Leadership and the Liberal Arts: Achieving the Promise of a Liberal Education (Jepson Studies in Leadership) [First Edition] 0230612288, 9780230612280

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Table of contents :
Cover......Page 1
Contents......Page 6
Figures and Tables......Page 8
Foreword......Page 10
Acknowledgments......Page 16
Introduction......Page 18
Part I: The Link between Liberal Learning and Leadership......Page 28
One: Reinventing the Liberal Arts through Leadership......Page 30
Two: The Liberal Arts and Leadership Learning......Page 54
Three: Can Study of the Liberal Arts Prepare Both Effective Leaders and Productive Citizens?......Page 72
Part II: Integrating Leadership into the Liberal Arts and Sciences......Page 82
Four: General Education as the Nexus between the Liberal Arts and Leadership Studies......Page 84
Five: Learning Leadership Discipline by Discipline: Cultivating Metaphors for Leadership through the Study of the Liberal Arts......Page 98
Six: Liberal Education, Leadership, and Values......Page 114
Seven: Leadership and the Humanities......Page 134
Part III: Implementing the Study of Leadership in the Liberal Arts......Page 144
Eight: Using Thick Intellectual History to Teach Leadership: Implications of the Carlyle-Mill Exchange......Page 146
Nine: Leadership, Liberal Arts, and the Cultivation of Democratic Citizenship......Page 162
Ten: Forever Becoming Leader......Page 180
Eleven: Leadership Is the Practice of the Liberal Arts......Page 194
Twelve: Assessing the Impact of Liberal Arts-based Leadership Education......Page 220
Conclusion: Leadership and the Liberal Arts: Moving Forward......Page 230
List of Contributors......Page 234
C......Page 240
F......Page 241
J......Page 242
L......Page 243
P......Page 244
U......Page 245
Z......Page 246
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Leadership and the Liberal Arts

Jepson Studies in Leadership Series Editors: George R. Goethals, Terry L. Price, and J. Thomas Wren Jepson Studies in Leadership is dedicated to the interdisciplinary pursuit of important questions related to leadership. In its approach, the series reflects the broad-based commitment to the liberal arts of the University of Richmond’s Jepson School of Leadership Studies. The series thus aims to publish the best work on leadership not only from management and organizational studies but also such fields as economics, English, history, philosophy, political science, psychology, and religion. In addition to monographs and edited collections on leadership, included in the series are volumes from the Jepson Colloquium, which brings together influential scholars from multiple disciplines to think collectively about distinctive leadership themes in politics, science, civil society, and corporate life. The books in the series should be of interest to humanists and social scientists, as well as to organizational theorists and instructors teaching in business, leadership, and professional programs.

Books appearing in this series: The Values of Presidential Leadership edited by Terry L. Price and J. Thomas Wren Leadership and the Liberal Arts: Achieving the Promise of a Liberal Education edited by J. Thomas Wren, Ronald E. Riggio, and Michael A. Genovese

Leadership and the Liberal Arts Achieving the Promise of a Liberal Education Edited by J. Thomas Wren, Ronald E. Riggio, and Michael A. Genovese


Copyright © J. Thomas Wren, Ronald E. Riggio, and Michael A. Genovese, 2009. All rights reserved. First published in April 2009 by PALGRAVE MACMILLAN® in the United States—a division of St. Martin’s Press LLC, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010. Where this book is distributed in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world, this is by Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited, registered in England, company number 785998, of Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS. Palgrave Macmillan is the global academic imprint of the above companies and has companies and representatives throughout the world. Palgrave® and Macmillan® are registered trademarks in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe and other countries. ISBN-13: 978–0–230–61228–0 ISBN-10: 0–230–61228–8 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available from the Library of Congress. A catalogue record of the book is available from the British Library. Design by Newgen Imaging Systems (P) Ltd., Chennai, India. First edition: April 2009 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Printed in the United States of America.


Figures and Tables


Foreword Kenneth P. Ruscio




Introduction J. Thomas Wren, Ronald E. Riggio, and Michael A. Genovese Part I


The Link between Liberal Learning and Leadership


Reinventing the Liberal Arts through Leadership J. Thomas Wren



The Liberal Arts and Leadership Learning Thomas E. Cronin


Three Can Study of the Liberal Arts Prepare Both Effective Leaders and Productive Citizens? Richard Ekman


Part II Integrating Leadership into the Liberal Arts and Sciences Four

General Education as the Nexus between the Liberal Arts and Leadership Studies Gama Perruci





Learning Leadership Discipline by Discipline: Cultivating Metaphors for Leadership through the Study of the Liberal Arts Elisabeth Muhlenfeld


Liberal Education, Leadership, and Values Richard L. Morrill


Leadership and the Humanities Jean Bethke Elshtain Part III



81 97 117

Implementing the Study of Leadership in the Liberal Arts

Using Thick Intellectual History to Teach Leadership: Implications of the Carlyle-Mill Exchange Sandra J. Peart and David M. Levy Leadership, Liberal Arts, and the Cultivation of Democratic Citizenship Michael A. Genovese




Forever Becoming Leader John A. Roush



Leadership Is the Practice of the Liberal Arts James Maroosis



Assessing the Impact of Liberal Arts-based Leadership Education Ronald E. Riggio


Conclusion Leadership and the Liberal Arts: Moving Forward J. Thomas Wren, Ronald E. Riggio, and Michael A. Genovese


List of Contributors







Figures 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4

Shooting Niagra: And after? Dr. Dulcamara in Dublin Mill’s Logic; or Franchise for Females Exchange

138 139 140 141

Tables 8.1 The debate over human nature 9.1 Views of the public at large regarding the functions of public education

133 147

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K e n n e t h P. Ru sc io

Early in my career, a philosopher friend of mine explained a liberal arts education to me in these terms: it enables individuals to develop a commitment to something greater than the self. Admittedly, there is much more to be said about an approach to education, which although a relatively recent development in the course of intellectual history, has become the predominant educational inf luence in the Western world and certainly in American higher education. When all is said and done, however, the success of a liberal arts education can be measured by a simple yet ironic dynamic. An individual discovers his own individuality by directing his attention toward others, recognizing a common humanity with people who may seem very different, and realizing that the mark of a life well-lived is what we contribute to the betterment of those around us. It is as good a capsule summary of the meaning and purpose of a liberal arts education as I have found. And I have looked far and wide and continue to do so. When I came to the Jepson School of Leadership Studies in 2002 to begin what turned out to be a fouryear tenure as dean, the school was celebrating its tenth anniversary. Its faculty had already made their mark on the field of leadership studies. Its young graduates had compiled an impressive list of accomplishments in business, government, and the nonprofit sector. But for all that initial success, the school’s identity was still taking shape. I recall a conversation with a trustee soon after arriving at the university. “Jepson needs an elevator talk,” he instructed me. I understood his point, but I prayed that if I ever had to tell the Jepson story during an elevator ride, it would be in a very tall building. It was difficult to explain our philosophy, not because the faculty and students were confused about it, but rather because the concept of leadership itself carried so many



connotations. You had to tailor the explanation to the preconceived notions of the particular audience you were addressing, whether it was business managers, political officials, community activists, clergy, or any one of a hundred possible groups who knew or thought they knew exactly what the term leadership meant. Adding to the challenge was Jepson’s determination to take a different approach. Leadership education from the Jepson perspective was not primarily about imparting a set of skills. It was not about introducing students to the top ten lessons of effective leadership. It was not about helping students go through an introspective process of self-discovery. Instead I found myself describing a Jepson education as one that enabled an individual to develop a commitment greater than the self. We had positioned ourselves at the intersection of liberal arts and leadership. We were not alone, of course. Programs such as the Kravis Leadership Institute at Claremont-McKenna College and the Institute for Leadership Studies at Loyola Marymount University became especially close allies, as this volume and the partnership that formed the Keck program make abundantly clear. And indeed it is hard to find any college with a liberal arts emphasis whose mission statement or statement of purpose does not somewhere refer to preparing future leaders for lives of responsibility and for understanding their obligations to others. But those statements had become boilerplate platitudes, lofty aspirations carved into the rhetorical monuments of catalogs and brochures and far removed from the reality of day-to-day practice. Spinning off in one direction were the liberal arts disciplines, separated into their departments, becoming more and more balkanized, driven less by broad intellectual and educational goals such as critical and ethical reasoning and more by demands of the discipline and the academic profession. Spinning off in another direction were various professional or even “applied” programs that drew their inspiration instead from the problems and issues of certain vocational domains. In the cross currents, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary subjects, such as leadership, were difficult to address. Historic liberal arts goals, such as preparing students for lives of consequence and meaning, were overwhelmed by the narrow questions of the disciplines or the pressing problems of the day confronted by those in professions such as law or business. One of the purposes of this project and this volume in particular is to provide at least one small but hopefully significant corrective. In 2005, the W.M. Keck Foundation awarded Jepson, the Kravis Institute, and the Institute for Leadership Studies a three-year grant, the goal of which was to add courses with a major new focus to our curricula, and to engage and assist other colleges interested in



incorporating consideration of responsible leadership in discipline-based courses. Our specific aims in this project were: ●

To develop and evaluate team-taught courses on responsible leadership in eight specific disciplines, including the arts, economics, politics, science, psychology, history, literature, and religion, that with their supporting materials will constitute permanent additions to the curricula of our institutions, and also be made available to other institutions To provide the faculty development experience necessary to create and sustain these courses, by means of collaborations and seminars that bring together disciplinary and leadership faculty on each campus To structure undergraduate research projects that will engage students and contribute to course development by the creation of leadership case studies To engage faculty from approximately forty additional liberal arts colleges by conducting a summer workshop that both introduces and critiques the development of discipline-based courses in responsible leadership To produce an edited volume of essays on the subject that will support and fuel broad discussion of our approach

We approached the project with an understanding that leadership studies is not the liberal arts and the liberal arts is not leadership studies. But there is an area of overlap and common purpose. As psychologists, philosophers, biologists, economists, political scientists, literary scholars, historians, and others met in some of the early planning sessions, we frequently found ourselves remarking that many of the enduring questions about leadership were also the enduring questions of the liberal arts. In their separate and isolated departments many faculty were teaching and studying topics related to leadership, even if they never used the word leadership. Bringing them together around a common theme, we believed, would help us rediscover the basics of the liberal arts. For example, a central question for the humanities and the central question for the social sciences is how do people live together? “Man is by nature a political animal,” the possessor of a social instinct, Aristotle instructed.1 That doesn’t mean necessarily that we are nice, loving, or intrinsically good, nor does it necessarily mean that we are selfish, spiteful, or intrinsically bad. It simply means that collective action, whether competitive or cooperative, has been a mystery for a very long time.



In contemporary thought, as the political scientist James Q. Wilson notes, there are two basic answers to this fundamental question.2 One focuses on the calculating individual who pursues her or his own needs and preferences in a world where not everyone can get what they want—and therefore she or he must compete with others pursuing their needs and preferences. The other approach—and I hope I will be excused for using a bit of shorthand—is communal. It introduces values, beliefs, norms, and culture as factors that constrain and shape those individual choices. Those who work within this approach certainly do not deny the importance of human nature or even self-interest. But they believe that individuals faced with a decision ask what the appropriate action to take is, as opposed to those who believe that individuals ask first and foremost, what are the consequences for me of my action. In either approach, you cannot get far without confronting the dilemma of leadership—mainly because people are involved; institutions, values, and norms are involved; and choices must be made in severely constrained settings filled with competing values and interests. If you introduce intention into this picture—if you ask not only how do people live together but how should they live together—then you have found yourself dealing with the very same questions that shape the teaching and scholarship of those involved in the Keck project and that are behind the essays in this volume. Such a deeply intellectual approach is not how leadership studies in the academy and certainly beyond the academy is universally perceived. All of us who approach leadership from this perspective at one time or another have suffered from guilt by association with those f ly-by scholars who produce an endless supply of cliché-ridden, trendy, list-obsessed, self-help, personal discovery airport paperbacks. Look before you leap, advises one, but he who hesitates is lost. And: the secret to effective leadership is steadfast, unwavering, adherence to goals and objectives, but remember to be f lexible, responsive, and willing to adjust. It is theory by anecdote, and a muddle of prescription and description. It’s also many other things. But it is clearly not the approach taken in this volume or pursued throughout the Keck project. A liberal arts approach to leadership is about a particular kind of leadership and therefore a particular kind of education. It’s about leadership with moral and ethical purpose at its core. It’s about a curriculum and forms of pedagogy that require students to think critically. It’s about scholarship that investigates a host of concepts—such as culture, communication, toleration, and justice— central to a perspective on leadership that begins with a presumption of human dignity, individuality, and obligation.



That approach has a host of implications for mapping the terrain at the intersection of the liberal arts and leadership studies. Two come readily to mind. First, if we define leadership as understanding and responding to the needs and interests of others, then leaders must learn how to see the world from the perspective of others with different backgrounds and beliefs. That is an intellectual challenge. The ability to understand others requires careful, patient, and reasoned thought. Forget the argument about whether you can teach someone to be a leader. What you can teach is the process of critical inquiry, or the way in which narrative imagination3 and the study of literature enables you to walk in another’s shoes, or the power of disciplined verification of competing claims—all of which are essential intellectual skills for someone who aspires to a position of leadership in a world of diversity, pluralistic values and beliefs, conf lict and complexity. Second, leadership studies of the kind I am describing here operates within a longstanding fault line among liberal arts advocates. On one side of the divide are those who see education occurring most readily when individuals are able to step out of the contemporary context and separate themselves from the immediate pressures of the world. Detachment facilitates learning and discovery. Critical inquiry is possible only from a vantage point at least a few steps removed from the object at hand. On the other side of the divide are those who believe that a liberal arts education leads inevitably to engagement, not detachment, and indeed is only possible when students understand how their education enables them to understand and solve problems. In truth, of course, a liberal arts education has elements of both engagement and detachment, but certainly among its advocates some will lean more heavily in one direction. I do not mean to suggest that leadership studies can perfectly bridge the divide. Indeed, it often finds itself negotiating the same divide. But precisely because the topic of leadership is of such interest and obvious relevance to those in professions and those operating in the “real world,” a liberal arts approach to leadership studies provides an advantageous way to link longstanding questions with the immediate problems of the day. To put this in another way, when I am asked to explain why a liberal arts education prepares students in this day and age for a life of consequence and achievement, I fall back to the answer of leadership. If a young person wants to make a difference in this world at this time, he or she needs, at the very least, to develop the capacities for critical inquiry, ethical reasoning, and moral imagination. Those are some of the indispensable qualities of leadership. They are also the focus of any genuine liberal arts education.


Foreword Notes

1. Aristotle, The Politics, trans. T. A. Sinclair (New York: Penguin Books, 1981), p. 59. 2. James Q. Wilson, The Moral Sense (New York: The Free Press, 1993). 3. Martha C. Nussbaum, Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997), pp. 85–112.


A volume of this sort owes a great deal to many individuals. First, and foremost, of course, we have incurred a great debt to our contributors. These individuals are at the pinnacle of higher education in America, and the fact that they enthusiastically joined us in this endeavor suggests that our efforts to link leadership to the liberal arts are a worthy undertaking. We appreciate the graciousness with which they quickly responded to our editorial emendations, and, more fundamentally, the important insights they have brought to this volume. Leadership and the Liberal Arts: Achieving the Promise of a Liberal Education is a part of a larger initiative on leadership and the liberal arts generously funded by the W. M. Keck Foundation. The resulting partnership among the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond, the Kravis Leadership Institute at Claremont McKenna College, and the Institute for Leadership Studies at Loyola Marymount University has already had an impact in liberal arts colleges and universities across the world, and this volume should contribute greatly to this. We are grateful for the vision and commitment of the Keck Foundation. As we have collaborated across three campuses to produce this volume, numerous individuals have made enormous contributions to its success. Kristina Rioux has been of invaluable assistance at Loyola Marymount University. The staff at the Jepson School at the University of Richmond has done much of the heavy lifting. Nancy Nock has done a superb job of overseeing the entire project and making sure the trains run on time. Sue Robinson Sain has been extremely helpful in working with us on the cover art. Tammy Tripp has proofread and copyedited every word of this volume, and has had the further pleasure of venturing into the warrens of the Chicago Manual of Style to put aright our many conf licting and idiosyncratic notation styles. This volume would not have been possible without her efforts.



This volume is the second in a series entitled Jepson Studies in Leadership under the Palgrave Macmillan banner. The editorial staff at Palgrave Macmillan has been unfailingly supportive and professional. Laurie Harting has guided the editors with a sure hand, and Emma Hamilton has responded to our every call for help. Capable production assistance has been provided by Erin Ivy, Maran Elancheran, and Lisa Rivero. Of course, every author and editor knows well that any volume sees the light of day only with the enthusiasm (or at least the sufferance) of a supportive family. We sincerely thank them for their patience and willingness to indulge the academics’ somewhat unorthodox view that evenings and weekends comprise a part of the normal workweek.

Introduction J. Thom a s Wr e n, Rona l d E . R ig gio, a n d M ic h a e l A . G e nov e s e

Those who are committed to the value of a liberal education tend not to be half-hearted in their advocacy of this form of preparation to live a fulfilling and committed life. They believe that an individual educated in the liberal arts and sciences is one who is best prepared to meet life’s challenges in thoughtful and creative ways. A liberally educated individual has engaged in the study of our physical, social, and moral universe from a wide variety of perspectives and come away with invaluable skills. Such an education creates an active and engaged intellect that understands not only the self, but also one that is open to the differentness of others. It is an education that hones an ability to deal with ambiguity and change. Perhaps more important, an individual steeped in the liberal arts develops the capability to think critically and, more important yet, a capacity to engage in ethical reasoning in the face of life’s complex challenges. It is of little wonder that those who are engaged in the provision of a liberal education are so passionate about their life’s calling. They have seen generations of students transformed by this educational experience and take quiet pride in seeing their charges make their way in the world. Yet if the end result were only individual success, most liberal educators would feel that the magnificent education so attained would have been, at least in part, misspent. Implicit in this education that prepares one to fulfill her/his human capacities to the fullest extent is the concurrent expectation that these capabilities will also be devoted to serving something beyond the self. The rhetoric of liberal arts colleges and universities about creating citizens and leaders is not empty


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bombast. A liberal education has always been about preparing individuals to better not only their own lives, but also the lives of others. We who are engaged in this noble calling take fullest satisfaction from having had a part, in our own small way, through the proxy of our graduates, in contributing to the betterment of our society. Given our passion for liberal education, it should come as little surprise that we also engage in a continuing discourse concerning whether our methods and approaches continue to fulfill our high expectations for this form of education. This volume is intended to be a part of this discourse. While the modern liberal arts curriculum continues to be the best education available in preparing students to live lives of consequence, in its current manifestation it imperfectly realizes the purposes of a liberal education. To be more specific, the increasing specialization of the disciplines has narrowed our world view from the characteristic wide compass of a liberal education. A great part of the educational experience takes place within the confines of disciplinary ways of defining problems and the disciplinary content and methodology in response to those problems. This poses one of the great dilemmas of modern liberal education. Few seriously advocate abandoning disciplinary study, because its strengths are patent. In the disciplines students gain the analytical rigor found only in disciplinary study and the opportunity to garner substantive depth along with methodological expertise. What is lost among these considerable intellectual benefits is the opportunity to synthesize knowledge across academic disciplines. Admittedly, one of the goals of the general education curriculum traditionally has been to address this issue. But general education curricula do not adequately solve the problem of the integration of knowledge for two reasons. First, many general education curricula are mere “menu” sorts of approaches to the various components of our intellectual tradition. This serves the purpose of introducing students to various disciplines, but it does little in the way of calling upon the students to integrate their learning across disciplines. The second failing of general education is more generic. Almost by definition, general education courses are introductory courses in the respective disciplines. If the objective is to develop students who can address complex problems at the highest level of sophistication, they need to draw simultaneously on the richness of their entire academic preparation. Having a structured and intentional opportunity to practice such intellectual integration will better prepare them to confront the messy



complexities of life’s problems. The challenge for liberal arts educators, of course, is to create such a curricular opportunity that spans the disciplines without intruding on them overmuch, while providing students with a real opportunity to engage in efforts of synthesis. A second area in which current liberal arts curricula fail our students is in the abandonment (or, perhaps better, orphaning) of the commitment to produce citizens and leaders. This issue, too, has two components that stem from ongoing debates among supporters of liberal education. In the first debate, many on one side argue that the mere process of gaining a liberal education sufficiently prepares and produces citizens and leaders. Others maintain that, given the explicit call for developing citizens and leaders almost universally proclaimed by institutions committed to the liberal arts, something more conscious and more overt is needed in responding to this call. The other debate among academics in the liberal arts that impacts how one implements the mission to create citizens and leaders is the extent to which “experiential” education, even broadly defined, has a place in the academic program. Again, one can find passionate proponents on both sides of this divide. To return to the essential matter of how liberal arts institutions can navigate such debates while still fulfilling the promise of creating citizens and leaders, there is a need for some theme or approach that allows room for all sides of these arguments to operate productively. That is to say, there needs to be an element of the curriculum that provides students with the opportunity to confront notions of citizenship and leadership without dictating content, one that has provision for—but does not require in any individual course offering—the opportunity to link learning to lived experience. This all-too-brief diagnosis of contemporary challenges to liberal education also suggests a possible solution: the introduction into the liberal arts curriculum of some overarching theme that encourages the integration of learning while at the same time offering a vehicle for students to confront more directly the implications for becoming citizens and leaders. That, in a nutshell, is the rationale for this volume. The solution to these challenges is neither obvious nor inevitable. The goal of synthesis could be addressed by any number of interor multidisciplinary themes (environmental studies comes to mind), although few of the “usual suspects” have the needed breadth to encompass the entire liberal arts curriculum. Similarly, efforts to more fully address the liberal goal of the creation of citizens and leaders rather easily can be imagined (e.g., required internships), but most of these involve some element of coercion of students and faculty that will sit


Wren, Riggio, and Genovese

uncomfortably with some. In recent years, however, there has arisen a new possibility that holds much promise to address successfully both the need for synthesis and the call for a more overt consideration of the implications of a liberal education for citizenship and leadership. It is the study of leadership itself—not as its own discipline, but as a field of study that encompasses the whole of the human condition, and hence embraces the entirety of the liberal arts curriculum. The concept of leadership also clearly addresses the desired liberal outcome of producing citizens and leaders. What is meant by the “leadership” of leadership studies is of some importance. A precise definition can vary considerably, and indeed there is a strong argument to be made for students and faculty to make the definition of the construct a part of their continuing dialogue on the subject. Nonetheless, some introductory conception is useful, because it suggests the richness of the possibilities involved. At its most basic, one can think of leadership as “the process of facilitating the accomplishment of group, organizational, and societal objectives.” Such a definition reveals the scope of the subject. Leadership so defined is neither elitist nor narrowly confined. As a “process” it involves the interaction of all participants—in the public realm leaders and the people (“citizens”), in the private sphere group and organizational efforts to achieve goals. It is indeed a phenomenon that occurs whenever individuals come together to accomplish things, and as such is omnipresent in the human experience. When one thinks of its connection to the disciplines, it requires the intellectual rigor of the hard sciences, the understanding of individual and social processes provided by the social sciences, the insights into the human condition offered by the humanities, and the aesthetic sensibilities honed by the study of the fine arts. Since it demands interaction with others, it requires an understanding of difference and diversity, and it is inevitably accompanied by values and ethical challenges. As such, the study of leadership provides rich opportunities for both the integration of learning and contemplation of its applications. All this brings us to the present volume. As Washington and Lee president Kenneth Ruscio indicates in his foreword, this collection of essays is a part of an initiative funded by the W. M. Keck Foundation for the specific purpose of exploring the nexus of leadership and the liberal arts. It is not intended as a fait accompli, but rather as an opportunity to initiate a broad discussion of the possibilities of this approach in reforming liberal education. We have brought together here college presidents and administrators, deans and heads of leadership studies



programs, and regular faculty members in the arts and sciences for the purpose of opening a dialogue concerning the possibilities of linking the study of leadership to the liberal arts. The results have exceeded our fondest expectations. In this volume we find a discussion of richness and depth that plumbs the complexities of such a marriage of leadership and the liberal arts, from the conceptual level to the pragmatic matter of thinking about how an initiative of this sort might be implemented. It is useful to preview the argument in the following pages to see how this volume can serve as a platform for further progress toward an appropriate reform of today’s liberal arts education. The volume begins with several chapters designed to serve as an orientation to the theme. J. Thomas Wren, a historian and faculty member in the field of leadership studies, begins the discussion by placing the topic within the context of the traditions of liberal education, suggesting a definition of leadership, and demonstrating how that construct fits nicely into the aims of a liberal arts curriculum. Thomas E. Cronin, formerly president of Whitman College and now professor at Colorado College, adds to this by depicting the liberal arts as “the liberating arts” that free us from dogmatism and open up our minds to exploration, an understanding of self and of others. Liberal education requires us to reexamine and strengthen our values and act accordingly. This commitment to action brings us to the concept of leadership. Liberal learning demands civic engagement, and “constitutional democracy, social justice, a sustainable environment, political freedom and healthy communities don’t just happen. They require countless acts of imagination, courage, and leadership.” He proceeds to outline how the various studies undertaken in the course of a liberal arts education help us to develop the capabilities to become leaders. This call for the integration of leadership and the liberal arts is paired with a cautionary note by Richard Ekman, former president of the Council of Independent Colleges, that critically assesses the claim that the liberal arts are the training ground for leaders. Part I of this volume not only introduces the concept of leadership in the liberal arts but also invites debate over the nature of that linkage. The chapters in part II allow the reader to delve more deeply into the conceptual linkages between the study of leadership and the liberal arts. In the initial contribution of part II, Gama Perruci, dean of the McDonough Center at Marietta College, makes a powerful argument that the perceived contradiction between leadership studies and the liberal arts is a false dichotomy. To the contrary, they are inextricably linked, and the nexus is strongest at the heart of the traditional liberal


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arts education, the general education curriculum. Perruci suggests that globalization has transformed the world, creating “a dramatic shift in the way we relate among our own citizens and across cultures”—becoming more “f lat,” if you will—bringing new value to the study of the liberal arts—and leadership. The link between the liberal arts and leadership is “the process by which a student translates knowledge into meaningful action.” This, in turn, leads to a focus on general education curricula. Perruci calls for “a ‘humanistic’ approach to leadership development” that includes “. . . the search for meaning in human experience, . . . a focus on knowledge as the basis for action, and . . . action grounded in a moral ethos.” General education fulfills these requirements, while also developing the competencies necessary for the twenty-first-century leader: “critical thinking, oral communication, writing skills, crosscultural understanding, and problem solving.” He concludes that “A general education curriculum grounded in the liberal arts should serve as the foundation for helping our emerging leaders handle ambiguity, multiple perspectives, and clarity of thought.” All in all, Perruci’s presentation serves as a persuasive argument that the study of leadership and the core of liberal arts learning are not so far apart after all. Equally impressive is the contribution of Elisabeth Muhlenfeld, president of Sweet Briar College, who demonstrates the links to leadership found in the disciplines of the liberal arts. To make her point, she concentrates on those disciplines not usually equated with leadership. Although the study of leadership issues is not unfamiliar terrain in the social sciences, “Little curricular attention is paid [when analyzing leadership] . . . to the study of the arts . . . the humanities or the sciences.” Muhlenfeld explores in some detail how the study of music provides “a number of insights directly transferable to leadership.” Similarly the contemplation and analysis of poetry teaches not only facility with language, but it also offers a window into the soul. Literature can do this and also provide metaphors for leadership and demonstrate “the importance of story” in the leadership relation. Likewise the study of science does more than provide such key leadership skills as “accuracy . . . and . . . the ability to observe carefully,” it also gives one training in “moving regularly and comfortably from the theoretical realm to the practical and back.” Muhlenfeld concludes by stepping back and viewing the liberal arts as a whole, and their impact on leadership. “[S]erious study of the arts, humanities, and sciences as well as the social sciences . . . insures the development of a deep understanding of the connectivity between disciplines, the integration of knowledge . . . . This facility should be regarded as a core skill in



leadership development. Leaders must be able to move nimbly from one world to another—drawing on everything and everyone that can help them reach their goal.” Thus, “the link between the liberal arts and leadership is not only strong, but considerably richer and more complex than we usually realize.” Richard Morrill, former president of the University of Richmond, views the nexus between leadership and the liberal arts through the other end of the telescope; that is, rather than looking to how the liberal arts can bring insights to leadership, Morrill makes the argument “the study of leadership brings important resources to both the theory and practice of liberal education through its focus on the phenomenon of values.” He argues that leadership studies has done a better job of exploring “what values are, how they function, and the way they can be studied, or, in some cases, taught.” Morrill posits that “An inquiry into values and valuing has the potential simultaneously to enrich self understanding and the practice of both leadership studies and of liberal education.” He concludes that “In focusing on values as human powers, as patterns of human agency, leadership education has the potential to contribute to the creation of a robust contemporary model of integrative and transforming liberal education that exemplifies its heritage. It points the way toward linking disciplines to one another, connecting knowing and doing and integrating intellectual and personal development.” This brief for the connections between the liberal arts and leadership receives an intriguing codicil when Jean Bethke Elshtain of the University of Chicago takes a different turn and looks to its outcome: “humanistic leadership.” For Elshtain, leadership transcends analysis. “. . . [W]e should always acknowledge,” she says, “that there is something mysterious about leadership, something not reducible to surveys and models.” Her fascination is with the puzzle of “what happens— what is kindled—when a particular person or persons in a particular context ignites something in others.” She calls upon us to contemplate this phenomenon. Regardless of whether we can ever fully understand analytically that black box that is leadership, a liberal education is fundamental to the actual practice of such leadership. Elshtain says, “I hope and I pray that we are educating a significant portion of our young people into such humanistic education for, without that, there cannot be humanistic leadership.” And what is this “humanistic leadership”? Elshtain uses the examples of Vaclev Havel and Jane Addams to proclaim the sort of leadership to which we should aspire: “It is a way of ‘seeming’ and a way of ‘being’ in the world that notices possibilities


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where others do not. It is a way of acting that creates space for others to react in positive and constructive ways. It involves courage, free responsibility . . . . It encourages rather than discourages; emboldens rather than weakens; calls people to citizenship rather than victimization” Such a vision of the sorts of leaders we may one day produce seems reason enough to pursue our present course of the contemplation of leadership within the liberal arts curriculum. The chapters just summarized provide those who are intrigued by the possibilities of linking leadership to the liberal arts sufficient material with which to engage in a lively discussion of the conceptual underpinnings of such a union. In the final part of the volume, the focus turns to how such a linking might be implemented: what might it look like? The initial chapter in part III is authored by Sandra Peart, dean of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, and her frequent collaborator, David Levy of George Mason University. They provide a cogent demonstration of how leadership studies can merge with a discipline of the liberal arts—in this case the work of two economic historians—to yield insights beneficial to both subjects. From a seemingly simple initial inquiry into the nature of the “Great Man Theory” of leadership, great insights emerge. The simple—“thin”—answer is that this conception was the product of Thomas Carlyle in the nineteenth century. But Peart and Levy are not satisfied with this answer, and instead opt for a “thick” intellectual history of the term. They find it was “developed in the context of intense debate over slavery, property rights for women, and Irish self-government,” and culminated in a remarkable debate between Carlyle and John Stuart Mill (among many other notables). The larger theme was a part of what they called “the most significant modern debate in moral philosophy and social science of the nineteenth century,” involving conceptions of human nature, elite hegemony, ethical dilemmas, and the resulting implications for the “ability to lead and the capacity for self government.” The richness of this analysis opens a portal into the possibilities of linking the construct of leadership to the insights provided by the traditional liberal arts. Although the pertinent leadership theory is certainly enriched by the disciplinary analysis, so too does the concept of leadership provide a way of structuring of the myriad insights drawn from multiple sources ranging from intellectual history to the poetry of Walt Whitman. Michael Genovese, director of the Institute for Leadership Studies at Loyola Marymount University, takes a somewhat different perspective. He argues that one of the basic goals of the university is to create and nurture citizens and leaders for a democratic state. This is particularly



difficult in today’s clime of market ideology, careerism on the part of students, militant individualism, and rampant apathy. Notwithstanding, the university must invest students with all those intellectual capabilities long associated with liberal education: the capability to think critically, the power of “observation, ref lection, imagination and judgment” and “the ability to gather and interpret evidence, marshal facts and employ the most rigorous methods in the pursuit of knowledge.” But even this is not enough. All this must be accomplished within a framework that consciously and “explicitly seeks to educate citizens to become leaders of a democratic republic within a global community.” This must be made clear in mission statements, it should infuse the curriculum, and it should be put into practice in classrooms characterized by participatory and engaged learning. The contribution by John Roush, president of Centre College, argues that it is useful to address the concept of leadership overtly in the liberal arts curriculum. He describes a course on leadership that he alternately teaches to freshmen and seniors that he hopes will serve as “a model for how and why the study of leadership can be appropriately and effectively blended into one’s liberal education.” According to Roush, “the process of becoming a leader—the journey, if you will—fits nicely into the notion of being liberally educated; that [students] understand and even welcome the idea that a person is always a student, forever learning about and unceasingly acquiring new skills needed for good and effective leadership; that to be a leader puts one in the position of forever ‘becoming’; that the expectations are to acquaint, to develop, to encourage a life-long desire to know more about leadership.” James Maroosis of Fordham University takes a somewhat contrarian stance. He argues that the liberal arts’ focus on the life of the mind has strayed from the original purpose of the liberal arts, which was to impart practical wisdom that can be used by the leader in addressing the challenges of the world. Somewhat ironically, Maroosis maintains, in today’s academic world, the study of “management”—broadly defined—best adheres to the ancient traditions of the liberal arts. In his own words, his chapter assumes “along with the other contributions to this volume that an education in the liberal arts is critical for meeting the leadership challenges of today’s world. It diverges from the mainstream in two respects: first, it portrays education in the liberal arts less as an academic venture and more akin to the development of the ability to respond to opportunities in a creative and moral manner; second, it asserts that, contrary to preconceptions and stereotypes, [the study of ] management, as a discipline of thinking is [the approach that is] central


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to realizing the ancient promise of the liberal arts[:] the practice of leadership, which is practical wisdom aimed at” achieving successful action in the world. This section on the implementation of a course of study that links leadership to the liberal arts appropriately ends with the all-important matter of how one assesses the product of this experiment. Ronald Riggio, director of the Kravis Leadership Institute at Claremont McKenna College, undertakes this challenge. He acknowledges that the assessment of any liberal arts educational endeavor is fraught with challenge because the desired outcomes are so intangible. Adding the leadership component complicates things. First, one must determine what substantive content relating to leadership is expected to be attained and then assessed. Next comes the question of whether there should be a practical component to the leadership aspect of the curriculum, and if so, how it will be assessed. Riggio proposes a four-part model of assessment that includes “reaction criteria, learning criteria, behavioral criteria, and results criteria,” and suggests ways to implement such a model. The contributions to this volume from some of the most astute participants and commentators in the field of the liberal arts are both substantive and provocative. What is more important, however, is the way in which these contributors allow the intended recipients of this collection—those who are deeply devoted to liberal education and committed to maintaining its vitality—to engage in a conversation about how the liberal arts can be revitalized for the twenty-first century. The purpose of this volume is to serve as a catalyst for something larger. How this volume will be used in the future is the critical issue. If it is read and then left to reside peacefully on the dusty bookshelves of faculty and administrators, it will represent an opportunity missed. If, however, these essays spur a new dialogue among faculty and administrators concerning the challenges to contemporary liberal education and their possible solutions, then this volume will have served its purpose.



The Link between Liberal Learning and Leadership

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Reinventing the Liberal Arts through Leadership J. Thom a s Wr e n

One of the great contributions of the Western intellectual tradition has been the creation of a course of study—the liberal arts—designed to help realize the possibilities of the human condition. The precise content of that study has evolved over the centuries in response to changing societal needs and challenges, and today’s liberal arts curriculum is a relatively recent development. Nonetheless, the essence of a liberal education—the heart of the matter—has remained remarkably stable. It is a course of study designed to prepare individuals to realize their human potential and to be able to live life to its fullest extent. In addition, it is intended to prepare individuals to act as citizens and leaders in serving something beyond the self. The mission and curriculum of today’s colleges and universities that are committed to the liberal arts continue this tradition, and in many respects have brought it to its fullest f lowering. Yet the advances in scholarship and the demands of the modern world continue to create new challenges for this most important of educational endeavors. This chapter argues that the true objectives of a liberal education are currently under stress due to the impact of disciplinary specialization and the failure to address directly the stated mission of a liberal education to create citizens and leaders of a free society. The solution is not a wholesale revamping of our current curricula, but instead a subtle shift in focus in which there is a conscious effort to relate the educational experience to the demands and needs of leadership in a free society.


