The Avengers

When I was in college, some of the most memorable assignments I did involved critically analyzing a movie. Whatever the subject was, I really enjoyed this type of homework because I love watching movies. As a professional, I also use movies when trying to teach my students something about leadership or multiculturalism. Since I am still close to my students’ age, we watch many of the same types of films. This past weekend, my boyfriend and I went to see the highly anticipated action-packed flick “the Avengers”.

Using super heroes as examples for leadership can sometimes be a complicated task. In recent times, our most popular super heroes such as Batman, Spiderman, and Wolverine have been viewed as negative examples of citizenship and a threat to society. With names being thrown around such as “vigilante”, “menace”, and “freak”: Who wouldn’t be afraid of these guys? In “The Avengers” at least the individuals involved are referred to as “super humans”, but there is still some negativity attached to its characters due to their use of violence, self-centeredness, and other-wordly appearance. However, it is not always about how they fight for justice (because, let’s be real…sometimes we have to bend the rules), but it’s why these heroes fight for a better tomorrow.

In “The Avengers” you have Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, and the Hulk. Thor is a powerhouse of strength and uses lightning as a weapon – not safe, but way cool! Iron Man is as pompous as they come, but definitely knows how to be direct with people (not always an easy task if you’re a supervisor). Captain America will get the job done; he is focused and always has a strategy. Then there’s Bruce Banner/Hulk who is just a genius beyond his time, but doesn’t always play well with others (there will be days where I feel like him because the students won’t listen to me). In addition, there is the Black Widow and Hawkeye – two dangerous spies. The Black Widow is persuasive and can get information from anyone. Hawkeye has precision and can see the big picture and the details, all from different perspective.

“The Avengers” are a group of very strong-willed individuals with special and unique skill set (like many of our students!). When you look at the backgrounds of several of the characters, their ideals of leadership were very self-centered and sometimes revolved around personal gain. However, in a turn of events (when the life of others were at stake), they realized that leadership is about having others best interest at heart, thus creating an opportunity for the super heroes to be agents of change (Leadership Model for Social Change, anyone?).

When working with students, and sometimes even with peers in our own department, using stuff we see in the media (TV, film, magazines, etc) can be used to teach some valuable lessons about teamwork and leadership. Yes, the heroes from “The Avengers” didn’t get along at first, but they saw where their talents complimented each other in order to work as a together (maybe they took StrengthsQuest?). Recognizing each others’ contributions is a big step forward in becoming a more effective and productive leader.

The movie gave me some great laughs, but as a movie critic I do have some problems with the fact that there is only one female on the team…but that’s another conversation for another post! 

Tabatha Cruz

Student Affairs - the First Years

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