serving and meeting the needs of the broader community.

Wednesday, April 11

Community Activism: Local, National, International
     Location: Community Teamwork, Inc., 155 Merrimack Street     
Presenter: John Prendergast    
John Prendergast is a human rights activist and best-selling author who has worked for peace in Africa for over 25 years and this year’s Greeley Scholar at UMass Lowell. He is the co-founder of the Enough Project, an initiative to end genocide and crimes against humanity affiliated with the Center for American Progress. John has worked for the Clinton White House, the State Department, two members of Congress, the National Intelligence Council, UNICEF, Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group, and the U.S. Institute of Peace. He has been a Big Brother for over 25 years, as well as a youth counselor and a basketball coach.

John is the author or co-author of ten books. His newest book, Unlikely Brothers, released in May 2011, is a dual memoir co-authored with his first little brother in the Big Brother program.    His previous two books were co-authored with Don Cheadle: Not On Our Watch, a New York Times bestseller and NAACP non-fiction book of the year, and The Enough Moment: Fighting to End Africa's Worst Human Rights Crimes.

Under the Enough Project umbrella, John has helped create a number of initiatives and campaigns. With George Clooney, he helped launch the Satellite Sentinel Project, which aims to prevent conflict and human rights abuses through satellite imagery.

The following link is to an article on George Clooney and John Prendergast in TIME on Sudan starvation (Dec. 8, 2011):,8599,2101786,00.html

Saturday, April 7 or

Saturday, April 14

Rafting - Concord River (date dependent on state of Concord River)
This is an early spring whitewater rafting trip on the Concord River. The urban whitewater ride plunges over three major class III-IV rapids - Twisted Sister, Three Beauties, and Middlesex Dam. When the water level is right, Three Beauties becomes an intensely fun surfing hole. Surfing involves paddling upstream into a wave or hole with the goal to fill the boat with water, splash the entire crew, or maybe even have the boat stand on end.  There will be two runs made. The Concord River rafting trip concludes with passage through the Lower Locks, an 1850's lock chamber between UMass Lowell’s Inn and Conference and Middlesex Community College. A portion of the proceeds from this trip benefit the Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust, working to preserve greenspace in Lowell.



Experience one of the most significant natural resources in the Lowell.

Function as a team.


Wednesday, April 25    Place Makers: Amenities and the Art of Negotiation
Meeting location: The Tsongas Center

Presenters: Brian Martin, District Director for Congresswoman Niki Tsongas; and Jim Cook, Executive Director of Lowell Development and Financial Corp. and The Lowell Plan

Overview:  The biggest challenge in urban animation is often the process of putting together the partnerships that are the prerequisite to getting anything done. Lowell met that challenge in the construction of the Tsongas Arena, but it wasn’t easy.

When Brian Martin was the City Manager in the mid 90s, the proposal for a downtown arena pitted two groups against one another: those who said the financial risks for the city were too great; and those who said the rewards of the project were misunderstood, or worse, ignored.  Through a binding referendum in 1994, voters allowed city officials to spend tax dollars to build the arena by a vote of 10,637 to 9,747, or a 53-47 percent decision. In November 2009, the City Council unanimously approved the term sheet and purchase-and-sales agreement, and passed a home-rule petition to be approved by the state legislature, to transfer the Tsongas Arena to the UMass Building Authority. The arena was one of the largest public works projects in Lowell’s history. The arena remains a controversial topic for many Lowell residents.

Lowell has mobilized its cultural resources for economic growth, community pride, and educational development. The Tsongas Arena tells a special tale both about the evolving nature of places and the challenges faced by those “makers of place.”

Productively engaging in conflict is always valuable. Most people are willing and interested in resolving their conflicts; they just need the appropriate skill set and opportunities in which to practice this skill set. Without a conflict resolution skill set, people want to avoid conflict, hoping it will go away or not wanting to make a “big deal out of nothing.” Research and personal experiences show us that, when we avoid conflict, the conflict actually escalates and our thoughts and feelings become more negative. Practicing conflict management skills leads to more successful engagement in conflict with outcomes of relief, understanding, better communication, and greater productivity for all involved.