J. Thomas Wren A Brief History of the Liberal Arts

The origins of the liberal arts can be found in the trivium, or “three part curriculum” developed in antiquity. Those three parts consisted of grammar, logic (“dialectic”), and rhetoric. Each subject had a somewhat broader scope than its title might imply. According to Richard Hooker, “Grammar was the study of not only the proper use of language, but how authors used language to make meaning,” dialectic was “the science of disputation, proof, and propositions,” and rhetoric was “the art of persuasion.” Although obviously all were related to effective communication, they also demanded the ability to reason and think critically. More was at stake as well. Taken together, the elements of this curriculum had a larger purpose. These disciplines were called the artes liberals and were considered the education proper for a free man. As fellow contributor to this volume Richard Ekman notes, these subjects “were valued largely because they were seen as practical and useful.” Moreover, they held normative implications. Hooker again: “Cicero argued that the rhetorician was superior . . .: as a politician, the orator was actively engaged in the public life and pursuit of the common good.” He did this by his ability “to convince others, through the power of his language, to leave off ill-advised or wrong actions and pursue the morally correct path.” The essential purpose of this education “was the ability to use language to persuade others to pursue the right course, for public service and moral philosophy had no value unless others could be persuaded to adopt the right policies.” Already one can see the emerging themes of a liberal education: to prepare one for life as a free man [note the gender bias], and to use that education for purposes of the betterment of society.1 Added somewhat later was the quadrivium, or “four part curriculum,” consisting of geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, and music (“harmonics”). These had a more mathematical aspect, and as Thomas E. Cronin, former president of Whitman College, observes, “prepared the student for logical thinking, reasoning, and observation.”2 In the Middle Ages, the study of the trivium was followed by that of the quadrivium, but as that era gradually gave way to the period we call the Renaissance, the medieval focus on mathematics, theology, and science seemed out of step with a renewed appreciation for man and his role in the world. It was in the Renaissance that the liberal arts gained enhanced stature and took on new attributes. Chief among these was the reinvigoration of the concept of humanism. In classical times Protagoras had famously said that “Man is the measure of all things.” In the

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Renaissance this humanist movement was “an educational and cultural program based on the study of ancient Greek and Latin literature. By studying the humanities—history, literature, rhetoric, moral and political philosophy—humanists aimed to revive the worldly spirit of the ancient Greeks and Romans.”3 This studia humanitatis would become an important avenue to achieve individual fulfillment. Yet, just as had been the case in the classical age, this education carried with it practical and normative expectations as well. “The purpose of the humanistic education,” writes Hooker, “was to prepare people to lead others and to participate in public life for the common good.” Although the term itself is a more modern one, this is labeled civic humanism and “stressed political action over everything else.”4 Thus the tradition of the liberal arts has come down to us: steeped in liberal study that allows the individual to be truly free, but accompanying that liberating experience is the expectation that the learning so imbibed be turned to the good of the commons and the polity. It was from these roots that our modern versions of the liberal arts have evolved. Richard Ekman in this volume provides a brief summary of the more recent development of the liberal arts in the American academy. One of his important points is the recognition of its “continually evolving” content, due in part not only to advances in the various fields of scholarship, but also to pressures from outside the academy in the form of the societal needs a liberal education is intended to serve. As Ekman describes it, “until early in the nineteenth century, the American college curriculum included a good deal of content that aspiring clergy would find useful; by the end of the century, most of that had disappeared.” He also notes the evolution in content as a consequence of disciplinary developments. At one point, as late as the twentieth century, the classics were “a mainstay of the curriculum,” but that focus has now virtually disappeared. In its place he describes the rise of the natural sciences (although enough suspicion of this approach existed in academe to require the invention of a different degree, the B.S., to retain the integrity of the sacred B.A. degree).5 Ekman does not add, but easily could have, the emergence of the social sciences in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The key point here is not the details of curriculum development over the years, but the central fact that the liberal arts curriculum has ever been a malleable entity. It has continually responded to perceived needs both inside and outside the academy. All this brings us to a consideration of the conceptions of the liberal arts and liberal education in academe today.


J. Thomas Wren The Liberal Arts in Modern Academia

It can be said without fear of overstatement that those modern colleges and universities that remain committed to the study of the liberal arts and the importance of liberal education have raised the endeavor to new heights. Their articulation of the purposes and outcomes of liberal education is more conscious and thoughtful than ever before, and implementation through general education requirements and disciplinary majors provides students with a superior educational experience. This can perhaps best be demonstrated by sampling the rationale and content of the liberal arts education provided by representative colleges and universities. Responding in part to questioning of the continued viability of a liberal education in today’s world, Yale College determined to study the matter. The conclusion was unequivocal. “Liberal arts education is an old idea and may even seem an old fashioned one,” the report stated. “But a year’s ref lection has led to the conclusion that this education is not only not passé but may bear even greater value in the future than it has in the past.” The college grounded its renewed commitment to the liberal arts in the challenges of that future. “We cannot be confident what the coming world will contain,” the report asserted, “but we can be sure that it will be characterized by increasing complexity, increasing interaction of once-distant cultures and once-distinct forces, increasingly rapid transformations of knowledge, and the continual emergence of new, unforeseen challenges and opportunities.”6 In a similar fashion Centre College points out the challenges of the present: “We live in a complex, diverse, and rapidly changing world—one of delicate moral and social problems that demand careful analysis and creative solutions. This is an era of uncertainty, of promise, and of opportunity.” The response to such challenges was identical to that of Yale. “We believe,” the Centre catalog states, “that the most appropriate formal preparation to meet the challenges of today, to fulfill career goals, and to lead a rich and rewarding life, and to serve society as a responsible citizen, is a broad-based, f lexible education in the liberal arts and sciences.”7 The justification for such claims can be found in the unique nature of the liberal arts education. Grinnell College states it well. “A liberal arts education has as its center four practices that distinguish it from other kinds of learning: critical thinking, continuing examination of life, encounters with difference, and the free exchange of ideas.”8 In addition to such curricular themes, most liberal arts colleges also articulate expected outcomes of a liberal education in terms of acquired intellectual capabilities. To return to our previous examples of Centre

Reinventing the Liberal Arts


and Yale, the former champions “basic human capacities” such as “the ability to imagine and create, to think and reason analytically, to solve problems, to integrate and synthesize complex information, to use language clearly and persuasively, and to make responsible choices.”9 For its part, Yale College sets forth a list, reproduced below in part: ●

● ●

the ability to subject the world to active and continuing curiosity and to ask interesting questions; the ability to set a newly-noticed fact in a larger field of information, to amass relevant knowledge from a variety of sources and bring it to bear in thoughtful, discerning ways; the ability to subject an object of inquiry to sustained and disciplined analysis, and where needed, to more than one mode of analysis; the ability to link and integrate frames of reference, creating perceptions that were not available through a single lens; the ability to express one’s thoughts precisely and persuasively; the ability to take the initiative and mobilize one’s intelligence without waiting for instructions from others.10

Such desired outcomes are usually achieved through some mix of general education requirements and more focused study in one or more disciplines. The general education requirements seek to assure breadth of knowledge and often also expose students to the various disciplines. Work in the traditional major rounds out the liberal education. Here the word “discipline” is more than a mere subject heading; students learn intellectual discipline by, as Pomona College phrases it, “mastering particular bodies of knowledge,” and the methods of inquiry that accompany that approach to intellectual inquiry.11 It should be noted that the underlying rationale for the modern liberal education depicted here remains consistent with one of the themes derived from the long heritage of the liberal arts: the quest for personal fulfillment and a life well-lived. Again, Centre College states it well. It depicts “the concept of liberal education as a formative and transformative process—one that provides students with a permanent foundation for learning through the development of basic human capacities.” Such an education “addresses nothing less than our common humanity.”12 In addition to the liberal arts’ purpose to allow each individual to realize the fullness of his/her human potential, a connected theme that has always been a part of a liberal education is the accompanying commitment to serving something larger than the self. The final phrase of the Centre College quoted earlier that referenced how a liberal


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education “addresses nothing less than our common humanity” can profitably be added here: “—those essential capacities that enable us to participate effectively and responsibly in a variety of shared intellectual, social, and moral contexts”13 (emphasis supplied). This notion of participating effectively in shared endeavors harks back to the longstanding purpose of liberal education—recall civic humanism—to produce good citizens and leaders. This theme, too, is a hallmark of the modern liberal arts mission. To return to the two institutions that have been serving as examples, Yale College appended to the list of desired skills, quoted in detail above, the following: ●

the ability to work with others in such a way as to construct a larger vision no one could produce on his own; the sense of oneself as a member of a larger community, local and global, and the sense that one’s powers are to be used for the larger good.14

Centre College, for its part, aspires that its students “serve society as responsible citizen(s)” and purports to prepare them for “positions of leadership in all areas of society.”15 Most other liberal arts institutions have similar calls to leadership and service. Swarthmore College maintains that “The primary purpose of a liberal arts education . . . is not to provide vocational instruction . . . . Its purpose is to help students fulfill their responsibilities as citizens” [as well as to “grow into cultivated and versatile individuals”]. Such an education “is intended to develop citizens who will guide society on a sustainable course.”16 Wesleyan wants to produce in each student a “capacity for effective citizenship,” and Washington and Lee University seeks to impart “the responsibility to serve society through the productive use of talent and training.”17 All of this comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with the liberal arts, but it has importance for the argument presented here. First, it is essential to recognize that the core purposes of a liberal arts education—personal fulfillment and service to others—has remained constant throughout its many permutations through the years. Second, these permutations, or changes in content of the liberal arts curriculum, came about largely as a response to new challenges or changing conditions in and out of academe. Finally—and this brings us to our essential argument—there exists today a new constellation of challenges to the successful achievement of a liberal education. It is to these challenges, and a proposed response, that we now turn.

Reinventing the Liberal Arts


The Problem with Current Liberal Arts Education The current challenges to the achievement of the purposes of a liberal arts education can be brief ly posited. They are essentially two: First, increasing specialization, especially within the disciplines, has undercut the integrative aspirations of a liberal education. This has even occurred to some extent within the general education curriculum. As Centre College points out in its catalog, “At most colleges, general education consists of asking students to take a specified number of courses in several broad academic areas such as social studies, humanities, science, and fine arts. The main purpose of this approach is to guarantee breadth of knowledge and exposure to a wide range of disciplines.” In contrast, Centre’s “notion of general education goes beyond exposure to disciplines and the accumulation of facts.”18 There is certainly nothing intrinsically wrong with the “menu” approach to general education, but it does devalue the stated goals of liberal education to “link and integrate frames of reference, creating perceptions that were not available through a single lens [Yale College].”19 Of perhaps more concern is the tendency toward academic specialization in the disciplines. As noted earlier, the requirement of an academic major in which a student learns substantive content and, more important, the rigor and methodology that attends disciplinary study, is indispensable. However, there can be too much of a good thing. Indeed, one of the chief deficiencies of modern higher education is what is sometimes called the “silo effect,” where the respective disciplines have become so insulated from one another that there is little or no overlap among them. Perhaps the correct balance between specialization and integration has been best voiced by Kenneth Ruscio, president of Washington and Lee University and the individual who initiated the project of which this volume is a part. He cites the aphorism that “the world has problems, and universities have departments.” He immediately acknowledges that this is a bit unfair and asserts that he “will be among the last to extol interdisciplinary approaches if it means denigrating the contributions that come from specialized, disciplinary work. After all, they don’t call it a discipline for nothing.” But Ruscio goes on to argue that “successful universities of the future will be those that find a way to guard against the dangers on either end of the spectrum—the pathology of interdisciplinary work, which is the tendency to make trivial contributions to substantial problems; and the pathology of disciplinary


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research, which is the tendency to make substantial contributions to trivial problems.” His proposed solution foreshadows the ultimate argument of this chapter. “One way to prevent this,” Ruscio writes, “is to shore up the liberal arts disciplines . . . while creating structures that enable scholars with different perspectives to come together around a common theme.”20 Before turning to proposed solutions, however, it is necessary to identify the second of the challenges facing our current efforts to realize the promise of a liberal education. It is the fact that, in the main, our liberal arts colleges and universities have fallen down in addressing one of the great aspirations of liberal arts study: the creation of citizens and leaders. In the proposal submitted to the W. M. Keck Foundation for funding of this project to explore the connections between the liberal arts and leadership, we made the claim that “liberal arts colleges almost universally proclaim the mission of ‘educating future leaders,’ but the phrase has devolved into a platitude. There is little, if any, focused consideration or precise explanation of exactly what it means to educate leaders in the contemporary world.”21 Moreover, as Richard Morrill, former University of Richmond president and a contributor to this volume writes, “Even though collegiate leaders typically claim civic responsibility and leadership as goals of liberal education, there is often little that they can point to in their academic programs or in the assessment of student outcomes that directly support these assertions.”22 In short, we need to be more conscious of our approach to this element of our treasured liberal arts tradition. All this brings us to a proposed solution. It is not a radical solution, in that it does not require the wholesale retooling of our current approaches to the liberal arts. At the same time, it does ask for some reconceptualizing, which is, in a sense, a fundamental change. Reinventing the Liberal Arts through Leadership As the title of this chapter and section suggests, it is my claim that there is currently a need to reinvent the liberal arts; that is, to create an approach to the liberal arts that both taps the original meaning of the term while at the same time refits it for life in the twenty-first century. This is to be accomplished by using the construct of leadership as the means of reinvigorating integrative learning across the disciplines and linking, once again, the liberal arts to the larger purpose of serving something beyond the self.

Reinventing the Liberal Arts


Because the term “leadership” carries much baggage—it conjures up elitist notions repugnant to many and causes others to spurn it as too shallow and too “applied” and therefore insufficiently intellectual for study at the college level—what is meant by this term and how it might be integrated into the traditional liberal arts curriculum must be addressed with some care. There is no single, all-purpose definition of “leadership” that is embraced by all, but allow me to posit one that a colleague and I recently used when editing a volume on the values of presidential leadership: Leadership . . . [is] a mutual inf luence process among leaders and followers in which each participant harbors his or her own complex motives and constructions of reality and operates as part of a collective in a complicated and ever-shifting environment in an effort to achieve desired goals.23 There are several attributes of defining leadership in this way that are worthy of notice. First and perhaps most obviously, it is not about a position or even a single individual. This definition views leadership as a process of interaction that involves both leaders and followers interacting within some surrounding context. Inf luence f lows both ways; neither leaders nor followers can progress without the other, and context matters. A second important point to be made has to do with the universality of leadership so defined. It is not the province of some elite, but instead operates at all levels at all times. Anytime two or more humans come together to accomplish something, the dynamics of this process come into play. As such, leadership is a central part of the human experience, which makes the study of the liberal arts—an endeavor that makes us “more fully human”—central to the study of leadership. Thus we come full circle back to the study of the liberal arts as integrally related to themes of leadership. It is a symbiotic relationship in which the study of the liberal arts prepares one for leadership, and thinking purposefully about leadership gives the study of the liberal arts both an integrative theme and the opportunity to think deeply about how and why the liberally educated individual should look beyond the self to serve the greater good. Beyond the parallel themes that characterize leadership studies and the liberal arts, the conscious integration of the two has the potential, in the long dynamic tradition of the liberal arts, to respond to the new challenges confronting modern liberal education. Those challenges


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are outlined above. How the study of leadership helps to resolve them deserves brief elaboration. As we have seen, specialization of the academic disciplines began to reach full f lower in the late nineteenth century. For all the advances in scholarship that this has engendered, it has nonetheless sundered the learning experience to some extent. The study of leadership (or some other overarching construct) has the potential to serve as such an integrating agent. The response to the second challenge of the failure to directly address the aspirations of a liberal education to create citizens and leaders is more complicated. On the one hand, Richard Morrill seems to be correct in his comment quoted earlier that, for all the rhetoric about the creation of civic-mindedness and leadership, liberal arts colleges can point to little in their curricula or the assessment of student outcomes that suggests that this is indeed occurring.24 On the other hand, it is perhaps prudent to acknowledge and address two objections to this claim that the avowed purpose of the liberal arts to create citizens and leaders needs to be reinvigorated through the considered attention to leadership. The first is the assertion that the study of the liberal arts, even without such a focused consideration on leadership, does create citizens and leaders. There is much to be said for this line of thinking. Proponents of this argument have strong evidence on their side. The great training ground of leaders for centuries has been the study of the liberal arts. The proposal to study leadership more consciously as a part of a liberal education does not seek to deny this truth. However, the argument for bringing to the liberal educational experience a more focused attention on leadership and citizenship has its advantages. Most of us who are engaged in the endeavor of teaching in the liberal arts occasionally bemoan the remarkable ability of our students to compartmentalize. Often students have difficulty in making the links between one course and another in the major, let alone perceiving the connections across an entire curriculum. That is the basis for capstone courses in the majors, which have received increasing support in recent years. If the relatively focused content of a disciplinary major demands some sort of conscious integration, how much more might it be needed in the liberal arts curriculum in general, where the ultimate outcome of developing citizens and leaders is, at best, an assumed subtext? The second objection to a renewed focus on leadership is the understandable, if erroneous, concern that it injects elitism into the liberal arts curriculum. Fellow commentator Richard Ekman succumbs to

Reinventing the Liberal Arts


this misperception when he writes that “the justification [for the expansion of educational opportunities to the less privileged] . . . is accurately viewed less as a matter of preparing leaders than as a matter of preparing all citizens to live more responsible and fulfilling lives. Jefferson was among the first to observe that in a democracy, all citizens must be well-informed and capable of sound reasoning if their participation in self-rule, even representative self-rule, is to be effective.” 25 This exposes confusion as to what “leadership,” at least as proposed here, really is. If the posited definition is accepted, leadership is neither a position nor an elite activity. By definition, it is a process that engages all participants. True, leaders—political or otherwise—have a different role than citizens, but all are equal in that process [indeed if the doctrine of popular sovereignty is to be honored, the citizens are the privileged group]. In short, to train for good citizenship is to train for leadership in a democratic society. Hopefully, the argument thus far has had sufficient cogency to convince those in the academy to consider the possible gains from the proposed reframing of the liberal arts curriculum. However, many teachers and scholars may remain unclear as to how this construct of leadership could actually be made relevant across the vast landscape of the liberal arts curriculum. It is a legitimate concern, particularly given the fact that very few traditional disciplines reference leadership. To help allay these fears, the next segment of this chapter will seek to demonstrate the ways in which—without compromising the integrity of the existing disciplines—the construct of leadership can become a theme that allows students to see the linkages across the liberal arts and sciences, while highlighting, in the language of Washington and Lee University, “the responsibility to serve society through the productive use of talent and training.”26 The Liberal Arts and Leadership: An Application The effort in the definition of leadership suggested previously acknowledging the complexity of the construct of leadership connects directly to the content areas of the liberal arts curriculum. Some such links are overt: the fact that it has both individual and collective aspects, and its recognition of the role of context embraces much of the subject matter of a liberal education. Other attributes of the proposed definition of leadership are more subtle. Implicit in that definition are the needed intellectual capabilities to participate effectively in the leadership process. In


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addition, this definition of leadership contains inherent questions about how humans should treat one another (ethics) and matters of moral reasoning. As Kenneth Ruscio says, in leadership “people are involved; institutions, values, and norms are involved; and choices must be made in severely constrained settings filled with competing values and interests. If you introduce intention into this picture—if you ask not only how do people live together but how should they live together,”27 then one begins to perceive the richness possible in the study of leadership. What is under analysis is nothing less than the basic human challenge of dealing productively with the opportunities and constraints placed in our path as we seek to accomplish important objectives. This process of facilitating the accomplishment of group, organizational, and societal objectives demands an understanding of leaders and followers and the interactions among them. Even more, it requires us to ask deep questions about what it is we are trying to achieve, and how we should go about doing so. The study of leadership, then, embraces the totality of the human condition, and it is therefore the ideal topic for bringing together the lessons of a liberal arts education. In this section, I intend to draw upon a statement about the purposes of a liberal education and its implementation agreed upon by the faculty of my home institution of the University of Richmond to suggest the broad reach of the concept of leadership. The statement of aims and purposes was a part of a curricular reform effort at the university. The reform proposal was ultimately unsuccessful—it foundered on the familiar shoals of academic disputation (much of it principled but some of it mere turf-protecting). Nevertheless, this statement of the desired outcomes of a liberal education, together with a more detailed set of curricular “aims,” was adopted by the faculty with broad approval. The approach herein will be simple: the important language of the proposal will be set out, together with brief annotations indicating the relevance for leadership and, where appropriate, the suggestion of the sorts of traditional courses in the liberal arts curriculum that might supply the appropriate insights. The ultimate objective should be obvious; that is, to present the Richmond document as a typical articulation of a modern liberal arts education and to suggest how such an expression of principle, and the coursework that implements it, can be relatively easily linked to the concept of leadership. In doing so, I will draw in part from the insights provided by my fellow contributors to this volume. As originally proposed, the Richmond document began with a “Statement on Liberal Education at the University of Richmond” that

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was dedicated to articulating the desired outcomes of such an education. It is set out in large part in the following text: In the course of revisiting the general education curriculum at the University of Richmond, we believe it is necessary to consider first in general terms what we want our students to learn through such a curriculum. How, in other words, would we want to define the “liberally educated student” who will graduate from our institution? Such an individual, we propose, should above all have become deeply cognizant of the value of intellectual inquiry to one’s personal as well as professional vitality, whereby “vitality” we mean the desire constantly to test, develop, and refine one’s knowledge, ideas, values, and beliefs. Intellectual curiosity, intellectual openness, and intellectual rigor are in our estimation the necessary constituents of a mental vitality and f lexibility that will always resist the impulse to retreat into passive, habitual modes of thought and being. Openness to new or different ideas, and the willingness to examine them fully, carefully, and respectfully, is essential to an educated person’s capacity for meaningful self-reflection, constructive social engagement, and successful professional activity. Alumni of the University of Richmond, we hope, will insistently explore the knowledge, opinions, values, and beliefs of others for the purpose of identifying, clarifying, and investigating pertinent questions and problems. They will be prepared to formulate original insights and solutions on the basis of such inquiries. Intellectual openness, moreover, should always go hand in hand with a rigorous evaluation of the options and opinions one encounters. A curious and disciplined thinker will not be satisfied by facile or merely self-serving answers and solutions to personal or professional challenges. We believe that graduates who have developed these habits of mind will be more confident and creative in approaching such challenges in their lives. Our graduates should also have acquired a keen awareness of the extent to which genuine intellectual development is tied to the growth of our capacities for empathy and self-ref lection. They should realize that the quest for knowledge and understanding is in the end truly productive only if it engages the totality of a self prepared to take its place in a complex network of human relationships and social obligations. It is not necessary to parse the nuances of this statement at this time— most of our energies will be devoted to discussing the more specific


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curricular implications that follow. Still, it is important to note that the Richmond faculty remain committed to the essence of a liberal education, an education that creates individuals who “will be more confident and creative in approaching challenges in their lives,” but who will also understand that “the quest for knowledge and understanding is in the end truly productive only if it engages the totality of a self prepared to take its place in a complex network of human relationships and social obligations.” Such individuals will be characterized by “the desire constantly to test, develop, and refine one’s knowledge, ideas, values, and beliefs,” an outcome that can only be achieved by the honing of “intellectual curiosity, intellectual openness, and intellectual rigor.” This, in turn, leads to “successful social engagement” that “will consistently explore the knowledge, opinions, values, and beliefs of others for the purpose of identifying, clarifying, and investigating pertinent questions and problems.” Although couched in terms of the outcomes of a liberal education, one would be hard put to better articulate the process we are labeling “leadership.” This general introductory statement was followed by a listing of six basic themes that a liberal arts curriculum should address. In the Richmond conversation, these were referred to as the six “Aims” of liberal education. By looking to them we can begin to perceive how the construct of leadership can be integrated throughout the liberal arts curriculum. The first “Aim” was worded as follows: 1. All students must develop certain basic intellectual abilities that will permit them to (a) engage fully and rigorously with the various modes of knowledge they will encounter and (b) express their own ideas and opinions clearly and persuasively. These skills should include: the ability to analyze a complex text or problem, to follow an argument or design; the ability to place a text or problem in its relevant contexts or fields; the ability to distinguish unconsidered opinion from reasoned argument; the ability to write and speak with clarity, precision, and subtlety; the ability to sustain an argument; the ability to reason quantitatively; aural literacy, the ability to understand the communication of others; the ability to think beyond the conventional and rote—to think independently; the habit of scholarly and intellectual self-discipline; a productive self-consciousness about the processes involved in knowing and learning. This Aim emphasizes the intellectual abilities that a well-educated student should acquire. Thinking about this in leadership terms, the

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entire notion of teaching our students to be more effective in the leadership process and to be better citizens is centered on their ability to hone and utilize the intellectual capabilities represented in this Aim. As Washington and Lee President Kenneth Ruscio once wrote, “Leaders [and, I would add, followers] are decision-makers, who must carefully assess competing pieces of evidence. Most decisions rarely lend themselves to dichotomous ‘heads or tails’ alternatives. Rather, decision-makers need analytical proficiency, facility in quantitative skills and the ability to discern the difference between factual claims and assertions of value—all traits that can be acquired in a liberal arts environment.”28 If one were to think of this in terms of specific courses in the liberal arts curriculum, the stated outcomes of this Aim are partand-parcel of every liberal arts course in one manner or another. Certainly the reference in the Aim to such things as textual analysis conjures up thoughts of many familiar courses in the humanities. The objective here, however, is to suggest how courses not normally thought of in leadership terms can nonetheless have relevance to the topic. Fellow contributor Elisabeth Muhlenfeld, president of Sweet Briar College, does an outstanding job of suggesting how one curricular area seemingly far afield from leadership, that is, the sciences, can be seen as honing the skills depicted in Aim 1 and linking them to leadership. “The scientific method,” argues Muhlenfeld, “with its respect for observation, specialization, theory building, and verification offers the essential paradigm of analytical thinking . . . . [I]t is in . . . the sciences that the most rigorous approaches to problem-solving . . . are taught.” This, according to Muhlenfeld, is “essential to leadership.” A closer look at the approaches of the sciences reveals more links to effective leadership. “The study of science nurtures one’s curiosity and teaches ways in which to structure that curiosity.” This results “in a number of ‘habits of mind’ of potential importance to prospective leaders,” as does “the understanding developed through scientific study of the importance of moving regularly and comfortably from the theoretical realm to the practical and back.”29 Study of the sciences in the liberal arts curriculum is instrumental in helping students to acquire the intellectual capabilities outlined in Aim 1, capabilities which in turn are indispensable to effective participation in the leadership process by both leaders and followers. The second Aim of liberal education as set out in the Richmond document remains at the same level of generality, but turns from a


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focus on intellectual skills to the acquisition of knowledge in substantive content areas, to include, ultimately, the chosen major. 2. Students should develop an understanding and appreciation of the methods, problems, findings, and interconnections of key areas of knowledge (e.g., our scientific context, our historical context, etc.). In the process of developing this expertise, they should also acquire the necessary skills and confidence for future engagement in areas of knowledge with which they may be unfamiliar. Aim 2 places squarely in the forefront the issue of the role that specific disciplines play in the liberal arts curriculum. Clearly, they are central to a complete education. In contemplating how disciplinary work can also contribute to a seamless and integrative preparation for life’s challenges, it is my essential argument that the construct of leadership as a focus of attention yields real value. Leadership can serve as a unifying theme because it encompasses human interactions occurring in a myriad of different contexts. As such, it requires close study from a number of differing perspectives and at various levels of analysis. From the perspective of the liberal arts, the application of disciplinary learning to an overarching construct such as leadership goes a long way toward obviating the problems of compartmentalization created by the “silo” effect. How this might play out in any particular course is unique to that course and instructor, and generalizations are impossible. However, what is needed is an awareness of, and a sensitivity to, the concept of leadership along the lines of the definition suggested herein. Individual courses do not need to be reconceptualized in terms of their essential content, but if instructors and students alike are aware of this overarching curricular theme as something that is important to the institution and its educational offerings, it is merely a matter of thinking through together how the content of a particular course might inform one’s thinking about this key construct. Aim 3 reads: 3. Students should acquire an understanding and appreciation of the nature and function of aesthetic representation and creative expression. By engaging with the unique modes of knowledge, judgment, pleasure, and expression provided by works of art, students will be challenged to develop their intellectual sensitivity, f lexibility, and tolerance for ambiguity. Whether involved in the study or creation of aesthetic works, students will confront questions regarding the relationships between form and content,

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knowledge and affect, objectivity and subjectivity that are crucial to the development of our critical and creative faculties. The study and creation of works of art may seem, at first blush, to be rather far removed from leadership. Yet this is to miss the mark. There are many ways in which such study has direct relevance for leadership. Some aspects of this stated Aim of liberal education devoted to aesthetics are obviously related to the process of leadership as we have depicted it. For instance, the skills listed—of “judgment . . . tolerance for ambiguity . . . [and the] development of our critical and social faculties” are clearly important to anyone engaging in this complex phenomenon we call leadership. But the study of aesthetic representation serves a more profound purpose as well. An appreciation for “form and content, knowledge and affect, objectivity and subjectivity” goes to the heart of a sophisticated understanding of the role our perceptions and constructions play in our interface with our surroundings. This, in turn, allows us to understand with more sophistication how individuals perceive their world, which becomes a key leadership trait. All this and we have yet to mention the most obvious contribution the study of aesthetic representation brings to us: insights into beauty and the human spirit that all great works of art evoke. As Cronin has stated, “The arts put us in touch with the richness of the human spirit and help us to appreciate things we have never seen before. The artist, poet, and composer look at things differently; they question conventional assumptions, offer fresh perspectives, and help us to understand the paradoxes of the human condition.”30 Elisabeth Muhlenfeld takes care to link all this to leadership. “It is in the arts,” she posits, “that creativity (an essential characteristic of the best leaders) is nourished.” Likewise “the poem can serve as a metaphor for the power of reframing,” while “leadership insights . . . emerge from encountering the characters in countless novels and plays.”31 In sum, the creation and study of art yield a bountiful harvest of skills and deep insights that are inescapably linked to the human interactions we call leadership. Aim 4 of the University of Richmond’s portrayal of the central aspects of a liberal arts education addresses the importance of values and their nexus with action. 4. Students should develop an understanding of the grounds for and the consequences of their values, beliefs, choices, or actions. Whether engaged in questions related to political and social justice and ideology, ethical reasoning, scientific inquiry, religious belief, economic


J. Thomas Wren activity, or environmental consciousness, students should develop the intellectual openness and self-discipline required to examine and judge their own and others’ actions and opinions with a measure of objectivity and respect for the various strategies that have been and might be employed for the improvement of the human condition.

That the Richmond faculty decided to highlight values in their proposed liberal arts curriculum is significant. Many in academe are reluctant to address values, preferring to pursue “value-neutral” inquiries. Although the imposition of one’s values on another is certainly objectionable, the avoidance of values inquiry is inadvisable, and, indeed, impossible, in that all disciplines, even the most scientific, have values imbedded in them. It is incumbent on our students to recognize the pervasive nature of our value systems and the impact these have on one’s perceptions and one’s interactions with others. In our increasingly diverse world, to undertake mutual endeavors necessitates the thoughtful and overt identification of underlying values and how they become manifest in action. The study of values and their implications is intimately linked to leadership as we have defined it. Among other things, the inability to identify and assess values not only interferes with the ability to work effectively with others, it also has an ethical dimension. To paraphrase Kenneth Ruscio, it is imperative to develop the ability to reason ethically and to ascertain the ways in which any given issue or action has ethical implications.32 We owe it to our students to help them identify and critically assess the underlying values held by themselves and others, their implications, and their consonance with proposed action. Aim 5 is not unrelated to the previous theme of acknowledging the values of others, but it has a much broader scope. 5. Students should develop an understanding and appreciation of the fact that knowledge, values, and beliefs exist in rich and varied contexts and communities ranging from the local to the international. Genuine intellectual vitality requires that they engage openly and thoughtfully with ideas and perspectives beyond the boundaries of particular cultural or social frameworks. Whether engaged in the study of a foreign language or in study abroad, students should acquire a strong sense of the diversity of ideas, experiences, and modes of communication that characterize the world they live in. Leadership is by definition contextual. It takes place within a historical and cultural (and organizational) context. Or, as some would

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have it, it is “constructed” by each individual as he/she creates patterns of meaning through the interaction of self and other. However it is characterized in terms of structure and agency, leadership certainly does not occur in a vacuum. It is of the utmost importance that students develop sensitivity to and skill in deciphering the contextual complexities of their lives. Applied to leadership, this requires the understanding of the multiple frameworks within which they and others exist and interact. This Aim also introduces more fully the notion of dealing with diversity. In our increasingly complex world, this is a matter of the utmost importance to our students. It has clear implications for leadership, defined as it is here as a mutual influence process among diverse individuals working collectively toward desired goals. As Kenneth Ruscio writes, “it is essential to understand values, interests, and backgrounds that are not the same as yours, especially if they are not the same as yours.”33 There is, indeed, a normative overlay to this. In terms of the purposes of the liberal arts in general, an insight into this comes from an unexpected source: popular management writer Daniel H. Pink. In his recent book, Pink talks about the value of “empathy.” It is, he writes, “an ethic for living. It’s a means of understanding other human beings . . . a universal language that connects us beyond country or culture. Empathy makes us human . . . [a]nd . . . is an essential part of living a life of meaning.”34 Those in academe who are uncomfortable relying on a popular contemporary commentator can turn to the discussion of “sympathy” in Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments for similar insights.35 So, too, can discussions of leadership center on this normative relation to others. Although the definition of leadership I have proposed in this chapter sought to avoid normative overtones, one cannot discuss the phenomenon without contemplating the desired ends of leadership. These, one would hope, include improving the lives of others. Such a task can be accomplished only when one knows and understands the true needs of those he/she serves. The final “aim” of a liberal education articulated by the Richmond faculty is one that draws directly from the heritage of the liberal arts tradition: 6. Students should develop the ability to relate knowledge and abstract speculation in the various areas of inquiry delineated above to the realm of concrete and responsible action. By exploring the connections between formal learning and lived experience, students will gain important insights into the complex and


J. Thomas Wren sometimes uneasy relations between theory and practice, knowledge and power, the individual and society. In the process of investigating these relations, moreover, students should develop a practical understanding of the historical and cultural context of their thoughts and actions, and an awareness of the extent to which intellectual inquiry is tied to responsible citizenship and service to our communities.

This call for linking knowledge to action is not without its naysayers. Fellow contributor to this volume Richard Morrill cites a prominent critic in Stanley Fish of the University of Chicago. According to Fish, “it is decidedly not my job to produce citizens for a pluralistic society or for any other. Citizen-building is a legitimate democratic activity, but it is not an academic activity.”36 While acknowledging this point of view and the concerns that generate it, it nevertheless cuts against the grain of the long heritage of the liberal arts. From antiquity, there has been a “practical” component in the sense that this education is intended to create individuals able and willing to serve something larger than the self. Recall the earlier mention of “civic humanism,” where liberal learning was to be applied for the good of the community and the mission statements of most liberal arts institutions that include the creation of good citizens and leaders. Rather than assume that such a commitment will somehow spontaneously emerge in the course of acquiring a liberal education, this Aim requires instead a more conscious approach to helping students to perceive the links between knowledge and action. This echoes the call of Michael Genovese in this volume, who asserts that “efforts must be made to systematically infuse a curriculum of civic engagement into the heart of the university.”37 An excellent example of this is Elisabeth Muhlenfeld’s description of the program for Sweet Briar College women in which they draw “broadly on their liberal arts education, . . . using concepts from a dozen disciplines” to pursue a project “either abroad or in a needy area of the U.S.” In doing so, says Muhlenfeld, they “come to understand how their academic work in several disciplines has power to solve real world problems. Certainly, they will have gained leadership skills.”38 In sum, the “Statement on Liberal Education at the University of Richmond,” with its accompanying educational aims of a liberal arts curriculum, offers a convenient vehicle to demonstrate the relevance of coursework throughout the liberal arts to the overarching construct of leadership. Understood, as it should be, in the larger sense of

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humans coming together to achieve desired ends, leadership becomes an integrating theme that can help students to see the many (often implicit) linkages across the content areas of the liberal arts curriculum. Moreover, leadership, with its inherent commitment to achieving common purposes, also addresses the ancient theme of liberal education to serve something beyond the self. If one accepts this argument for the study of leadership across the liberal arts curriculum, a question that remains is how such a thing might be implemented. Conclusion: Leadership across the Liberal Arts Curriculum The ultimate objective of this chapter has been to lay the groundwork for a revised liberal arts curriculum, one that retains the traditional strengths of a liberal education yet is refitted to help conquer the current deficiencies created by our disciplinary silos and by our failure to take seriously our commitment to producing citizens and leaders. It does so by drawing upon the definition of leadership suggested earlier as an overarching and unifying curricular theme. It proposes, in other words, something that might be called “leadership across the liberal arts curriculum.” The question becomes how this might be accomplished in institutions that have disciplinary silos and whose faculty have no academic training in leadership. The threshold issue is the “lack of academic training” in the field. That can be addressed relatively easily. Leadership studies is not a discipline with its own unique content and methodology. It is a field of study—a multidisciplinary theme not unlike, say, environmental studies. That is to say, the key requirement to integrate it successfully into traditional coursework is not some particular academic expertise, but instead a sensitivity to the subject and a curiosity to explore how one’s own discipline might contribute to furthering the understanding of it. This is not to say that such a revision of the liberal arts curriculum can occur without intentional action. Faculty in each institution adopting this approach to the liberal arts must begin with some understanding of what is meant by “leadership.” The definition provided in this chapter is not intended to be authoritative; within obvious limits, the precise definition of the theme is less important than that the curriculum have a definition of leadership that is a product of general faculty discussion and consensus. This can be achieved by any manner of means, from a


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faculty retreat to, perhaps better, a lengthy conversation among faculty and students that ultimately yields a conception of leadership that is satisfactory to all. Although this definition certainly should be revisited from time to time, once agreed upon it can become a part of the institution’s mission and, with effort, a part of its culture. Once the initial step of coming to agreement on the meaning of the construct of leadership is taken, it remains to be determined how it will be integrated into the curriculum. This can be achieved in various ways. At the most basic level, all that is needed is a commitment on the part of the faculty to pursue this curricular objective. Elisabeth Muhlenfeld states this wonderfully. “[I]t makes sense,” she agrees, “to work toward ensuring that faculty throughout the whole spectrum of liberal arts disciplines and interdisciplinary programs have some understanding of their subjects’ relevance to leadership development. Clearly,” she adds, “each discipline provides specific insights and unique subskills that potential leaders can glean. As we learn more about these, faculty will begin to emphasize them in the normal course of lectures, discussions, and laboratories . . . . [T]he more faculty know about how their disciplines inform leadership development,” Muhlenfeld concludes, “the more they will both instinctively and deliberately enhance that development.”39 Another possibility, one that has the salutary advantage of expressly introducing students to the ongoing conversation, is to have the theme of leadership introduced as a part of their freshman experience. This could be in the form of a theme at freshman orientation or even designated freshman courses. Centre College President John Roush elsewhere in this collection depicts a course on leadership that he teaches alternately to freshmen and seniors. This, too, is an intriguing concept: a focus on leadership upon entering the curriculum, and then a return to it from the perspective of a senior who has devoted four years to a consideration of the topic throughout his/her liberal arts experience. However this proposed revision of our liberal arts education is accomplished, the result will be one of lasting importance. Again it is Elisabeth Muhlenfeld who says it best: “A good liberal arts education provides constant opportunities to make these [interdisciplinary] connections, to integrate what students are learning in one classroom with what they learn in another, and with their experience of the world outside the classroom altogether.” In turn, “This facility should be regarded as a core skill in leadership development. Leaders must be able to move nimbly from one world to another—drawing on everything and everyone that can help them reach their goals.”40

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The result will be a revitalized liberal education for the twenty-first century. Kenneth Ruscio once wrote: “providing this distinctive liberal arts education—one that prepares future leaders . . .—is a continuing challenge. If it is to be a timely as well as a timeless education, it means developing programs that engage students in the world around them.” It also means developing “students animated by the healthiest kind of ambition—the ambition to serve as leaders who will change the world around them.” To do so, concludes Ruscio, is to become “the model for liberal arts education in the 21st century.”41 I would add that such a reform holds the promise of reenergizing liberal arts education, and it will engage students and faculty alike in one of the most exciting experiments in modern higher education. Notes 1. Richard Hooker, “Humanism,” in World Civilizations, http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/REN/ HUMANISM.HTM (accessed May 29, 2007); Richard Ekman, “Can the Study of Leadership Be Used Simultaneously to Prepare Effective Leaders and Productive Citizens?” in Leadership and the Liberal Arts: Achieving the Promise of a Liberal Education, ed. J. Thomas Wren, Ronald E. Riggio, and Michael A. Genovese, p. 58 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). 2. Thomas E. Cronin, “The Liberal Arts and Leadership Learning” (Paper delivered at the Keck Foundation Conference on Liberal Arts and Leadership, Claremont McKenna College, June 14, 2007). 3. Marvin Perry, Joseph R. Peden, and Theodore H. Van Laue, Sources of the Western Tradition: From Ancient Times to the Enlightenment (Boston: Houghton Miff lin, 1987), p. 287. 4. Hooker, “Humanism.” 5. Ekman, “Effective Leaders and Productive Citizens,” p. 60. 6. Yale College, “Report on Yale College Education,” http://www.yale.edu/cyce (April 2003), p. 10. 7. Centre College, “The Curriculum and Academic Opportunities,” Centre College Course Catalog, http://www.centre.edu/admissions/curr.html (accessed June 11, 2003). 8. Grinnell College, “Education in the Liberal Arts,” Grinnell College Catalog, http://www. grinnell.edu/academic/catalog/education (accessed May 22, 2003). 9. Centre College, “The Curriculum and Academic Opportunities.” 10. Yale College, “Report on Yale College Education,” pp. 9–10. 11. Pomona College, “The Pomona College Curriculum,” http://www.pomona.edu/ADWR/ Registrar/Overview/Curriculum.shtml (accessed May 26, 2003). 12. Centre College, “The Curriculum and Academic Opportunities.” 13. Ibid. 14. Yale College, “Report on Yale College Education,” p. 10. 15. Centre College, “Curriculum and Academic Opportunities.” 16. Swarthmore College, “Educational Program: General Statement,” Swarthmore College Course Catalog, http://swarthmore.edu/academics/course_catalog/educational_program. html (accessed May 26, 2003). 17. Wesleyan University, “Academic Forum,” http://www.wesleyan.edu/acad-forum/djb_paper. html (accessed June 6, 2003); Washington and Lee University, “Mission Statement,” Washington and Lee University Catalog, 106 (2007–2008): 9.


