Public Matters 2014 Syllabus

Lowell Plan: Public Matters
January – June, 2014

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 Greater Lowell Community Foundation; and The Lowell Heritage Partnership.

Project Team: Rosemary Noon, Public Matters Director and Assistant Director, The Lowell Plan,, 978-459-9899; Melissa Surprenant, Administrative Assistant, The Lowell Plan; Sue Andrews, 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., 660 Suffolk Street, Suite 120, Lowell, 01854.

Program Requirements: Public Matters will meet 4 – 7:30 pm on two Wednesdays each month, unless otherwise indicated, beginning January 15 and concluding June 18, 2014. 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.
Journal: 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.

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

Course Schedule

Wednesday, January 15: Introduction to Public Matters
Location: Sandy Walters Conference Room, 5th floor, Boott Mills Museum

Topic: Expectations, logistics, and general orientation
Presenter: Rosemary Noon

Objectives: (1) understand scope and scale of program; and (2) establish expectation for participation.

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.

Wednesday, January 29: A City of Partnerships
Location: 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 partnership 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.

America’s First Planned Industrial City: Lowell
Location: Boott Cotton Mills Museum

Presenter: Dave Byers, Lowell National Park Ranger

A tour of the historic Boott Cotton Mills Museum and a presentation of Lowell’s industrial past as the backdrop for learning.

The Intentional City

Panelists: James Milinazzo, Vice President of Business Services, Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union, Member of the Lowell City Council, and Chair of the Lowell Development and Financial Corporation; and Paul Marion, Executive Director of Community Relations and Co-Director, Center for Arts and Ideas, UMass Lowell.

Discussion on Lowell of the 70s and 80s and its entrepreneurial and partnership spirit.

Saturday, February 1: Blending National Park and Community Values - Bus Tour of Lowell
Location: Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union, One Tremont Place    
Topic: Blending National Park and Community Values

Time: 9 am – 1 pm

Presenters: Peter Aucella, Assistant 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.

Objectives: (1) understand how an historic preservation effort blended with the city’s economic development strategy; (2) establish the context for the preservation movement by touring specific examples in the city; and (3) see the real-life application of theory by touring the city.

Wednesday, February 12: 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: Rob Salafia and Dave Sollars of the Authentic Leadership Institute will provide practical, field-tested strategies to tap into and develop your leadership skills.  The following is excerpted from the Authentic Leadership Institute’s web site:

The old model of leadership that positioned one individual as the "leader" and the rest as "followers" is coming to an end. It is being replaced with a style of leadership requiring each of us to step up and lead. While the 20th century may be viewed as the time of the charismatic leader, the 21st century is becoming the time of developing leaders throughout each organization. Until recently, there has been no compelling model to replace the old standard.

Much of what has been studied, learned, and taught about leadership is based on observing good leaders. Unfortunately, as the level of uncertainty and change accelerates in our world, the half-life of what one "does" with success is becoming shorter and shorter. At the same time, most of us have at one time or another been around leaders who transcend the style of the day. As much as we can identify a list of traits that contributed to their success, much of what we talk about is who they are as leaders. The overall tenor and underlying set of core values pervading their actions is what stays with us.
Our research shows that, while trait- and strengths-based models define what good leadership looks like and achieves, they do not touch on that core identity unique to each leader. ALI has developed a series of powerful techniques that energize, identify, and activate a person’s internal mindset necessary for authentic leadership.

Objectives: (1) explain public narrative as a leadership art, describe its structure, and the reasons why leaders draw on narrative to inspire action; (2) evaluate public narrative based on practical and analytical understanding; (3) construct a Story of Self around choice points--moments when you faced a challenge, made a choice, experienced an outcome and learned a moral; and (4) 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, February 26: The SunJournalism and the Community in a Time of Change 
Location: The Sun offices, 491 Dutton St.

