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Richard A. Couto Union Institute and University

Richard A. Couto (Ph.D., Political Science, University of Kentucky) is with Union Institute and University and a founding faculty member of the Antioch University PhD Program in Leadership and Change. Prior to that he was a founding faculty member of the Jepson School at the University of Richmond, where he held the George M. and Virginia B. Modlin Chair in Leadership Studies, 1991-2002. During that period, he spent two years as a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Maryland James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership. At the Jepson School, Dr. Couto helped develop a curriculum that integrates classroom instruction with community service. He also taught at Tennessee State University Institute of Government in the fields of community leadership, social movements, public policy, politics, and experiential education. He began his academic career directing Vanderbilt University’s Center for Health Services from 1975 through 1988. That center combined university resources with community assets—including local, grassroots leadership—in low-income areas of Appalachia and the rural South. He is considered a pioneer in the service-learning movement and a champion of the social change emphasis within it. His Kellogg National Leadership Fellowship, 1982-1985, recognized his work and permitted him to extend his studies at the international level. His work has won numerous national awards, including best book in transformational politics from the American Political Science Association, twice, the Virginia A. Hodgkinson Research Prize of the Independent Sector, 2000, and outstanding paper at the annual conference of the International Leadership Association in Amsterdam, 2005. Couto grew up in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and received a BA from Marist college and an MA from Boston college. Being a Boston red sox fan since birth prepared him for the vocation of politics, which Max Weber described as “a strong and slow boring of hard boards. It takes both passion and perspective.”