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18. Centre College, “Curriculum and Academic Opportunities.” 19. Yale College, “Report on Yale College Education,” p. 9. 20. Kenneth P. Ruscio, remarks before University of Richmond Faculty Colloquy, August 21, 2002. 21. Keck grant proposal (University of Richmond, 2003), p. 12. 22. Richard Morrill, “Liberal Education, Leadership, and Values,” in Leadership and the Liberal Arts, ed. J. Thomas Wren, Ronald E. Riggio, and Michael A. Genovese, pp. 100–101 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). 23. Terry L. Price and J. Thomas Wren, eds., The Values of Presidential Leadership (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), p. 215. 24. Morrill, “Liberal Education, Leadership, and Values.” 25. Ekman, “Effective Leaders and Productive Citizens,” p. 59. 26. Washington and Lee University, “Mission Statement,” p. 9. 27. Ruscio, remarks before University of Richmond Faculty Colloquy, August 21, 2002. 28. Kenneth P. Ruscio, “Lessons of the Liberal Arts,” Richmond Alumni Magazine (Spring 2004): 48. 29. Elisabeth Muhlenfeld, “Learning Leadership Discipline by Discipline: Cultivating Metaphors for Leadership through the Study of the Liberal Arts,” in Leadership and the Liberal Arts, ed. J. Thomas Wren, Ronald E. Riggio, and Michael A. Genovese, p. 89 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). 30. Cronin, “The Liberal Arts and Leadership Learning,” p. 39. 31. Muhlenfeld, “Learning Leadership Discipline by Discipline,” infra pp. 84, 87–88. 32. Ruscio, “Lessons of the Liberal Arts,” p. 48. 33. Ibid. 34. Daniel H. Pink, A Whole New Mind (New York: Riverhead Books, 2006), p. 165. 35. Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1976), pp. 47–57. 36. Stanley Fish, “The Trojan Horse of a Dark Design,” quoted in Morrill, “Liberal Education, Leadership, and Values,” p. 102. 37. Michael Genovese, “Leadership, Liberal Arts, and the Cultivation of Democratic Citizenship,” in Leadership and the Liberal Arts, ed. J. Thomas Wren, Ronald E. Riggio, and Michael A. Genovese, p. 159 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). 38. Muhlenfeld, “Learning Leadership Discipline by Discipline,” p. 92. 39. Ibid., p. 94. 40. Ibid., p. 91. 41. Ruscio, “Lessons of the Liberal Arts,” p. 48.



The Liberal Arts and Leadership Learning Thom a s E . C ron i n

The liberal arts are the liberating arts—freeing us from prejudice, dogmatism, and parochialism, from complacency, sentimentality, and hypocrisy, from sloppy reasoning and careless writing. Aristotle suggested that all thought starts with wonder. To be educated liberally is to develop a sense of wonder, to imagine, to reexamine one’s principles, and to qualify what one says with the word “perhaps.” Above all it is to be skeptical and consider counterfactual propositions. A liberally educated person is curious, dares to explore, and has courage and ambition appropriately balanced by ref lectiveness, humility, and an openness to other points of view. Such a person shares Judge Learned Hand’s definition of the spirit of liberty: “The spirit which is not too sure that it is right.” The liberal arts tradition is rooted in the ancient Greek and Roman curriculum, first focused on reading, writing, and speaking persuasively. Next, the mathematical arts of arithmetic, geometry, harmonics, and astronomy prepared the student for logical thinking, reasoning, and observation. Early Asian and Mediterranean cultures, through plays, poems, philosophical dialogues, as well as histories, regularly explored central questions about courage, moral issues, and military and societal leadership. Liberal arts programs, at their best, offer freedom to ask critical and fundamental questions, to grow, to fail, to excel and, perhaps most important, to cultivate the courage to learn and imagine.


Thomas E. Cronin

The liberal arts tradition is an educational philosophy as much as a body of knowledge and is especially concerned with the process of learning and understanding. This approach views learning as a verb more than as a noun, as an ongoing process of questioning, searching, probing, exploring. Liberal arts learning recognizes that there is a difference between knowledge and understanding. The liberal arts aim at engagement rather than passive reception, at understanding principles rather than memorizing neatly packaged facts and figures. Such an education is not necessarily liberal in a political or partisan sense, yet it does hold the values of listening, tolerance, and civil discourse in high regard. This whole process is aimed at understanding character, ethics, virtue, beauty, truths, and the arts of leadership and governance. A liberal arts education encourages students to discover themselves and their obligations to others. The message is the same Pericles encouraged in Athens—that a f lourishing community is everyone’s business, and that an ethic of collaboration and empathy for others is critical for resolving society’s problems. Liberty and duty go hand in hand; a liberally educated person grasps the importance of civic as well as personal responsibility, of civility, inclusiveness and the need to give back to one’s community. A liberal arts education holds that while truths may make you free they at first will often be disturbing—and that the uncommitted as well as the unexamined life is not worth living. A liberal arts education asks: What is worth knowing? What is justice, beauty, courage, and virtue? It insists we ask not only “what if ” but also “what for” questions. As students read the classics, they are asked to reexamine and strengthen their own values to create and define themselves in response to these works. Strengthening one’s character through an examination of probing questions and submitting our beliefs to rigorous scrutiny is a daunting experience. Yet there is no comfortable road to learning. And making an appointment with oneself, as Socrates taught, should be exacting. Constitutional democracy, social justice, a sustainable environment, political freedom, and healthy communities don’t just happen. They require countless acts of imagination, courage, and leadership. The liberal arts academy encourages every student to imagine a better world, a world without poverty, genocide, disease, homelessness, injustice, racism, landmines, terrorism, or war. Just as talent is a muscle that needs constant exercise, so also the aim of liberal arts learning is to exercise and refine the intellectual talent of

Liberal Arts and Leadership Learning


students and faculty, to expand on our capacity for understanding justice, liberty, equality, community, efficiency, and human rights. It is with this understanding and breadth that young scientists, teachers, attorneys, artists, or business professionals will find their way when faced with practical dilemmas in their chosen fields. And it is with this understanding that the liberally educated person develops moral commitments, beyond the self, that strengthen one’s capacity to endure the challenges of freedom. The liberal learner comes to understand that it is a mistake to be afraid of making mistakes; new challenges and risk-taking have a genius, power, and magic in them for those who are unafraid of a life of continuous learning. A liberating learning experience emphasizes the role courage plays in most important breakthroughs. Inventions and great art are not accomplished by wallf lowers. Though we cannot inject courage into students as a physician injects a vaccine in a patient, “we can talk about the role that courage plays in every aspect of life,” writes historian Page Smith. “We can make clear that the most important discoveries in science, the most important revelations in the arts, in virtually every field of human endeavor, have had a major component of courage.”1 Unlocking the imagination is also essential. The arts put us in touch with the richness of the human spirit and help us appreciate things we have never seen before. The artist, poet, and composer look at things differently; they question conventional assumptions, offer fresh perspectives, and help us understand the paradoxes of the human condition. Liberal arts include a variety of science disciplines as well as arts and humanities. The scientific method with its respect of observation, speculation, theory building, and verification offers the essential paradigm of analytical thinking. Science offers the possibility of describing and explaining how the world works, of seeking answers to two central questions of existence: What is the world made of? And why are we the way we are? The liberally educated individual will read Homer, Thucydides, Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, the Bible, Galileo, Freud, Machiavelli, Shakespeare, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Tocqueville, along with Confucius, Cervantes, Tolstoy, Ibsen, Joyce, Melville, Shaw, Twain, Wole Soyinka, Toni Morrison, Virginia Woolf, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and countless others. We read these and other inf luential writers because they have wrestled with our virtues as well as our f laws, our promise, our limits and paradoxes.


Thomas E. Cronin

Liberal arts learning emphasizes breadth rather than specialization, for a primary goal of liberal arts programs is to educate rather than train. Consistent with this aim, the student is encouraged to take courses across the curriculum to appreciate the interconnections among a wide array of disciplines. American culture tends to encourage one to specialize as part of the process of becoming an expert. Yet leaders in our society are usually those who, though they may have become specialists along the way, transcend their specialty and grasp boundary-crossing interdisciplinary perspectives. The role of the liberal arts education in civic engagement was recognized as early as the ancient Greek academy. The liberally educated citizen understands, along with Aristotle and James Madison, that the good life is only possible with the f lourishing of shared values and a healthy community. This necessarily requires civic and civil discourse. The talents of persuasive writing and speaking, of conversation, compromise, and agreement-building are exercised in vital communities. Citizen leaders with ambition are always needed to make the polis function, yet—and here is one of the great enduring challenges—this ambition must somehow be harnessed in service of the common good. Liberal arts learning offers the chance to examine the common good from many perspectives—from history, science, the arts, and philosophical debate. If understanding history makes us wise, the aim of the liberating arts is to produce judgment. The liberally educated person helps us create options and opportunities, clarify choices, provide a vision of the possibilities for progress, and build coalitions needed to enact reforms. Rarely can a single leader provide an organization’s entire range of leadership needs. Certain leaders are excellent at inventing new ideas or creating new structures. Others are imaginative social architects, helping to enrich morale and renew the spirit. Still others inf luence us because of their character and moral authority. How we develop moral authority is a critical challenge for every society. We need diplomatic and military leaders, moral and consciousnessraising leaders, intellectual, political, and business leaders. We also need inventors, as well as cultural and artistic leaders. The most lasting leadership often comes from ideas embedded in social, political, or artistic movements, in books, speeches, and in the witness of courageous lives. Thus, there are many forms and faces of leadership. But what leaders have in common is that they know how to listen, they learn from adversity and mistakes, they constantly try new things, learn new skills,

Liberal Arts and Leadership Learning


read, gain detachment, and perspective, and reach out to new people, new ideas, and new ways of thinking. Leadership in the end is all about breadth, courage, and judgment—and this is why liberal arts learning and leadership are so intertwined. Leadership as a Performing Art Effective leadership remains in many ways the most baff ling of the performing arts. Intuition, f lare, risk-taking, and sometimes even theatrical ability come into play. Leaders listen to their intuitions. They know they cannot quantify or understand everything, and they recognize the role of estimates and soft data. Intuitive leaders, relying on their peripheral vision, try to see what others often fail to see. And they see the interrelationships and sense the connections between disparate facts and past experiences. Leadership involves infusing vision, direction, and purpose into an enterprise and entails mobilizing both people and resources to undertake and achieve shared goals. When leadership takes place, it involves a two-way communication and a mutual engagement of leaders and “led.” It is plainly a collective enterprise—an ongoing, if subtle, interplay, between common wants and a leader’s capacity to understand and respond to shared aspirations. The essence of the leader as artist consists of consciousness-raising and unlocking the energies and talents of fellow associates. Leaders at their best are less involved in doing great deeds than they are engaged in empowering their colleagues to excel. Leaders believe in problem-solving and breakthroughs. They are relentlessly optimistic alliance-builders. They often have a contagious self-confidence and incurable idealism that attracts others. They instill enthusiasm in an organization by convincing people about what is important, right, and true. They embrace the possibilities for freedom and necessary change. Leaders build on strengths—their own, their colleagues’, and the strengths and opportunities afforded by the challenges they face. Leadership is invariably hard to define and even harder to quantify because it is part purpose, part process, part artistic and intuitive, and part managerial. College students regularly learn a lot of what they know about leadership by serving as interns in public and private organizations. They too learn from serving as team captains, as resident assistants, in ROTC


Thomas E. Cronin

or similar service training problems, as camp counselors, as young salespeople, and as rookies on construction crews. College students also gain invaluable insights from reading great plays and novels. Especially helpful are works such as Sophocles’ Antigone, Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan, Friedrich Durrenmatt’s The Visit, Wole Soyinka’s Death and The King’s Horseman, Melville’s Billy Budd, and several of Shakespeare’s plays such as King Lear, Henry V, Othello, and Hamlet. Plays and novels turned into film can also prompt splendid analytical discussion about effective and ineffective leadership. Thus talented leadership studies teachers often have their students view, discuss, and write about leaders in Lord of the Flies, Twelve Angry Men, Norma Rae, North Country, Twelve O’Clock High, Hotel Rwanda, All the King’s Men, Caine Mutiny, War and Peace, and similar classics. Every leader has to have ideas and must contribute to the substantive thinking necessary to move an organization beyond problems and toward achievements. Leaders recognize the inevitability of conf lict—partisan conf lict, ideological conf lict, and conf lict among tribes, firms, religions, and nation-states. Leaders understand not only the inevitability of conf lict but also know that conf lict often has to be expressed and joined as a means to some desired end. Thus George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Susan Anthony, and Martin King, Jr. all had in common the appreciation that necessary progress could only come about in campaigns, fights, and even battles. Leaders do not shy away from conf lict but instead shape it and turn it to the advantage of their organizations. They exploit it and often welcome it as a chance to reshape, reframe, reorganize, and revitalize their communities. Ideas for innovation never get very far if they are merely mentioned. Leaders need to have a variety of skills and competences that help them exercise influence. What follows is a discussion of a few of the indispensable skills or practices young leaders should hone: listening, speaking and debate, writing, community-building, negotiating, social and emotional self-efficacy, and an understanding of and commitment to creativity. Listening Listening sounds easy. Yet listening turns out to be more complicated— and is probably the least appreciated skill a leader must develop. Active,

Liberal Arts and Leadership Learning


ref lective, and disciplined listening drains energy and time. Few people are superb listeners—people who listen so carefully that they really hear you and in doing so both respect and empower you. Nobody can fake listening. Listening involves perception, attention, and comprehension. The listening needed to lead requires one to comprehend not only the content of what is said but also the context. Effective listeners are able to put aside their own ideas and prejudices and listen openly—with their eyes and heart as much as with their ears. To inspire others, you must understand them—their wants, needs, fears, and dreams. Effective listening involves getting inside another person’s mind and trying to see things from his or her point of view. Professional listeners, with their trained “third ear,” are able to pick up on what others are feeling and thinking as well as what they are saying. The leader as listener learns that empathetic listening is a form of therapy. A lot of people need listeners not for any answer or specific solution to their problem so much as to work out, vent, or verbalize what they feel. The mere act of attentive listening—to complaints and hurts and explanations is often enough of an answer. Bill Clinton won the U.S. presidency in part because he mastered the art of listening and conversation at “town-hall meetings” at his various 1992 campaign stops. Clinton transformed himself and his image into that of a talk-show host, putting a premium on letting his audience “pass the microphone” and speak their minds. Candidate Bill Clinton made a conscious effort to listen, understand, and empathize with these representatives of the electorate. Showing he was “in tune” with voters became a personal strength for him in that campaign—and helped revive Clinton’s candidacy against the more aloof George H. W. Bush and the pesky billionaire Ross Perot. Listening is an art, and like most arts, it can, with extensive practice, be nurtured, developed, and eventually mastered. Courses or workshops on listening are more often found in business schools than at liberal arts colleges. Trainers in this skill have a whole array of strategies for listening enhancement. Much of what they teach may strike one as obvious, yet most people fully understand less than half of what is said to them and then forget it in a matter of hours. Leadership involves listening to, understanding, and being able to convince and mobilize people. Underestimating the importance of listening is one of the mistakes failed leaders routinely make. Just ask Sophocles’ King Creon, or Melville’s Captain Vere, or America’s Richard Nixon.


Thomas E. Cronin Speaking and Debating

Effective leaders develop the ability to reason and to define, defend, and convincingly argue their views. Those who can speak and debate well enjoy a disproportionate voice in policy making deliberations; those who cannot become spectators. Politics and governance are, in many ways, one long conversation about how best to provide for the common good and the common security. The ability to communicate an idea is often as important as the idea itself. Just as it is sometimes said that the world belongs to those with energy and passion, so also the audience belongs to speakers who have important things to say—and have the ability to persuade, convince, and inspire. Nobody is born a great speaker. It is a performance skill that people can learn. A good speaker has to invent his or her own rules for speaking. This is because the key strength of a speaker lies in effectively putting their inner self, in some way, into their talking. No rule can prescribe the best way to do this. One of the best ways to begin to learn about speakers is to study classic addresses. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address as well as his acclaimed Second Inaugural Address deserve a careful reading. Pericles’ famed Funeral Oration found in Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War warrants scrutiny. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” address delivered at the March on Washington in 1963 and his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” are prime illustrations of reasoned argumentation. Several anthologies exist of great speakers from Cicero to Churchill and beyond. The best speakers use simple language and talk with rather than lecture their audience. Most ineffective talks suffer from being too long and making too many points. Effective speakers are a guide as well as a performer. They organize a talk just as an architect plans a prizewinning structure. Thus an effective presentation needs a compelling introduction and thesis, clear transitions from one point to the next, and a forceful conclusion. An effective speech often uses various techniques to keep listeners on edge a bit and, like Shakespeare and Beethoven, introduce minor tensions and resolutions as they build toward a climax. Designing an elegant persuasive speech is ultimately an art form. Effective leaders also develop the ability to debate. Our judicial, legislative, and election processes are all structured around formal debates. The philosophy behind formal policy debates is that, with informed

Liberal Arts and Leadership Learning


and constructive adversarial deliberation, understanding and truths may emerge. Being prepared in debate requires knowing as much as possible about both sides of a question. Skillful debaters know they can concede some of the other side’s points and actually be in a stronger position to attack the strategically weak points in the opposition’s argument. Debating tests one’s capacity to listen and speak as nothing else does. Most people avoid debates just as they avoid giving speeches to large audiences. Yet those who aspire to be leaders learn that debating ability is an invaluable competitive advantage. Writing Writing well is yet another form of leadership. Good writing helps us think clearly, express ideas, heighten consciousness, inspire, and promote community and shared values. Plato, Machiavelli, Marx, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Rachel Carson, Martin Luther King Jr., and Alexander Solzhenitsyn all have in common that they changed how people thought, dreamed, and behaved. A writer with a sense of justice can remind us of when we have failed and what we might be. Writers can help vanquish lies. Writers can encourage moral outrage and strategies for breakthroughs. And the writer as leader can remind us of the blessings of liberty. Jefferson and his colleagues rallied a new nation as it fought for independence and staked out the aspirational ideals of a people searching for a better way of governing themselves. Those who drafted the U.S. Constitution in the summer of 1787 in Philadelphia wrote as both political philosophers and political architects as they merged experience and theory in the formation of practical political institutions. Active, clear writing informs, persuades, entertains, empowers, and liberates. Writers in the Western tradition invariably have read the Greek classics, the Bible, Shakespeare, and Mark Twain. Would-be leaders also read well-written, well-edited magazines such as the Economist, the New York Review of Books, the New Yorker, the New Republic, and the Atlantic Monthly. Foreign Affairs, Science, and the Harvard Business Review are also important. Students of leadership adopt favorite writers such as Jefferson, Lincoln, Emerson, Churchill, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Peter Drucker,2 and others. Read their best works. Discover why they are so good by trying a


Thomas E. Cronin

little of what is called “reverse engineering.” Do they follow a clear, logical outline? How do they frame their argument? How do they marshal evidence? What do they do to simplify, clarify, convince, and persuade? Writing matters. Great writing is often an act of courage. Just as leaders help define, defend, and promote important values, so also writers help define and clarify critical choices. Writing can be a superb opportunity for people to tell their story, to tell the truth, and to advocate fresh new ideas. A writer writes to understand, teach, persuade, celebrate, criticize, caution, inspire, lead, and share important realities. Great writers help shape their times. The power of the pen or word processor may be considerably different from the power of the sword or the power of the purse, yet the compelling argument persuasively written may prove more powerful as well as more enduring. Just ask King George III about The Declaration of Independence. Or the white Southern clergy so eloquently addressed in King’s remarkable “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Community-Building Psychologist and civic leader John W. Gardner in his later years regularly emphasized that it is nearly impossible for leadership to be exercised in a noncommunity.3 The absence of shared values and social cohesion makes leadership success improbable unless you control the tanks, machine guns, and local television stations. Would-be leaders must learn what makes a community, what sustains a community, and how leaders can play an indispensable role in renewing the shared values that are the glue holding vital communities together. Factions, as Madison, Marx, and Yale Law Professor Amy Chua point out, arise in every society.4 The unequal distribution of property and wealth guarantees conf lict and the rise of factions. Race, religion, and ethnic or national identity also divide as we have painfully seen in Iraq, Palestine, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, and so many other places. Community-building sounds easy, yet it is one of the hardest jobs a leader can tackle. Community-building necessarily involves creative listening and open communications across functional and territorial boundary lines. As John W. Gardner writes, healthy organizations encourage candid discussions and even encourage disagreement and resentments to surface. Leaders instill “a philosophy of pluralism, an open climate for

Liberal Arts and Leadership Learning


dissent, and an opportunity for subcommunities to retain their identity and share in the setting of larger goals.”5 Leaders are invariably networkers. They help to promote shared values and common ground. They are seldom able to win agreement on everything. The goal is to unite people to decide what is important and what their common goals and priorities are. We laugh a lot at politicians, yet the best of them are skilled networkers, skilled mediators among disparate and sometimes warring factions. And they are often indispensable in helping us to transcend paralyzing self-interests. Politics, at its best, is the art of listening to, and accommodating, diversity and variety of public views; it is also the indispensable art of making possible tomorrow what appears impossible today. It is not always pretty, but politicians as community-builders are the necessary horse traders and agreement or alliance-builders we employ to keep diverse and pluralistic peoples going. Politicians as community-builders accentuate shared values and work out acceptable compromises in an effort to prevent us from shooting at one another. Obviously, they provide a much desired alternative to living under a dictator. Paradoxically, we want our politicians to be like us—to be representative—yet to be better than us. We also, selfishly, want our politicians to do what we want and to ignore what other people want. We also, of course, want political leaders to bring out the best in us. Woodrow Wilson, while still at Princeton, spoke to this paradox when he wrote that a great nation “is not led by a man who simply repeats the talk of the street-corners or the opinion of the newspapers . . .” No, such a nation “is led by a man who hears more than those things; or who, rather, hearing those things, understands them better, unites them, puts them into a common meaning.”6 Negotiating Life is full of diversity and conf lict, and leaders are expected to bring about the creative balance. The point of negotiating is to achieve an accord that is mutually advantageous to two or more parties. On one level negotiating is relatively simple: know your position; know your opponent’s position; understand all the incentives involved and find some agreeable middle ground. But in practice—in politics, international diplomacy, and business deals—negotiating is exacting.


Thomas E. Cronin

A negotiator has to have multiple skills: listening, the ability to collaborate, and the ability to persuade. A skilled negotiator is able to peer across a table and deconstruct the demands, needs, and wants of opponents. Knowing what motivates your opponents is fundamental. Negotiation as collaboration is the process in which contending parties see different aspects of a problem and can creatively explore differences and solutions. Equally important, of course, is understanding your side’s interests, what is nonnegotiable, what are the best possible settlements you can hope to achieve, and what would be the worst possible deal your side would be willing to accept. Negotiators who enter a negotiation with higher aspiration levels than their rivals, research finds, do better in achieving favorable settlements. It is axiomatic in negotiations that both sides approach a negotiation with contending positions. Positions in and of themselves are not bad, yet it is how positions are abandoned and new positions are arrived at that become important. Roger Fisher and William Ury of the celebrated Harvard Negotiation Project developed what they called “Principled Negotiation.” Their process sought results in which both sides could win.7 Their model of Principled Negotiation is based on four basic principles: separate the people from the issues, focus on interests not positions, generate a variety of possibilities before deciding what to do, and insist on some objective standard on which to judge the mutual decision. Looking behind the announced positions of the contending parties at their real interest allows the negotiation to focus on the goals of the process, not merely a set of compromises. Interests, not positions, define the problem. Generating multiple options encourages many options and may result in the discovery of a solution that neither party believed existed before. Negotiators, like politicians, are trying to resolve conf lict and transcend narrow, selfish position taking. It requires patience, discipline, homework, and uncommon focus. It also requires using emotions as a positive tool in the process. Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro, in Beyond Reason, note that we cannot stop having emotions any more than we can stop having thoughts.8 The challenge, they write, is learning to stimulate helpful emotions in those with whom we negotiate as well as in ourselves. Liberal arts colleges too often neglect encouraging students to learn about the art and skill of negotiations. Workshops or adjunct courses devoted to this subject make sense. The curriculum for such a course

Liberal Arts and Leadership Learning


would be a combination of reading materials, presentations by skilled negotiators, and role playing experience in a wide range of simulated negotiations. Social and Emotional Self-Efficacy “Strong people,” writes management guru Peter Drucker, “always have strong weaknesses.”9 Leaders need to be resilient and realistic. They need to know as much as possible about their strengths, weaknesses, prejudices, and what motivates them. Most leaders have a natural optimism about their own abilities and the possibilities for progress. Since every leader deals with conf lict and occasional setbacks, a leader needs to learn how to turn failure, rejection, and liabilities into opportunities and advantages. Leaders regularly make an appointment with themselves, accepting their failures yet constantly working to improve themselves. In his provocative book Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman says emotional intelligence is knowing what you are feeling, managing those feelings, and developing the ability to both empathize with others and control one’s impulses.10 Emotional and social intelligence, or personal self-efficacy are not fixed at birth—everyone can learn to balance these key emotions. America’s three greatest presidents Washington, Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt all had their personal challenges that included vanity and melancholy among other things, yet each also had an uncommon sense of who they were and were sure of themselves in social settings, including when they were in the presence of strangers. Each also had an ability to reassure people, call for sacrifice, and encourage hope. Leaders must have guts, judgment, and have to take risks. They make themselves vulnerable by regularly putting themselves and their reputations on the line, in full view of large numbers of people. Such leaders must be strong enough to have other strong people around them. Doris Kearns Goodwin’s best-selling Team of Rivals vividly documents how Lincoln recruited his three adversaries for the Republican nomination for president in the 1860 campaign—and successfully put them to work as key advisers and top cabinet members.11 In doing so, he converted rivals into colleagues and it well served him and the country. Presidential scholars Fred Greenstein and James David Barber warn us to beware presidential contenders who lack emotional intelligence or positive emotional character.12


Thomas E. Cronin

Those who are involved in politics and leadership at the highest levels must like people and politics and must be able to control their f laws, acknowledge their fallibility, and yet still believe in themselves and the possibilities for breakthroughs. Several presidents such as Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, Lyndon Johnson, and possibly Carter, Clinton, and George W. Bush have been, or at least seemed to have been, emotionally handicapped. “Richard Nixon was the most emotionally f lawed” writes Princeton’s Fred Greenstein. Nixon, “more than any other president summons up the classic notion of a tragic hero who is defeated by the very qualities that brought him success.”13 In the end his relentless fears, insecurities, and self-doubt ruined his presidency. In sum, effective leaders are reasonably comfortable with who they are—their strengths, their deficiencies, and their humanity. They have to like themselves, like people, like politics, and recognize the truism that vitality and morale seldom f lourish in an organization based primarily upon fears. They must also know how to forgive and move on. Marshall E. Dimock wrote a classic book titled The Executive in Action in 1945. His analysis of the need for balanced leaders remains apt for our day: The best executive is the balanced individual. He has energy, but it does not run wild; he has personality, but it does not lead to exhibitionism; he is a driver, but he is fair; he is sure of himself, but not dogmatic; he has self-confidence, but not to the point of thinking that he is always right and fails to realize that others can frequently teach him something he should know.14 The one quibble with Dimock’s celebration of the emotionally balanced leader is the caveat that sometimes the necessary breakthrough is made by an individual with at least a touch of irrational self-confidence. Here again is yet another of the enduring paradoxes of leadership. An Understanding of, and Commitment to, Creativity Effective leaders are rarely geniuses yet they have to be bright, resourceful and, in their own way, creative. They may not be as creative as artists, composers, sculptors, and inventors, yet political and business leaders have a responsibility to make sure that innovative people and creative ideas f lourish.

Liberal Arts and Leadership Learning


It is commonly agreed that virtually everyone of even average intelligence has some level of creativity. The challenge is in encouraging it. It is far easier to kill than to nurture the creative impulse. Leaders need to understand creativity, to recruit creative people, and to create a climate of openness, risk taking, and f lexibility that fosters innovative thinking. Creative people do not easily fit into complex organizations. They can be high-energy zealots. They are often restless contrarians, and they can be single-minded and passionate, and their high levels of curiosity can make them pesky, if not obnoxious. Creativity involves looking at things in a different way. It involves discarding preconceptions and rejecting the injunction “that this is the way we do it because we have always done it this way.” We become creative when we are at play, when we have the freedom and space to daydream, speculate, and toy with ideas—and redefine or recontextualize an old problem or theory. Louis Lundborg, a former chairman of Bank of America, wrote that the highly creative employee is often hard-to-handle but that senior leaders need an equally high tolerance for them. “One reason,” writes Lundborg, “why people should not be discouraged from surfacing ideas is that even the most zany, unworkable idea may trigger a good one in someone else’s mind.”15 Creativity is more than high IQ or brilliant SAT intelligence. It meanders, is unpredictable, capricious, and sometimes digressive and disorganized. Psychologists report that while creative people are paradoxically uncommonly knowledgeable about their subject—physics, electronics, music whatever—they also are often naïve, childish, or immature. Mozart is a frequently cited example. The challenge for leaders is to create a culture of freedom and elbow room for innovative individuals. Effective managers are good listeners and don’t dwell on mistakes. A mistake-free or risk-free, “fear of failure” climate is the surest way to hamstring creative thinking. Psychologist David Campbell says creative leaders “are able to bury the past and go forward. Mistakes will happen in every institution and some people swim around in them forever. Creative managers don’t. They put the past behind them and move on.”16 One of the most important functions of an executive is to ensure organizational renewal and vitality. Stagnation is a constant threat. Effective leaders have to bring about a balance between the creative and the pragmatic. Sometimes a leader has to mask his or her visionary


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impulses in an effort not to scare investors or colleagues. Leaders— much more than writers, artists, novelist, or composers—are concerned with public reactions. And creative people, leaders know, are not only hard-to-handle, they can create confusion, misdirection, instability, and they are, of course, sometimes wrong. Every leader has to juggle the “too little vision-too much vision” as well as the “too many creative ideas-too little” paradoxes that come with the territory. This is why effective leaders need to be broadminded, liberally educated, and creative sensemaking organizational architects. Can leadership be taught? Only up to a point. Some things you can’t learn even from the best teachers and mentors. You have to be there and pass through the fire. Leadership, for example, is loaded with paradoxes. “Life would be easier if leadership was just a list of simple rules,” said G. E.’s Jack Welch, “but paradoxes are inherent in the trade.”17 Leaders, on the job, learn how to manage paradoxes and values, and how to live with ambiguity and constant change. Leadership involves learning, courage, judgment, honesty, breadth, imagination, passion, and character along with a variety of skills and competencies. Liberal arts learning provides a vitally important yet hardly sufficient foundation for guaranteeing positive results. Yet liberal arts learning, along with the recognition that leadership is a performing art, provide a promising foundation for preparing tomorrow’s leaders.18

Notes 1. Page Smith, Killing the Spirit: Higher Education in America (New York: Penguin, 1990), p. 204. 2. See Peter F. Drucker, The Effective Executive (New York: Harper and Row, 1996); Peter F. Drucker, The Essential Drucker (New York: CollinsBusiness, 2001). 3. John W. Gardner, On Leadership (New York: Free Press, 2000); John W. Gardner, Living, Leading and the American Dream (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003). 4. Amy Chua, World on Fire (New York: Anchor Books, 2004). 5. Gardner, Dream, p. 182. 6. Woodrow Wilson, The Public Papers of Woodrow Wilson, ed. Ray Stannard Baker, William Edward Dodd. Multiple vols. (New York: Harper, 1925–1926). See also Arthur S. Link, Wilson: The Road to the White House (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1947). 7. Roger Fisher and William Ury, Getting to Yes (Boston: Houghton Miff lin, 1981). 8. Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro, Beyond Reason (London: Penguin Books, 2005). 9. Drucker, Executive, p. 72. 10. Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence (New York: Free Press, 2000). 11. Doris Kearns Goodwin, Teams of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005).

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12. Fred Greenstein, The Presidential Difference (New York: Free Press, 2000); James David Barber, The Presidential Character (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1972). 13. Greenstein, The Presidential Difference, p. 199. 14. Marshall E. Dimock, The Executive in Action (New York: HarperCollins, 1996). 15. Louis B. Lundborg, The Art of Being an Executive (New York: Free Press, 1981), p. 204. 16. David Campbell, Take the Road to Creativity and Get off Your Dead End (Allen, TX: Argus Communications, 1977). 17. Jack Welsh, Winning (New York: HarperBusiness, 2005), p. 64. 18. See also Bennis Warren and Burt Nanus, Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge (New York: Harper and Row, 1985); James MacGregor Burns, Leadership (New York: Harper and Row, 1978); Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity (New York: HarperCollins, 1996); James O. Freedman, Idealism and Liberal Education (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996); James O. Freedman, Liberal Education and the Public Interest (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2003); James G. March and Thierry Weil, On Leadership (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 2006); Mark Van Doren, Liberal Education (New York: Henry Holt, 1943).

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Can Study of the Liberal Arts Prepare Both Effective Leaders and Productive Citizens? R ic h a r d E k m a n

Advocates for the centrality of the liberal arts in the undergraduate curriculum frequently argue that the liberal arts ought to be studied because these fields prepare “leaders” more effectively than the study of professional or technical fields. Frequently, these claims focus on the breadth and perspective that the fields of the liberal arts are said to provide, on the skills of written expression and critical reasoning that they hone, and on the capacities that they engender, especially those that are transferable to other settings and uses. Ample evidence indeed shows that the study of the liberal arts can fulfill these purposes. But we also know that fewer than 5 percent of all undergraduates attend liberal arts colleges (B.A. Liberal Arts, in Carnegie Classification terms) and only 12 percent attend undergraduate institutions (B.A. General and B.A. Liberal Arts). The majority of today’s leaders in business, politics, and other sectors of society were not educated principally in the liberal arts. The temptation is to look for a more nuanced argument—one that accounts for the particular ways in which the liberal arts, in contrast to other fields of study, prepare leaders; and to articulate the reasons why someone should study the liberal arts even if he or she does not aspire to be—or does not succeed at being—a leader.