Panelist: Jim Campanini, Editor, The Sun
Moderator: Jim Cook, Executive Director, Lowell Development and Financial Corp., and The Lowell Plan

Media and New Media: What’s the difference? What do people want to know about? What is the role of opinion journalism? What are professional newsroom standards? What does the editor do? Does story structure change when reporting in print, online, or with twitter feeds? Is a newspaper an institution of leadership or communication? These questions and more will be discussed as we review the role of The Sun in 2014.

The Sun is a 48,000 circulation daily that serves 18 communities in the Merrimack Valley and southern New Hampshire. Print shop owners and brothers John and Daniel Harrington founded the paper as a weekly in 1878. In its earliest years, The Sun provided the growing Irish Catholic population a voice in a mill city that was run by wealthy Protestant factory owners. Over the years, the paper outlasted its competitors to become the only major newspaper in Lowell, converting to a daily in 1892 and buying out its last competitor daily, the Courier-Citizen, in 1941; and starting a Lowell Sunday Sun in 1949 and buying out its only Sunday competition, the Lowell Sunday Telegram, in 1952. The paper remained in the hands of John Harrington's descendants Thomas F. Costello, his sons John H. and Clement C. Costello, and grandson John H. Costello Jr. until it was purchased in 1997, by MediaNews Group.

Objectives: (1) understand the role of a newspaper in a community; (2) recognize how traditional print media outlets now incorporate many interactive media tools such as blogs, podcasts, RSS feeds, and Twitter; and (3) understand how a newspaper can shape public opinion.

Wednesday, March 5: Governance

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.

Objectives: (1) acquire a general understanding of the operation and structure of government, finance, housing, health and social service resources in Lowell; (2) understand the theory and practice of good governance as essential elements in meeting the needs of the broader community; (3) develop a richer understanding of the people, resources and processes needed for an organization to achieve its goals; and (4) identify the challenges faced by leaders in serving and meeting the needs of the broader community.

Wednesday, March 19: Social Capital

Location: The Lowell Plan, 660 Suffolk St.

Presenter: John Wooding, PhD, Political Science, UMass Lowell

We often use the term “social capital” but are sometimes confused about what it actually means.  Some view it as the institutions, relationships, attitudes and values that govern interactions among people and contribute to economic and social development. Social capital has also been defined as the sum of the resources, actual or virtual, that accrue to an individual or a group by virtue of possessing a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition. In this session we will explore these ideas and examine where they are part of the fabric of the Lowell community.

Objectives: (1) understand the definition of social capital within the context of Lowell; (2) understand the concept of social capital within Lowell’s changing demographics; and (3) recognize the opportunities Public Matters presents in terms of social capital.

Wednesday, April 2: Place Makers -Amenities and the Art of Negotiation

Location: The Tsongas Center

Presenters: Brian Martin, Headmaster, Lowell High School; 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 Center, 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 Center to the UMass Building Authority. The arena was one of the largest public works projects in Lowell’s history.

Lowell has mobilized its cultural resources for economic growth, community pride, and educational development. The Tsongas Center 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 Center. Jim will discuss the impact on the business community and the role of the private sector in this project.

Objectives: (1) define the five conflict handling styles of the panelists and identify your preferred approach to dealing with conflict; (2) understand 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; (3) recognize that conflict is an ever-present component of any decision-making environment analyze a specific decision situation (the construction of the Tsongas Center); (4) understand the stakes of those involved; and (5) identify sources of conflict and the negotiation strategies used.

Wednesday, April 9:  Think Globally, Act Locally: Perspectives on Human Rights
Location: UML, Inn and Conference Center

Presenters: Leymah Bowee, Linda Beales, and Albie Sachs, Greeley Scholars for Peace Studies, UMass Lowell
Born into a Jewish, trade unionist family, Albie Sachs was first arrested aged just 17 when he took part in a sit-in against apartheid. He became a lawyer and fought for many black clients, fighting not just for their rights but because of the death penalty in South Africa, sometimes their lives as well.

