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

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

--revised March 17, 2009--

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 2008-09 academic year is T. R. Reid, who has been a journalist for The Washington Post (including serving as the chief of their Tokyo, London, and Rocky Mountain bureaus), NPR’s Morning Edition, and PBS’s Frontline and Nova.  He will be visiting with the class the mornings after his two spring talks at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

A.  Tutorial materials

1.      Talking from 9 to 5: Women and Men at Work, by Deborah Tannen (HarperCollins, paperback: 0-380-71783-2)

2.      Antigone, translated by Paul Woodruff (Hackett Publishing Company, paperback: 0-87220-571-1)

There will also be readings circulated to you as handouts.

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


The New York Times Project  (six papers)

36 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 succeeding, leaders failing, leaders taking risks, leaders’ having conflicting styles, 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, or contrast with, our readings.


Patuxent Defense Forum paper 

6 points

This is the fourth year in which St. Mary’s has held the Patuxent Defense Forum, which is two days of talks and panel discussions about some aspect of the military that impinges on the work done by those connected to the military contractor and defense operations in and around Patuxent Naval Air Station.   This is organized by the Center for the Study of Democracy, which will circulate a detailed program schedule in advance of the forum, which is scheduled this year for April 20 and 21 in Cole Cinema.  Given that you already have studied military leadership for a semester, you should attend some of the sessions, which in the past have been held only during the day. 

An additional reason for attending some of the sessions is that you have a two-to-three-page paper due on the following Saturday about some issues raised in at least one of the sessions you attended, as those issues intersect either with issues raised in some other Patuxent Defense Forum session you attended, with issues raised in your NITZ 180 last semester, or with issues raised in our readings this semester.


Leadership Engagement Project

28 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, or as three in the 2007 cohort raised funds for a non-profit to build a fog collector in Guatemala to provide fresh water.  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?


Nitze Pen Pal Project   

30 points

I will provide you with a list of the 123 Nitze alumni, five of whom each of you will sign up to interview about what they have found about leadership in their lives after St. Mary’s.   I have contact information for most, but not all, of the alumni, and part of the assignment is for you to be resourceful about tracking down the information for the rest.  Contacting them will give you the chance to ask how some of what we have read about leadership is exemplified (or not) in the real world.  Your Pen Pal paper, of 5-8 pages, will describe what you take to be the significant similarities and differences among your pen pals’ experience with and observations of leadership, together with any salient conclusions you come to as a result of your communications with your pen pals.  The paper is due in seminar on April 28, but do be mindful of the busyness of the schedules of many of these pals.  The fact that some of them may be out of town or even out of the country for extended times militates against procrastination.

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. 20—Our inaugural session.  The room will be crowded.  Standing room will be free of charge.  Parading about is optional.  Assistant Vice President for Academic Services Lenny Howard will visit in the second half of seminar, to talk about major scholarships and fellowships.
Jan. 22—handouts:  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” 

Saturday, Jan. 24—first NYT paper due

Jan. 27—handouts: short excerpts from Carlyle, Tolstoy, Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Lao-tzu, Gandhi, and Du Bois

Jan. 29—handout:  Thomas Cronin’s “Leadership and Democracy”; visit from Professor Bayers, NITZ 280 for 2009 incoming Nitze Scholars)

Saturday, Jan. 31—second NYT paper due

Feb. 3—visit from Professors Savage (next year’s NITZ 180) and Brodsky (next year’s NITZ 280)
Feb. 5—Tannen’s Talking from 9 to 5, chs. 1-4
Saturday, Feb. 7—third NYT paper due

Monday, Feb. 9—T. R. Reid’s lecture
“Is Health Care a Human Right?”—8:00 p.m. in Auerbach Auditorium
Feb. 10—seminar with T. R. Reid

Feb. 12—Tannen’s Talking from 9 to 5, chs. 5 & 6

Saturday, Feb. 14—fourth NYT paper due
Feb. 17—Tannen’s Talking from 9 to 5, chs. 7-9
Feb. 19—Antigone

Saturday, Feb. 21—fifth NYT paper due

Feb. 24—tbd
Feb. 25—recommended:  4:40 talk by Peter W. Singer of the Brookings Institution, “
Wired For War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century”
in Auerbach Auditorium  (For example, will the prevalence of UAV’s—unmanned aerial vehicles—make military intervention more likely, by decreasing the risk to soldiers?)
Feb. 26—tbd

Saturday, Feb. 28—sixth and final NYT paper due

Mar. 4—recommended: 4:45 talk by Professor Richard Nickolson, of Herron School of Art and Design, Indiana University, “How to Tell a War Story: European and American Perspectives,” in Cole Cinema  (This is a talk about how war is represented in art.)

Tuesday, Mar. 24—regular meeting for final reports on plans for Leadership Engagement Projects

Tuesday, Apr. 14—T. R. Reid’s lecture “The Global Superpowers of 2050. (The U.S. won’t be No. 1.  Neither will China.)”—8:00 p.m. in the Auerbach Auditorium

Monday & Tuesday, April 20 & 21—The fourth annual Patuxent Defense Forum will be held throughout the days in Cole Cinema.  The theme of this year’s forum is
“Roles of the U.S. Military in Fragile and Failed States.”

Saturday, Apr. 25—Patuxent Defense Forum paper due

Apr. 28—Nitze Pen Pal paper due at noon.

My address: mstaber at smcm dot edu

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