Richard Ekman Preparation for Leadership through Alternate Courses of Study

Bill Gates was the featured speaker at Harvard’s 2007 commencement. Those introducing him made good-natured barbs about the dropout computer science major who made good, and the speech provided a meaningful message for new graduates: it’s not enough to have received a terrific education unless you also learn that you have a moral responsibility to use your education to help others in the world who are less fortunate than you. Conspicuously absent was any ref lection by Gates or those heaping praise on him of the connections between Gates’s experience as a college student and how he has spent his time since dropping out—as creator and builder of the major technology company in the world and, more recently, as philanthropist on a grand scale. What did he study? All computer science? Did any of his other classes have an impact on him? What about the cocurricular dimensions of his college experience? Engineering educators who muse about the best form of preparation for those who are expected to invent the next generation’s most valuable gadgets often observe that one can teach the quantitative and scientific skills that an engineer needs, but the spark of genius—the ability to identify a need and invent a new product or process that addresses it—can more often be detected by looking at a young person’s tinkering in the garage than in high school grades or SAT scores. For these engineering educators, Bill Gates is proof-positive of their view. He apparently did little at Harvard to take advantage of the institution’s depth of resources, preferring to spend time with his friends working on the invention of new software. There is useful recognition among engineering educators that the formal subjects of study have limited value in predicting “leadership” in the engineering field. In the fields of the arts and sciences, the argument by professional pedagogues is often more expansive. Through the study of literature, history, or chemistry, for example, we argue that transferable skills and habits of thought are learned that will prove durable throughout one’s life. Trained as an historian, I am especially sensitive to the claims made for studying history. Students are often told, for example, that only in rigorously threading the documentary evidence can the question of “what happened” be answered fully and truthfully. If, through this effort, a pattern is discernible, one may be able to extrapolate beyond the literal evidence to make broader generalizations. Given enough time to study events that appear on the surface to be similar—revolutions, for

Effective Leaders and Productive Citizens


example, in different eras and in different places—one may be able to conclude that there are some common features of all revolutions. And one may even be able to predict stages of revolutions and thereby find successful employment as a consultant to the organizers of a revolution or to a government that is trying to squelch a revolution! The cautionary argument about history is that there is no guarantee that a pattern in the past will remain a pattern in the future. Historians even say that to expect to find patterns is likely to turn a person’s approach from a historical perspective into one that is antihistorical. That is, the search for universals of human behavior that may be the goal of a sociologist is contrary to the work of an historian, who ought to be looking for the particularities of human events in specific places and times. Moreoever, the contrary view goes, seeing the future as an extension of the past is essentially conservative, an outlook that many practicing historians would emphatically deny they have. Even so, there is no denying that, in the tradition of Herodotus, the undergraduate study of history and explicit engagement of the question of “what happened” hones a perspective in looking at current events that is tenable throughout one’s life. This result of an undergraduate education in history is markedly different from the claim that historical study illumines the great achievements of some and the colossal failures of others or that it steeps each of us in a common tradition. These are more often the reasons cited to study this discipline—and they have some validity—but they go well beyond what is inherent in the discipline of history. Parallel lessons can be drawn for the long-term utility of every discipline of the arts and sciences. Ronald Crutcher, president of Wheaton College and a skillful musician who continues to perform professionally, has argued that it is his preparation as a musician that has formed his approach to leadership. He places a lot of emphasis on teamwork in the way he leads Wheaton: ensemble work, especially in chamber groups, in which the exercise of top-down authority is not effective leadership, Crutcher argues, is akin to the condition of shared governance that characterizes most faculties’ relations with presidents. Crutcher doesn’t talk about the mathematical complexities of understanding a score, the science of sound, or the “emotional intelligence” needed by a performer to interpret a composition sensibly. Rather, it’s teamwork. The claims for the utility of the fields of the liberal arts, clearly, vary enormously. It has always been that way, despite the lesson learned by every child that the ancient Greeks invented the liberal arts and that there are seven of them. In fact, there were at first three—grammar,


Richard Ekman

rhetoric, and logic—and they were valued largely because they were seen as practical and useful. It took longer than a millennium for any fundamental discomfort with the central role of these three to take hold. In medieval Europe, an additional four fields—the so-called quadrivium of arithmetic, astronomy, geometry, and music—were considered basic. It is significant that the four new fields joined the initial three in the medieval curriculum. The first three were not discarded, to be replaced by the new four. Even today, it is not difficult to see that each of the seven liberal arts offers a different way of knowing, a distinctive set of intellectual axioms that a student should be expected to master. It’s More the Pedagogy than the Subject To what end? If the argument for higher education is often presented in terms of society’s need to prepare future leaders, college graduates— the argument goes—who comprise a small fraction of the population, should possess the expertise to perform well in certain critical professions and to offer the perspective and values that will guide their fellow citizens. Today, more than two-thirds of U.S. high school graduates enroll in college. Not all complete their degrees and graduate, to be sure, but it is increasingly difficult to make the argument that the principal purpose of a college education is to prepare leaders: two-thirds cannot lead one-third. State governments that are asked to provide funds for mass participation in higher education already ask this question with some regularity. The discussion has taken on special meaning in Georgia, the first state to introduce a merit scholarship program (in 1993). The state’s political leaders were concerned that too many of Georgia’s brightest high school graduates were leaving the state for college, and on graduation settling elsewhere rather than moving back to Georgia. Georgia’s business and political leaders were worried about “brain drain” and the ability of the state to meet its own future needs for well-trained professionals. The language that describes the HOPE Scholarships (as they are called) refers to the objective of keeping in state the “best and the brightest,” the “leaders,” and the “most talented” young people. Initially, any high school graduate with an A average could qualify for a HOPE Scholarship. The program quickly gained enormous political popularity, and eligibility was changed to include all high school

Effective Leaders and Productive Citizens


graduates with B averages. In effect, this meant that two-thirds of all Georgia high school graduates were eligible. The financial burden on the state became unwieldy. The situation became even more difficult to justify when it turned out that approximately half of the HOPE Scholars were unable to sustain a GPA during the first year of college that permitted them to remain HOPE Scholars. Today, more than thirty states have programs that are similar to Georgia’s. The efforts now underway on almost every college campus, as well as in the federal and most state governments, to increase access to higher education, are important steps to counteract the unfortunate disadvantages that are statistically associated with college-going by students from low-income, first-generation, racially underrepresented, and other backgrounds. But the justification for these efforts is accurately viewed less as a matter of preparing leaders than as a matter of preparing all citizens to live more responsible and fulfilling lives. Jefferson was among the first to observe that in a democracy, all citizens must be well informed and capable of sound reasoning if their participation in self-rule, even representative self-rule, is to be effective. Jefferson’s faith is bolstered by evidence more than two hundred years later that liberal arts graduates are more engaged in their communities than others. Surveys in recent years by the Minneapolis-based Hardwick-Day firm, for example, show that graduates of liberal arts colleges vote, contribute to charity, and hold leadership positions in community organizations more frequently than others. The evidence is not clear whether self-selection at the time of college enrollment is the main source of these differences, rather than the institutional effects of the college experience on individuals’ postgraduate behavior. Nonetheless, the survey results are suggestive. Even more suggestive are the findings of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). After asking thousands of students at hundreds of colleges and universities to describe their activities during college that show students’ engagement in the process of their own education—for example, internships, service-learning practicums, seminars, studying in groups, and talking with professors during office hours—it does appear that the institutional effects of smaller liberal arts institutions are strongest at engaging students. And it is not the most selective smaller colleges that perform best on this scale. To a degree, the NSSE findings are not surprising. Small colleges, after all, take great pride in close student-faculty interaction. But the results should be surprising for other reasons. All colleges and universities now utilize pedagogies to encourage active engagement by students


Richard Ekman

to an extent that was unknown a generation ago. In almost every field of the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, the prevailing pedagogies on most American campuses have been transformed to utilize experiential education. These techniques have been responsible for the revitalization of fields of study that had been running the risk of appearing dry and abstract to students. The presumed advantage of smaller liberal arts institutions in engaging students is far less than it once was; yet the difference in the NSSE results persist. Is there something inherent in the disciplines of the liberal arts that leads to certain behaviors in those who study them? Probably not. After all, the experiential pedagogies were pioneered and have remained mainstays of U.S. colleges and universities in professional training—in fields such as medicine, engineering, social work, and architecture. We in the liberal arts have borrowed the pedagogy, and it has led to very good results. A Sliding Scale for Balance between the Liberal Arts and Professional Training What one studies in the “liberal arts,” it seems, occupies a continually evolving position on the spectrum of cognitive exercise, and to think of these changes as occurring without regard to the pressures from and perceptions of those outside the academy may be naive. Our knowledge of the precise steps over a millennium from the trivium to an expanded seven disciplines is shrouded by a paucity of evidence, but curricular changes in the modern era are not. For example, until the early nineteenth century, the American college curriculum included a good deal of content that aspiring clergy would find useful; by the end of the century, most of that had disappeared. Or another example: during the twentieth century, the classics went from a role as a mainstay of the curriculum, through precipitous decline, to the situation today in which only one-fifth of even liberal arts colleges regularly teach classics. The most instructive instance of efforts to find a new balance between the established liberal arts and the emerging preprofessional fields can be found in the late nineteenth-century debates on American campuses over the teaching of the physical sciences. Until then, physical science was not widely taught in the United States. For many, the sciences were seen as pedestrian and practical fields of inquiry that had little to do with real higher education. But the leadership of German universities

Effective Leaders and Productive Citizens


in introducing scientific teaching and research stimulated American universities to worry about being regarded as rustic backwaters if they ignored these new fields. At Yale—as Louis Menand tells the story in The Metaphysical Club—the intense debates were resolved only when the decision to teach science was accompanied by a decision to do so only through a separate school of the university that would award a bachelor of science degree, not a bachelor of arts. Today, as students increasingly hope that their undergraduate degrees will provide both a general education and job preparation, several appealing ways to bridge the gap between the liberal arts and preprofessional education have emerged. One successful approach for many colleges has been to select only one or two professional fields—for example, business management or nursing or teacher preparation—and develop programs of high quality, while also choosing carefully among the fields of arts and sciences and offering those selected with an equal emphasis on high quality. The argument is that, rather than striving for universal coverage of all fields of knowledge, a college can legitimately select a finite number of fields that offer balance among themselves, and students will be able to obtain the benefits of both professional and general education. It was Ernest Boyer who, late in his life, first gave this concept visibility, styling it the “New American College”—new, that is, in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Today, many colleges employ this approach. A less appealing alternative stems from the spate of popular management books that appear with some regularity, often written by faculty members at leading business schools or highly successful corporate executives, who talk about the keys to business success in abstract ways. It is the penchant for generalization in these that sometimes leads those of us in the arts and sciences to claim these works as conducive to an integration of the two worlds. But one business education leader who has called for a better bridging is the Wharton School’s Russell Ackoff, who has prescribed a curriculum for liberal arts colleges that uses “sociotechnical analysis” as its key and which argues for including organizational behavior, design, and operations research as core subjects in undergraduate education. His argument is that these fields bring wholly new intellectual axioms into a student’s vision, that they allow students to gain facility with new modes of thought in addition to those of the arts and sciences disciplines, and that there is nothing inherent in these subjects that requires undergraduate study to precede them, even though they are more typically taught in graduate business, engineering, and architecture programs.


Richard Ekman

We should continue to be open to new fields on the horizon that are substantial, intellectually demanding, and provide new ways of knowing that ought to be embraced as parts of a general education that relies principally on the arts and sciences. Another false connection between the liberal arts and professional training that originated in the 1970s and persists today on many campuses tries to make the humanities “relevant” to students whose main orientation is to preparing themselves to be doctors or business executives. Courses on “medicine and the humanities,” for example, that emphasize novels in which physicians are leading characters or in which there is a lot of death and dying do not do justice to either the humanities or medicine. In a crowded premed curriculum, the space might better be reserved for a few great works of literature irrespective of their presumed thematic relevance. In many other parts of the world, undergraduate education in the liberal arts is not well established and there is now great interest in incorporating elements of the American approach. In many Muslim countries, for example, explicitly American-style undergraduate education is a growth industry. Moving away from curricula that are based on professional majors and on pedagogies that emphasize lectures and rote memorization, the hope of public officials and university leaders in these countries is principally to provide the future leaders of countries where only a small fraction of college-age people attend college with broader background and the benefits of critical thinking skills, creativity, and the other perspectives that we usually cite as the results of education in the liberal arts. Also, in European countries that are now adjusting to the new degree structures that are called for in the European Union’s Bologna Process (these include countries where large percentages of college-age people do, as in the United States, attend college), a fascination with American-style undergraduate general education has taken hold as a means of encouraging a broader outlook. Germany is especially deep in this transition at the moment. Examples always help to make the case. John F. Kennedy, whose career was largely as a public official, frequently made references to the uses of scholarly knowledge, particularly in history, in his efforts to address current issues. In this respect, Kennedy followed in a tradition that includes Jefferson, Wilson, and others, all of whom in their public statements were extremely deferential to the expertise of scholars and teachers. One excellent example of this style of leadership that we often overlook because of its brevity is James A. Garfield—Williams College graduate, Civil War hero, president of Hiram College, and an

Effective Leaders and Productive Citizens


enormously popular U.S. president during his brief term. His intellectual prowess was central to his political persona: it was said that he could simultaneously write Greek with his left hand and Latin with his right hand; and he frequently grounded his public pronouncements in classical learning. It would be a stretch to argue that Garfield was a more effective Civil War battlefield leader or elected official because he had studied the liberal arts, but there is little question that his college education provided him with an approach to leadership that would not otherwise have been present. Manifestations of Leadership One cliché in the arguments for undergraduate study of the liberal arts is that it does not prepare you for the first job, but rather for the second and third jobs after college. The famous study by Robert Beck in the 1980s of career mobility at AT&T suggests that those who had studied the liberal arts did better in their careers at the company than others. But a closer reading of Beck’s study suggests that almost all AT&T managerial employees had majored in a technical or scientific field, some at narrow technical institutes, and others at broader-based colleges and universities that required general education. The Beck study is not an argument for majoring in history instead of physics and expecting to rise rapidly in the AT&T hierarchy. It is an argument for majoring in physics at a broad-based college or university, rather than pursuing the same major at a technical institute. There have been no more recent studies in the same vein as Beck’s, and one is left wondering whether the same pattern would be found today in any of the large telecommunications companies. And, of course, one also wonders whether the patterns are different in different industries—banking versus software development versus automobile manufacturing. Recent projects of the Council of Independent Colleges, supported by the James S. Kemper Foundation, are attempting to make inroads into these questions. Another angle of vision is to look at the careers of those who are professionally dedicated to the fields of the liberal arts. Those who study the sociology of science often examine when in their careers scholars and scientists conduct their most important research. In general, it appears that if a physicist is going to make a major discovery in research, he or she will do it before the age of thirty. A scholar of history, by contrast, rarely produces a major work of scholarship until he or she enters the forties or fifties. These observations may be more


Richard Ekman

about the fields themselves than about their uses. The ranks of leading journalists are dominated by people who studied something other than journalism in their college years. The ranks of advertising account executives are dominated by English majors, many of whom will produce something while they are young that is highly successful, and far fewer of whom will sustain this level of creativity. Conclusion The study of the liberal arts by college students can enhance their chances of emerging as “leaders” in society; study of these fields can improve one’s chances of becoming a responsible citizen in a democracy; and both objectives can be achieved simultaneously. But nothing is guaranteed, and the relationship of the liberal arts to both leadership and citizenship remains more tentative than we might wish. Nonetheless, the connections are forceful enough to be read as hopeful signs for the future viability of these fields of study, especially in making instrumental arguments for their role in undergraduate education.



Integrating Leadership into the Liberal Arts and Sciences

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General Education as the Nexus between the Liberal Arts and Leadership Studies Ga m a P e r ruc i

In the past two decades, leadership studies programs have fought to win an intellectual space in American higher education. Faculty have labored, at times alone, on college/university campuses to plant the “leadership seed.” Within liberal arts institutions, the challenge has been even fiercer. The false dichotomy between the two sides seemingly suggests fundamental incompatibilities—one (leadership development) suggesting a utilitarian approach, the other focusing on the creative imagination of the human spirit.1 In reality, the acceleration of globalization promises to bring about a convergence between the liberal arts and leadership studies. For many institutions, a generaleducation curriculum can actually serve as the nexus between the two camps.2 The first section of this chapter examines the search of leadership studies programs for an intellectual identity. Although we are far from developing a General Theory of Leadership, we are coming close to a consensus that leadership is central to the challenges we face in the twenty-first century. The second section of the chapter examines the impact of globalization in this consensus-building. The third section explores the leadership competencies that are often stressed in generaleducation curricula. The chapter closes with an investigation of future steps in this convergence.


Gama Perruci In Search of an Intellectual Identity

We, leadership educators, have not made this debate between the liberal arts and leadership studies any easier. While an overview of leadership as a field of study falls outside the scope of this chapter, we need to recognize that along the way, we have articulated competing perspectives of our intellectual enterprise.3 The study of a subject may be pursued for its own sake—expanding our own knowledge and understanding of it. However, we may also adopt a utilitarian perspective on a subject— developing an understanding of it to use it for personal gain. We find these perspectives in a variety of fields in our curricula. The first perspective (expanding knowledge for its own sake), for instance, suggests the road most political science majors travel in studying political leadership. Students majoring in political science do not study the subject to necessarily become a better politician. Rather, they enjoy the subject and seek to understand how political leadership functions. While the field is littered with theories and models that connote robust intellectual vitality, political scientists often decry the thin connections between usefulness of these “findings” and the real world of politics. Political leaders rarely justify their actions based on new models and theories developed by political scientists. More likely, the latter develop a career out of studying the former. The second perspective (direct application of the intellectual enterprise) suggests the approach found in many psychology departments. Most students in those departments pursue this area because they want to become a better psychologist. They see a direct application between the theories and models they learn and their experiments in the field. New knowledge about a leader’s behavior may mean breakthroughs in new treatments with direct benefits to clients—a claim that political scientists rarely make. One should not claim any superiority over the other. Utility does not in itself make psychology any “better” than political science. At the same time, the longer intellectual pedigree of the latter does not make it more “serious” than the former. Yet, the discourse in liberal arts institutions between these two sides shows a remarkable resemblance to the evolving identity of leadership studies as a field of inquiry.4 Why do students in liberal arts institutions choose to enroll in leadership studies programs? The utilitarian argument is often presented as a value in itself. Admissions officers are quick to point out that it will “look good” on a resume. Students will learn specific skills that will have direct applicability to any career choice. This argument sits

General Education as the Nexus


uneasily with many liberal arts institutions, because it suggests a preprofessional attitude that contradicts a “pure” vision of the liberal arts. Knowledge for its own sake leaves students uninspired at times. Leadership for what? The reading of Niccolo Machiavelli, Aristotle, and Plato certainly generates lively debates in the classroom. Gifted professors can dissect complex connections between tragic leaders and contemporary leadership challenges. Seminars and paper assignments can move students to delve deep into the phenomenology of human behavior and uncover in the process insightful statements about leadership. However, at the end of the day, students are left with a nagging question—now what? The Global Context of Leadership Development This “now what” question is what has emerged in the twenty-first century as the central question on college/university campuses. Gifted students are looking for meaning and purpose in their career choices. Although monetary benefits are often cited as important—a return on their parents’ investment—the college/university experience has to provide personal fulfillment and a connection to the larger world. An increasingly apparent answer to the “now what” question resides in the transformation of the world in recent decades. Societies have witnessed a dramatic shift in the way we relate among our own citizens and across cultures. Interconnections have highlighted complex problems that extend beyond borders. Communication and transportation have revolutionized human relations. In the process, knowledge has become the new currency in the global economy. Thomas Friedman, in his celebrated investigation of globalization (The World Is Flat) suggests that the twenty-first century demands individuals prepare themselves to be f lexible, creative, and imaginative.5 Globalization has brought about a host of changes in the workplace that transcend the simple notion of individual effort/rewards. The web of interdependence and the complexity of the marketplace ensure that no single individual can hold all the answers. As a result, individuals are increasingly asked to work in teams and develop group goals. Decision making also has been decentralized, and everyone potentially can participate in the development of an organization’s vision for its future. As Friedman suggests, “Liberal arts is a very horizontal form of education (which is to say, a flat form of education). It is all about making connections among history, art, politics, and science.”6


Gama Perruci

Under a liberal arts education, individuals are asked to see themselves as part of a collective whole—a challenging proposition for the Western bend toward individualism. From a leadership standpoint, a student cannot simply focus on individual skill-building as a way to become a “better leader.” More than ever, he/she must understand the delicate relationship between leaders and followers. At the very least, leaders must be prepared to invite followers into the process by which mission and vision are clarified and converted into effective action. At the other extreme, they must be prepared to become followers at times when others have “the answer,” and, in a pluralistic system, the leaders’ ability to capitalize on the richness of the groups’ diversity depends on mutual respect. In short, leadership in a global context demands a host of new skills that modify traditional notions of individual skill development. The real challenge for leaders in communities across the globe resides in the ability to connect local needs to global processes. How do we prepare students to be effective global community leaders? The very notion of community is changing before our very eyes.7 As the pace of technological change picks up, so do our connections across frontiers. In the process, our old notions of identity tied to blood and geographical location are challenged. Globalization also fosters a backlash—movements that attempt to reassert traditional notions of identity. How do we respond to leaders who emerge in the name of preserving national identity at the expense of the local population’s economic development? How do we cope with nationalistic leaders who foment ethnic hatred? Leaders must have a deep understanding of historical processes to understand patterns and cycles. The search for alternatives or methodological clarification is not new in the leadership literature. In the 1980s, as the proliferation of leadership programs took place, Dennis Roberts provided a pioneering framework for program design.8 Roberts not only acknowledged the importance of skill-building (leadership training) from a utilitarian perspective, but also highlighted the need for providing students with an understanding of leadership concepts (leadership education). The combination of the two provided for “leadership development,” which ultimately fostered a fertile environment for a student’s emergence as a leader. Roberts’s formulation became a pathbreaking approach in the 1980s and 1990s for leadership development. Training and education are certainly critical components of a student’s college experience. To be fair,

General Education as the Nexus


Roberts’s main interest was to provide a connection between the leadership training (utilitarian approach) and the academic side of higher education. Faculty members, mostly in small liberal arts colleges, were critical of Student Affairs’ skill-building activities, which they considered to be devoid of credible academic content. “Leadership education,” therefore, was developed as a way to provide leadership development with an academic luster. I do not quarrel with this formulation per se. Rather, after two decades of program building at the undergraduate level, we need to move beyond this old debate between faculty members and student affairs administrators at our liberal arts institutions. This chapter calls for a third component that is missing in Roberts’s conception—the process by which a student translates knowledge into meaningful action. We must acknowledge the importance of purpose in human development.9 This third component, which is found in most general-education curricula in American higher education, constitutes the heart of a humanistic approach to leadership development. A Humanistic Approach to Leadership Studies By calling an approach “humanistic,” we obviously raise a question as to the meaning and use of this word. Colleges and universities today integrate certain subjects into a general-education curriculum designed to expose all students to the humanities.10 The roots of this approach can be found in the fifth-century B.C. Greek city-states, in which young men were prepared for active participation in the polis.11 The Romans in the first century A.D. promoted this “classical” education, which in Latin was translated as humanitas, meaning human nature.12 Two other subsequent historical periods expanded this notion of a “classical” education designed to prepare youth for adult life. The Catholic Church in the Middle Ages combined both Greek (paedia) and Roman (humanitas) educational ideals under a program of Christian education that included not only what we consider today part of the humanities (languages, literature, history, and philosophy) but also mathematics and the sciences in general. Later, the European Renaissance revived this classical notion of education.13 The generaleducation curriculum, therefore, as conceived in the classical sense, became the foundation for the “liberal arts” in American colleges and universities today, combining the study of languages, philosophy, arts, and the sciences.


Gama Perruci

These four movements (Greek, Roman, Middle Ages, and Renaissance) formed the basis for a classical Western educational model that in recent years has come under attack as being outdated and ideologically myopic.14 The purpose of this chapter is not to resolve this debate between classicists and postmodern humanists. Each side has done a good job in recent decades adding to the list of scholarly titles.15 By advancing a connection between a humanistic approach in general education to leadership development, I am not necessarily advocating a “classicist revival” in higher education, although at times that is missed, given the cacophony of doctrines and approaches offered in the new humanities “canon.”16 However, that is the topic for another scholarly endeavor. Rather than suggesting a classicist revival, I am arguing here that we need to recover the historical foundations that gave rise to the generaleducation curriculum in liberal arts institutions. These elements remain just as pertinent today as they were 2,500 years ago. There are three elements that I would highlight that can be used to build a humanistic approach to leadership development: (1) the search for meaning and purpose in human experience; (2) a focus on knowledge as the basis for action; and (3) action grounded in a moral ethos. The Human Experience Although we credit the study of human behavior to the social sciences (and not to the humanities), humanists in the classical sense have always been the ultimate behavioralists—students of human behavior. While the social scientist attempts to devise models that can explain (and predict) human behavior, the humanist through a more qualitative method explores the meaning and purpose of human action. The experience associated with being human is essentially an artistic inquiry, as opposed to scientific.17 However, both humanists and social scientists are in the same general business: interpreting the significance of being human. When we apply the above insight into leadership education, it becomes clear that this notion that the study of leadership resides in the social sciences realm is only partially accurate. The humanities have much to contribute to our understanding of human motivations, which are central to our own interpretation of leadership as a social phenomenon. The leader-followers relationship is fraught with the qualities associated with being human—compassion, betrayal, seduction, love, hate. A humanistic approach in a general-education curriculum, therefore, can help us develop an understanding of the leadership dynamic through these artistic lenses.18

General Education as the Nexus


Knowledge before Action The classical humanist did not promote the development of knowledge for its own sake. Oftentimes, the general-education curriculum and the “liberal arts” have been criticized as promoting a divorce between knowledge and “the real world.”19 In reality, the classical humanists promoted the expansion of knowledge because of social needs. The Greek approach (paedia) was directly linked to the concept of self-governance. The youth were educated for the explicit purpose of becoming active citizens in their communities (city-states). Action, however, could not be divorced from insights gained by studying the human experience. Clearly, this humanistic approach—linking knowledge to action— has a direct implication for leadership development. In the Renaissance, Machiavelli’s The Prince uncovered the complexities of human nature, for the direct purpose of developing “better rulers.”20 Whatever one’s opinion of Machiavelli’s recommendations may be, he made a direct connection between human nature (insights based on the human experience) and the expected behavior of leaders and followers.21 Another important element of a humanistic approach in general education is that knowledge does not simply lead to a contemplative outcome. Rather, it leads to action. This knowledge, therefore, has to have direct bearing on the actions that are to follow. The utilitarian approach puts much emphasis on skill development for its own sake, devoid of a social context. In reality, this focus does not contradict classical humanism. The Romans’ studia humanitatis included rhetoric as the basis for effective communication. Today, we see this skill as central in both general-education curricula and leadership development programs. A leader’s eloquence can sway followers toward a particular vision. However, the vision must exist first, and that can only come from awareness of context. Moral Ethos Classical humanists saw human action as value-laden; that is, it is embedded in a moral ethos that must ref lect certain assumptions about human virtue. Even Machiavelli, who is often interpreted as a defender of an “amoral” view of human behavior (ref lecting more the birth of modern political philosophy), made certain assumptions about the expected relationship between outcomes and resource usage—“the ends justifying the means.” In the Middle Ages, humanists such as Augustine grounded the moral ethos in Christianity, which came to be associated


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with Western ethical principles. While I do not seek in this chapter to resolve the current debate over the universality of ethics and its relationship to individual cultures (i.e., Western), the humanists’ central point remains relevant: What motivates our actions? This question is critical in many leadership programs today that emphasize a communitarian perspective—leadership for the “common good.” This notion of the good is grounded in certain assumptions— collaboration, participation, sharing, inclusion—as desirable elements in a leader-follower relationship. A humanistic connection between the liberal arts and leadership development does not disagree with the basic assumption that before one becomes an effective leader, one has to come to grips with the basic values that will guide action. The search for knowledge, therefore, is not simply a utilitarian skill-building desire. It also includes the process by which one comes to know oneself. From that basic knowledge, a leader can develop a deeper understanding of the meaning and purpose of action.22 Competencies for the Twenty-First-Century Leader How do we operationalize this connection between leadership and the liberal arts? In most liberal arts institutions, this connection is done implicitly through their general-education requirements. I use the word “implicitly” deliberately because most institutions do not make the connection explicit. In other words, they do not advertise that their general-education curriculum is intentionally designed to prepare leaders for the twenty-first century. Yet, their promotional literature is filled with references to the “liberal arts” and “leadership” as part of their core values; but we rarely see them together in the same sentence, particularly in explaining general education. This lack of explicit commitment to leadership development through the liberal arts is puzzling. The general-education curriculum often provides the perfect nexus between the two. The main challenge in articulating this connection is to become more intentional in the way we present our liberal arts curriculum to our students. Many of the general-education requirements that we currently offer to our students under the rubric of a liberal arts foundation already contain the elements found in a leadership-development program for the twenty-firstcentury leader. In this chapter, I emphasize five basic competencies in general-education curricula that tie the liberal arts to leadership development—critical

General Education as the Nexus


thinking, oral communication, writing skills, cross-cultural understanding, and problem-solving.23 Critical Thinking For any leader in an expanding knowledge-based economy, one of the key areas in decision making is the ability to evaluate massive amounts of information with a critical eye. Leaders must weigh the assumptions and credibility of various sources. They also have to articulate a sound response to what they read and watch. Critical-thinking skills, therefore, serve as a leader’s powerful filter to effective decision making.24 These skills often can be emphasized from the very beginning through a first-year seminar. This course can introduce students to the importance of adopting a critical-thinking perspective when evaluating a reading assignment. Students are taught not to be uncritical consumers of information. The pedagogy in a first-year seminar should be geared toward awakening students to different possibilities in the presentation of an argument and/or position. Following the completion of the first year, a general-education curriculum that connects the liberal arts to leadership development should stress the need to master different modes of thinking. This focus can be achieved by requiring students to take classes in a variety of cognate areas. A Historical Perspective cognate, for instance, can invite students to “examine the interconnectedness and continuity of the human experience, as well as introduce the process of historical interpretation.” 25 In the Scientific Inquiry cognates, students can be asked to sharpen their analytical skills in a way that will enhance their decision-making capabilities. The scientific mode of thinking invites leaders to be grounded in facts and evidence. They are asked to test hypotheses and verify the credibility of conclusions. Oral Communication The technological revolution of the past three decades has heightened the importance of communication. While there has been an explosion of new interactive modes of communication (e.g., e-mail, instant messaging, text messaging), oral communication has endured as an essential component of leadership going back to the Greek city-states.26 We expect our leaders to be persuasive public speakers and comfortable with civil discourse.


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Oral communication should be stressed from the very beginning through a basic communication course in general education. Beyond this freshman-level course, this expectation should continue into the different departments with projects that require oral presentations at the end of the semester. These presentations often require multimedia technical skills that simulate the environment that our graduates will encounter in the workplace. While students are asked to master the art of communication, the skills gained from general education have a direct impact on their role as campus leaders. Through their organizations, students are invited to put their communications skills to the test. Communication does not stop with their freshman-year classes. They are challenged to persuade and articulate their ideas through their campus engagement. Writing Skills Strong writing skills often rank high on the list of leadership competencies that organizations desire. In this age of instant communication, writing as an art form tends to be shortchanged. Leaders with persuasive writing skills stand out and become more effective at communicating their vision. The development of strong writing skills should be emphasized from the very beginning through the English composition requirement in general education. Beyond English 101, a liberal arts institution should require that students take a writing proficiency course, whose purpose is “to provide students with opportunities to write, to receive feedback from their instructors and/or peers, and to demonstrate how to write in a particular style or discipline.”27 Many departments also assign research papers and essay exams as a way to build on the English composition and writing proficiency courses. In other words, our emerging leaders should graduate with extensive writing experience. Cross-Cultural Understanding The increasingly global environment of the twenty-first century requires our emerging leaders to think globally; and that includes being comfortable operating in different cultures. In other words, the concept of the “polis”—as articulated in the Greek model—has gone global.28 Even when working domestically, leaders encounter colleagues from diverse cultural backgrounds. Through rapid expansion

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of transportation and easy international communication, global interactions have become the norm in the workplace. This global perspective is also challenging the concept of diversity in American higher education. Traditional views of diversity have been mostly conceptualized as a black-white debate. In the twenty-first century, we need to broaden this debate to include a wide range of racial, ethnic, and cultural identities. Emerging leaders have to toss out the old models and quickly embrace new perspectives—if they are to be effective. Many liberal arts institutions have identified support for global awareness as a core value. This term (global awareness) embodies a recognition that “economic growth and political stability in the 21st century will come through cooperative efforts among the nations of the world.”29 To prepare global leaders, the general-education curriculum should require all students to take courses that involve global issues and diversity. This requirement provides “exposure to diverse cultural perspectives essential to the development of an understanding of society and oneself.”30 Problem-Solving The combination of the above-mentioned competencies leads to effective problem-solving skills. In this age of mounting problems, both locally and globally, leaders are asked to be innovative thinkers. Societies demand creative leaders who can imagine possibilities outside the status quo.31 Developing problem-solving skills goes to the core of the humanistic approach to leadership development discussed in the earlier section. Leaders are asked to help solve problems. In the twenty-first century, amid mounting global challenges dealing with the environment, population, and underdevelopment, among others, an educated citizen has the responsibility to be a problem-solver. A general-education curriculum should stress the use of creativity— “the role of citizen-leaders must become a way of life if we are to create a livable, sustainable, ethical future.”32 General education within a liberal arts context should be developed with this perspective in mind. Aside from a leadership/ethics requirement for all students, a fine arts category should have as one of its main purposes to emphasize “the interplay between technical discipline and creative imagination in the production of works of art.”33 The Scientific Inquiry cognate should be designed to impart an understanding of several issues, including “scientific thinking and technology as they relate to societal issues and


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problems.”34 In other words, general education should not be divorced from the social context in which emerging leaders find themselves. Further, the concept of “change” should be emphasized in a Social Analysis cognate. Leaders must be prepared to imagine new ways of thinking about social institutions and cultural norms.35 In other words, under a humanistic approach to general education we do not intend to graduate sideline spectators. Rather, our mission should be to prepare engaged leaders who will make meaningful contributions to their communities, countries and, ultimately, the world. Conclusion The central message of this chapter is the need to make the connection between the liberal arts and leadership development more explicit through our institutions’ general-education curriculum. This nexus should not be a marketing gimmick. It should be the intentional effort to graduate emerging leaders who are cognizant of the complex problems they will face in the “real world.” However, students should also be prepared to translate knowledge into action. This mode of thinking is not a luxury of the liberal arts under a humanistic approach—it is the imperative of the twenty-first century liberally educated leader. Students making the transition from high school to college face a challenge beyond the selection of a major and career goals. They are also beginning to fashion their adult values away from parental inf luence. The four years spent on campus provide, therefore, a critical time to practice their leadership skills in a developmental way. Each year sets the stage for the next one in an intentional and incremental manner. The five leadership competencies discussed in the previous section— critical thinking, oral communication, writing skills, cross-cultural understanding, and ethical problem-solving—can be organized around basic themes in most general-education curricula in liberal arts institutions. The ultimate goal of these competencies should be to create meaning and purpose to a liberal arts education under a humanistic approach—the “leadership for what?” question. We live in a complex world that requires creative thinking. Our graduates are pulled in many directions. One possible direction is to take the utilitarian side and see their education as a “credentializing” exercise— the acquisition of a diploma required for white-collar employment. This chapter has argued that a humanist approach to general education suggests the development of a curriculum that connects the liberal arts to leadership development.

General Education as the Nexus


This approach goes beyond contemplative elegance. Our graduates (emerging leaders) face complex challenges in the twenty-first century. A general-education curriculum grounded in the liberal arts should serve as the foundation for helping our emerging leaders handle ambiguity, multiple perspectives, and clarity of thought. Notes 1. This false dichotomy between “practical” and “liberal” education has become even more pronounced with the advent of globalization; see Grant H. Cornwell and Eve Walsh Stoddard, “The Future of Liberal Education and the Hegemony of Market Values,” Liberal Education 87, no. 3 (Summer 2001): 6–16; Cornwell and Stoddard argue for the value of a liberal education in an age of neoliberal economics. 2. By “general education” I mean the courses that are commonly required for all students in an institution. They are often presented as the foundation for a knowledgeable and well-rounded graduate. In a liberal-arts institution, this requirement usually means a collection of courses from the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, writing, and oral communication. 3. For an overview of the leadership literature and its many debates, see Joseph Rost, Leadership for the 21st Century (New York: Praeger, 1991). 4. Leo Reisberg, “Students Gain Sense of Direction in New Field of Leadership Studies,” Chronicle of Higher Education, October 30, 1998, p. A49. 5. Thomas L. Friedman, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century (New York: Picador, 2007). 6. Friedman, The World Is Flat, p. 316. 7. Eddie Shapiro and Debbie Shapiro, eds., The Way Ahead: A Visionary Perspective for the New Millennium (Shaftesbury, Dorset [England]: Element, 1992); see, in particular, the essay by the Dalai Lama, “The Global Community and Universal Responsibility.” See also Akira Iriye, Global Community: The Role of International Organizations in the Making of the Contemporary World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002). 8. Dennis C. Roberts, ed., Student Leadership Programs in Higher Education (Carbondale: American College Personnel Association, 1981). 9. William Damon, The Path to Purpose: Helping Our Children Find Their Calling in Life (New York: Free Press, 2008). 10. Robert E. Hiedemann, ed., The American Future and the Humane Tradition: The Role of the Humanities in Higher Education (New York: Associated Faculty Press, 1982); Mary Allen, Assessing General Education Programs (Boston: Anker, 2006). 11. R. Thomas Simone, Reclaiming the Humanities: The Roots of Self-Knowledge in the Greek and Biblical Worlds (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1986); Moses Hadas, Humanism: The Greek Ideal and Its Survival (New York: Harper, 1960). 12. Cicero is probably the most cited humanist of the period with his training program for orators. See Donald G. Tannenbaum and David Schultz, Inventors of Ideas: An Introduction to Western Political Philosophy (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998). 13. Charles Trinkaus, The Scope of Renaissance Humanism (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1983); Jack D’amico, Knowledge and Power in the Renaissance (Washington: University Press of America, 1977). 14. David Harrison Stevens, The Changing Humanities: An Appraisal of Old Values and New Uses (Freeport: Books for Libraries Press, 1970). 15. Christopher Newfield, “Criticism and cultural knowledge,” Poetics Today 19, no. 3 (Fall 1998): 424–438. T. H. Adamowski, “Radical Ingratitude: Mass-man and the Humanities,” University of Toronto Quarterly 63 (Spring 1994): 381–407; L. Robert Stevens, G. L. Seligmann,

80 16. 17. 18. 19.


21. 22. 23.

24. 25. 26.

27. 28. 29. 30.


32. 33. 34. 35.

