About the Courses
Unit One: Developing A Personal Leadership Philosophy
In this unit, students examine different views of leadership and establish the foundation for a personal leadership philosophy. Excerpts from the Humanities include letters between Sarah Grimké and Angelina Grimké and Theodore Weld and Senator John McCain’s “Farewell Letter.” TED Talks by David Brooks, Susan Cain, Amy Cuddy, Sheryl Sandburg, and Shonda Rhimes highlight aspects of developing a leadership philosophy. The recommended film Twelve O’Clock High portrays contrasting leadership philosophies.
Unit Two: Leading By Serving
Service to others and the public good is the cornerstone of great leadership. This unit explores Servant Leadership and demonstrates compellingly that leadership in any field of endeavor requires a reversal of the conventional wisdom that exhorts simply to lead: it argues that the important thing is to serve. Included as the Classic Case are a letter from Frederick Douglass to Harriet Tubman. The Leadership Profile comes from speeches made by Mahatma Gandhi showing service combined with leadership. Students also learn from TED Talks by Kiran Bedi, Jane Goodall, Billie Jean King, Mundano, Emily Esfahani Smith, and Charity Wahua and their unique approaches to leading and serving to accomplish different kinds of social change. Contemporary and unusual examples of servant leadership are portrayed in the recommended film Hidden Figures.
Unit Three: Understanding Ethical Leadership
This unit introduces students to the concepts of personal and institutional social responsibility and social responsiveness. It also surveys the process of ethical reasoning and its tools. In Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, key characters face critical ethical dilemmas. Confucius’ philosophy of leadership from The Analects contains significant excerpts on ethical leadership. TED Talks by Patrick Awuah, Kate Darling, Christopher Robichaud, and Paul Root Wolpe highlight different aspects of ethical leadership. Finally, the recommended HBO film The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks explores lessons in ethical leadership.
Unit Four: Articulating A Vision
Inspiring a shared vision is one of the most difficult tasks a leader faces. There is a critical link between a leader’s vision and his or her ability to communicate its essence powerfully. Three speeches from Shakespeare’s Henry V, Sojourner Truth, and Abraham Lincoln provide students the opportunity to examine excellent examples of articulating a vision. TED Talks by Lillian Faderman, Toni Griffin, Alex Kipman, Luma Mufleh, Ory Okolloh, Michael Sandel, Shubhendu, and Jody Williams explore varied ways of articulating a vision. In addition, students observe the skill and drive with which to articulate a vision to citizens fighting to save their society in the recommended film, Black Panther.
Unit Five: Team Building
An effective leader engages in team building activities to increase the effectiveness of groups and the satisfaction of individuals working in groups. An excerpt from John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath underscores the importance of trust, courtesies, and establishing routine procedures for effective team building. A speech by former Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne demonstrates the organizational side of creating a team with unity of purpose. TED Talk by Amy Edmundson, Frances Frei, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Dan Pink, Simon Sinek, Gonzalo Vilarino, Edith Widder, John Wooden, and Tom Wujec illuminate varied aspects of team building. Students also observe the phenomenal team-building skills of football coach Herman Boone in the recommended film Remember the Titans.
Unit Six: Leading With Goals
Goals are the stepping stones to personal, interpersonal, and career development and are critical for effective leadership. The Classic Case from George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion illustrates the importance of keen focus on goals and the necessary ingredients for reaching goals. Frederick Douglass’ autobiography provides a historical example of effective goal setting. TED Talks by John Doerr, Jamie Drummond, Tim Ferriss, Raghava K.K., and Diana Nyad, and the recommended film Rudy provide further examples of the importance of effective goal setting.
Unit Seven: Making Decisions
This unit investigates the processes of decision making first from a personal perspective with an excerpt from Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, and then from a broader perspective when decisions will affect many with Chief Joseph of the Nez Perces who recounts the difficulties of weighing consequences in his 1879 speech “An Indian’s View of Indian Affairs.” Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” and George Orwell’s essay “Shooting an Elephant” reflect on the power of outside influences on our decisions. TED Talks by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ruth Chang, Julie Galef, and Michele Wucker highlight varied perspectives on making decisions. Students can examine the decision-making processes in the recommended film Adrift.
Unit Eight: Guiding Through Conflict
In this unit, students learn that the leader’s task is not to remove conflict, but to choreograph it in order to reduce its harmful side effects, maximize its positive benefits, and maintain civility. Excerpts from Homer’s Iliad illustrate the kind of conflict that can bring organizations down. Excerpts from Catherine the Great’s proposed law code show how the Russian empress brought myriad groups together and then guided them through conflicts to modernize Russia. The podcast, “Creative Differences: The Benefits of Reaching Out to People Unlike Ourselves,” and TED Talks by Daniel Goleman, Adam Grant, Kelly McGonigal, Andrew Millar, Itay Talgam, and William Ury offer insights regarding how to guide individuals and teams through conflict. In addition, the recommended film, Guardians of the Galaxy, provides examples to explore what makes the difference between dysfunctional, destructive conflict and creative, productive conflict.
Unit Nine: Realizing Change
One of the most important tasks of the leader is to encourage the ongoing rejuvenation of a group or organization. Plato’s Allegory of the Cave speaks eloquently to the problems a leader faces when he or she tries to change the organization. The words of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony describe the resistance they faced and their determination to bring about change. TED Talks by Omar Ahmad, Daphne Bavelier, Keren Elazari, America Ferrera, Charles Limb, McKenna Pope, Manu Prahash, and Zeynep Tufekci compellingly explain the need for change and how change can happen. Wild, the recommended film for the unit, provides a powerful example of how one person can initiate meaningful change.
Unit Ten: Empowering Others
Empowerment is an important concept for effective leadership. L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, illustrates how an individual with no structural or formal power can give power and meaning to individuals or a community. Florence Nightingale and Yuri Kochiyama also empowered many people. Excerpts from Nightingale’s “Address to her Nurses” and an interview with Kochiyama describe their different approaches. TED Talks by Ron Finley, Jessica Jackley, Charlene Li, Matthieu Ricard, and Sheryl WuDunn explore varied ways leaders can empower others. The recommended film, 42, portrays the empowering leadership of Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey and the integration of Major League Baseball.