Readings, lectures, and discussions pertaining to significant topics of special and current interest to educators. Focus is on issues related to the analysis of educational organizations, policies, and policy making. Topics vary.
SEMINAR TITLE: Leadership, Democracy, and a More Thoughtful Public
We will explore five interlinked propositions and their implications:
1. Leadership always has a political context; leadership in a democracy (more specifically, a liberal constitutional democratic republic) is necessarily different in terms of behaviors and responsibilities than leadership in other political regimes.
2. Leadership involves at its base the creation of a persuaded audience, but more than persuasion, involves creating and sustaining a more thoughtful public, a public capable of rising above itself.
3. A more thoughtful public must not only be created and sustained, but, given that things inevitably fall apart, must be recovered and reconstituted.
4. Distinctions must be made regarding the leadership functions of initiating, sustaining, and recovering/reconstituting. What it takes for a leader to sustain isn't quite the same as what it takes to initiate, and neither of these quite approach what it takes to recover/reconstitute when the organization/regime falls apart.
5. Good leadership involves ethical and effective information seeking. A leader must have knowledge of what must be done (knowledge gained through a variety of ways), knowledge of what it takes to persuade others of what must be done (and, in persuading, creating a more thoughtful public), and knowledge of how an audience/public will probably respond. Only a thorough understanding of the principles, strategies, and costs of information seeking will enable one to engage in ethical and effective leadership.
We'll be doing close reading of selected texts. We won't be reading lots, but we'll be reading, I trust, very deeply.
Some of the texts:
A couple of Orwell essays. "Shooting an Elephant," and "Politics and the English Language" Two chapters from Robert Putnam's *Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy* Four chapters from Tocqueville's *Democracy in America* A chapter from Deborah Stone's, *Policy Paradox* A bit of Plutarch on Sparta A chapter from Dostoevsky's *Brothers Karamazov* ("The Grand Inquisitor") On information seeking: a chapter from Machiavelli's *The Prince*; selections from Kautilya's *Arthrashastra*; Bacon's essay, "Of Counsel," and a charming letter from Lord Chesterfield to his son. Sophocles, *Philoctetes* James Boyd White, a chapter from *Heracles' Bow* on *Philoctetes* Selections from Ralph Lerner's *Revolutions Revisited* My book, *The Language of Leadership* (usually here we say last but not least. Well, here I'm saying last and least).
Student learning goals
These are derived from the propositions.
General method of instruction
Seminar. Close reading of selected texts; sharing of additional texts.
Class assignments and grading