Gama Perruci and Julian Long, eds., The Core and the Canon: A National Debate (Denton: University of North Texas Press, 1993). Patrick Fuery, Cultural Studies and the New Humanities: Concepts and Controversies (Melbourne, NY: Oxford University Press, 1997). Richard Paul Janaro, The Art of Being Human: Humanities as a Technique for Living (New York: Harper and Row, 1979). Keith Grint, The Arts of Leadership (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000). Rick Rylance and Judy Simons, “The Really Useful Company, Employment and the Humanities,” Critical Quarterly 43, no. 1 (Spring 2001): 73–78; William Casement, “Liberal Learning Needs a New Public Relations Campaign,” Midwest Quarterly 41, no. 1 (Fall 1999): 88–106. For a complete text of The Prince, see Alistair McAlpine, ed., The Ruthless Leader: Three Classics of Strategy and Power (New York: Wiley, 2000); McAlpine also includes in the collection his own “The Servant,” and Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War.” For a comparison of the classic humanists, including Aristotle, Epicurus, Cicero, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and Machiavelli, see Steven M. Cahn, ed., Classics of Political and Moral Philosophy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002). Amélie Oksenberg, ed., The Many Faces of Evil: Historical Perspectives (New York: Routledge, 2001). Mary Keys, Aquinas, Aristotle, and the Promise of the Common Good (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007). As a way to illustrate how these competencies may be operationalized, I draw my examples from the recent reforms instituted in the general-education requirement of Marietta College in Ohio. Lewis Vaughn, The Power of Critical Thinking: Effective Reasoning about Ordinary and Extraordinary Claims (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005). Marietta College Catalogue (2006–2007), p. 133. As the Marietta College Catalogue states, “The ability to translate ideas into articulate language is essential to critical thinking and to the work done in any profession.” Marietta College Catalogue (2006–2007), p. 132. Marietta College Catalogue (2006–2007), p. 134. Troy Jollimore and Sharon Barrios, “Creating Cosmopolitans: The Case for Literature,” Studies in Philosophy & Education 25, no. 5 (September 2006): 363–383. Marietta College Catalogue (2006–2007), p. 2. Ibid., p. 134. Aside from the General Education requirement, students also have other opportunities to heighten their cross-cultural understanding through specific programs that target the international arena—Modern Foreign Languages, International Business Management, and International Leadership Studies. In those cases, students are required to have an international experience before they graduate. Henry Rennie made a similar argument in exploring the relationship between entrepreneurship and the liberal arts; see “Entrepreneurship as a Liberal Art,” Politics & Policy 36, no. 2 ( June 2008): 197–215. Marietta College Catalogue (2006–2007), p. 2. Emphasis—bold and italics—added. Ibid., p. 133. Ibid. Ibid.



Learning Leadership Discipline by Discipline: Cultivating Metaphors for Leadership through the Study of the Liberal Arts E l i s a be t h Mu h l e n f e l d

The link between liberal learning and leadership has been acknowledged for at least 2,500 years. This relationship has classically been understood in terms of the acquisition of skills (i.e., rhetorical effectiveness, argumentation), various bodies of knowledge (i.e., the patterns of history, military strategy, the evolution of political structures), habits of mind (analytical and ethical reasoning, strategic thinking), and meritocracy (the strengthening of character, self-knowledge, and self-confidence through mastery of challenging materials and association with strong leaders and thinkers). In earlier centuries, promising youth were set to studying the classics, urged to immerse themselves in Greek and Latin, to study the history of wars won and lost, to master the basic tenets of politics and philosophy. Thus armed, the best of them could stride forth to claim their rightful role as statesmen. Although prospective college students today place less value on studying the liberal arts than earlier generations,1 adults in leadership positions continue to assert the importance of such study.2 In one particularly interesting initiative in the late 1950s funded by the Ford Foundation, a group of fifty-two leaders at the top echelon of American life were interviewed in depth to get their advice on how adults in midcareer might be prepared for public leadership. The vast majority of those interviewed (a group that included governors, senators, cabinet


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secretaries, heads of charitable foundations and corporations, university presidents, ambassadors and economists, authors and publishers) barely mentioned their own education; many viewed it as a “social and political vacuum.” In fact, according to the author of the report, many felt that they had achieved their stature “despite serious handicaps . . . imposed by their undergraduate education.”3 Nevertheless, person after person spoke to the need for broad liberal education. The report’s author noted this with some surprise, since the interviewers had not mentioned liberal education at all, and they were focusing instead on “the preparation of adults already launched on their careers.”4 Perhaps because of this near consensus among leaders themselves, virtually every modern theorist of leadership and the closely aligned theoreticians of management assume an important relationship between the study (formal or informal) of the liberal arts and the development of leadership skills. This relationship is generally discussed in abstract terms. The business leader described by Morse Peckham, for example, has a wide range of reference. He has both historical and contemporary perspective. He is aware of the past, he has a sense of the past, and he knows where he stands in relation to the past. . . . But he is equally aware of the present. He knows something about important fields of human activity and knowledge and experience and investigation which are to be found in his own society. . . . He knows how to relate different fields of human knowledge. . . . [H]e knows how to go about learning a new field . . . how to investigate any structure of knowledge, how to look for its principles of organization, and how to learn its language. [H]e has intellectual and personal self-awareness. He knows how his mind works, what its limitations are, what its capacities are. . . . He has an experimental attitude. . . . Not only has he learned, he has the desire to learn more.5 Peckham’s business leader (in the 1950s, always, of course, male) is “well rounded” in general terms. In an effort to create such leaders, Peckham directed an Institute of Humanistic Studies for Executives developed at the University of Pennsylvania for Bell Telephones in 1953, aimed at molding executives who had a smattering of cultural, artistic, and philosophical understanding, on the theory that such generally cultivated individuals would be better able to provide visionary leadership for the company.6 Although there is wide agreement about the power of a liberal arts education in general to inform future leaders, little exploration has been done

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as to what in particular the various disciplines can teach emerging leaders. But it is in the particular that much learning takes place. Experienced leaders are often aware of the link between study within a particular discipline and the skills and abilities on which they instinctively draw to lead. In his introductory chapter to The University: An Owner’s Manual, longtime dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard Henry Rosovsky states that he is an economist by training. Is it just coincidence, he asks, that recent presidents of Princeton, Northwestern, and Michigan “have all been practitioners of the ‘dismal science’ ”? [W]hat do economists understand better than many of their academic colleagues? First of all, they are comfortable with the notion of “trade-offs”: choices involve a little more of this and a little less of that. Humanists often find this kind of reasoning repellent and scientists tend to believe it is immoral when applied to their choices. Secondly, economists are trained to consider “indirect effects.” To comprehend the complete effect of any decision or policy, one must carefully work out all the obvious and hidden results. . . . Thirdly, economists use marginal reasoning: they tend to think in incremental rather than in absolute terms. Lastly, anyone trained in economics knows that the value of money changes. As our society has experienced long-term inf lation, this simple truth is now more apparent, but the money illusion has not disappeared.7 Here, Rosovsky, leader for more than a decade of the premier liberal arts faculty in the world, matter-of-factly sets out how specific economic principles and very particular habits of mind that he developed through the study of economics have served importantly as tools in the exercise of his leadership in academia. This kind of specificity should be of great interest to those involved in leadership education. Today, many colleges and universities are attempting to be intentional about developing leadership skills and abilities; a number of excellent programs in leadership studies have grown up just in the last two decades, several of them represented by the authors of this book. Almost every such program provides a strong foundational statement as to the value of broad study in the liberal arts. In fact, however, the curricula of today’s finest leadership studies programs are not as broad as they could be. Steeped in the social sciences, psychology, and anthropology, students are taught theories of group dynamics, the history of social movements, the development of public policy, and the skills of conf lict resolution and change management. Little curricular attention is paid within these leadership programs


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themselves to the study of the arts (especially the doing of creative work), the humanities, or the sciences. Most such programs trust that students will study within these disciplines by virtue of the general education courses required of all students. And yet it is in the arts that creativity (an essential characteristic of the best leaders) is nourished; in the humanities that communication skills (the sine qua non for all leaders) are honed; in the sciences that the most rigorous approaches to problem-solving (again, essential to leadership) are taught. Clearly, there is near consensus that the arts, the humanities, and the sciences are important areas of study for future leaders.8 Just as clearly, there has not yet been much exploration of exactly why this should be so. Thus it might repay us to look brief ly within these disciplinary areas, moving if possible beyond generalities. Are there specific insights and unique subskills that potential leaders can glean from work in a particular discipline? Certainly it is nice to know something about music, for example. Such knowledge provides pleasure throughout one’s life and enables us to converse intelligently with others similarly inclined. Further, learning to play an instrument involves discipline and hard work—both important abilities for success in any field. But how might it be said that the study of music (or any other art form) provides preparation for leadership? Cofounder of the Center for Public Leadership at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, Ronald Heifetz is a physician, a teacher, and a musician. In Leadership without Easy Answers he talks about his training as a musician in notably specific terms. As a musician, I bring several metaphors from music to the study of leadership. Music teaches that dissonance is an integral part of harmony. Without conf lict and tension, music lacks dynamism and movement. The composer and the improvisational musician alike must contain the dissonance within a frame that holds the audience’s attention until resolution is found. Music also teaches to distinguish the varieties of silence: restless, energized, bored, tranquil, and sublime. With silence one creates moments so that something new can be heard; one holds the tension in an audience or working group, or punctuates important phrases allowing time for the message to settle. . . . Music teaches what it means to think and learn with the heart. In part, it means having access to emotions and viewing them as a resource rather than a liability. It also means having the patience to find meanings left implicit.9

Learning Leadership Discipline by Discipline


Heifetz points out that creating music must of necessity involve audience. People create in relation to something or someone. Although the audience may be safely tucked inside the composer’s mind, still it is there. Because we do not think of creativity as a product of relationship, audiences often do not know their power. In a hall of five thousand, one person in the back of the second balcony talking to a neighbor or getting up to leave has all too real an impact. So too, in politics and organizations, people mistakenly look to an authority figure, presuming that he or she performs independently of them.10 Heifetz here is crediting his study of music with providing a number of insights directly transferable to leadership that no other discipline could impart in quite this way. These insights work metaphorically. Musician and composer Jonathan Green, dean of the college at Sweet Briar College, came to his position with extensive experience as a conductor and teacher, but with little experience as an administrator. In an essay titled “From Practice Room to Board Room,”11 he recalls his surprise at a management professor’s words of encouragement: “You’ve been preparing for this job your whole life.” For Green, his training as a conductor has provided valuable metaphors on which to draw in his role as dean. According to Green, one key transferable skill is time management, learned by every musician from an early age, to ensure that required practice gets done. Conductors have the added need to run efficient rehearsals. Ensembles have a fixed amount of rehearsal time to prepare any performance, and in the case of professional groups, time really is money. Decisions must be made instantly. The conductor’s practice time is learning scores and preparing for rehearsals: the better the preparation, the greater the likelihood that these split-second decisions will be good ones. Like Heifetz, Green credits his study of music for his heightened ability to listen—not only to pitch, rhythm, harmony, and the like, but also to inf lection, which in turn enables him to discern nuances of tone and timbre of those speaking to him that reveal sentiments unexpressed verbally. “Additionally, conductors strengthen their discernment of


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counterpoint and balance, learning to create a hierarchy of competing voices.” For those leaders with many constituents, this last skill will prove important. Green recognizes that the conductor’s experience in planning a concert season involves complex strategic planning: Concert seasons must satisfy board members, cultivate ticket sales, and accommodate the repertoire of visiting soloists. Concurrently, works chosen should educate and enrich the players and the audience. The conductor must navigate a balance between challenging and comfortable works, and must do this with a goal of using these works to make the ensemble not only sound their best in performance, but also improve through the experience. It is not hard to translate this list of considerations into the political sphere or the corporate world. Perhaps most interestingly, Green talks about the triage a conductor must employ to improve a performance efficiently. “In rehearsal, the conductor must prioritize what must be fixed first. In most cases fixing the right thing will lead to the automatic correction of a number of correlated errors. The same is true in management: picking the right thing to fix can cause a host of other glitches to fall into place.” It is hard to imagine a better training ground for this last particular insight than the performing arts, unless it be the athletic field—long recognized for its efficacy in developing leadership skills. The comments of Heifetz and Green allow us to understand the impact of studying music from a new and helpful angle of vision. Perhaps most striking is the fact that as they think deeply about what in particular the study of their discipline has taught them, they find insight into their own approach to leadership. Disciplines within the humanities—my own area of expertise—offer similar metaphors of value to leaders. As William Benton put it, “I’d rather employ a young man, as a potential top executive in American business, with a love of poetry than with a love of accounting.”12 Poetry appears on many leaders’ lists of important topics to study. In The Practice of Management, Peter Drucker asserts, “It can be said with little exaggeration that of the common college courses being taught today the ones most nearly ‘vocational’ as preparation for management are the writing of poetry and of short stories. For these two courses teach a man how to express himself, teach him words and their meaning and, above all, give him practice in writing.”13 Notice that Drucker has not

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said anything here about the insights into human strivings that literature provides—how literary study teaches us something about what William Faulkner called “the problems of the human heart in conf lict with itself.” Rather, he focuses on the practical. To his list of the benefits of studying poetry and the short story, I would add that both of these courses teach students to recognize how point of view impacts what one sees and knows. Consider, for example, the famous little poem by Wallace Stevens (one of the few poets ever to hold a leadership position in the business world), “Anecdote of the Jar.” I placed a jar in Tennessee. And round it was, upon a hill. It made the slovenly wilderness Surround that hill. The wilderness rose up to it, And sprawled around, no longer wild The jar was round upon the ground And tall and of a port in air. It took dominion everywhere. The jar was gray and bare. It did not give of bird or bush, Like nothing else in Tennessee.14 This poem, studied by nearly every student of American literature, provides in clean, unassuming language a brilliant explication of the ability of man to impose order on nature. Simply by placing a plain gray jar on a hill, Stevens rewrites the universe. Now, instead of the wilderness as central, the jar—a man-made object—assumes center stage, and the wilderness frames it. For every leader, the poem can serve as a metaphor for the power of reframing, for the ability of the creative leader to recast the whole equation. Similarly, the study of poems and short stories encourages the student to understand the structure of a short piece of writing, to see when a structure is f lawed, and to recognize the power of slowly unveiling the key line, the illuminating detail. Linking these insights to leadership is an easy—almost intuitive—step. Although some of the rich array of leadership insights garnered by the study of literature and poetry are tied to the power of language,


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others emerge from encountering the characters in countless novels and plays. A course in Shakespeare is, according to Paul Corrigan, a course in leadership lessons. In his 1999 book Shakespeare on Management, he notes that “In modern business life it is not hard to find parallels for these Shakespearean leaders—chief executives toppled because they became complacent about the power of their title, or who botched the succession in the family business, or metaphorically murdered their way to the top.” Studying Shakespeare teaches the importance of the subplot (and the “little” or “low” characters who seize the dramatist’s imagination), and reveals much about how to use words as symbols to mobilize and motivate.15 The importance of story has long been understood in the study of leadership. Howard Gardner takes as a central tenet in Leading Minds “what political, religious, and military figures have long known: that stories (narratives, myths, or fables) constitute a uniquely powerful currency in human relationships.”16 Gardner discusses a number of world leaders principally through their signature stories, noting that “the most fundamental stories fashioned by leaders concern issues of personal and group identity; those leaders who presume to bring about major alterations across a significant population must in some way help their audience members think through who they are.”17 The study of literature, philosophy, religion, and history at the college level provides leaders-in-training a grounding in the great stories of the Western experience and of the world on which to draw. Further, experience in careful analysis of texts heightens a sensibility to the impact of the exact detail, the power of the symbol, and to the dulling effect of the notquite-right word. As Mark Twain said in a famous upbraiding of James Fenimore Cooper, the writer should “Say what he is proposing to say, not merely come near it. Use the right word, not its second cousin. Eschew surplusage.”18 Of secondary importance only to the development of communication skills, the most important skills the study of literature develops in the careful student are the need to consider everything and to work by analogy. We read and teach literature to encounter myriad lives, communities, motivations, fears, and aspirations—to understand the art engendered by the breadth of human experience through time. Henry James’s advice to young writers in “The Art of Fiction” is that one does not have to have direct experience if one can experience by analogy, so long as one takes in every nuance and detail. “Try to be one of the people on whom nothing is lost!” he exhorts.19 What better advice for the emerging leader? Warren G. Bennis and Robert J. Thomas make the

Learning Leadership Discipline by Discipline


same point using Saul Bellow’s focal character Ravelstein, described as a “first-class noticer.” “Being a first-class noticer allows you to recognize talent, identify opportunities, and avoid pitfalls.”20 Boutros Butros-Ghali puts it this way in his essay on political intuition: Political intuition requires an awareness that ‘everything counts,’ that no issue is too small or too remote to be potentially significant. In international affairs, this means that a truly global outlook is required. . . . It is highly important that leaders regain the sense that even small and far-off details eventually can have vast and far-reaching implications. The new perspective offered by ‘chaos theory,’ that the beat of a butterf ly’s wing can lead to a typhoon on another continent, can apply to matters of statecraft as well as to matters of meteorology.21 For each of these students of leadership, Henry James’ dictum is central: Be one on whom nothing is lost. It is in this regard, in the importance of detail, where the domains of art and literature converge with science; training in science requires accuracy, and it instills the ability to observe carefully. Science insists that one keep asking “Why?” The study of science nurtures one’s curiosity and teaches ways in which to structure that curiosity. One colleague of mine calls this “learned inquisitiveness,” taught through such assignments as the “unknown substance” exercise in Organic Chemistry that must be identified, step by step. Study of the sciences imbues students with a number of “habits of mind” of potential importance to prospective leaders. Among these are the ability to work in teams (and when there are such huge tasks as the Human Genome Project, in teams of teams) and the patience to persist, knowing that knowledge is often built step by tiny step. Sometimes there are no shortcuts. The quantitative reasoning and scientific reasoning skills developed through a study of the sciences are of inestimable value for emerging leaders, as is the understanding developed through scientific study of the importance of moving regularly and comfortably from the theoretical realm to the practical and back. As with all the liberal arts, the sciences trade in fact, in truth. The scientist looks at the real world and notices the anomaly. Anthropologist Margaret Mead observed remote cultures and discovered that “givens,” unexamined truths, weren’t necessarily so. Adolescence might be a period of turbulence in Western cultures, but she did not observe that turbulence in Samoa. “In anthropology you only have to show once that it is possible for a culture to


Elisabeth Muhlenfeld

make, say, a period of life easy, where it is hard everywhere else, to have made your point,” she noted, providing a metaphor for challenging received wisdom.22 Mead avoided scientific jargon, and told her ‘stories’ in plain English, arguing skillfully that human nature is malleable. In this, Mead found a powerful metaphor. Ronald Heifetz recounts that his study of medicine developed within him an understanding “that many problems are embedded in complicated and interactive systems.” A leader trained in this way will not readily diagnose challenges or problems as simple or easy to solve. Heifetz notes that the study of biology leads one to “assume that much of behavior ref lects an adaptation to circumstances”—a crucial insight for any leader. His study of psychology has further taught him that “many adaptive and communicative processes are unconscious” and understood through “inference.” And his training in psychiatry leads him to believe that people change and adapt most successfully by “facing painful circumstances and developing new attitudes and behaviors. They learn to distinguish reality from fantasy, resolve internal conf licts, and put harsh events into perspective. . . . By improving their ability to ref lect, strengthening their tolerance for frustration, and understanding their own blind spots and patterns of resistance to facing problems, they improve their general adaptive capacity for future challenge.” This insight provides a useful analogy for policy experts, who similarly help communities understand the problems they face.23 Whereas a study of the humanities involves becoming familiar with the “classics” and makes the student appreciative of eternal truths, students of the sciences learn a different lesson—one that every leader needs to understand. In literature, the emergence of a new genre does not obliterate the old, but in science, periodically a Copernican revolution occurs: a new and deeper understanding of some natural phenomenon overturns an entire body of knowledge. The corporate executive, the diplomat, the military commander, the politician must not only appreciate the French maxim, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,” but also be open to the split of the atom, the collapse of the Soviet Union, or the development of the Internet. Finally, serious study of the arts, humanities, and sciences as well as the social sciences, when these subjects are well taught, insures the development of a deep understanding of the connectivity between disciplines, the integration of knowledge. One cannot understand the structure and development of music without understanding mathematics, physics, chemistry, electronics, or without a knowledge of history, art, poetry, or the conventions of the theater. Musicians must be

Learning Leadership Discipline by Discipline


multilingual. Interdisciplinarity is, in other words, essential to the liberal arts—not a modern fad. One cannot study biology today without solid knowledge of physics, chemistry, mathematics, and computer science, not to say environmental science and geography. To understand literature, one must be at least conversant with philosophy, history, theater, economics, art, and religion, and in many instances, psychology, sociology, economics, and the sciences. A good liberal arts education provides constant opportunities to make these connections, to integrate what students are learning in one classroom with what they learn in another, and with their experience of the world outside the classroom altogether. This facility should be regarded as a core skill in leadership development. Leaders must be able to move nimbly from one world to another—drawing on everything and everyone that can help them reach their goals. Fortunately, many of the nation’s colleges have become adept at unleashing the power of integrative experiences. Consider, for example, one activity at my own institution, an engineering project designed in fulfillment of a requirement that each student complete an interdisciplinary course called “Technology and Society,” which involves an engineering project either abroad or in a needy area in the United States. In May 2007, eight Sweet Briar engineering students led a team to a mountainous region of Guatemala to build a water-storage and spring box system for a small boarding school without running water. The project required the students to consider the needs, culture, political, and economic realities of the Guatemalan village and to design a solution that the village could maintain with local materials and labor. To ensure their success, the students had to engage in careful planning, fundraising, and design and testing. Through the spring semester, they constructed a full-size prototype on campus, to insure that they worked out problems ahead of time. The project attracted attention, prompting students from Virginia Tech, UVA, and UNC to come along. Drawing broadly on their liberal arts education, these young Sweet Briar women were able to take into consideration language differences and to work with people in a culture dramatically different from their own. Their f lexibility was repeatedly called into play, and innumerable assumptions held before they began the project were overturned. The students’ study of both the sciences and social sciences helped them approach their task analytically, and this provided an array of options when they encountered difficulties. So although the initial assignment was an engineering design problem, the solution required using concepts from a dozen disciplines. When their project was complete, they


Elisabeth Muhlenfeld

had provided access to clean running water for the sixty-four students who attend the boarding school, and had come to understand in palpable ways how their academic work in several disciplines has power to solve real world problems. Certainly, they gained leadership skills. In the long-awaited report by Harvard’s Task Force on General Education—on the whole a tepid, disappointing document—is embedded a cogent and compelling statement about the power of liberal education: [T]he aim of a liberal education is to unsettle presumptions, to defamiliarize the familiar, to reveal what is going on beneath and behind appearances, to disorient young people and to help them to find ways to re-orient themselves. A liberal education aims to accomplish these things by questioning assumptions, by inducing self-ref lection, by teaching students to think critically and analytically, by exposing them to the sense of alienation produced by encounters with radically different historical moments and cultural formations and with phenomena that exceed their . . . capacity fully to understand. Liberal education is vital because professional schools do not teach these things, employers do not teach them, and even most academic graduate programs do not teach them [my emphasis]. Those institutions deliberalize students: they train them to think as professionals.24 It is just these experiences, the natural outcome of studying within the liberal arts, which are essential sensibilities for leadership. And as we have seen, courses within the liberal arts do one other thing important to the development of leaders: they arm incipient leaders—those on whom nothing is lost—with a valuable collection of metaphors to illuminate the situations they will encounter throughout their lives. Thus, the link between the liberal arts and leadership is not only strong, but considerably richer and more complex than we usually realize.25 It lies not only with “the liberal arts” in general, but also between individual disciplines and the leaders who have mastered them. Given that complexity, how might we think about leadership education going forth? It is clear that we have much to learn about precisely how leaders draw on their education and experience to develop the metaphors they will use. What metaphors from the theater and film did Reagan use in his political career? Was Alan Greenspan, a musician by training, drawing upon his musicianship as he led the Federal Reserve? If so, how? Margaret Thatcher often used scientific reasoning in her political

Learning Leadership Discipline by Discipline


life. Were there metaphors that stemmed from her study of chemistry at Oxford and her work as a research scientist that informed her leadership? If we knew more about what specific skills, concepts, and habits of mind in a given discipline prove useful to leaders, we could do a far better job of incorporating broad study in the liberal arts into leadership development programs, and of helping students process what they are learning in light of their future aspirations. Further, we could more effectively help the general public understand the importance of having our most talented young people study the liberal arts. Formal leadership development programs would do well, in other words, to embed traditional liberal arts disciplines quite intentionally within their structure. The Leadership Certificate Program at my own institution takes an interesting approach that may inform this discussion. The three-year program offers no “leadership” courses for credit, although it does provide extensive and sophisticated leadership development for students pursuing the Certificate. Students are required, however, to select four approved academic courses from throughout the liberal arts curriculum. The list of approved courses changes from year to year, but always includes courses from a wide spectrum of disciplines. The 2007–8 list, for example, includes not only government and political science, but also biology, dance, engineering, environmental studies, mathematics, philosophy, psychology, religion, Spanish, and theater.26 To ensure that students develop an understanding of how these courses, along with those in their own majors and minors, have helped to shape their growing concept of leadership, they meet throughout the year with their Leadership advisor, both one-on-one and in small groups. In addition, each student writes annually a ref lective essay in which she refines her definition of leadership, and summarizes how the experiences and courses she has participated in through the year have changed or reaffirmed her concept of leadership.27 These meetings and ref lections are the sine qua non of the program: they model for students how to use the disciplines they are studying to inform their personal sense of themselves as leaders. The emergence of leadership programs such as this one at Sweet Briar College constitutes an interesting and healthy intellectual development within the nation’s colleges and universities. We need leaders desperately, we need to understand how leadership works, and there is much that leadership programs can teach of clear benefit to society: conf lict resolution, for example. But formal programs in leadership are unlikely to reach everyone who might benefit from them. We know that some of today’s finest and most distinguished leaders would not,


Elisabeth Muhlenfeld

in college, have been predicted to become inf luential and that those students voted “most likely to succeed” too often do not. Therefore, it makes sense to work toward ensuring that faculty throughout the whole spectrum of liberal arts disciplines and interdisciplinary programs have some understanding of their subject’s relevance to leadership development. Clearly, each discipline provides specific insights and unique subskills that potential leaders can glean. As we learn more about these, faculty will begin to emphasize them in the normal course of lectures, discussions, and laboratories. Thus, the theater professor will be attuned to the ways in which his directing class has lessons for future leaders. The biology professor will make certain that her students know how to assess threats to species posed by changing climate patterns. The mathematics professor will work to relate her sessions on biomathematics to the potential for analyzing the growth of epidemic diseases throughout the developing world. Gifted teachers throughout our colleges and universities do this sort of thing all the time, but the more faculty know about how their disciplines inform leadership development, the more they will both instinctively and deliberately enhance that development. Similarly, to the degree that they understand the importance of helping our students integrate what they are learning throughout the curriculum, liberal arts faculty will craft experiences designed as integrative exercises. Too many faculty, particularly in the nation’s research universities, do not understand the value of such experiences for undergraduates. (Harvard’s latest overhaul of its general education program contains no mechanism to assist students to integrate the various knowledge areas they are pursuing, and merely suggests in the time-honored tradition of academics everywhere the appointment of a committee to study the possibility.) But given the power of integrative experiences to enhance the impact of study in the liberal arts, an immediate task of leadership development programs should be to champion such experiences throughout the institution and require them for all students engaged in formal leadership programs. Tomorrow’s leaders are in our colleges and universities today. Although we cannot predict all of the challenges they will encounter, we know that the responsibilities on their shoulders will be as great as or greater than those on any generation to date. Half a century ago, Dean Rusk warned, “The pace and complexity of modern life, and the tendency for each problem to merge into every other problem, mean that the exercise of responsibility is an intellectual task of frightening proportions.”28 Rusk called for a willingness “to think hard about the

Learning Leadership Discipline by Discipline


future.” He found the tendency of universities to avoid future studies as “frivolous and unscholarly” to be a real threat. “The pace at which we are moving means that we must attempt to think about the future even to think about the present,” he said. “Since a wild peacock is about nine-tenths tail, the hunter must lead it carefully with his gun or he’ll have nothing but tail feathers for his trouble. We spend a great deal of time in our society knocking the tail feathers off our problems as they pass us by.”29 Leadership programs are among the rare study centers within our colleges and universities focused on the future. As they seek to improve leadership education, it is clear that the “liberal arts” in general, and the full array of liberal arts disciplines in particular, constitute the heart of the matter. Most of the rest is tail feathers. Notes 1. Thomas F. Flynn, ed., “Report of a Symposium on the Liberal Arts and Business,” Council of Independent Colleges 2004, p. 5. Research done by George Dehne cited in the report reveals that “fewer than half of college-bound students judged as ‘very accurate’ the statement that a liberal arts education ‘teaches students how to think.’ ” Research done for Sweet Briar College in 2004 underscored this declining understanding of the value of liberal arts, particularly when that term is used, although students continue to value the specific outcomes associated with study in the liberal arts. 2. Within the last decade, professional disciplines have called for ways to integrate the liberal arts into the study of law, medicine, engineering, and business. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Teagle Foundation, for example, have recently initiated such a study for business students. According to Teagle president Robert Connor, “To really prepare them to become leaders in our increasingly competitive global marketplace, we . . . need to provide them with the capacity for analytical thinking, the intellectual depth, ethical understanding, and creativity, that come from a liberal arts education.” 3. Charles A. Nelson, “Developing Responsible Public Leaders: A Report on Interviews and Correspondence with 52 Leading Americans,” (Dobbs Ferry, NY: Oceana, 1963), p. 78. Over the last half-century, surveys of business leaders have periodically revealed their high regard for the liberal arts as preparation for a business career. At the 2004 Council of Independent Colleges symposium on Liberal Arts and Business, business leaders cited study of the liberal arts as the best way to train one’s mind to appreciate complexity, to communicate effectively, and to look at issues clearly, always asking “why?”. 4. Ibid., p. 84. 5. Morse Peckham, Humanistic Education for Business Executives: An Essay in General Education (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1960), pp. 27–29. 6. Peckham developed and directed this significant experiment in liberal education for three years, but felt that the adult students were not engaged long enough to make an optimal difference in their values or body of knowledge. The first iteration of the program was analyzed in “Bell Telephone’s Experiment in Education,” by E. Digby Baltzell in Harpers (March 1955), 73–77. Interestingly, Baltzell’s follow up revealed that a significant number of the participants reported feeling increased self-confidence and an enhanced ability to make decisions. 7. Henry Rosovsky, The University: An Owner’s Manual (New York: W. W. Norton, 1990), p. 26.


Elisabeth Muhlenfeld

8. Sander A. Flaum and Jonathon A. Flaum quote the February 2004 issue of Harvard Business Review, calling the Master of Arts the new MBA. “[A master of fine] arts degree is now perhaps the hottest credential in the world of business. Corporate recruiters have begun visiting the top art grad schools. The supply of people with basic MBA skills is expanding and therefore driving down their value. Meanwhile, the demand for artistic aptitude is surging.” From “Breakthrough Ideas for 2004: The HBR List,” by Daniel H. Pink, quoted in The 100-Mile Walk. (NY: American Management Association, 2006), p. 17. 9. Ronald A. Heifetz, Leadership without Easy Answers (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994), p. 6. 10. Ibid. 11. Jonathan Green, “From Practice Room to Board Room,” Inside Higher Education, December 20, 2006, http://insidehighered.com/workplace/2006/12/20/green. 12. Nelson, “Developing Responsible Public Leaders,” p. 80. 13. Peter Drucker, The Practice of Management (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1954), p. 375. 14. Wallace Stevens, Harmonium (New York: Knopf, 1923). Wallace Stevens, a lawyer by training, served as vice president of Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company, turning down a faculty appointment to Harvard to remain in this position. 15. Paul Corrigan, Shakespeare on Management: Leadership Lessons for Today’s Managers (London: Kogan Page, 1999), p. 4 and passim. Not surprisingly, recent years have also seen, for example, the publication of Machiavelli, Marketing, and Management by Phil Harris, Andrew Lock, and Patricia Rees (London: Routledge, 2000), The Bible on Leadership from Moses to Matthew by Lorin Woolfe (New York: American Management Association, 2002), and for students of folklore, Goldilocks on Management by Gloria Mayer and Thomas Mayer (New York: AMACOM, 1999). 16. Howard Gardner, Leading Minds: An Anatomy of Leadership (New York: Basic Books, 1995), p. 42. 17. Ibid., p. 62. 18. Mark Twain, “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offences,” in Collected Tales, Sketches, Speeches, & Essays: 1891–1910, Library of America, p. 182. 19. Henry James, “The Art of Fiction,” in Henry James: Literary Criticism: Essays on Literature, Library of America, 1984, p. 53. 20. Warren G. Bennis and Robert J. Thomas, Geeks & Geezers: How Era, Values, and Defining Moments Shape Leaders (Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 2002), p. 19. 21. Essays on Leadership, Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conf lict (Carnegie Corporation of New York, 1998), pp. 5–6. 22. Gardner, Leading Minds, p. 73. 23. Heifetz, Leadership, pp. 2–5. 24. “Report of the Task Force on General Education,” Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences, February 2007, pp. 1–2. 25. Peter C. Brown, “Liberal Education for Leadership,” 80, no. 2 (1994): 48. Brown argues that the “de facto elitism of a liberal arts education can itself be felt by our students as a de jure vocation or calling to responsibility.” In other words, for some students, the very act of studying the liberal arts can give rise to a calling to leadership. 26. These courses have been identified as having significant content relevant to leadership as defined by the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education. Instructors have agreed to have their courses on the list, but otherwise, need have no interaction with the program, which is governed by an advisory committee. 27. See www.ccl.sbc.edu/leadership/leadercertificate.html. 28. Nelson, “Developing Responsible Public Leaders,” p. 81. 29. Ibid., p. 83.



Liberal Education, Leadership, and Values R ic h a r d L . Mor r i l l

The study of leadership brings important resources to both the theory and practice of liberal education through its focus on the phenomenon of human values. Appearing in many forms, the values theme has become central in much of the contemporary leadership literature. The study of values has been as well a basic and perennial dimension of liberal education in its commitment to address the fundamental questions of the human condition. Along with that centrality and that heritage come complexity and confusion in most contemporary academic contexts concerning just what values are and how they function, and the ways they can be studied, or, in some sense, taught. For leadership educators, there is the pointed question of how they will give more precision to the tasks and responsibilities of both the exercise and the study of leadership in terms of values? An inquiry into values and valuing has the potential simultaneously to enrich the self-understanding and the practice of both leadership studies and liberal education. In focusing on values as human powers, as patterns of human agency, leadership education has the potential to contribute to the creation of a robust contemporary model of integrative and transforming liberal education that exemplifies its heritage. It points the way toward linking disciplines to one another, connecting knowing with doing, and integrating intellectual and personal development.