Brian Martin started his political career in 1981 as a city councilor and served until 1989. As mayor in 1984, Brian was chair of the Lowell School Committee and cast the only vote in favor of the recommendations made by the Lowell Model for Educational Excellence. In 1989 he was appointed Assistant City Manager to Jim Campbell and subsequently served as Assistant City Manager for Richard Johnson. Brian was Lowell’s City Manager from 1995 to 2000. Brian will discuss his role as City Manager and his continued interest in the Tsongas Arena. Jim will discuss the impact on the business community and the role of the private sector in this project.


Using the TKI, define the five conflict handling styles and identify your preferred approach to dealing with conflict.

Discuss the different conflict handling modes or styles and how they affect interpersonal and group dynamics and learn how to select the most appropriate styles for a given situation.

Recognizing that conflict is an ever-present component of any decision-making environment analyze a specific decision situation (the construction of the Tsongas Arena), understand the stakes of those involved, identify sources of conflict and the negotiation strategies used.

April 28

Neighborhood Walk
Meeting time and location: 9 am at Cavaleiro’s, 573 Lawrence St.

Tour assigned neighborhood with hosts: 9:30 am – noon

Reconvene at Cavaleiro’s for lunch noon – 1pm




Sacred Heart




South Lowell/Riverside Community

Back Central


Identify some of the forces that have brought immigrants and refugees to Lowell.

Recognize the richness of cultural diversity and explain the relationship between immigration and the physical development of Lowell.

Describe how Lowell’s neighborhoods developed their individual identities and ways in which those identities have been represented, redefined, or challenged.

Wednesday, May 9    
Neighborhood Walk Presentations

     Location: St. Jeanne Baptiste Church    
Presenters: Members of Public Matters 2012     
Telling stories is an essential part of being human. People everywhere, throughout history, have told and still tell stories. Whether it’s to remember history, to communicate feelings, or honor an individual, telling stories help us understand the world in which we live. Stories help us better understand how and why people throughout the world respond differently to key moments in life. Our neighborhood hosts will have told stories about their childhood, friends, families, and homes. This will be an opportunity for the Public Matters members to report back to the group on the impact a neighborhood can have on an individual.

Members who toured together will produce a ppt presentation on what make your neighborhood unique. The presentations must be no longer than 10 minutes each and should include and address the following: name of neighborhood and guide; what made the guide a credible host; location of neighborhood and how it got its name; route taken on tour; Preconceived notions you had of that part of Lowell – were they confirmed or not?; distinctive characteristics of the neighborhood – homes, yards, stores, temples/churches, who lives there?; history (only if it was a focus of your experience); what stories were you told; and a souvenir from the tour that represents that neighborhood.


Examine your personal image of one of Lowell’s neighborhoods and compare it to the real thing and/or someone else’s image.

Describe how Lowell's neighborhoods have developed their own individual identities and ways in which those identities have been represented, redefined, or challenged.

Wednesday, May 23    The Big Move
     Location: Watermark Environmental, Inc., 175 Cabot Street     
Panelists: George Eliades, Jr., Pauline Golec, Luis Pedroso, and Samkhann Khoeun.     
The immigrant story is imbedded in the past, present, and future Lowell. The goal of this session is to provide insight into how Lowell changes, and in turn how Lowell is changed by its residents. Panelists will talk about how they seek out ways to imagine and maintain their cultural identities through preservation, creation, re-invention of traditions, ways of life, customs, practices, etc.


Recognize how individuals seek out ways to imagine and maintain their cultural identities.

Understand that this is done through preservation, creation, re-invention of traditions, ways of life, customs, and practices.

Understand that Lowell’s immigrant and refugee story is broad, complex, and on-going.

June 6      
What Do We Do Now?

     Location: Enterprise Bank, Palmer Street    
Presenter: Beckley Gaudette

Topic: ME, YOU, US wrap-up/lessons learned/how to build the network forward.

Workshop: “Story of Now”


Based on the last six months, construct a “Story of Us” and a “Story of Now.”

Develop and articulate a “Promise of Commitment” that brings the class to a unified purpose.

June 20    Concluding Presentation/Reception
Location: Middlesex Community College


Course Objectives

Create a network of new leaders fully engaged in the future of Lowell.

Provide a forum for emerging and existing leaders to develop a vision for community development that strengthens the whole community.

Promote an understanding of and appreciation for the history, cultural diversity, and economic and government resources of Lowell.

Encourage resource sharing and collaboration.

Build the capacity of the public and private sectors through the development of leadership and experiential learning.

Ensure diversity among the leaders of Lowell