Multidisciplinary Zakariasen Brings it All to Kent State
New Professor Dr. Kenneth L. Zakariasen has a lifelong love of learning. He holds a dentistry degree; a master’s degree in endodontics; a doctorate in epidemiology; and a master’s degree in organizational development, his most recent educational endeavor. Along the way, he’s also completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Business and picked up a number of certificate programs in science and management. Zakariasen has served as educator, researcher and academic administrator at five universities, including four dean roles at three of the universities. He’s also been a consultant, editor and professional association executive in his 40-year career. Since 2006, he’s been teaching organization development and leadership. Zakariasen puts it all together and brings it to Kent State this fall, to head up the new leadership and organizational change concentration in the health policy and management MPH program. “All MPH programs teach the content knowledge of public health,” Zakariasen says. “But to be successful, a leader needs to go beyond the basic knowledge to learn the right leadership and change behaviors to make the organization successful – to build relationships with people to make things happen,” he explains.
Zakariasen’s most recent research is on emotional intelligence and leadership. “Assessments which come from followers indicate that the practices that make effective leaders effective – and that ineffective leaders need to adopt to become effective – are largely focused on emotional intelligence,” he says. “Research literature indicates that the assessments of followers, i.e., subordinates, are important predictors of leaders’ success,” he adds. Zakariasen conducted this investigation in collaboration with one of his daughters, the associate dean for education at the Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine. Indeed, Zakariasen has two daughters and grandchildren in Greater Cleveland, a draw for him to this area. His enthusiasm for the innovative and dynamic things happening in the college is a draw as well. “Dean Alemagno is very forward-thinking. She wants to do new things and do them now,” he says.