Richard L. Morrill Human Powers

A statement by Thomas F. Green about the worth of education can help to orient our consideration of values and liberal education. Green suggests: We are born into the world, but we are educated into possession of our powers—our powers for the exercise of intellect, emotion, imagination, judgment, memory, observation, and action in a coherent way . . . . Coming into possession of the powers that we have as human beings—that is the good, the value if you wish, that is the defining presence of educational worth.1 Notice that Green’s sense of human powers is inclusive not narrow, for it includes not only powers of the intellect, but also a range of capacities related to emotion, judgment, imagination, and action. The human powers of “valuing” must be such capacities both in themselves and as woven into other powers, especially to achieve coherent action. Green’s focus on the development of human powers as the source of educational worth finds confident echoes throughout history and in the self-understanding and practice of contemporary liberal education. Several inf luential recent studies make precisely this claim as they analyze and propose a direction for liberal education. Donald Levine’s Powers of the Mind: the Reinvention of Liberal Education in America traces the evolution of the curriculum at the University of Chicago’s undergraduate College in terms of the motif in its title.2 From William Rainey Harper’s earliest pronouncements as founding president, to the exceptional intellectual leadership of Robert Maynard Hutchins in the 1930s and 40s, to the work of giants on the faculty such as Richard McKeon, Levine’s narrative is focused on the College’s commitment to develop the powers of mind. Echoing a long Western and American tradition about the goal of education to foster intellectual discipline, Harper noted in 1905, “The purpose of the college . . . is . . . to develop in the man systematic habits; to give him control of his intellectual powers.”3 Powers of the Mind As Levine tells the Chicago story and offers his own account of eight powers of the mind, he demonstrates a striking consistency with Green’s analysis. Levine’s powers conform to the metaphor of “breathing” as our powers of mind “inhale” and “exhale” the world. We take in the

Liberal Education, Leadership, and Values


world through our multiple powers of apprehension and understanding, and then transform elements of the world by means of our powers of expression, including problem-solving, deep self-awareness, intellectual integration, and communication. Note that for Levine the more active or creative powers of expression are “manifest in the workings of human agency.”4 As Levine discusses the pedagogies appropriate to the formation of powers of the mind, it is clear that the teaching and learning process is a paradigm of engagement, a continuing dialogue that addresses the self not just the intellect. “This learning genre provides immediate entrée to the exercise of many sorts of powers, including the ability to listen, to interpret texts, to grasp cultural worlds, to test and express the self, to integrate knowledge, and to study the ways of communication.”5 Learning and teaching powers of the mind requires its own set of methods and virtues that transcend narrow intellectualism. The teacher cultivates these through carefully structured questions, conversations, and assignments in courses of study that always include the masterworks of various intellectual traditions. The virtuosity of Levine’s approach and the creativity of the Chicago tradition are manifest, but questions arise as well. How more specifically do the academic values and methods of the inquiry translate into the lives of teachers and students in other contexts? What do the powers of the mind mean for the tasks of choosing and enacting values such as integrity and honesty, for the commitment to democratic values and virtues such as respect and tolerance, and for the exercise of leadership? Or is this rich and engaged form of liberal education as much as one needs, or can expect? Echoing the Platonic question of the relation of virtue and knowledge, can we say that the development of the powers of the mind inclines us toward virtue and leadership? Intellectual Skills and Moral Capacities Levine’s approach broadly parallels other studies and reports that are representative of the contemporary understanding of liberal education. The former President of Harvard University, Derek Bok, defines the purposes of college largely in terms of the development of intellectual powers and cognitive skills. He emphasizes capacities in communication, critical thinking, moral reasoning, democratic citizenship, quantitative reasoning, and intercultural competence. Bok examines these and other topics from the point of view of both the academic program as well as the broader campus experience, so he analyzes educational


Richard L. Morrill

resources and possibilities from a wider angle of vision than Levine. Based on a review of extensive research on these and related topics, Bok concludes that most colleges and universities are developing their students’ intellectual powers with a modest degree of effectiveness that could and should reach much higher levels of accomplishment.6 Bok’s critique and his recommendations are based on a realistic assessment of the challenges in changing many of the embedded practices of the academy. Nonetheless, he looks for resources for change in every aspect of university life and marshals a persistent but balanced set of arguments and suggestions. When it comes to the area of values, it is clear that he has a deep commitment to the larger educational goals of democratic citizenship and integrity of character. He has confidence that courses on ethics and moral reasoning can raise both the level of ethical thought and of behavior. Moral imagination and moral reason can, for example, expose a person’s rationalizations that lead to wrong and harmful actions. Even though Bok acknowledges that moral reasoning alone cannot cure unethical behavior, he believes that there is much that the institution can do to build a culture of practice that reinforces positive peer pressure among students and that limits negative conduct. In the sphere of democratic values, Bok displays a similar confidence that reasoned argument and substantive knowledge of democratic systems and practices can lead to higher levels of civic engagement.7 Without doubt, as Bok contends, there is often a clear link between knowledge and action both in the study of ethics and of democratic principles, especially when good will is present and the context of application is clear and well-defined. But, equally or more often, it is obvious that the gap between knowing and doing is large, especially where learning is passive, the focus is on highly specialized issues, or students are distracted by the rapid pulse of their own lives. In most real world contexts, the enactment of values is difficult and challenging as multiple personal and cultural differences and social interests clash with one another in complex and changing contexts. An education of the powers of moral agency must address these challenges. Democratic literacy must finally show itself to be a literacy of doing and being, not simply of knowing. Like leadership, it is an enactment that depends on the unfolding of human powers. Democracy, beyond all its protocols and processes, is a form of human agency that exists only through lived commitments to the values of justice, equality, liberty, and respect. Even though collegiate leaders typically claim civic responsibility and leadership as goals of liberal education, there is often little that they

Liberal Education, Leadership, and Values


can point to in their academic programs or in the assessment of student outcomes that directly support these assertions. Many of these points are made in the most recent periodic reports of the Association of American Colleges and Universities on contemporary liberal education, College Learning for the New Global Century.8 Building on many of the analyses and arguments of its 2002 report, Greater Expectations: A New Vision for Learning as a Nation Goes to College, the Association’s National Leadership Council defines a series of “essential learning outcomes”9 and “principles of excellence”10 as guides to achieving education of the highest quality for all of the nation’s citizens. From our perspective, the reports can be seen as a benchmark to measure the contemporary self-understanding of liberal education. The ideas that they present ref lect beliefs and practices that are in evidence in many of the hundreds of member colleges of the association, in the collaborative work of campuses in a variety of demonstration projects, in a large number of case-studies and research, and in the knowledge, experience, and opinion of educators, business leaders, and policy makers who comprise the leadership council, and the earlier national panel of the Greater Expectations report. Once again, education is about “the full development of human talent,”11 “the mastery of essential skills and capabilities,”12 so the focus on human powers is central. Those powers include almost precisely the same capacities listed in Bok’s study and are comparable to Levine’s powers of the mind, though they take a different form. The report puts a heavy emphasis on the development of personal and social responsibilities, including civic knowledge and engagement, intercultural knowledge and competence, and ethical reasoning and action.13 The report argues consistently and vigorously that it is time to “reclaim the connections between liberal education and democratic freedom.”14 It illustrates the multiple ways in which many colleges and universities are using engaged learning, focusing on the big questions of human experience, and offering students opportunities for direct involvement in service learning and field experience to give reality to democratic engagement. At the same time, it acknowledges the difficulty of moving from knowledge to action, and laments that many of these efforts “still hover on the margins of the mainstream academy.”15 The preponderance of narrow vocationalism, of hyper academic specialization and fragmented curricular design are among the high hurdles that must be overcome. For some academicians, it would be best for colleges simply to acknowledge that they cannot teach commitments to moral and civic


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responsibility. As the provocative Stanley Fish, former Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, puts it, “. . . it is decidedly not my job to produce citizens for a pluralistic society or for any other. Citizen-building is a legitimate democratic activity, but it is not an academic activity.”16 Anything that might get in the way of commitment to truth, including the democratic value of respect for others, ought to be academically suspect. For Fish, not only is civic education a bad idea, but it is also an unworkable one. There is no way to control all the variables and inf luences that can affect the complex process of developing democratic responsibility.17 Few educators would subscribe fully to Fish’s views, but he asks sharp questions that merit answers. Models of Knowing and Human Powers We have shown that the development of the fundamental powers of learning is the center of gravity in contemporary concepts of liberal education. Even as the motif provides a comprehensive rationale for liberal learning, it is not self-evident how the multiple powers of the mind can be integrated to achieve some of the larger aims of education. In the critical goals concerning ethical action and the exercise of democratic responsibility, the model is unable to give an account of how liberal education can reliably shape commitments, values, and actions. The root of the problem lies deep in the intellectual constructs and epistemologies of the academic world, at least in the West. The dominant model for knowledge is the “I think” or the “I know” in which the subject apprehends the world through the powers of reason. The cogito may be abstract in its philosophical, logical, and mathematical forms, or descriptive and empirical in its modern scientific forms, which we might call the “I describe.” Yet in all cases the thinking subject distances itself from the objects of its inquiry and description. In other philosophical contexts, consider American pragmatist thought, the “I do” is privileged to give an account of truth and norms of conduct that the mind can discover through the powers of engaged reason and experience. The contemporary academic mind has much more confidence in the intellect’s powers of description and analysis than in the capacity of reason to grasp metaphysical truths or create normative ethical systems. In most contexts, modern academic fields also have distanced themselves from the powers of feeling and human agency as reliable sources of knowledge. Those for whom the “I feel,” (integrative, personalistic, and gestalt thinkers) the “I do,” or the “I

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exist” (existentialist theorists) are points of reference are always struggling to escape relegation to various forms of subjectivity. In the dominant contemporary academic orientation of the “I describe,” feelings, choices, and values may be interesting phenomena to study, but not as forms of knowledge. They are seen as forms of affect or agency, rather than as methods of cognition, though many existential, integrative, and humanistic thinkers continue to argue for their normative dimensions.18 If contemporary liberal education is to fulfill its aspirations to develop the full range of human powers and educate for democracy, for values, and for leadership, it has to reconceptualize some of the foundations of its enterprise. It has to find ways to integrate the human powers of knowing and doing, of feeling and choosing, as elements of human agency and of personal and social responsibility. Human Agency and Leadership The contemporary study of leadership has contributed a wide range of multidisciplinary theories and research that has advanced our understanding of leadership as a complex and central phenomenon of human experience. There are a multitude of themes, topics, and methods in leadership studies that suggest an emerging field with some common boundaries and milestones, though no general theory has emerged to define or integrate its many variants.19 One of the most interesting and promising motifs for liberal education is the relational theory of leadership, which is widely shared by many of the most inf luential scholars in the field. It offers liberal education an integrative model for understanding the place of values and valuing in leadership and human experience. Leadership itself, of course, is not a theory, but a certain pattern of human agency and relationship. As agents, humans are self-enacting beings who give shape and meaning to their lives by the values they choose to guide their intentions and actions. In this context, leadership is primarily a form of engagement and a process of relationship between leaders and followers that occurs within a wider horizon of collective sense-making, rather than a position in an institutional hierarchy of authority. In this account, there are by definition no leaders without followers.20 At the core of the relationship between leaders and followers is a “triadic” relationship to shared values.21 Leaders respond to the needs of followers at many levels, from security to transcendent meaning,


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by appealing to values and purposes held in common. The process of communication and the interpretation of the meaning of shared values occur not only between leaders and followers, but also between each of them and the values that they hold in common. Consequently, leaders are not independent authors of meaning, nor are followers blank slates; rather, they develop an interactive interpretation of their mutual needs and expectations. Both followers and leaders make sense of their experience through appeal to a wide range of traditions, beliefs, values, symbols, norms, and narratives of identity and aspiration peculiar to their culture and institutions. Leaders often become sense-givers by interpreting otherwise incomprehensible events, and by effectively enacting the values they share with followers to provide purpose in a threatening and changing world.22 The centrality of valuing as a human power and form of agency is exhibited in this account of relational leadership, and as a consequence leadership studies contribute valuable resources to liberal education. The study of leadership provides exhibit after exhibit, case upon case, and analysis after analysis, of the way values are central to one of the fundamental currents of human experience. In leadership studies, values are taken seriously as driving forces of history and of social integration, as defining elements of human relationships and of ethical decision making. As a result, students of leadership have the opportunity to wrestle consistently with normative questions from many points of view. The academic diffidence of studying, analyzing, and making normative arguments about values is replaced by a confidence that ethics belongs at the heart of leadership.23 Perhaps the field’s most inf luential scholar has fastened tenaciously, even passionately, on the power of values. Writing as a historian and interdisciplinary student of leadership, James MacGregor Burns suggests, “Deep and enduring change, guided and measured by values, is the ultimate purpose of transforming leadership, and constitutes both its practical impact and its moral justification. And that is the power of values.”24 These comments and the contemporary body of work on leadership reveal that the fundamental questions of the meaning of human experience are high on the agenda of leadership studies. Leadership studies lead inescapably to the question of what it means to be human.25 Liberal education can find in these analyses a useful resource to do its work, for studies of leadership are rich in the context and color of real life and display the process of human valuing from multiple perspectives. Burns’s work is an example of a genuine effort to integrate findings, insights, and theories from the fields of history, political science,

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social psychology, and moral philosophy into a single theory. It is fair to say that Burns’s concepts of transactional and transforming leadership take their form and gain their interpretive power precisely by integrating aspects of the work of Abraham Maslow on human needs and values, Lawrence Kohlberg on cognitive moral development, and Milton Rokeach on values. Even if the synthesis is problematic and far from seamless, the effort is a productive example of the power of integrative thinking in both leadership and liberal studies. It opens into a generative normative theory of transforming leadership even as it raises a variety of questions about the foundation of the theory of values and ethics on which it is based.26 The integrative work done by Burns is representative of both the interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches that one finds in the work of other leadership scholars as they attend to the human process of valuing. Leadership scholars with backgrounds in philosophical ethics, history, political science, social and analytical psychology, and organizational theory often cross more than one disciplinary boundary as they develop, both implicitly and explicitly, different types of normative analyses of values and valuing in leadership.27 Many of those who work across disciplines offer models of integrative thinking that meet the expectations for the development of the cognitive powers defined in the studies authored by Bok, Levine, and the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Leadership Studies: Knowledge about Leadership and Values The contributions of leadership studies to liberal education are significant, but there remains much work to be done if the field is to fulfill its promise as a way to enlarge our understanding of human values and valuing. There is a large agenda relating to the normative dimensions of human experience as lived that merit much more attention in leadership studies and in the liberal arts disciplines that attend to human agency. The place to start is with an enlarged understanding of values themselves. To be fully effective in the study of leadership and in liberal education the term and its parallels stands in constant need of analysis, clarification, and differentiation. In many contexts, as becomes clear in most elections, the public at large and the press understand values to be specific, often traditional, beliefs about sharply contested moral


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issues such as abortion, sexual relationships, the death penalty, stemcell research, end of life care, and a long list of other ethical problems. Leadership is often judged with reference to the clarity and decisiveness of a leader’s answers to these questions. A sharply contrasting usage, common in many academic fields, is to understand values as preferences for those things, activities, beliefs and ways of life that attract us and hold authority over us. Commonly, too, values are understood to be more or less arbitrary “constructions” that ref lect prevailing cultural patterns and forms of social dominance. The terms “preference” and “construction” convey the idea that academic disciplines should not render value judgments since there is no accepted standard by which to measure the normative worth of a preference or a social construction. (Ironically, to be value-neutral has become a normative expectation of academic work, which means that academic inquiry itself, in some way or another, must not be a preference or a construction. Inquiry itself is widely understood to be subject to norms and values such as objectivity, respect for dissenting views, openness to new evidence, and so forth.) There are many other common usages for the terms “value” and “values” in academic and everyday language. Perhaps the most common use of the term “value” is in business and economics. In these settings, value is equivalent to monetary worth as determined by the market factors of supply and demand, cost and quality, and return on investment. When individuals offer rational arguments about right or wrong ethical choices in ethical dilemmas we find another basic meaning of the term. Here the focus is on value as a quality of a specific judgment, decision, or action as “right” or “wrong” rather than on values as forms of life or patterns of human agency. The relationships between ethical value judgments and values as patterns of life are often more tacit than explicit in many forms of case-based ethics. In most of the literature on relational leadership, however, the focus is precisely on values as forms of human agency, as those commitments which constitute the engendering source of the relationship. The assumption is that values are the internalized standards of choice that collaboratively guide leaders and followers toward the satisfaction of their needs and the fulfillment of their shared purposes. In the train of this critical assumption, however, come countless questions that it would profit the field to explore more deeply—conceptually, systematically, and collaboratively with a range of liberal arts and science disciplines, especially the humanities. It would assist both the public and

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the academy, both leadership studies and liberal education, if scholars could describe and differentiate more fully how the human powers of valuing function in the leadership relationship. These questions include a long and complex agenda and can only be illustrated and sketched in this context. We would do well to characterize and define values in greater depth, paying particular attention to the ways that different types of values function, including intellectual, democratic, organizational, professional, personal, and cultural as well as moral values. One interesting issue concerns the normative force of all values, even those that are not specifically moral. Each sphere of values has a certain autonomy that carries its own pattern of normative expectation and criteria for what “ought” to be done. To be effective in an organization is, for example, not the same thing as being ethical. A person who is less than competent is not immoral, just as someone can be effective and not always ethical. We usually can offer evidence of some sort to discriminate between effective and ineffective forms of behavior in organizations in terms of values such as reliability, commitment, and professionalism. At one level this pattern of autonomous values applies in leadership. We hold our leaders to account for their effectiveness and differentiate that from their ethical conduct. Yet the leadership relationship discloses other dimensions of experience and expectation. Just as all values, efficacy makes a demand and places a claim on the leader’s intentions and choices, and it defines the expectations of followers. As a form of valuing, efficacy also attracts and inspires its adherents, for it reaches a deep wellspring of motivation and source of satisfaction. Correspondingly, if the claims of efficacy are ignored or if incompetence is displayed repeatedly, the leader generally loses personal self-confidence and the trust of followers. If the problems are not addressed successfully or with dispatch the failures may come to involve moral judgments too, as followers complain that their needs have been ignored and respect for them denied. So, in the leadership relationship values often soon come to include moral dimensions even when they would not initially appear to do so. This seems to happen because so much of the f lourishing of the human project itself is tied to the moral dimensions of leadership. Authority is always conveyed to leaders and exercised by them in the name of larger values and purposes. Leadership scholars differ in their ways of interpreting the moral character of leadership itself. Burns argues consistently and forcefully that the term itself connotes moral purposes, while other scholars


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disagree and believe that leadership can be characterized as f lawed or even evil and still be leadership.28 More is at stake in understanding these differences than just semantics. A basic question arises out of these considerations. How can we better understand the peculiar sovereignty of moral values in leadership and the ways that they both inf luence and depend on other values? In explaining the normative complexity of valuing as a human power we find ourselves drawn to the depths of human identity and the constitution of moral self hood. We come to see that values as abstract nouns such as liberty, equality, and respect, and countless others of a lesser sort, from fame to fortune, mask the underlying processes of valuing as forms of agency. We tend to reify valuing as values by describing them as abstract nouns when they are better understood as gerunds. The choice of values describes an active process of valuing in which persons invest themselves in those things, activities, and relationships that matter decisively to them and thereby define their identities. “Who am I? . . . this can’t necessarily be answered by giving name and genealogy. What does answer this question for us is an understanding of what is of crucial importance to us. To know who I am is a species of knowing where I stand.” 29 These ref lections and some philosophical studies of the modern identity, such as Charles Taylor’s Sources of the Self,30 point the way toward a larger and continuing interdisciplinary study of the moral foundations of the relational theory of leadership. How do personal identity, agency, and the process of valuing relate to thinking, feeling, and doing? How do we develop descriptions of lived experience that are adequate to the task and that do not sever accounts of valuing from the mattering and caring that are ingredient to self-enactment. As suggested in the following text, an understanding of narrative helps in this regard. At the same time, we need to understand more clearly the objective and conceptual dimensions of valuing. We translate valuing into normative concepts and arguments, as well as statements of rights, principles, rules of moral conduct, and systems of organizational and institutional ethics. We need to articulate more fully both the subjectivity and objectivity of valuing, including the criteria by which values are chosen in different cultures to define relational leadership. Value theories always have a central point of reference in terms of which worth is established, and the great debates across political, cultural, and religious systems of values are usually a function of differences in those centers of value. That center may be the individual self, the Self (Atman in classical Hinduism), the not-self (an-atman in many forms of

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Buddhism), God, the community, the nation, the classless society, or various other beliefs and forms of transcendence. One of the greatest of all intellectual and personal challenges is that claims about values and leadership depend on a prior commitment to a center of value, which is not in itself usually a conscious, deliberate, or simple rational choice. We need to comprehend more fully as well how human moral identities seem necessarily to construct themselves around the stories and narratives of identity and aspiration that are recounted by leaders out of their shared experience with followers. In doing this, we should especially and systematically explore the tacit and explicit criteria by which both narratives and the values embedded in them, can be judged and evaluated. Forms of life and narratives, not just ideas, can be interrogated as to their coherence, consistency, adequacy, comprehensiveness, authenticity, durability, and accuracy. Our ordinary experience and life choices are often filled with judgments that lean against tacit criteria such as these. Scholars in many fields analyze texts and forms of human experience in terms of critical judgments that rely on these sorts of underlying questions. Lived experience has distinctive forms of evidence, but it has them nonetheless.31 We need these integrative insights and theories about the valuing process to continue to explore the meaning and the possibilities in concepts like transactional, transformational, and authentic and servant leadership, each of which depends on a set of normative assumptions about values. If values and narratives can be turned into whatever someone chooses to make of them, then charismatic fools and shrewd tyrants can claim the world as legitimately their own. As we have seen, the modern academic mind has a difficult time thinking normatively about values, even though they inevitably define the trajectory of every life and organization. It seems odd and troublesome that liberal education would leave some of the most important choices that people and their leaders ever make to preference, power, or chance. Leadership Education: Knowledge for Leadership and Values The age old question of how we can learn to live the truths that we know is at the heart of the inf luential contemporary studies of liberal education that we examined earlier, especially as we approach values laden topics like leadership. Even though the skeptical query “how can one teach 21-year-olds leadership” often annoys leadership scholars, it


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is an awkward way of asking an inescapable question. What difference does the knowledge of leadership make for learning the place and shape of valuing in interactive leadership, whether in leading or in collaborating in a leadership process? We offer the hypothesis that understanding the process of valuing in the leadership relationship can lead to methods for enabling, enhancing, and enlarging our various powers of valuing, from moral reasoning to the choice and enactment of values in personal and social contexts. Leadership education offers liberal education a model for engaged and empowering learning, and it collaborates with other liberal arts fields and disciplines in the process of doing so. We suggest that it is helpful to sort out several dimensions in the study of values and leadership to reveal their larger educational possibilities. Though often combined in practice, we can separate out for examination the methods of values analysis, values consciousness, and values criticism in leadership education. If anyone doubts the centrality of analyzing values to understand leadership as a central factor in historical causation itself, let them review again Burns’s leadership oeuvre. Values are not simply epiphenomenal preferences, or contingences of reinforcement,32 that can be explained away, but they are among the powerful forces of historical causation itself.33 They express the defining passions and commitments of humans in making sense of their lives both individually and collectively. To teach students to analyze in the name of values is to enlarge their abilities to pierce the veil of unconsciousness, to discover the reason that people will carry any burden to protect, and find any reason to celebrate, what matters decisively to them. The inquiry into values takes many integrative forms in leadership studies, often combining historical analysis, narrative theory, social psychology, sociology, anthropology, moral philosophy, and political thought in a variety of ways. But in all these forms there is often an implied or explicit claim that values inquiry takes us to the heart of the human project in understanding leadership and valuing as integrative patterns of human agency. The analysis of values leads logically, though not necessarily, to the consciousness of values, which in turn becomes a powerful way for education to be linked to action. In this step of the process, the effort is made to develop and teach the skills of becoming explicitly conscious of the features of the world in which we are engaged. Both the consciousness of the values of humans in other times and places and of one’s own culture and self can be explicitly and powerfully revealed through the study of the tasks, skills, and relationships of leaders. As Howard Gardner and other scholars show us, leaders get inside the

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narratives of identity of their organizations and societies.34 They often create a powerful form of consciousness-raising through the story that they tell and the way that they tell it, revealing the true terms of the issues at stake in their world, and motivating people to take the actions required to initiate change. The two most powerful social movements of the twentieth century in America, equal rights for women and full rights for African-Americans, began with a change in social and ethical consciousness enabled by leadership in many forms and places. To educate for leadership is to educate for values consciousness by teaching the skills involved in bringing values and narratives to awareness. Teachers in all forms of liberal education, including leadership studies, know well that certain texts, discussions, and assignments can make students aware of their values, of what they feel, believe, and care about. The liberal arts tap into powerful sources of motivation for both learning and acting. Values consciousness catches us as participants in making sense of our own lives. But neither liberal nor leadership education can end with consciousness, for the task of educating for values and leadership is a disciplined form of inquiry that must address normative questions effectively. Leadership education again serves as a model, for many writings in the field and the most prominent programs put ethical issues and normative concerns at the center of the curriculum.35 But normative questions need not be restricted to ethics classes, for they appear across the range of leadership studies. There is good reason to expect leadership education to enable students to internalize a critical apparatus for engaging values. As we have suggested, ordinary experience brings with it a whole series of natural criteria through which the self seeks to establish and build a coherent, authentic, durable, and effective identity. Organizations and societies meet the same tests, though in more complex ways, precisely by turning to leaders to build and articulate an identity based on an effective and resilient set of values. Just as leaders try to reconcile conf licts and contradictions that are damaging the progress of their societies by appealing to common and enduring values, so can teachers help their students find the contradictions and inconsistencies, the narrowness or artificiality, the shallowness or the ineffectiveness of the systems of values that they are studying, including their own. The psychological concept of cognitive dissonance is a resource for both leaders and educators.36 In reckoning with the inauthenticity of leaders who fail to embody the values that they claim, in feeling the weight of unresolved conf licts and contradictions in oneself and in organizations, or, on the contrary, in finding examples of leaders who


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display integrity in the midst of crisis, we learn to use methods of values criticism. The methodology of values criticism does not impose normative answers but asks normative questions. It gives structure to a form inquiry that can be internalized by students as one of the outcomes of both liberal and leadership education. Just as liberal education, as we have seen, has come to define itself by developing powers of the mind, so can it claim to shape the capacities of human agency. In doing so, it narrows the gap between knowledge and action by pressing questions of personal and social identity that reach the ref lexive self as the center of human agency and motivation. The questions and the standards that they carry are hard to escape since they become part of the individual’s own forms of critical self-awareness and sources of self-affirmation.37 Values criticism has a natural tie to practice since it presses both leaders and followers to live the values that they espouse, and to embody the values that they claim.38 The process of valuing submits itself to the test of making sense of life itself both in concept and in action, which is precisely one of the integrative goals of liberal education in all its historic forms. Engaged Learning Values education does not just happen. It requires methods of teaching and learning that engage students in active and collaborative classroom learning, as well as in field experience, action research, and service learning. All of these methods integrate theories and findings about leadership with lived experience, including involvement in the actual problems of communities and organizations.39 The leadership relationship, once again, has quite particular ways to organize and enliven the methods of engaged learning. Students get the chance to serve as both observers and participants in their work in the field, so they are able to test theories and research by what they are learning in practice. Learning through self-awareness is a critical part of the experience, and it is enriched and intensified by the framing of the project in terms of the issues of values and leadership. In the process students are often able to close the gap between knowing and doing, for they discover the limits of theories, learn to see values in action, and test their own abilities and aspirations by what they learn in the field. Leadership education typically involves classroom methods that exemplify the kinds of engaged teaching and learning that the studies of contemporary liberal education propose.40 Levine’s account of

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his teaching the powers of mind reveals carefully crafted questions, syllabi and assignments that are intended to create a rich classroom dialogue among students. Using similar methods, collaborative learning in small groups in and out of the classroom has become a way of life for students on many campuses, as the reports of the Association of American Colleges and Universities indicate.41 Collaborative learning in a wide variety of forms is a natural form of pedagogy in leadership programs.42 Students learn by becoming aware of the implications of their own beliefs by testing ideas among themselves, by probing each other’s values, and by finding ways to work in teams and groups, not always easily but always usefully. They often make presentations on their collaborative work that reveal an ownership of the issues that they have studied. Leadership Development If formal programs of leadership studies have been developed on dozens of campuses, programs of leadership development have proliferated in hundreds of student life programs.43 They appear to rest on many different concepts of leadership, sometimes inspired by developmental models, and at other times by management paradigms. What they often seem to lack is any clear or steady connection to an academic leadership program or theory of leadership that might sort out more clearly some of the goals and strategies for developing different forms of leadership.44 The promise of leadership development for students throughout the campus experience resides in its providing a way to embody many of the goals of educational development that institutions promise in their statements of mission and vision. Student life outside the classroom, especially in a residential context, increasingly defines and differentiates the benefits of liberal education from distance learning or vocational training programs. Life in a campus community is a school for democracy and for the development of personal maturity and interpersonal capacities. Many of the broader claims of liberal education to prepare students to live in a diverse, global society and to develop the skills and powers to do so come from immersion in an enriched and coherent campus life. Participation in academic and student governance, in programs and activities in the arts, in social service, in residential learning programs, and on athletic teams, offer many avenues for both personal and leadership development. Derek Bok and Richard Light both note that students from different ethnic and racial


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backgrounds learn to interact naturally and consequentially in various student groups, programs, and activities where they share common interests.45 These studies and the reports of the American Association of Colleges and Universities46 feature the importance of what happens throughout the campus and beyond it to develop the powers of learning as well as the capacities and values of democratic citizenship. If programs of leadership development are joined to activities of this kind and connected to the study of leadership in the curriculum, the result would be a rationale for student life that is much richer than the usual splintered varieties of student “edutainment.” If, for example, students in a large variety of leadership roles, from resident assistants to officers in sororities and fraternities, were to follow an educationally sound leadership curriculum over several semesters, the results would add up to a genuine form of integrative personal development. If short courses on strategic planning, group dynamics, conf lict resolution, communication, values, intercultural competencies, and leadership methods and concepts were offered at a high level of quality and consistency, the results would reinforce and deepen the development of the large range of cognitive powers and skills that are now understood to constitute the core of a liberal education. The integration of the classroom and campus experience would be given a focus, and the aims of college education would gain in coherence. Leadership studies, leadership education, and leadership development offer a rich set of themes and opportunities to create a twentyfirst century approach to liberal education as an authentic and effective form of human empowerment. A focus on the development of the human powers of valuing offers a way to realize this possibility. Integrating insights from various disciplines and connecting knowledge and action exemplify the historic narrative of identity of liberal education itself. Notes 1. Thomas F. Green, “Evaluating Liberal Learning: Doubts and Explorations,” Liberal Education 68, no. 2 (1982): 134. 2. Donald Levine, Powers of the Mind: The Reinvention of Liberal Education in America (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2006). 3. Ibid., p. 256. 4. Ibid., p. 188. 5. Ibid., p. 246. 6. Derek Bok, Our Underachieving Colleges (Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006). 7. Ibid.

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8. Association of American Colleges and Universities, College Learning for the New Global Century (Washington, DC, 2007). 9. Association of American Colleges and Universities, Greater Expectations: A New Vision for Learning as a Nation Goes to College (Washington, DC, 2002), p. 12. 10. Ibid., p. 26. 11. Ibid., p. 3. 12. Ibid., p. 6. 13. Ibid., p. 3. 14. Ibid., p. 5. 15. Ibid., p. 38. 16. Stanley Fish, “The Trojan Horse of a Dark Design,” The Chronicle of Higher Education: The Chronicle Review, February 15, 2004, http://chronicle.com/cgi2-bin (accessed April 30, 2007). 17. Stanley Fish, “Aim Low,” The Chronicle of Higher Education: Chronicle Careers, May 16, 2003, http://chronicle.com/job/news (accessed April 30, 2007). 18. Steven Crowell, “Existentialism,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2004, http://plato. standford.edu/entries/existentialism (accessed May 4, 2007). 19. George R. Goethals and Georgia L. Sorenson, eds., The Quest for a General Theory of Leadership (Northampton, MA: Elgar, 2006). 20. Readers who are not familiar with the main points of relational leadership theory will find James MacGregor Burns’ Transforming Leadership: A New Pursuit of Happiness (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2003) to be a good orientation to many of the motifs in the concept. I recently have attempted to appropriate many of the themes in the theory to develop a method of strategic leadership for higher education. I reference many scholars who have contributed to the theory. Richard L. Morrill, Strategic Leadership: Integrating Strategy and Leadership in Colleges and Universities (Westport, CT: ACE/Praeger, 2007). 21. Helmut R. Niebuhr, The Responsible Self (New York: Harper and Row, 1963). 22. Lee Thayer, “Leadership/Communication: A Critical Review and a Modest Proposal,” in Handbook of Organizational Communication, ed. Gerald M. Goldhaber and George A. Barnett, pp. 231–263 (Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1988). 23. Joanne Ciulla, “Leadership Ethics: Mapping the Territory,” in Ethics: The Heart of Leadership, ed. Joanne Ciulla, pp. 3–24 (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2004). 24. Burns, Transforming Leadership, p. 213. 25. Goethals and Sorenson, Quest for a General Theory of Leadership. 26. Ciulla, “Leadership Ethics”; Terry L. Price, Understanding Ethical Failures in Leadership (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005). 27. James MacGregor Burns, Leadership (New York: Harper and Row, 1978); Burns, Transforming Leadership; Joanne Ciulla, The Ethics of Leadership (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2002); Ciulla, “Leadership Ethics”; Howard Gardner, Leading Minds: An Anatomy of Leadership (New York: Basic Books, 1995); Ronald Heifetz, Leadership without Easy Answers (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1995); Douglas A. Hicks and Terry L. Price, “A Framework for a General Theory of Leadership Ethics,” in Quest for a General Theory of Leadership ed. Goethals and Sorenson; David M. Messick, “On the Psychological Exchange between Leaders and Followers,” in The Psychology of Leadership: New Perspectives and Research, ed. David M. Messick and Roderick M. Kramer (Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2005); James O’Toole, Leading Change: Overcoming the Ideology of Comfort and the Tyranny of Custom (San Francisco: JosseyBass, 1995); Price, Understanding Ethical Failures; Tom R. Tyler, “Process-Based Leadership: How Do Leaders Lead?” in The Psychology of Leadership, ed. David M. Messick and Roderick M. Kramer (Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2005). 28. Burns, Leadership; Burns, Transforming Leadership; Ciulla, “Leadership Ethics.” 29. Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity (Boston, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989), p. 27. 30. Ibid.


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31. Jerome Bruner, Making Stories: Law, Literature and Life (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002); Gardner, Leading Minds; Morrill, Strategic Leadership. 32. Burrhus F. Skinner, Beyond Freedom and Dignity (New York: Bantam/Vintage Books, 1972). 33. Burns, Leadership; Burns, Transforming Leadership. 34. Gardner, Leading Minds; George R. Goethals, “The Psychodynamics of Leadership: Freud’s Insights and Their Vicissitudes,” in The Psychology of Leadership, ed. David M. Messick and Roderick M. Kramer (Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2005); Taylor, Sources of the Self. 35. Ciulla, Ethics of Leadership; Ciulla, “Leadership Ethics.” 36. Burns, Leadership; Milton Rokeach, The Nature of Human Values (New York: Free Press, 1973). 37. Niebuhr, The Responsible Self; Richard L. Morrill, Teaching Values in College: Facilitating Ethical, Moral and Value Awareness in Students (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1980); Richard L. Morrill, “Educating for Democratic Values,” Liberal Education 68, no. 4 (1982): 365–376; Morrill, Strategic Leadership; Taylor, Sources of the Self. 38. Howard Gardner, The Art and Science of Changing Our Own and Other People’s Minds (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2004); Gardner, Leading Minds. 39. Ronald E. Riggio, Joanne B. Ciulla, and Georgia L. Sorenson, “Leadership Education at the Undergraduate Level: A Liberal Arts Approach to Leadership Development,” in The Future of Leadership Development, ed. Susan E. Murphy and Ronald E. Riggio (Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2003). 40. Ibid.; Association of America Colleges and Universities, Greater Expectations; Association of American Colleges and Universities, College Learning. 41. Association of American Colleges and Universities, Greater Expectations; Association of American Colleges and Universities, College Learning. 42. Roya Ayman, Susan Adams, Bruce Fisher, and Erica Hartman, “Leadership Development in Higher Education Institutions: A Present and Future Perspective,” in The Future of Leadership Development, ed. Susan E. Murphy and Ronald E. Riggio (Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2003); Riggio, Ciulla, and Sorenson, “Leadership Education.” I can offer personal experience as to its effectiveness as an observer and participant in the comprehensive leadership program at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond. 43. Ibid. 44. Ayman, Adams, Fisher, and Hartman, “Leadership Development.” 45. Bok, Our Underachieving Colleges; Richard Light, Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001). 46. Association of American Colleges and Universities, Greater Expectations; Association of American Colleges and Universities, College Learning.



Leadership and the Humanities Je a n B e t h k e E l s h ta i n

Imagine the following: For half a century a small country has been under the oppressive thumb of an empire so violent that a president of the United States names it an “evil empire,” a designation, controversial in the president’s own country, but endorsed overwhelmingly by those trapped within this empire. There is no political activity. No religious freedom. No free press. No independent entrepreneurship. Labor unions cannot organize. All the institutions of civil society, including the family, have been penetrated and compromised by the authoritarianism of the stif ling order under which people labor. On the surface, nothing is stirring. Indeed, these decades of occupation are later designated by those living under its conditions as “the frozen time.” Beneath the surface, however, and largely invisible to the world at large, things are stirring as a moral innovator, Vaclav Havel, a playwright, puts to himself the following moral challenge: “Why not live ‘as if ’ we are free citizens”?1 He understands, of course, that he and other participants in what they come to call “Civic Forum” are not free, rights-bearing human beings in the eyes of the authoritarian apparat. But suppose, Havel daringly suggests, we pretend. What would we live like? What would we act like? What would we say? He continues, in effect, along these lines: I think the first thing I would do is to write an open letter to the president of our country, Mr. Husak, and to challenge him to explain certain things. If the official newspaper will not publish


Jean Bethke Elshtain

it, we’ll blanket Prague with “mimeo” copies we make ourselves underground, in “samizdat” form. (The name given to officially illegal publications.) I might get arrested, but something will have happened. I’ll march out into the open in Wenceslas Square and make a peaceful protest. And, as well, we must agree to open meetings to debate and discuss change. We will not have clandestine cells. We will behave “as if ” we are free citizens. Perhaps in this way we can one day actually be such.2 Because Vaclav Havel dared to practice what he preached—to “live in truth,” as he called it—a movement began that culminated in the “Velvet Revolution” and the collapse of Soviet domination of Czechoslovakia. Perhaps this moral exemplar gives us some idea of humanistic leadership—both what it is and what it is not. It is a way of “seeing” and a way of “being” in the world that notices possibilities where others do not. It is a way of acting that creates space for others to react in positive and constructive ways. It involves courage, free responsibility— even under circumstances characterized by a lack of freedom. It encourages rather than discourages; emboldens rather than weakens; calls people to citizenship rather than victimization. It helps to build resourcefulness rather than resentment. This is never an easy task, not at all. We also need to keep in mind what humanistic leadership is not. It is not lazy conformism; nor is it reckless abandon. It respects rather than reviles; uplifts rather than downgrades, seeking out people where they are at their strongest, not their weakest. I realize that this may seem to create impossible goals, unattainable ideals save for the bold and the rare. I do not, however, believe this to be the case. Here’s why. I have learned much in a life that has gone on long enough that I have had many opportunities to observe and to analyze leadership in a variety of contexts, some large and some small; some public and some private; some dangerous and some safe. And I have come away over and over again impressed with the fundamental decency and the reserve of capabilities to be found in many ordinary persons. There was “Mama Wolezsca” in Poland who said, “You never get tired when you’re on pilgrimage,” words uttered in the context of Poland under martial law in 1983 on the occasion of Pope John Paul II’s second pilgrimage to his homeland since his elevation to the papacy in 1978. The situation in Poland was inherently dangerous; there was concern that the regime might go beyond martial law and call in the Soviet army to suppress popular dissent. Yet millions of ordinary Poles took to

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the streets with great courage and vivacity to honor the leader of their faith and to express their love for a homeland that could not indefinitely be suppressed by martial law and Russian tanks. There was the occasion in South Africa, shortly after the end of apartheid, when I was part of a group visiting Robben Island—the first group on the island since the political changes—and we listened to a remarkable colloquy of mutual recognition and forgiveness between the last jailor on the island and an antiapartheid activist who had spent time in prison there. They embraced and called for national unification and a just future for the country each loved. This, in turn, put me in mind of the woman who told someone interviewing her, as she showed him shoes with the soles worn through, “These are the shoes I wore with Martin Luther King at Selma. I didn’t know I had the courage to march, but I did. And these are the shoes I marched in.” One could see the force of that memory illumine her face as she recounted her pilgrimage to the interviewer. Nor are such moments as rare as we may think. Many are neither heralded, nor is the story written up for the newspapers. But in thousands of communities across our country today, humanistic leaders are at work trying to make life in their own particular spots on this troubled globe less brutal, less indecent, less unjust. At this point it might be worthwhile for me to make an academic confession expressing my frustration with some of the dry-as-dust accounts of leadership and communities and social life one finds in too many academic treatments of these subjects. Don’t get me wrong. I am certainly not opposed to people studying a phenomenon, including the phenomenon of leadership. But, as we do, we should always acknowledge that there is something mysterious about leadership, something not reducible to surveys and models. I have pondered what this “something” might be for many years as I’ve read both the dry-asdust accounts and the far more vivid biographies of great leaders and yet, I have come away realizing we are in the presence of the mystery of what happens—what is kindled—when a particular person or persons in a particular context ignites something in others. One way to help us think about it is this: surely nearly all of us have been in badly led situations. Maybe you have been fortunate and escaped but I most assuredly have not. I am not going to “name names,” of course, but, instead, offer a brief phenomenology of bad leadership, if you will. Sometimes looking at poorly led situations helps us appreciate what, by contrast, good, strong, “humanistic” leadership—leadership that respects that we are always dealing with human beings, in all their complexity—looks like whether we are the leader or are being led.


