Syllabus for IDIS 181—Leadership Tutorial
Paul H. Nitze Scholars Program

Michael Taber
St. Mary's College of Maryland
Two credits

--revised February 25, 2008--

The two-credit Leadership Tutorial is open only to, and required for, students in their second semester of the Paul H. Nitze Scholars Program.  The tutorial develops the study of leadership by building upon both some of the issues raised in the Leadership Seminar I, which Nitze Scholars take in their first semester in the program, and some of the issues raised by the visits of the year’s Paul H. Nitze Senior Fellow. 

The Nitze Senior Fellow for the 2007-08 academic year is former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, and she will be visiting with the class on her spring visits to St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

A.  Tutorial materials

1.      Dostoevsky’s "The Grand Inquisitor" and Related Chapters (excerpts from The Brothers Karamazov; Hackett Pubs.)  [It is important for our discussions that you get this edition.]

2.      Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin’s Three Cups of Tea (Viking Penguin, 2006)

3.      Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s Failing America’s Faithful:  How America’s Churches Are Mixing God with Politics and Losing Their Way

4.      a subscription package (13 weeks) to the weekday paper edition of the New York Times, available for $29 from the Campus Store

There will also be readings circulated to you as handouts, and we will view several films.

B.  Tutorial requirements  (out of a semester total of 100 points)


You on leadership

40 points

Each of you will select an issue raised by the readings we will be doing, on which you will write an 8-12 page paper, due March 7.  This is not intended as a research paper (although you are free to consult other sources), but rather an opportunity for you to develop some clarity for your own sake about some issue about leadership you find interesting, perplexing, or commonly misunderstood.  In order to help you refine your thinking, each of you will have five to ten minutes of seminar on February 25 in which to lay out:

·        the topic you are writing about

·        what some views are about the topic

·        what your view is about the topic

·        why you are drawn to the view you are drawn to and not drawn to the others

·        in what way this topic is or will be important.

Ensuing discussion should be helpful to you in the development of your thinking and writing. 

Here is a deliberately non-exclusive list of topics: 

·        Is there really such a thing as transformational leadership?

·        Does leadership reduce to power, and followership to subordination?

·        To what extent is leadership different in different cultures and the same in different cultures?

·        Do—or should—most women lead differently from most men?

·        Are the differences or the similarities more salient among different contexts of leadership (e.g., political, business, educational, journalistic, religious, athletic, artistic, and so on)?

·        Do leaders have different responsibilities than others do, or simply different manifestations of basic human responsibilities?

·        What’s the best way to define “leader”?

·        Is a democratic leader a contradiction in terms (where the “leader” is supposed to follow the will of the people)?

·        Is everyone capable of being a leader, or is that just an intellectually polite thing to mouth?


Leadership Engagement Project

16 points

Each of you is to select and execute a project that engages with the world outside yourself.  This might be the world near at hand; consider Allison Billock, from the 2003 cohort, initiating, organizing and carrying out the “Last Lecture Series.”  Or it might involve parts of a more distant world, as five students in the 2004 cohort organized a fund-raiser to sponsor the digging of a well in a village in Angola.  Your leadership engagement project might be doing something quite new here at SMCM, or it might be a substantial enhancement of an existing program.   In either case, you are not to be a mere participant, although you may well participate in others’ engagement projects.  If you grow to be weary of this project, then you have not put good thought into what you would find meaningful.  To live the dull is to have failed to choose the wise.

The nature of some leadership engagement projects may not allow their execution during the spring semester, as extensive planning or other considerations of timing may be required.  Such projects are not discouraged, for together we can develop a way for a meaningful portion of work on the project to be completed by the end of the spring semester; then the project can still be carried out, within the spirit of this course, if outside its administrative bounds.      Reports on people’s leadership engagement projects will be given in the final week of the semester, including each person’s assessment of the challenges, the lessons learned, and—everyone’s favorite use of the subjunctive—“if I only knew then what I know now….”  Items to report on include:

·        What you did/are doing/will do.

·        Why?

·        What are the components of the project?

·        What are the speed-bumps you’ve hit, or expect to hit?

·        What turned out easier than you’d feared?

·        What very specific outcome would count to you as making this a successful project?


The New York Times Project  (eleven papers)

44 points

For the purposes of being an interesting person, read thoroughly.  For the purposes of this course, find two (or three or more, but do not dilute your focus) articles per week that exemplify to you in a meaningful, interesting (read: “non-superficial) way some characteristic of leadership, either by way of leaders’ conflicting styles, leaders succeeding, leaders failing, leaders taking risks, or the like, and write a two-to-three-page paper thereon (due e-mailed to me by midnight Saturday).  Remember not to restrict yourself to political and business leaders.  Whether artistic, religious, athletic, or intellectual leaders, the NYT makes a good effort to write about all the leaders that are fit to be printed about.  Especially useful to you will be papers that tie in to our readings.

Late (even barely late) work loses one full grade, and a further grade for each additional twenty-four hours of lateness.

C.  Tutorial schedule’s important dates

Jan. 17—handouts:  Ciulla’s “What Is Good Leadership?”, Machiavelli excerpt, and Ludwig & Longneck’s “The Bathsheba Syndrome: the Ethical Failure of Successful Leaders”
Monday, Jan. 21—8:00 p.m. group showing of Cool Hand Luke in library
Jan. 22—handouts: Bowie’s “A Kantian Theory of Leadership,” Burns’s “What Is Transforming Leadership?”, Greenleaf’s “Servant Leadership”, George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant”, and Zeleznick’s “General Patton and the Sicilian Slapping Incident” 

Jan. 24—Dostoevsky’s “The Brothers Make Friends” & “Rebellion” [from The Brothers Karamazov]
Jan. 29— Dostoevsky’s “The Grand Inquisitor”
Jan. 31— Dostoevsky’s notes on Elder Zossima

Feb. 5—Mortenson and Relin’s Three Cups of Tea, chs. 1-15
Feb. 7—chs. 16-23

Saturday, Feb. 9—first NYT paper due

Sunday, Feb. 10—6:00 p.m. group showing of My Dinner with Andre in library 306
Monday, Feb. 11—8:00 p.m. group showing of My Dinner with Andre in library 306
Feb. 12—handouts:  excerpts from Tolstoy, Lao-Tzu, and Du Bois, and Cronin’s “Leadership and Democracy”
Feb. 14—Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s
Failing America’s Faithful:  How America’s Churches Are Mixing God with Politics and Losing Their Way

Monday, Feb. 18—8:00 p.m. group showing of Meet John Doe in library
Feb. 19—sign-up for leadership engagement projects
Feb. 21—breakfast meeting with Nitze Senior Fellow Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
Feb. 26—Stephanie Klapper (Nitze 06) and Professor Adriana Brodsky visit class
Feb. 28—Associate Provost for Academic Services Lois Stover and Professor Brad Park visit class; Nitze reception at 5:30 in ARC

Friday, Mar. 7—Leadership paper due to me at noon

Saturday, Mar. 8—fifth NYT paper due
Saturday, Mar. 22—sixth NYT paper due

Friday, Apr. 4—evening public lecture by Nitze Senior Fellow Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

Apr. 22 & 24—reports on Leadership Engagement Projects
Saturday, Apr. 26—eleventh and final NY Times paper due

My address: mstaber at smcm dot edu

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