Tim Steffensmeier | Teacher & Director of Research
Big ideas captivate Tim Steffensmeier.
He’s drawn to new possibilities and folks who get the job done. Raised in rural Nebraska, Tim completed an M.A. at North Carolina’s Wake Forest University and a Ph.D at the University of Texas, Austin; yet, Kansas, and the vision of the Kansas Leadership Center, offered a compelling enough reason to put down roots.
Tim has been a member of KLC’s core teaching team since 2009. In 2017, he became the founding director of Third Floor Research, a KLC research center aimed at improving the exercise of leadership in organizations and communities. He chairs KLC’s Your Leadership Edge program and Case-in-Point Intensive.
Alongside his work at KLC, Steffensmeier is director of the Leadership Communication Ph.D. program at Kansas State University and faculty in the areas of communication and leading change. From 2012-2017 Steffensmeier was K-State’s department head of Communication Studies, guiding a unit that became an independent department and increased student majors by one hundred percent.
Tim’s international leadership development experience includes, most recently, courses in Japan, Senegal, Australia, and Myanmar. Wherever he travels, Tim is renowned for his skill in navigating tough issues, driving organizational change, and convening community conversations.
Steffensmeier’s publications and presentations focus on leadership, rhetoric, and public deliberation. Currently, he is finishing a book: Rebuilding the Public Square, an analysis of how communities embraced a conversation model for cross-sector problem solving.
Tim’s favorite subject to teach is classical rhetoric (old Greek and Latin texts about public speaking, democracy etc.). For him, the ancient questions still resonate: What is a good life? Who gets to participate? How is language used to influence other people?
For Tim, that good life is full of big ideas, ancient questions, colleagues who challenge one another, students and adult learners who exercise more leadership, more often, and ever-deepening roots in Manhattan, Kansas.