Jean Bethke Elshtain

There is a type of misery and demoralization palpable in settings where antihumanistic leadership is the unfortunate order of the day. You know of what I speak: people huddle in their offices; normal human sociality suffers; folks do what they have to do but little more, unconvinced, as they are, that their efforts will bear fruit or even be noticed. Mutual trust plummets as people are subject to arbitrary or capricious actions, or what appear to be such. The level of transparency—our ability to know what is going on and who is doing what to whom— declines or disappears altogether. I don’t wish to belabor the negative. As I already indicated, we all have some idea of the sorts of situations I am talking about. This, in turn, invites us to consider situations characterized by humanistic leadership—in one meaning of “humanistic” as embodying a deep and abiding recognition that, in any situation of leadership, one is dealing with human beings, with all their flaws and their possibilities. Consider the negative (if not dire) portrait I painted earlier. What would a humanistically led situation look like by contrast? We would expect to see a high level of mutual trust deriving from the confidence people have that the leader is fair and above-board. We would expect the leader to respond to expressed concerns from those working under him or her. We would hope to see normal human sociality—people chatting around the water cooler; doors left open at least part of the day to permit the ebb and f low of human encounter; regular procedures for taking care of business. We would, in other words, see what philosophers and theologians, including the late Pope John Paul II, called “the dignity of the human person” on display. There is, of course, a second meaning to humanistic, as in humanistic scholarship, humanistic education, the formation—as the Germans say, “Bildung”—of persons over time. It is to this dimension that I now want to turn because it is humanistic in that sense that forms the vocation for the majority of us in the humanities. If you will forgive a brief personal reminiscence, I should like to approach that second meaning now. My own humanistic formation began when I entered Colorado State University, a number of years ago. I was eager to learn. I wanted to read and to think, to break out of everything small and parochial—at least to my eyes—about my way of looking at the world. As a freshman, I took a course in “Western Civilization” and I fell in love with the Middle Ages, in part because of my enthusiastic instructor, one of that remarkable group of American men who had fought World War II—thereby saving our civilization—and had then gone on to college on the GI Bill. These men were, at this time, filling the ranks of the professoriat. Many

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of those who survived the war were liberated by an aspiration for higher learning and they went for it with gusto. It was my good fortune to find such eager teachers in the classroom before me. In one book I read, I found myself touched by a poignant discussion of the “wandering of manuscripts,” texts discovered, then lost, then found again, resurfacing in some other library in a site perhaps thousands of miles from their points of origin. Codices told tales of cultural transmission and, sadly, of cultural loss as texts disappeared never to be found again. And yet so much remains, warranting St. Bernard of Clairvaux’s insistence that “we stand on the shoulders of giants.” I had been primed for my college experience, ready to engage in the discoveries of humanistic culture, because I had been so well prepared in a rural school in the village of Timnath, Colorado, with a population of 185 human souls. My father, Paul G. Bethke, was the superintendent of schools in this little place. Grades 1–12 were housed in one building. My teachers—Mrs. Griffith, Miss Thayer, Mrs. Ellis, Mrs. Curtis, Miss McCarthy—who taught grades 1–8, taught me well. There are lessons I learned that I have never forgotten and for which I will always be grateful. As a result, I am a person who is obliged in quite specific ways: obliged to a wonderful family; obliged to dedicated teachers; obliged to a society that encouraged eager young children who loved books and who did not come from privilege to earn scholarships and to go on for higher education. This story of the humanities—in several senses of the word—is rare in the annals of human history. It is an American story of ever widening inclusion—reaching out to the provinces, to villages like Timnath where education was often in the hands of good stewards like my father. I use the word “steward” intentionally. The steward is one who preserves an inheritance, here of the humanities, and passes it on to the next generation, like all those medieval monks laboriously copying and preserving manuscripts in dimly lit, cold scriptoria. The good steward does not squander an inheritance but enriches it. This process of enrichment goes forward in many ways. In a democratic culture, like our own, one dedicated, therefore, to both excellence and equality, democratic stewardship is a complex thing. We must reward excellence even as we honor equality; we must assure that particular gifts are developed and honed, knowing, as we do, that gifts are not evenly distributed. We must be fair to the many even as we cherish the one. There are voices in our culture that seem not to want to recognize the gifts others have given them; that preach narrow self-interest or


Jean Bethke Elshtain

radical presentism rather than human indebtedness to those who have gone before. They find it difficult to work from a stance of gratitude for our foremothers and forefathers dedicated to lives of learning, to letters and to theology, to philosophy and science, to literature and art—to humanistic education and leadership, in other words. Humanistic leadership is a way of incorporating within the living tissue of the present strong stories and conceptions from the past in the hope of securing our world, giving it both strength and f lexibility. The humanistic leader speaks to the person at his or her best, most judicious, fair, open-hearted, and generous. It teaches us that we can criticize and affirm; rebut and renew. Let me illuminate further by offering one of the great tales of humanistic leadership in our history. Perhaps some of you have heard me tell this story before—or have read it in my book, Jane Addams and the Dream of American Democracy.3 But it is a tale worth retelling. One of the most extraordinary features of Hull-House, the social settlement created by Jane Addams and a friend, Ellen Gates Starr, in the teeming immigrant streets of late nineteenth-century Chicago, was its dedication to the humanities. Jane Addams knew the importance of bread. But she also knew that human beings cannot live by bread alone. Given that recognition, she created not only well-baby clinics but reading groups; not only English classes but drama clubs; not only mechanical workshops but sculpting classes. One reads of evenings spent in debate and discussion; of University of Chicago professors journeying to lecture to immigrant men and women in the 750 capacity Bowen Hall at Hull-House. Hull-House was a space for the exchange of ideas in a nonprofessional setting. Jane Addams was insistent that there is dignity and greatness in the everyday and in the provision made for tending to bodies, planting and harvesting, covers for bodies, bread for stomachs. But we also need Shakespeare and the Greek tragedies. We need philosophy and art; we need George Eliot and Rembrandt. If you read Addams’s classic of American autobiography, Twenty-Years at Hull-House, you will find hundreds of references to literary works.4 That list includes, but is not limited to, Ruskin, Carlyle, Browning, Plutarch, Emerson, Gibbon, Homer, Plato, Sombart, Darwin, Mazzini, H. G. Wells, Tolstoy, George Eliot, Hawthorne, John Locke, Beatrice Potter, J. S. Mill, Schopenhauer, Aeschylus, Spencer, Gorky, St. Francis—on and on. These were part of the air she breathed. These molded the dreams she dreamt, from little Cedarville, Illinois, and out into the wide world she made her own. Jane Addams’s mind was densely populated; her ken

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generous; her knowledge extensive; her recall keen; her devotion to mind unwavering—all the fruits of humanistic education transformed by her into humanistic leadership of the most extraordinary kind. I hope and pray that we are educating a significant portion of our young people into such humanistic education for, without that, there cannot be humanistic leadership. This prompts cause for concern on my part as I fear that many of the models of human beings and of leadership imparted today presume a radically f lawed and altogether too narrow understanding of persons and what makes us tick. If you embrace such assumptions, for example, the insistence in so-called rational choice theory that the very essence of human beings is that we are all “calculators of marginal utility,” you are not “going to get it,” as we like to say. What are you not going to get? Well, you will have a hard time appreciating self-sacrifice and grace; nobility and decency; neighborliness and care. You will be forced to redefine all such human qualities as, at base, a narrow calculation and you will distort or lose the heart of the matter thereby. That is but one example of what I have in mind. There are many others. If you take away nothing else from this chapter, I would hope you might call to mind the following questions: How are human beings understood in this model of leadership? What assumptions are being made? What is the goal of this leadership? What is its method? What are its ends? I understand, of course, that most of the venues in which we see leaders at work in our society do not appear, at least at first blush, to be “humanistic” contexts. But if a generous view of the human person is at work in a particular setting, then at least one meaning of “humanistic” is also present. Humanistic leadership in the two senses in which I have presented is such leadership at its fullest. It is critical to democratic formation, to the creation of citizens, and to their sustaining. Too many contexts in which people are ignored, or beaten down, or treated as means to someone else’s end are not school houses for decent democratic citizenship. Like leadership itself, there is an elusive element to this formation. We know that sometimes something “clicks” for a student, whether a grade schooler or graduate. Things become clear. The fog is dispelled and understanding follows. Surely understanding is one core dimension of humanistic education and leadership. I don’t refer to the cliché “to understand all is to forgive all,” for there are some things in history that cannot be forgiven and should not be forgotten. We might forgive an individual perpetrator but we cannot be forgiving of horrors such as genocide, for example.


Jean Bethke Elshtain

A genuine education, building what Alexis de Tocqueville called our “habits of the heart,” helps us understand what a decent society can and cannot tolerate; what it must shun and what it must sustain. Let me close, as I have done several times in the past when speaking of this subject, with a passage from one of my favorite writers and one of her greatest books, Willa Cather and My Antonia.5 I love the book because it reminds me of my beloved Grandmother, Mary Lind, an immigrant to these shores as a young girl, a German ethnic child of the Russian steppes. The Volga Germans were a people without a state, without a homeland. But those who emigrated found one in America. She and my grandfather, William, were people of little education whose English was always a bit shaky although he was resilient enough to tell jokes, and she entertained us with morality tales and parables. Although the severities of the depression years meant that two of their daughters, including my own mother, Helen, were compelled to quit school after the eighth grade to help with stoop labor in the sugar beet fields of Northern Colorado, every one of my grandparents’ twenty grandchildren completed higher education of some sort. This is an American story, and it is by no means unique. The passage from Cather reminds us of evanescent yet altogether powerful experiences made possible by an incandescent moment from a work of art, in this case theater—and Cather’s literary description of it. I began with the claim that leadership was a bit of a mystery. I conclude on a note of mystery drawn directly from the humanities, perhaps as a gentle morality tale telling us that we cannot reduce complex things to simplistic models and formulae. Paul Burden, Cather’s narrator, has attended a play with Lena Lingaard, one of the “servant girls” from his hometown in Red Cloud, Nebraska. His hero, Antonia, had been a servant girl earlier—she being the intrepid daughter of an impoverished Bohemian immigrant family. Lena, on the rise as a dressmaker, and Paul, then a college student in Lincoln, Nebraska, accompany one another to a performance of the play “Camille” by a touring theater company. The actress is too old for the part of Marguerite but Paul and Lena are caught up in the drama as the characters come to life. The theater episode in Cather’s novel concludes with words that offer intimations of immortality, of something outside the self, some common knowledge and humanity that helps to make us who and what we are when we are at our best. When we reached the door of the theatre, the streets were shining with rain. I had prudently brought along Mrs. Harling’s [Paul’s

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landlady] useful Commencement present [an umbrella], and I took Lena home under its shelter. After leaving her, I walked slowly out into the country part of the town where I lived. The lilacs were all blooming in the yards, and the smell of them after the rain, of the new leaves and the blossoms together, blew into my face with a sort of bitter sweetness. I tramped through the puddles and under the showery trees, mourning for Marguerite Gauthier as if she had died only yesterday, sighing with the spirit of 1840, which had sighed so much, and which had reached me only that night, across long years and several languages, through the person of an infirm old actress. The idea is one that no circumstance can frustrate. Wherever and whenever that piece is put on, it is April.6 Not all of us will experience an unforgettable moment of an identical sort. But if humanistic leadership is encouraged and practiced, if a society still generates sturdy parents and teachers and workers, nearly all of us can, at some point or another, look forward to a time when life seems full and the clouds part, whether in a classroom or at a family gathering; a museum or a playground; whether we are silent or in the midst of a boisterous crowd. If the space for such moments and experiences is shut down, that is evidence enough that humanistic learning and humanistic leadership are wanting. We seek that April evening in the gentle rain of which Cather writes so eloquently. The mystery of such moments speaks to the yearning to which the humanities is a response. Notes 1. Havel develops these themes in many of his essays. See, for example, Vaclav Havel, Living in Truth (London: Faber and Faber, 1986). 2. “He continues, in effect, along these lines . . .” I added “in effect” because I am constructing the sort of dialogue Havel had with himself. 3. Jean Bethke Elshtain, Jane Addams and the Dream of American Democracy (New York: Basic Books, 2002). 4. Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull-House (New York: MacMillan, 1910). 5. Willa Cather, My Antonia, ed. Joseph R. Urgo (New York: Broadview Press, 2003). 6. Cather, My Antonia, p. 197.

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Implementing the Study of Leadership in the Liberal Arts

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Using Thick Intellectual History to Teach Leadership: Implications of the Carlyle-Mill Exchange Sa n dr a J. P e a r t a n d Dav i d M . L e v y

Consider two accounts of leadership theory. One, a “thin” account, sketches a Great Man theory of leadership where leaders are born, leaders make history, and great leaders are born great leaders. A “thin” commentary on this theory may acknowledge that the theory is gendered. On race or the right to self-determination, little is said. Contextualizing the theory entails considering examples of those who might be thought of as Great Men—on the negative side Hitler or Stalin, or on the positive side Churchill or Gandhi. In a second account, a “thick” intellectual history of leadership, the context of the theoretical formulation itself (not of the examples) becomes a subject of inquiry. Here, the questions of interest are: Who developed the Great Man theory of leadership and what were the circumstances out of which the Great Man theory of leadership emerged? The first question is quite simple to answer. Scottish historian and essayist Thomas Carlyle developed the theory. The answer to the second question is complex, ranging from Carlyle’s views on slavery to Irish self-government. In the course of this chapter, we explore Carlyle’s views on these issues and suggest that “thick” intellectual history yields useful insights for the student of leadership theory. With the context in hand we appreciate more fully the ethical issues associated with Carlyle’s Great Man theory.


Sandra J. Peart and David M. Levy

Carlyle’s Great Man justification of heroic leadership became the center of public controversy when he was named the leader of a successful movement to defend the actions of the governor of Jamaica, Edward James Eyre. In 1865, Governor Eyre was recalled by the British government for his role in murdering and brutalizing the freed Jamaican slaves. A coalition of evangelical Christians and a few non-Christian scientists formed the Jamaica Committee to protest the treatment of the Jamaicans. Remarkably, the Jamaica Committee elected the greatest non-Christian political economist of that era, John Stuart Mill, to lead it. On the other side, Carlyle led the Eyre Defense Fund. The central issue at hand was whether heroic leadership justified exemption from common standards of morality.1 Thomas Henry Huxley made the context clear: “I daresay Eyre did all this with the best of motives, and in a heroic vein. But if English law will not declare that heroes have no more right to kill in this fashion than other folk, I shall take an early opportunity of migrating to Texas or some other quiet place where there is less hero worship and more respect for justice.”2 So, on the side of exception-making for heroic leaders, Carlyle defended Eyre while Mill and the Jamaica Committee held that the Rule of Law applied equally to all. This was not the first time that Carlyle and Mill found themselves opposed to one another on matters of ethical consequence. Their views on leadership and morality had been spelled out in an exchange fifteen years earlier. We turn to that exchange next. Carlyle and the Dismal Science It is now well known that economics was first called the “dismal science” because economists presupposed that all people were equally competent to make choices, including economic and political choices.3 Economists of the nineteenth century insisted that men (and women) should be allowed to participate in the labor market (as opposed to slavery) and that all people were competent to govern themselves. Economists were committed to a world of scarcity and choice, they opposed utopian schemes for improvement, and they favored markets instead of slavery or paternalism. It is less well known that what incensed the critics of economics in the nineteenth century was the political economists’ view that races (and men and women) are inherently equal. Economists, being committed to a race-blind view of human nature in which people are equally competent, followed this thought through to its policy implication. They favored

Intellectual History to Teach Leadership


markets as an alternative to slavery, advocated for women to own property, and supported Irish home-rule. On all of these counts, but especially the former, they drew the wrath and criticism of Thomas Carlyle. Here is the passage in which Thomas Carlyle first called economics the “dismal science.” He did so, the reader will notice, as he juxtaposed markets (which he opposed) to slavery (which he endorsed). We have italicized the portion quoted in the Oxford English Dictionary, which contains nothing to suggest that the “dismal science” epithet was applied to political economy for its antislavery position. The full passage clarifies that this antislavery stance was what in fact drew Carlyle’s criticism. The selective quotation in the OED highlights what economists have lost by forgetting their past: Truly, my philanthropic friends, Exeter Hall Philanthropy is wonderful; and the Social Science-not a “gay science,” but a ruefulwhich finds the secret of this universe in “supply-and-demand,” and reduces the duty of human governors to that of letting men alone, is also wonderful. Not a “gay science,” I should say, like some we have heard of; no, a dreary, desolate, and indeed quite abject and distressing one; what we might call, by way of eminence, the dismal science. These two, Exeter Hall Philanthropy and the Dismal Science, led by any sacred cause of Black Emancipation, or the like, to fall in love and make a wedding of it,–will give birth to progenies and prodigies; dark extensive moon-calves, unnameable abortions, wide-coiled monstrosities, such as the world has not seen hitherto!4 The standard version of the intellectual history of the nineteenth century, the version supported by the OED reference italicized earlier, suggests that economics is “dismal” because it deals with scarcity, supply, and demand. The full quotation shows that, in fact, the reason Carlyle called economics “dismal” is that economists advocated markets as opposed to slavery; they reduced “the duty of human governors to that of letting men alone.” If we remember that the Act of Emancipation (the “sacred cause”) was a political bargain, the full quotation reveals that the debate concerns self-government in both private and public dimensions. The passage in the OED has removed Carlyle’s complaint that there is no role for the Leader in the “dismal science”: all people are free to rule themselves. Fifteen years later, the issue of race and hierarchy returned to public attention in Britain with a vengeance. The real meaning of the CarlyleMill debate became clear during the “Governor Eyre Controversy” of


Sandra J. Peart and David M. Levy

1865.5 The controversy was triggered by a seemingly trivial event in the British colony of Jamaica. The police came to enforce the warrants. Stones were thrown at the police and shooting began. The island’s governor, Edward James Eyre, imposed martial law and called in the army to restore order. By the time the army was done, more than four hundred Jamaicans were dead, and thousands were homeless. Britons were horrified by the methods of state terror, including f logging with wire whips and the use of military courts to deny civilians their rights. Among the dead was George Gordon, a Baptist minister and member of Jamaica’s legislature who was tried and sentenced by a military court. In Britain, evangelical antislavery forces formed the Jamaica Committee to protest the governor’s actions and demand an investigation. The members of the Jamaica Committee included a host of prominent men not usually associated with evangelical Christianity. The members unanimously chose John Stuart Mill to be the head of the committee. On the other side, the Eyre Defense Fund was led by Thomas Carlyle, who was aided by John Ruskin. The two sides lined up with classical political economists and scientists—Mill, John Bright, Henry Fawcett, J. E. Cairnes, Herbert Spencer, Huxley, and Charles Darwin—on the Jamaica Committee; and Carlyle, Charles Dickens, Alfred Tennyson, and John Ruskin defending Governor Eyre’s massacre of former slaves.6 As a matter of historical record, the roles of the economists and the poets in the Eyre massacre have now been largely forgotten.7 Leadership Implications The Carlyle-Mill exchange—a debate over hierarchy and equality— was perhaps the most significant modern debate in moral philosophy and social science of the nineteenth century. At its heart were two questions: Are we the same or not and how does that sameness (difference) affect our willingness to work and our ability to lead? The debates over the ability to lead and the capacity for self-government spilled into scientific journals (in biology, anthropology, and economics), the literary community, Parliament, and the popular press (the Times and Punch).8 As previously noted, the list of prominent men who were involved was extraordinary, and so it is worthwhile to review how the various men lined up for equality versus hierarchy. To provide a glimpse of the debate, next we will juxtapose the economists’ views with those of the opposition in anthropology and in literature (table 8.1).9

Table 8.1 The debate over human nature On Homogeneity

On the Gospel of Work

On the Willingness to Work


“The difference of natural talents in different men is, in reality, much less than we are aware of; . . . The difference between the most dissimilar characters, between a philosopher and a common street porter, for example, seems to arise not so much from nature as from habit, custom, and education.”a

“Work, I imagine, is not a good in itself. There is nothing laudable in work for work’s sake. To work voluntarily for a worthy object is laudable; but what constitutes a worthy object? On this matter, the oracle of which your contributor is the prophet [Thomas Carlyle] has never yet been prevailed on to declare himself.” b

“Is it not, then, a bitter satire on the mode in which opinions are formed on the most important problems of human nature and life, to find public instructors of the greatest pretensions, imputing the backwardness of Irish industry, and the want of energy of the Irish people in improving their condition, to a peculiar indolence and insouciance in the Celtic race? Of all vulgar modes of escaping from the consideration of the effect of social and moral inf luences on the human mind, the most vulgar is that of attributing the diversities of conduct and character to inherent natural differences.”c


“Mr. Mill, who will not admit that the Australian, the Andaman islander, and the Hottentot labour under any inherent incapacity for attaining the highest culture of ancient Greece or modern Europe!” d

“To each of you I will then say: Here is work for you; strike into it with manlike, soldierlike obedience and heartiness, according to the methods here prescribed,—wages follow for you without difficulty; all manner of just remuneration, and at length emancipation itself follows. Refuse to strike into it; shirk the heavy labour, disobey the rules,—I will admonish and endeavour to incite you; if in vain, I will

“ ‘Make them peasantproprietors,’ says Mr. Mill. But Mr. Mill forgets that, till you change the character of the Irish cottier, peasantproprietorship would work no miracles. He would fall behind the instalments of his purchase-money, and would be called upon to surrender his farm. He would often neglect it in idleness, ignorance, jollity and drink, get into debt, and have to sell his property to the newest owner of a great estate. . . . Mr. Mill never deigns to consider that an Irishman is an Irishman, Continued


Sandra J. Peart and David M. Levy

Table 8.1 Continued On Homogeneity

On the Gospel of Work

On the Willingness to Work

f log you; if still in vain, I will at last shoot you,—and make God’s Earth, and the forlorn-hope in God’s Battle, free of you.”e

and not an average human being an idiomatic and idiosyncractic, not an abstract, man.” f

a Adam Smith, An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 5th ed. (London: Methuen), ed. Edwin Cannan, 1905. Originally published 1776. Available online at http://www.econlib.org/ LIBRARY/Smith/smWN.html. Bk. 1, ch. 2, par. 4. b John Stuart Mill, “The Negro Question,” Fraser’s Magazine for Town and Country 41 ( January 1850): 27–28. c John Stuart Mill, The Principles of Political Economy with Some of their Applications to Social Philosophy (London: Longman, Greens, 1848). Available online at http://www/econlib.org/library/Mill/mlP.html. Bk. II, ch. 9, par. 9. d James Hunt, “Race in Legislation and Political Economy,” Anthropological Review 4, no. 13 (1866): 122. Hunt was the inf luential owner of the Anthropological Review.. For his role in convincing Francis Galton on the lack of variation of “lower races,” see Peart and Levy, Vanity of the Philosopher;. To see the breadth of the debates in literary, anthropological, and statistical circles, see Levy and Peart, “Secret History.” e Thomas Carlyle, “The Present Time,” Latter-Day Pamphlets (London: Chapman and Hall, 1850) pp. 54–55. f W. R. Greg, “Realities of Irish Life,” Quarterly Review 126 ( January 1869): 61–80. Greg was the cofounder, along with Francis Galton, of eugenics. He attacked the Malthusian population doctrine because of its homogeneity postulate, arguing in opposition to Malthus that not only the number of children but the type of child was important analytically: only the rich and more eugenically desirable strains of people would refrain from early marriage. The argument was quoted by Darwin. For details, see Peart and Levy, Vanity of the Philosopher and Darwin’s Unpublished Letter.

So, for classical moral philosophers such as Adam Smith or John Stuart Mill, all people—whether in a leader or follower capacity— possess equal moral standing, as well as the ability to reason and to make political and economic choices. All people posses an equal ability to lead, and they share the same motivational structure: an interest in fame and fortune and an equal ability to sacrifice personal wants and desires for a common good.10 For Mill, following behavior that results from institutional arrangements that restrict choice—institutions that force following—is morally wrong. In Mill’s mind, there is no justification for such leader-follower relationships. Specifically, output or welfare gains that might result from institutional arrangements that force followers to act in prescribed ways (slavery, marriage, etc.) are never sufficient to outweigh the moral costs of such enforced leaderfollower relationships. So even if slavery would force people to be more civilized, that is, to work more and have more material things, it would reduce what really matters for Mill—human happiness.

Intellectual History to Teach Leadership


Those who opposed the classical economists’ presumption of homogeneity focused on two purported heterogeneities. The leader is, first, presumed to be public-spirited, untainted by considerations of selfinterest, while the follower is presumed to be motivated only by selfinterest.11 Second, perhaps because of motivational heterogeneity or possibly because of superior self-control, the leader is supposed to be “superior” to the follower he studies. It is precisely this supposition of superiority that Smith opposed, as the “vanity of the philosopher”: such vanity implies that the follower is in need of guidance from the leader. It also implies that the leader will be predisposed to disapprove of (and even disallow) the follower making unfettered choices in a marketplace or in the direction of his or her affections in the household. And here the tendency for ethical failure enters into such a theory of leadership. As long as the leader maintains that he possesses insight into the sorts of preferences people “should” possess—if they only knew better—he must also accept, and may perhaps even demand, responsibility for directing those preferences until the subjects gain the sort of sophistication that he enjoys. The argument is as old as Plato’s doctrine that the world will not be set right until the leader takes charge. We have argued extensively elsewhere that the “science” of eugenics is Plato’s doctrine operationalized.12 On the other side of this, the classical economists’ egalitarian notion of homogeneity—motivational and otherwise—and choices unfettered by the direction of one’s “betters,” go hand in hand. Our argument is at odds, with the idea of “transformational leadership” as it is sometimes understood.13 If by transformational leadership we mean a transformation that is largely self-directed on the part of the subjects—a sort of mutual realization of the leader and follower that change x is in order14 —then we have no objection to this.15 If we mean instead that the leader is said to possess better information about what actions the follower “should” take or better ability to induce the follower to take such actions,16 our historical investigation suggests that there may be ethical reasons to oppose such a conceptualization of leadership. In fact, those who held out for differences in competence in the great debate over hierarchy and race relied on what we call “transformation” theories, the claim that incompetent followers required remaking, directions for improvement. Until transformation occurred—at the direction of the leaders—any appeal to changing conditions, incentives, or institutions, was said to be unfeasible. And as such groups as


Sandra J. Peart and David M. Levy

the Irish, women, or former slaves dared to place their own preferences on the same moral plane as those who led them, and attempted to step outside the established institutional hierarchy, they were said to be incapable of economic or political self-rule and incapable of leading. Once we come to understand that the Great Man theory was developed in the context of intense debate over slavery, property rights for women, and Irish self-government, we become instantly more skeptical of the theory itself. Who decides who is a “great” leader, an English or an Irish commentator? How is “greatness” measured when half of the population is disenfranchised? And so on. One of the difficulties historians of economics have had in coming to understand the context of the Carlyle-Mill debate is that it culminated in a controversy over leadership ethics. Economists have had little to say about deference, whether deference results from approbation for heroic acts or from approbation for expertise. Perhaps scholars in leadership studies are uniquely situated to appreciate the context of a debate that culminated in the question of what to do with a “heroic” leader who commits murder. Using Thick Intellectual History for Leadership Supposing we accept that the past yields insights for the student of leadership, how do we teach the past to students who may be predisposed to ignore it? To the extent that we can surprise students and engage them in the debates, the past becomes compelling. We suggest an approach that recognizes that all texts are related, that what we don’t read has implications for our understanding (or lack thereof ) of what we read. In the Carlyle-Mill debate, for instance, an understanding of the analytical position of John Stuart Mill (and, before him, Adam Smith) is greatly enriched by an appreciation of the poets, as well as the anthropologists, biologists, and eugenicists with whom he argued. If this is so, the teaching ground for the leadership studies instructor widens to include more than what is sometimes referred to as “great books.”17 It also becomes extraordinarily fascinating for students as they puzzle through the interconnections, for example, among a poet’s work, an evangelical claim, and Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. In fact, the context, indeed, the contests and the surprises—all of which engage students—emerge when the works are read alongside those who answered the economists and with whom the economists

Intellectual History to Teach Leadership


debated. Resources on the Web are uniquely suited to teaching such wide-ranging debates or episodes in the history of economics. We have examined the Carlyle-Mill exchange and its consequences in our “Secret History of the Dismal Science” at www.econlib.org.18 The columns provide a rich series of windows on the debates: students gain access to a range of disciplinary perspectives on a debate; the columns quote texts and are also linked to many full (and searchable) texts; and examples of the visual argumentation that characterized the debates complement the debate in narrative form. Given the interrelatedness of knowledge and the wideness of the debates under consideration, intellectual historians will invariably recover new texts over time and add them to the set of texts whose significance are recognized for the problem under study. But this is surely a good thing; it serves to prevent intellectual history from becoming a dead (and dull) subject. As a case in point, we have discovered that Walt Whitman entered into the fray in the 1850s—on the side of the economists and in opposition to the poets! His Leaves of Grass takes direct aim at hierarchy and at Carlyle’s “Gospel of Work”:19 I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. I loafe and invite my soul, I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass. My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air, Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same, I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin, Hoping to cease not till death.20 Was Whitman really part of this debate over hierarchy and equality? There is a good deal of evidence to suggest that he was. Whitman uses a key word to describe himself—“a rough”—in his role as speaker for democracy: Walt Whitman, an American, one of the roughs, a kosmos. In his own copy of Carlyle’s Shooting Niagara—now in the care of the Library of Congress—Whitman underscored phrases that caught his attention (figure 8.1). He chose in particular the phrase that Carlyle used scornfully to describe the workings of democracy—“leaving any


Figure 8.1

Sandra J. Peart and David M. Levy

Shooting Niagra: And after?

mob leader . . . Walter-the-Pennyless, or other impotent enough loud individual, with his tail of loud roughs, to work their own sweet will.” When he encountered the word in Shooting Niagara, Whitman underscored his own copy in blue pencil.21 For undergraduates, visual and narrative representations of the debate are particularly powerful. The key point of contention in our series of articles titled “The Secret History of the Dismal Science,” we argue, was whether individuals are the same or different (and in which case how they differ). Following the Governor Eyre controversy, a series of caricatures appeared in Punch that represented Irish Fenians22 as apelike, less-than-competent beings who were apparently unable to look after themselves politically or otherwise. The Irish Fenians are all dressed alike; all have apelike jaws and odd, protruding, teeth.23 In a November 10, 1866, characterization, we find the great advocate of free trade in that period, John Bright,24 selling “medicine” to apelike Irish men (though, from all appearances, the women are not a bit apelike). Although the Bright cartoon is less violent, and as a consequence possibly less startling at the outset than some of the other

Intellectual History to Teach Leadership


Punch images, it bears particular attention, and so we chose to include it.25 Earlier Punch images show the rioting Irish with even more pronounced apish features, perhaps because they are behaving apishly. But in this cartoon with John Bright at the center, the Irish are simply listening to proposals from the radical economists that they be freed from British hierarchy (figure 8.2). These docile Irishmen are apparently incapable of making political or economic decisions. Again an economist’s proposals for self-government are ridiculed. In the second

Figure 8.2

Dr. Dulcamara in Dublin


Figure 8.3

Sandra J. Peart and David M. Levy

Mill’s Logic; or Franchise for Females

image, Mill is the target of humor for his support of women’s rights (figure 8.3).26 By contrast, political economists of the period argued that all individuals possessed the capacity for competence in both the economic and the political sphere. How did they represent analytical egalitarianism visually? Late in the nineteenth century, economist Fleeming Jenkin drew a picture of exchange that is shown in figure 8.4. 27 The picture is a dance in which no one leads. The exchange order is circular, each actor in the drama of markets has his or her own goals, and these private goals are revealed in the spontaneous market order. Conclusion Students of leadership studies who read Smith juxtaposed with Whitman, who read the Carlyle-Mill exchange, and who see these images, understand the debate the way a student who reads only the

Intellectual History to Teach Leadership

Figure 8.4



Wealth of Nations or John Stuart Mill cannot. Carlyle’s Great Man theory not only held up a few for greatness—as all who study leadership theory well know—but also held down those who were supposedly illequipped for leadership or self-governance. Few realize that these targeted groups included the Irish, women, and former slaves. Fewer still know that the argument was later revived and applied to East European immigrants to America. A “thick” study of intellectual history reveals these more complicated issues with some clarity. Notes 1. On the relationship between the conclusion that one is special and exception-making, see Terry L. Price, Understanding Ethical Failures in Leadership (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), p. 39. 2. Leonard Huxley, ed., Life and Letters of Thomas Huxley (New York: Appleton, 1890), p. 303. 3. Joseph Persky, “Retrospectives: A Dismal Romantic,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 4, no. 4 (1990): 165–72; David M. Levy and Sandra J. Peart, “Secret History of the Dismal Science,”






8. 9.




Sandra J. Peart and David M. Levy

2001–02, http://www.econlib.org/Library/Columns/LevyPeartdismal.html; and Sandra J. Peart and David M. Levy, The Vanity of the Philosopher: From Hierarchy to Equality in Postclassical Economics (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005). John Stuart Mill responded immediately to Carlyle because he feared that the progress of American emancipation might be impeded by Carlyle’s prestigious position in the literary world. Even after the American Civil War ended in 1865, there was uncertainty about whether blacks had the same rights as other citizens of the Empire. The Eyre Controversy is examined in Levy and Peart, “Secret History,” article 3. “Seventeen years after Thomas Carlyle had uttered his ‘Discourse on Niggers,’ he appeared as a leading apologist for the results in Eyre’s case of the latter’s application of his philosophy. He was delighted with Eyre’s heroic methods . . . I transcribe below the original draft of the petition written by him for the Eyre Committee . . . ‘kindlg of black unutterabilities but trod it out straightway with a clearness an exact discernmt, with a courage and skill and swiftness which seems to be of heroic quality . . .’ ” Sidney S. Oliver, The Myth of Governor Eyre (London: Leonard and Virginia Woolf, 1933), pp. 336–337. This was published by Keynes’s friends, Leonard and Virginia Woolf, at their Hogarth Press. Though these groups formed coalitions that were sufficient for unity on the Eyre question, views on other, related matters on each side of the coalition were varied. Dickens, for instance, was by no means pro-slavery (while Carlyle was), but he opposed the antislavery movement. See Levy and Peart, Secret History. The differences between Darwin and Mill are discussed in Peart and Levy, Vanity of the Philosopher and Sandra J. Peart and David M. Levy, “Darwin’s Unpublished Letter at the Bradlaugh-Besant Trial: A Question of Divided Expert Judgment,” European Journal of Political Economy 24 (2008): 343–353. Bernard Semmel, The Governor Eyre Controversy (London: Macgibbon and Kee, 1962). The standard scholarly work on the British aspects of the debate remains Semmel’s book from the early 1960s. Of course, it took some time for the memory to be erased. In a lecture published the year before his retirement, Alfred Marshall questions whether the comparative reputations of Mill and Carlyle would stand if people read Mill in conjunction with Carlyle’s defense of Eyre, the 1867 Shooting Niagara: And After? Thomas Carlyle, “Shooting Niagara: And After?” (image) New York Weekly Tribune, 1867. Marked by Walt Whitman. Available from: Library of Congress Feinberg Whitman Collection. Peart and Levy, Vanity of the Philosopher, pp. 31–57. Admittedly, this glimpse obscures nuances that provide insight into why the transition from analytical egalitarianism to hierarchy occurred, and that obscures differences among the key participants. A more detailed account of how the work effort and time preferences are treated by early neoclassical economists is given in Sandra J. Peart, “Irrationality and Intertemporal Choice in Early Neoclassical Analysis,” Canadian Journal of Economics 33, no. 1 (2000): 175–88. Details on the opposition to classical economics on homogeneity are provided by Levy and Peart, “Secret History” and Peart and Levy, Vanity of the Philosopher. For Mill, principles of economics and morality apply equally well to men and women so that “Abstract Economic Man” is a misnomer. We retain the phrase because it is the one most readily recognized by economists and noneconomists alike. The degendering of Mill’s language over his life is carefully studied by J. M. Robson in the collation of editions of Logic, xcii–xciii. Robson reminds us here about Mill’s proposed amendment to the Second Reform Bill in 1867 to replace “man” with “person.” The argument may be stretched to include the leader as intellectual, as scientist, as well; we have argued that the scientist who studies human nature and development has the same motivations as the subjects under study in Peart and Levy, Vanity of the Philosopher. Peart and Levy, Vanity of the Philosopher, pp. 104–126.