When Sachs’s political views lead to his inevitable arrest, he was imprisoned and placed into solitary confinement. On his release, he went into exile with his freedom fighting first wife. Even while exiled in Mozambique he was considered an enemy of the state and the security services targeted him with a car bomb. Sachs lost his arm and his eye in the explosion.
Sachs’s physical recovery mirrored his country’s rehabilitation and is captured in his memoir, The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter. On his return to South Africa, Sachs played a key role in drafting its democratic constitution and in 1994 Nelson Mandela appointed him as a judge in the new constitutional court. During his 15 years on the Court, Sachs helped place South African justice in the forefront of the legal recognition of human rights, winning praise from fellow jurists all over the free world. The court abolished the death penalty and overturned laws criminalizing homosexuality. In 2005, Sachs wrote the opinion in the landmark decision Home Affairs v. Fourie, legalizing same-sex marriage in South Africa.

Objectives: (1) understand the experience of healing divided societies; (2) appreciate the special role of arts and culture in an emerging democracy; and (3) understand the importance of building and strengthening relationships with and between people.

Saturday, April 12 or Sunday, April 13:  Rafting - 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.

Objectives: (1) experience one of the most significant natural resources in the Lowell; and (2) function as a team.

Wednesday, April 16: Creative Economy
Location: Western Ave. Studios

Presenters: Helena Fruscio, Director, Mass. Creative Economy  Industry; and State Senator Eileen Donoghue

Lowell is increasingly becoming a destination for creative entrepreneurs and artists to locate their businesses. Our aim is to support and highlight Lowell businesses that fit the creative economy definition put forth by the Lowell Plan and City of Lowell. We define the Creative Economy as industries that have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent, and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation of ideas, products and/or services.

"Lowell's Gateway to the Arts & Creative Economy." Culture Is COOL. COOL, n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2013. <>.

The presence of strong cultural organizations in the city helps establish and strengthen Lowell's identity as the center of its region. Arts and cultural entities play a key role in shaping and promoting Lowell's image and character as a unique urban environment, which attracts the diverse and creative populations who will increasingly drive our economy. We will discuss how the creative economy has shaped Lowell and in turn, talk about how Lowell has shaped its visual, literary and performing artists.

Objectives: (1) understand the scope of the creative sector in Lowell; (2) understand that the creative economy encompasses the non-profit and for-profit creative communities; and (3) understand Lowell’s appeal to the creative economy sector.

Saturday, April 26: 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
Downtown Lowell
Back Central
South Lowell

Objectives: (1) understand some of the forces that have brought immigrants and refugees to Lowell; (2) recognize the richness of cultural diversity and explain the relationship between immigration and the physical development of Lowell; and (3) understand  how Lowell’s neighborhoods developed their individual identities and ways in which those identities have been represented, redefined, or challenged.

Wednesday, May 7: Neighborhood Walk Presentations
Location: Pawtucket Congregational Church, 15 Mammoth Rd.

Presenters: Members of Public Matters 2014
Topic: 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 15 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.

Objectives: (1) examine your personal image of one of Lowell’s neighborhoods and compare it to the real thing and/or someone else’s image; and (2) be able to 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 21: Neighborhood Walk Presentations
Location: Lowell National Historical Park Headquarters, 67 Kirk St.

Presenters: Members of Public Matters 2014

Objectives: (1) examine your personal image of one of Lowell’s neighborhoods and compare it to the real thing and/or someone else’s image; and (2) be able to describe how Lowell's neighborhoods have developed their own individual identities and ways in which those identities have been represented, redefined, or challenged.

Wednesday, June 4: What Do We Do Now?

Location: Lawrence Manufacturing Agents House, Suffolk St.

Presenter: Beckley Gaudette

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

Workshop: “Story of Now”

Objectives: (1) construct a “Story of Us” and a “Story of Now” based on the last six months; and (2) develop and articulate a “Promise of Commitment” that brings the class to a unified purpose.

Wednesday, June 18: Concluding Presentation/Reception
Location: Middlesex Community College