Linda G. Olson, PhD, is Executive Director of Learning Communities and Civic Engagement for the University of Denver. As part of the Undergraduate Academic Programs of the Office of the Provost this department helps to focus the university on its vision to be “a great private university dedicated to the public good.” This department includes five Living and Learning Communities and the Pioneer Leadership Program. Linda is also at Teaching Professor and director of the Pioneer Leadership Program, a four year leadership development program for undergraduates with a minor in Leadership Studies.
Linda received a BA in psychology and MEd in Recreation and Parks Administration with a focus in Therapeutic Recreation from the University of Minnesota. Upon graduation she joined the multi-professional staff team at the Community Mental Health Center of Abott/Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. This work gave her a strong foundation for empathic work with others and an understanding of behavior based training for personal development among clients.
Desiring renewed contact with university students, Linda left her community mental health work and joined the staff of a nonprofit collegiate leadership development agency. She developed curriculum and trained agency staff and emerging university student leaders for cross-cultural service learning in domestic and international sites. Her 25 years of training expertise has taken her to numerous countries or regions including South Africa, Kenya, Central America, China, Russia, India and Ukraine.
In 2000, Linda began teaching at the University of Denver in the Human Communication Studies Department while she completed her doctoral studies. Her area of communication research and writing has included group and team communication, collaboration, leadership development and leadership ethics.
Linda takes her own civic leadership commitment seriously as an elected city council member for the City of Englewood. She finds this public service invigorating as she learns to integrate leadership theory and praxis in her own community membership and life.