The Converse Model Programs are among the best in the nation, and have the awards to prove it. They have out-debated teams from the Ivy League’s Harvard to the University of California at Berkeley. At the Southeast Model Arab States, held March 13-15 on the Converse campus, the Converse delegation, representing Egypt, finished first again with every member of the delegation winning a committee award for outstanding performance.
Converse has held this distinction for all 13 years that it has competed in the Southeast Model. This is matched by 12 consecutive years as Outstanding Delegation at the National Model Arab League, held in Washington, DC; all five years that Converse has competed in Model NATO, also in Washington, DC; and the two years that it participated in Model UN.
The question isn’t why. It is how does this happen year after year in competition with some of the finest schools in the country. Dr. Joe P. Dunn, Chair of Converse’s Department of History and Politics and faculty sponsor for the delegation, explains that it is simple. “The faces change, the venues vary, the models are different, but the principles of preparation, expectation, and leadership remain constant. It is about hard work, research, practice, and performance.” Dunn emphasizes that the dynasty didn’t just happen. He set out to create it at the very beginning. As Dunn states, “I’m a very competitive person. In sports, academics, life, competition is what drives the pursuit of excellence. If you are going to do something, do it well or don’t do it. Everyone is capable of more than they are at first willing to give. You ask for everyone to reach deeper within themselves. It is the same in the classroom or on the athletic field. If one is going to be the best, one has to expect more of herself.”
“I have devoted myself for 33 years to preparing women to be leaders,” Dunn explains. “Just like in the military, before you can lead, you have to develop the discipline to follow. You gain the skills to be successful, and when your time comes, you step up to the challenge. Model Programs is an extension of my philosophy in the classroom–expect, demand, and motivate.”
The system is in place and the results keep happening. Dunn said that it is a privilege to be associated with such talented young women, and that the (Converse Model Programs) are just the beginning of their achievements. The records of former Model Programs participants are extremely impressive in every field of endeavor. As he explained, “prepare leaders and then watch the results of their career leadership.” He noted that of the eight seniors from the program who graduated last year, all eight are in graduate school at Princeton, Georgetown, William and Mary, South Carolina, Tennessee, University of the West Indies, and the Mississippi College of Law.
Delegates of the Converse Model Programs all buy into the mantra, “No excuses, just performance.” But the other explanation for success is “the system.” It isn’t just about some talented students who may win one year and not the next, but it comes from creating a program that ensures the development of the best performers every year. Look at powerhouse athletic programs such as the University of North Carolina in basketball or the Univ