Intellectual History to Teach Leadership


13. A theory of leadership that presupposes that the leader is different from the follower creates a presumption that the moral standing of the Leader and Follower is unequal. This in turn leads to ethical failure because leaders, who regard themselves as different from some or all their followers, come to judgments that, since they are not bound to treat all subjects equally, an exception to ethical norms may be put into place in a particular context. See Price, Understanding Ethical Failures. Our point is that to the extent that there is reciprocity ref lecting an equality of moral standing between the leader and follower(s), these exceptions are attenuated. 14. James MacGregor Burns, Leadership (New York: Harper and Row), p. 20. 15. This is entirely the sort of transformation that Mill foresaw with the removal of institutional impediments to the development of self-governance. 16. A. J. Dubinsky, F. J. Yammarino, and M. A. Jolson, “An Examination of Linkages between Personal Characteristics and Dimensions of Transformational Leadership,” Journal of Business and Psychology 9, no. 3 (1995): 315–335. 17. We do not wish to suggest that the “great books” approach is without merit. Rather, we find that students fail to understand many “great books” if they read them (or parts of them) as we often teach them, without context. Our hope is that students will come to know both the books and the debate in which the books are situated. Although this may entail reducing the number of (great) books read, the improved appreciation that results from the sort of problem-oriented teaching we advocate, will, we suggest, compensate for that reduction. Sandra J. Peart, “The Education of Economists: Teaching What Economists Do,” Journal of Economic Education 25, no. 1 (1994): 81–87, makes a similar argument for the development of a senior seminar (capstone) course. 18. Levy and Peart, “Secret History,” http://www.econlib.org/library/Columns/ LevyPeartdismal.html. 19. Whitman’s poetry was attacked for being egalitarian: “To Walt Whitman, all things are alike good—no thing is better than another, and thence there is no ideal, no aspiration, no progress to things better. It is not enough that all things are good, all things are equally good, and, therefore, there is no order in creation; no better, no worse—but all is a democratic level, from which can come no symmetry, in which there is no head, no subordination, no system, and, of course, no result.” Kenneth Price, ed., “Studies among the Leaves,” in Walt Whitman: The Contemporary Reviews (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996). Reviewers were also disdainful of Whitman’s self-characterization as a “rough.” (see, e.g. [Norton] 1855, Critic 1856.) 20. Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself,” in Leaves of Grass (New York: Random House, 1930). 21. Walt Whitman markings on Thomas Carlyle, “Shooting Niagra: And After?” (image). New York Weekly Tribune, 1867. Available from Library of Congress, 1867 Feinberg Whitman Collection. Transparency from the Library of Congress in possession of the authors. 22. The OED defines Fenians as: “One of an organization or ‘brotherhood’ formed among the Irish in the United States of America for promoting and assisting revolutionary movements, and for the overthrow of the English government in Ireland.” 23. L. Perry Curtis Jr., Apes and Angels and Anglo-Saxons and Celts (Bridgeport: Conference on British Studies at the University of Bridgeport, 1968) emphasizes the “simianized” qualities of the Irish cartoons in Punch, 20, 22, 29. Many of the Punch cartoons are presented in Peart and Levy, Vanity of the Philosopher; some are online at www.econlib.org in Levy and Peart, “Secret History.” 24. John Bright (1811–1889) was perhaps the most important nineteenth-century British politician who never became prime minister. Only Disraeli and Gladstone were more often caricatured in Punch. The Punch reference to Dr. Dulcamara comes from Donizetti’s “L’elisir d’amore.” 25. John Tenniel, “Dr. Dulcamara in Dublin,” (image) Punch, November 10, 1866. 26. John Tenniel, “Mill’s Logic; or Franchise for Females,” (image) Punch, March 30, 1867.


Sandra J. Peart and David M. Levy

27. Fleeming Jenkins, Papers, Literary, Scientific, & c, vol. 2 (image). (London: New York, Longmans, Green, 1887) p. 150. Jenkins imported engineering graphical methods into economics. He was the first to draw demand and supply curves in English language economics. This figure, which is also reproduced in Levy and Peart, “Secret History,” and serves as the cover image for Peart and Levy, Vanity of the Philosopher, depicts exchange in circular form. The reproduction is courtesy of the Library of Congress.



Leadership, Liberal Arts, and the Cultivation of Democratic Citizenship M ic h a e l A . G e nov e s e

The modern university serves many functions and confronts many challenges. In an age of globalization, budget cutbacks, naked commercialization, and political assaults from left and right, the mission of the university is being revised to—in some cases—make peace with modernization, and in other cases, to serve as a counterweight to the negative forces propelling the educational enterprise as well as our society. Is the university narrow or expansive? Is its mission merely to transmit useful knowledge and information while better preparing students (clients) for lucrative positions in the job market? Or is our role/responsibility to develop critical and sophisticated thinkers capable of more than merely fitting into corporate cogs in the wheel of industry? If a narrow one, our task is fairly simple, almost one-dimensional: teach the 3 R’s and the one D (discipline) and be done with it. But if our task is more expansive, the first question must be just what, beyond basic skills, ought we to be doing, and second, how best to do that. As the title of this chapter suggests, I will be proposing that the role of the modern university is expansive and must include educating leaders and followers to be active and engaged citizens for a democratic republic in an increasingly globalized world—a mouthful to be sure, and a difficult enterprise no doubt. And yet that is the public purpose of higher education in a political democracy in an age of globalization.


Michael A. Genovese

The modern university is asked to do much: impart the “basics” as well as the advanced, educate for leadership, service, followership, democracy, citizenship, respect for the commonweal, speak truth to power, transfer to a new generation the sum total of our civilization, conduct cutting-edge research, teach with skill and compassion, promote core values, house and discipline our young, serve as marriage brokers for the upwardly mobile, keep them entertained (and if lucky, sober), socialize, and build character. Ah yes, and do all these things on a shoestring budget, within a culture that often denigrates higher education and those entrusted with the task of educating the nation’s youth. Yet, with all these responsibilities and such limited resources, while being attacked from the left and right for our alleged violation of their sacred cow political correctness convictions, the modern university in the United States is unquestionably the finest anywhere in the world. Overall, the American higher education system is number one in the world—by far. And so as we face the daunting challenges of globalization and the assaults against higher education from political opportunists, we should not lose sight of this essential fact that we are the best around! But the modern university faces serious challenges as well as some legitimate criticism. We live in an age of budget cutbacks, we are often targets of political attacks, our students are often politically and academically apathetic, likely more concerned with the instrumental value of a degree than the intellectual and personal growth available to them. We face further restraints and adversaries: ignorance in general, a culture of consumerism, the mall and the media as distractions, university mission confusion, a culture of individualism, the reduction of the citizen to mere spectator, and the power of the market. The general public sees higher education primarily as teaching the “basics” and as a career preparation training program (table 9.1), with the teaching of values close behind and teaching about democracy also ranking high on the list. But if training for democracy ranks near the top, why has higher education shied away from this task?1 Of what are we afraid? Several powerful negative forces have conspired to make education a commodity, a slave to the market, and to some, irrelevant. In many ways, cultural, market, and political forces have conspired to neuter the modern university, reducing it to the role of babysitter and technical trainer, or worse a “Club Ed” spa that nourishes the consumerist tendencies of our students—new weight rooms and recreation centers— while ignoring or shortchanging the student as citizen and scholar. In this complex and contradictory environment, the university does not have “a” role, but many roles. We are a multipurpose enterprise that

Cultivation of Democratic Citizenship


Table 9.1 Views of the public at large regarding the functions of public education Public School Function

Considering Function Absolutely Essential or Very Important (%)

Teach reading, writing, and arithmetic Prepare students for their future careers Teach students the difference between right and wrong Teach children about the values of America, such as freedom and democracy Teach computer literacy Teach the importance of active citizenship Instill a strong sense of patriotism Provide sex education

99 87 86 86 85 80 70 59

Source: Annenberg Public Schools Survey, 2003. Annenberg Public Policy Center.

must train students in skill development, discover and transmit truth, and prepare engaged citizens to assume leadership roles in a democratic republic. The later, of course, is a political as well as an educational and moral responsibility. Our educational as well as our civic roles should inform and animate one another. Part of our calling is to shape moral and civic character—a type of political education. This is different from the “market education” so popular among conservatives who argue that the university has no political role except to support the values they themselves cherish. Under this market conception, the university should give students what they want, not what “we” think they need. The student should be free to choose. Our job is to satisfy their wants, desires, whims, appetites. But such a skewed conception of freedom (as appetite) is contrary to the public—that is democratic or civic—responsibility of the university to prepare leaders for a democratic republic. We are more than our appetites and desires. We are also communal or democratic citizens who must work together for a common purpose. This is of course the very problem Alexis de Tocqueville identified more than 150 years ago in his classic work Democracy in America. It is the tension between individualism and community;2 between doing “my thing” and doing “our thing.” A robust democracy needs both strong individuals who can stand up and speak truth to power, chart a new course, take the path less traveled; and it also needs communities, able to pull together, grow the bonds that make us a nation, help solve common problems. Jean Jacques Rousseau may be correct, that we are “born free but are everywhere in bondage,”3 but we must today face the fact that this bondage


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requires us to be engaged and active citizens who balance individual freedoms with community needs. And we may be born free but leaders and citizens are made. Who does this making? In part, we do. Thus we must develop more explicit models of teaching for democratic participation and leadership and build these models into our mission statements, curriculum, and pedagogy. It is here that we begin to see the more complex enterprise of a liberal education taking shape. We are stewards, transmitters, and preparers of democratic leadership. Nearly one hundred years ago, John Dewey wrote “democracy is more than a form of government; it is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience.”4 How then can education promote and develop our individual skills, as it also develops our democratic leadership skills? We owe this to our students; we owe this to our society. Education in the Early Republic Of course, the original purpose of schooling in the early republic was in part, the preparation of democratic citizens; “seminaries of civic virtue” is how they were sometimes referred (in that era, the definition of “citizen” was considerably narrower than ours today).5 In the early republic, the dual tasks of preserving freedom and engaging in self government were the principle tasks of citizenship, and schools were designed to prepare the citizen for the responsible exercise of their responsibilities. To Thomas Jefferson, the goals of schooling were: To give every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business; To enable him to calculate for himself, and express and preserve his ideas, his contracts and accounts, in writing; To improve, by reading, his morals and faculties; To understand his duties to his neighbors and his country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either; To know his rights; to exercise with order and justice those he retains, to choose with discretion the fiduciary of those he delegates; and to notice their conduct with diligence, with candor, and judgment; And in general, to observe with intelligence and faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed.6

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And George Washington, in his First Annual Message to the Congress, dated January 8, 1790, noted that civic education was the first order of business for the new republic, an education that would involve: . . . teaching the people themselves to know and to value their own rights; to discern and provide against invasions of them; to distinguish between oppression and the necessary exercise of lawful authority; between burdens proceeding from a disregard to their convenience and those resulting from the inevitable exigencies of Society to discriminate the spirit of Liberty from that of licentiousness—cherishing the first, avoiding the last; and uniting a speedy but temperate vigilance against encroachments, with an inviolable respect to the Laws.7 The school thus served individual and democratic (societal) purposes. As Lorraine M. McDonnell writes: As initiators of the first large-scale experiment in democratic government, the Founders recognized that the survival of America’s political institutions depended on citizens’ ability to participate in public life and to exhibit civic virtues such as mutual respect and prudent judgment. Yet in the aristocratic world of the late eighteenth century, the Founders found few models of how to instill democratic values in citizens. Consequently, they had to devise an entirely new approach to education.8 The Modern Era McDonnell sees four factors undermining these democratic purposes in the modern era: (1) the ascendancy of the private, individual goals of schooling over its collective, public purposes; (2) the current state of political participation; (3) uncertainty about whether Americans can respect and accommodate cultural and political diversity while still espousing shared values; and (4) value conf licts inherent in education and democracy.9 The university has a clear responsibility to educate for democracy. After all, virtually every leader, politician, public official, and a significant number of citizens pass through our doors, and we have a responsibility to them and to society to better prepare them for the task ahead—to be enlightened, thoughtful, intelligent, compassionate,


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democratic practitioners, and leaders. We can do more than talk about the future, we can constructively shape it. If the university does not do this; who will? Do we cede this to corporate culture? To the market? The media? The mall? But default is not a sufficient answer. We ought to be doing these things because they are right and necessary, as well as beneficial. What gives us the right? Who gives us the authority? Because it is our job! The democratic faith of our founders was grounded in a belief in reason and the premise that education could elevate the citizen to become effectively self governing. Education is the pathway to the promotion of reason and the attainment of self government. In many ways, we are the glue that holds democracy together. The state of mind that is “America” is the ideal transmitted from generation to generation, an ideal we largely help transmit. Yes, but HOW? If the university is to embrace this civic responsibility to educate responsible citizens and educate leaders for a democratic republic within a globalized world, what do we need to “know,” to “be,” and to “do”? How can curriculum be reformed to better foster and achieve these goals? How can our classroom pedagogy reinforce and support this mission? Such a mission is not value neutral. It takes sides. It takes the side of democracy. It presumes that higher education’s primary obligation to the commonweal in a democratic republic is to better prepare citizens and leaders to become truly self-governing. And this responsibility may clash with market values. As Michael J. Sandel has written, For the civic mission to succeed, it is important that the university not fit students to society too well, or too completely. In fact, a liberal education does not produce a perfect fit between students and the social roles and conventions the world has to offer at any given moment. It produces misfits. By misfits I mean students who do not take their society’s established roles and practices as given but who regard these practices as open to criticism, contest, argument, dispute, and revision. In this sense, at least, the civic mission of the university counsels the cultivation of misfits, students who will be sufficiently uneasy with established social and

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economic arrangements that they will become questioning, critically minded citizens.10 Educating for democratic leadership/citizenship is important in an atomized secular political order, as democracy requires citizens of a certain type of character, able to balance the private with the public, the individual with the community, the self with the other. As Benjamin R. Barber has written, In a world of diversity (desirable in a democracy), we need commonality (necessary in a democracy), and if not in our schools and colleges, where are we likely to find it? College is where we learn to choose and criticize and individuate, but it is also where we learn the meaning of community and the arts of liberty that make community life possible. Defined exclusively be our differences, we become them. Farewell, citizenship. Goodbye, democracy.11 In general, universities do a commendable job of promoting service and volunteerism. But service—as valuable as it is—is not enough. Democratic citizenship requires much more. Of course, when we speak here of citizenship we speak of the United States. Yet, increasingly, citizenship needs to be seen in broader terms. After all, with growing interconnectedness, interdependence, and globalization, we must now conceptualize our place in a larger more complex, more diverse international community. Increasingly, globalization compels us to think beyond ourselves, beyond our borders, and educate our students as world citizens. This creates additional pedagogical challenges for the modern university. Political philosopher Michael Walzer asks us to reconceptualize citizenship in the following way: Think of citizenship as a political office: surely future officeholders should learn something about the responsibilities the office entails. Or better; the current officeholders should teach the next generation what they think they have learned about those responsibilities. For the reproduction of democratic politics is never a sure thing. We have to prove to our children that we really believe in the values that make democracy possible. That means, first of all, that we have to live by those values; it also means that we should not be afraid to insist on their study. For very good reasons, citizenship, unlike medicine or law, doesn’t require a license; students


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don’t need a passing grade in democratic politics. But they should definitely take a course.12 The Problem Recast Multiple forces conspire against the promotion of democratic citizenship by the modern university. The market promotes the commercialization of education and the view that a degree is merely a commodity. The utilitarian conception of education and the creeping commercialization of our educational system undermine democratic education. For some, getting a better job and a high salary is the measure of academic success. But our foremost concern is training citizens, not preparing workers. And if the disgraced Enron executives and convicted Wall Street felons received degrees from some of our finest institutions of higher learning, well, they must have missed that one day in class in which “Business Ethics” was discussed. Or did their educators teach them how not to be responsible corporate citizens? Which is it, bad apples or bad education? Or both? But our students and their parents claim that they are paying for this education, and they can dictate what they want for their money. In this, the market ethos is to be the guide. To the extent the university caves in to such demands—many universities now refer to their students as “clients” and “customers”—we may end up giving the students what they want but not what they need. To the extent that the modern university has succumbed to the seductive power of a market conception of education oriented to satisfying the customers’ desires, we do a disservice to our “clients.” The market analogy is the wrong one. Instead we should employ the medical analogy. One goes to the doctor, not to be fed a steady dose of good news (yes, it is my “desire” for the doctor to tell me that my cholesterol level is 120) but to get the “truth” (Mr. Genovese, your cholesterol is at 260 and you must take steps to reduce it!). If the doctor were to give his customers what the customer wanted, he would be doing a grave disservice. No, we go to the doctor not to satisfy our fantasy but to get an accurate reading of our health. In the same way, we go to the university not to be made to feel good, but to be challenged, pushed, confronted with alternative views and ways of seeing and knowing. We go to get an education. Caving in to the market conception of education gives our students a free pass. They do not have to confront their desires and appetites,

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only satisfy them. They do not have to have their prejudices and preconceptions challenged, they merely have to put in their time to get a degree. This is to lead an “unexamined life.” We must ask ourselves where these desires come from (advertising?), and if there are unexplored alternatives to our desires and appetites. Criticism of the market takeover of higher education is not new. Over a century ago Thorstein Veblen complained that the market had reduced education to a “merchantable commodity.”13 The commercialization of education can also be seen in the competition the mall has over our younger generation. The market orientation of higher education reinforces the consumerism so prevalent in the mall, the new public space where the young go for a warped— and commercialized— sense of place and community. The message? Happiness can be bought. The goal? Consumer choice. The outcome? Atomization, alienation, and debt (and ultimately, an unsatisfying life). The corporate consumerist values are further reinforced by the media. In network, commercial television, the connection between purchasing and pleasure is too obvious to comment on. But even in the movie theater, with the prevalence of “product placement” in films, consumers, audiences, are bombarded with the alleged pleasures of consumerism. And on the Internet, pop-ups and commercials are unavoidable. They are ubiquitous. Our culture is a culture of consumerism where buying trumps reading and where the false promise of happiness is at the end of a cash register. We are nourished by the soothing elixir of the mall. The monotonous drone of media stimuli numbs the recipient, and yet, the volume of input and the repetitive commercial manipulation of advertising shapes preferences and makes the media “America’s invisible tutors,”14 as it also isolates us from our fellow citizens making common action more difficult. The typical student spends more time in front of a television than reading books. “Education” (of a sort) thus takes place less in the classroom and more in front of the tube. Is the tube the real teacher in modern America? And what lesson do our students learn? Can we compete with such stars?15 All of this contributed to a form of “militant individualism” that conceived of citizens as self-contained, atomized, and unconnected from community. This elevation of self above others has roots deep in our culture and is part of among other things, the romantic notion of “the hero” as promoted in countless movies—just look at the “classics” of the cinema. Be it a Frank Capra average guy hero in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, or Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, or classic John Ford Westerns


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such as The Searchers, our heroes are lone wolves who are able to conquer corruption, and the forces of evil by virtue of their own drive and character. Individual action solves problems, collective action is not required. This antidemocratic bias is not only pernicious, but it is also historically inaccurate. After all, in the old West, what is the first thing “the community” did when confronted by a band of bad guys? That’s right, they formed a posse! But the High Noon image has been stamped into the subconscious of the American self-image and this individualism trumps community. One person can make a difference, but if one can make a difference, imagine how much of a difference hundreds, or thousands, or even millions could make? It is precisely that which we are not asked to imagine. The Fundamentalist Challenge, at Home and Abroad If individualism interferes with the promotion of democracy and community, the problem of fundamentalism (at both home and abroad) is a slap in the face of open inquiry. The clash between the requirements of modernity and the demands of fundamentalism present a harsh lait motif in the emerging culture wars. Apathy and ignorance, the “I don’t know and I don’t care” syndrome, combines with rampant individualism to form the modern political dropout—cynical about government, yet anxious to get personally ahead. Research by Daniel Yankelovich suggests an “aff luence effect” wherein, as a society gains in wealth, individualism increases and “individual choice” becomes increasingly important. In aff luent societies, the young often grow up focused more on acquisitions than on the development of social or communal bonds. If I can satisfy most of my desires by “purchasing,” what need is there for “community”?16 Not caring is one thing and not knowing is quite another. Ignorance makes students susceptible to manipulation. It makes them less free (and less free to choose). A 2006 survey found that while 52 percent of Americans could name 2 or more characters from “The Simpson’s,” only 28 percent could name 2 of the freedoms protected by the 1st Amendment. Another poll revealed that while 77 percent of Americans could name 2 of the 7 Dwarfs, only 24 percent could name 2 Supreme Court Justices (no pun intended there). A recent Annenberg Public Policy Center poll found that only two-thirds of Americans could name all three branches of government.17

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Leadership for Democracy How can we combat these pernicious evils? With an educational approach in the liberal arts that promotes citizenship and leadership for a democratic republic. It is the way out of this morass. Among the many daunting tasks for the modern university is the development of capable, caring, responsible, ethical leaders who lead a diverse society in a democratic context. Just what do we mean by this? Thomas E. Cronin has part of the answer: I believe there can be an alternative form of leadership: I cling to the view that leadership can be of an enabling, facilitative kind. Leadership, reconceptualized as an engagement among equals, as a collegial collaboration, can empower and liberate people—and enlarge people’s options, choices and freedom. Democratic leadership at its best recognizes the fundamental— unexpressed as well as felt—wants and needs of potential followers, encourages followers to a fuller consciousness of their higher needs, and helps convert the resulting hopes and aspirations into practical demands on other leaders. A democratic leader consults and listens and so engages with followers as to bring them to heightened political awareness and activity, and in the process enables many of these participating followers to become leaders in their own right. The desired leader in a democracy moves away from hierarchical commands and traditional leader-follower relations and instead helps inspire and mobilize others—citizens, contributors, participants—to undertake common problem-solving tasks.18 Democratic theorists have long wrestled with a vexing question: Is there such a thing as “Democratic Leadership?” or, are the two words mutually exclusive if not contradictory? Cronin has gone so far as to refer to them as “warring concepts.”19 For educators who believe in the superiority of democracy over other forms of government, a way must be found to reconcile these two seemingly warring concepts into a sustainable whole. The tension between a society’s needs for leadership and the demands of democracy was reinforced by James Bryce when he reminded us that “Perhaps no form of government needs great leaders so much as democracy.”20 But what kind of leadership? The strong hand, authoritarian direction of a forceful, heroic leader, or the gentle guiding hand of a teacher? Emile Zapata warned us that “Strong leaders make a weak


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people,” but can the people work together and accomplish their goals with weak or absent leadership? Proponents of strong democracy realize as Bruce Miroff has written that Leadership has rarely fit comfortably with democracy in America. The claim of leaders to political precedence violates the equality of democratic citizens. The most committed democrats have been suspicious of the very idea of leadership. When Thomas Paine railed against the “slavish custom of following leaders,” he expressed a democrat’s deepest anxiety.21 But such tensions have not prevented Americans from time to time reaching out for strong leaders to guide the republic—especially in times of great stress. Most especially in times of crisis, we turn to leaders in the hope that strong leadership can save us. Thus, while we may be suspicious of strong leadership, we also at time admire and even crave it. As Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., has written, The American democracy has readily resorted in practice to the very leadership it had disclaimed in theory. An adequate democratic theory must recognize that democracy is not self-executing: that leadership is not the enemy of self-government but the means of making it work; that followers have their own stern obligation, which is to keep leaders within rigorous constitutional bounds; and that Caesarism is more often produced by the failure of feeble governments that by the success of energetic ones.22 Such dilemmas notwithstanding, is there a style of leadership that is compatible with political democracy? Although a tension will likely always exist between leadership and democracy, there are ways to bring the two into a more creative tension that both calls for a role for the leader while also promoting democratic participation and practices among the citizenry. Just as President Abraham Lincoln gave us a clear, succinct, eloquent definition of democracy as “government of the people, by the people, and for the people,”23 so too did another of America’s great Mt. Rushmore leaders give us a clear, eloquent, simple definition of democratic leadership. Thomas Jefferson believed that the primary duties of a leader in a democracy were “to inform the minds of the people, and to follow their will.”24 There are two core concepts contained in Jefferson’s brief definition: inform minds and follow the people’s will. Informing the minds

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of the people speaks to the role of leader as educator. In a democracy, the leader has a responsibility to educate, enlighten, and inform the citizens. Leaders identify problems and mobilize the people to act. By informing or educating the citizenry the leader engages in a dialogue, the goal of which is to involve both leader and citizen in the shared process of developing a vision, grounded in the values of the nation that will animate future action. The leader’s task in a democracy is to look ahead, anticipate problems, focus the public’s attention on the future and on the work that must be done, provide alternative courses of action, chart a path for the future, and the nation in support of those ideas. The leader must mobilize the public around a vision and secure a consensus on the proper way to proceed. The second component of Thomas Jefferson’s definition, to “follow their will,” suggests that after educating and involving the people, the leader must ultimately follow the will of the people. The leader serves the public. The leader’s job is to inform, educate, and persuade the public to embrace and work for a vision that taps into the deeper truths and higher purposes of the will of Americans. But whatever their ultimate judgment, the leader must serve the people and ultimately follow their direction. And how can the modern university promote such democratic leadership? Again, Thomas E. Cronin writes, Leadership must be learned. Learning about democratic leadership requires teaching and encouraging students to improve their capabilities for observation, ref lection, imagination, invention, and judgment. It requires refining one’s ability to think, write, and communicate effectively; it requires an ability to gather and interpret evidence, marshal facts, and employ the most rigorous methods in the pursuit of knowledge. We could encourage the ability to ask the right questions and the ability to distinguish the significant from the trivial, and we should encourage an unyielding commitment to the truth combined with a full appreciation of what remains to be learned.25 The Democratic Classroom? The last “great” experiment with the democratic classroom took place in the early 1970s. I played a very small part in it. The Nixon administration’s invasion of Cambodia on April 30, 1970, sparked massive U.S. campus protests. I was a sophomore at a small


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liberal arts college, and we marched, went on strike, and demanded “educational reforms.” Those “reforms” involved the dropping of all required courses and the placing of responsibility for one’s education squarely on the shoulders of each individual student. “Do your own thing” became the operative educational and personal mantra. It was heaven. No more pesky language requirements; forget math; and the sciences? No way! We carefully calibrated our class schedules to insure (a) no morning classes, (b) light reading, and (c) easy grading. I did remarkably well. With the inmates in charge of the asylum, chaos reigned and fun ruled. But this experiment led to a backlash. It was not long before universities returned to the bad old days of overregulation and limited choice. It may have been bliss to be a student in those days, but I must confess that looking back, I learned very little. If my pleasure quotient was high, my intellectual and personal growth rate was quite low. In a way, we went from one bad extreme to another equally bad extreme; from the classroom as authoritarian utopia (for instructors) to the classroom as democratic anarchy (where the students’ desires prevailed), and then back again. We need to reject both extremes and embrace a more truly democratic and participatory classroom. What might the genuinely democratic classroom look like? Do? The truly democratic classroom must engage students, develop critical thinking, be more participatory, promote active learning, assist in developing group cooperation in learning, be less monologue and more of a dialogue, develop expressive skills (orally via debates for example) and writing skill, employ experiential exercises and simulations, empower learners, be service oriented, and promote logic and ethics. The goal is to create a more participatory classroom. A participatory classroom is not a democratic classroom. One does not ask the student: “Do you feel like doing a research paper this semester?” No, a truly democratic classroom would have to assume that faculty and students are roughly equals, and that is not so. We may be equal in our political rights, but we are not equal in expertise, training, or experience. We—teachers—have the academic training, the experience, and the professional expertise that qualifies us to guide the classroom experience. Students come to us because of our insights, skills, and expertise. It is a distinctly unequal relationship. But the goal is to engage students in a process. That process is designed to elevate, enlighten, challenge, and empower.

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Active Learning A civic pedagogy for democracy must involve “active learning.” We must provide our students/citizens (not customers) with a toolkit with which they can more capably navigate the rocky waters of democracy and globalization. The goals of such an education must include familiarity with a common core of knowledge, promotion of a common set of democratic values, skills in group interaction and conf lict resolution, familiarity with democratic practices, and the promotion of equality and justice. These are the building blocks of democracy. Active learning begins at the university-wide level and must filter down to individual classrooms. At the university level, active learning commitments can be incorporated into the mission of the university, through curricular reform and with innovative programming. At the university-wide level, the modern university can choose as a chief component of its overarching conceptual framework or its mission, the task of committing to the education of men and women to assume leadership/citizenship roles in a democratic republic within an increasingly globalized world. Such a mission has curricular implications. You can’t merely add a course here or a course there, wipe your hands and say, “There, done!” Efforts must be made to systematically infuse a curriculum of civic engagement into the heart of the university. There are several ways for the university to move in this direction. Changing the mission is one. Another is to commit to diversity in a diverse world. Another is to place system-wide leadership development as core forces of the university. Another is to conduct a one-day teach-in every semester, centered around a major public issue (global warming, race, gender equality, democracy, foreign intervention, genocide, etc.) with the entire university (faculty, students, and administrators) reading a common text with speeches, debates, movies, lectures, all centered around that common theme. All of these goals must be servants of the search for excellence. At the curricular level, universities can reconceptualize what it means to be “an educated person” and do so with a global approach. In the modern world, the educated person must be multidimensional. This means that for the university to better prepare students to become leaders and citizens in the global environment, they must require courses in religions of the world, geography, anthropology, history, ethics, logic, philosophy, cultures, comparative politics, international relations, government, gender and race studies, the global economy, the scientific method, critical media studies, democracy, globalization, and


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languages. In addition, universities might require a study abroad experience as well as a service-learning or internship experience. Alternativebreak options such as working to build houses in poor communities or counseling at-risk youth are also options. Finally, the university can encourage and develop inter- and cross- disciplinary courses. At the classroom level, pedagogy must also ref lect these values and goals. Critical thinking skills must be developed, active learning classrooms must be promoted, and collaborative student projects must be implemented. The development of students’ oral skills (e.g., debates) and writing skills must be central to our task. Experiential exercises and simulations should be encouraged. Problem solving and decisionmaking case studies can be incorporated into the classroom. We must cultivate informed engagement in civic life, for as Thomas Jefferson reminded us in an 1820 letter to William Jarvis, “I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves.” And Jefferson wisely added, “if we think [the people] not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion; the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education.” Support for the democratic purposes of education thus has a long pedigree, but it has been lost, stolen, or we have strayed in recent decades. Part of the problem stems from different democratic visions. One of the many casualties of the “culture wars” is a consensus on what constitutes education for democracy. The political right, led by William Bennett and Lynn Cheney, calls for education for patriotism; the left promotes multiculturalism and communitarian values. Lost in this conf lict is agreement on what skills and attitudes are required to develop a robust democracy. Informed engagement and the development of civic literacy are necessary if we are to move from a formalistic, minimalist, procedural brand of democracy that assumes that a citizen’s civic responsibility is satisfied by voting occasionally and observing the law at other times, and move to a more robust, engaged, participatory form of democracy. A democracy is not a machine that will go of itself. It requires the development of skills, attitudes, aptitudes, ways of seeing and being, expectations, and habits—all of which are hard to come by, harder still to revive once lost or stolen. The modern university, among its many other roles, can model democratic practice, promote democratic values, cultivate democratic skills, promote participation, and transmit knowledge. Today, many universities promote “service” (a wonderful thing, but that is not enough and

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it is not democracy). But more than service is necessary, more than good deeds are required. We must move beyond service to democratic empowerment. Is there a hidden political agenda at work here? No, it isn’t hidden at all. It explicitly seeks to educate citizens to become leaders in a democratic republic within a global community. Is this indoctrination? Not if we do it well. Our current civically sterile mission must be infused with a new commitment to civic education that teaches students to think clearly and critically, and one that helps prepare them for the difficult tasks ahead. Conclusion If we are serious about our public role in the educational enterprise, we must reform the university. If we don’t take this task seriously, who will?26 As the global hegemon, the United States has both vast power and an awesome responsibility. We must self-consciously train the leaders of tomorrow to responsibly exercise the power at our disposal; the power exercised in our name. To do otherwise is to roll the dice blindly in hopes that—despite the lessons of history and the problems of recent years—everything will just turn out all right. We can’t take that risk. We need not. Notes 1. See: The Annenberg Democracy Project, A Republic Divided (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007). 2. Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (New York: Vintage Books, 1945). 3. Jean Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract, trans. Maurice Cranston (Penguin Classic, 1968). 4. John Dewey, Democracy and Education (New York: Macmillian, 1916), p. 87. 5. Lorraine Smith Pangle and Thomas L. Pangle, The Learning of Liberty: The Educational Ideas of the American Founders (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1993). 6. Report to the Commissioners Appointed to Fix the Site of the University of Virginia (the Rockfish Gap Report), in The Complete Jefferson, ed. Saul Padover (New York: Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, 1943), pp. 1097–1098. 7. The Writings of George Washington form the Original Manuscript Sources, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick, vol. 30 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1939), p. 493. 8. Lorraine M. McDonnell, “Defining Democratic Purpose,” in Rediscovering the Democratic Purposes of Education, ed. Lorraine M. McDonnell, P. Michael Timpane, and Roger Benjamin (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2000), p. 2. 9. Ibid., pp 5–8.


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10. Michael J. Sandel, “Liberal Education and the Civic Project,” in To Restore American Democracy: Political Education and the Modern University, ed. Robert E. Calvert (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield 2006), p. 46. 11. Benjamin R. Barber, “The Media, the Mall, and the Multiplex,” in To Restore American Democracy: Political Education and the Modern University, ed. Robert E. Calvert (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2006), p. 65. 12. Michael Walzer, “Moral Education and Democratic Citizenship,” in To Restore American Democracy: Political Education and the Modern University, ed. Robert E. Calvert (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield 2006), pp. 229–230. 13. See Eyal Press and Jennifer Washburn, “The Kept University,” Atlantic Monthly, March 2000, pp. 45–46. 14. Robert E. Calvert, “Political Education and the Modern University,” in To Restore American Democracy: Political Education and the Modern University, ed. Robert E. Calvert (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield 2006), p. 8. 15. Bob Harris, “Give Us 30 Minutes, We’ll Give You 289 Commercials,” Z Magazine, June 1996, pp. 50–53. 16. Daniel Yankelovich, “How Changes in the Economy Are Reshaping American Values,” in Values and Public Policy, ed. Henry A. Aaron, Thomas E. Mann, and Timothy Taylor (Washington, DC: Brookings, 1994). 17. See Rosa Brooks, “America Learn It or Leave It,” Los Angeles Times, December 8, 2006, editorial page. 18. Thomas E. Cronin, “Leadership and Democracy,” Liberal Education 73, no. 2 (1987): 36. 19. Ibid. 20. James Bryce, The American Commonwealth, vol. 2 (New York: MacMillan, 1888), p. 460. 21. Bruce Miroff, Icons of Democracy (New York: Basic Books, 1993), p. 1. 22. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Cycles of American History (Boston: Houghton Miff lin, 1986), p. 430. 23. Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address. See Mario Cuomo and Harold Holzer, eds., Lincoln on Democracy (New York: Harper Collins, 1990). 24. Willard Sterne Randall, Thomas Jefferson: A Life (New York: Henry Holt, 1993). See also, Merrill Dr. Peterson, ed., The Portable Thomas Jefferson (New York: Viking Press, 1975). 25. Cronin, “Leadership and Democracy,” pp. 38–39. 26. Charles W. Anderson, Prescribing the Life of the Mind: An Essay of the Purpose of the University, the Aims of Liberal Education, the Competence of Citizens, and the Cultivation of Practical Reason (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1993); Anne Colby, Thomas Ehrlich, and Elizabeth Beaumont, Educating Citizens: Preparing America’s Undergraduates for Lives of Moral and Civil Responsibility (Indianapolis, IN: Jossey-Bass, 2003); Thomas Ehrlich, Civic Responsibility and Higher Education (Washington, DC: The American Council on Education and the Oryx Press, 2000).



Forever Becoming Leader J oh n A . Rou s h

I am honored to be included in this volume on leadership. I count at least one of the other invited essayists, Rich Morrill, to be a mentor, a “difference-maker” in my life. As a student of leadership, it has been my privilege to study and teach and lecture and write on this aspect of the human condition for more than twenty-five years. With this said, I remain, as I tell my students each year, a WIP—a work in progress. In the paragraphs to follow, I will make regular reference to the class I teach each year at Centre College. Our College calendar allows for a January term, called CentreTerm, in which I teach a course titled, “Rainmaking: The Study of and Preparation for Leadership.” I alternate teaching first-year students in one year and senior students in the next. It is a good course that is regularly overrated by the students. I appreciate that they seem to think it’s a great course of the transformational variety, but I think they are too kind. What the course does do is give me the opportunity to consider, again, what we know about leadership as a field of study. And, that opportunity for me is great. Teaching each year demands that I rethink what matters most about the subject, and demands that I look for how one connects an experience in the liberal arts and sciences with the subject. It also demands that I create an intellectual experience that will serve as a “primer” of sorts for these students as they plow through approximately seven hundred pages of material, make a tenminute oral presentation, and write a seven to ten page paper on the twentieth-century leader of their choice, keep a journal of their readings


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and research, and take a twelve-question, short-answer exam—all in the period of sixteen class days. It is a whirlwind, but I have come to believe that it is a very, very good way to be introduced to the study of and preparation for leadership. What my students have never asked, though they might have, is why the study of leadership is a profoundly good and important topic for a young person involved in a rigorous program of study in the arts and sciences? I should add that they are provided with a reading from the journal, Liberal Education,1 that asks this very question, but, in truth, my students and I sorta begin with the assumption that it is important. What I attempt to highlight in the sections that follow is a model for how and why the study of leadership can be appropriately and effectively blended into one’s liberal education. I know that this approach works at Centre, and I am inclined to believe the model has much broader application. Expectations The expression “timing is everything” is only true in part, but it is true in part for sure. Along these same lines, I believe that setting the right expectations for what one might experience in a course or program of study is “everything in part.” Let me explain a bit further, and in so doing argue that the study of leadership is a primary component of being liberally educated. A fundamental part of my approach to knowing about and teaching about leadership is setting expectations. My approach to studying and, in the process, being prepared for leadership is built on the premise that my course, plus almost all of the programs that I know something about, might be considered a “primer.” This is not to diminish what students learn in my course or what some other student might learn in a course or even a degree program. Rather, it is to acknowledge that the study of leadership fits nicely into the notion that to be liberally educated is to understand and even welcome the idea that a person is always a student, forever learning about and unceasingly acquiring new ideas and skills needed for good and effective leadership. That to be a good and effective leader—like being a liberally educated person—puts one in the position of forever “becoming.” The upshot of this approach, of course, is to take away the unwelcome obligation of mastery, as the expectations for the course are to acquaint, to develop, to encourage a lifelong desire to know more about leadership. Hey, if that doesn’t fit into a good experience in the liberal arts and sciences, then what does?

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So, What Can We Expect? What can we expect our students to learn about leadership, whether it is in a CentreTerm course or a traditional-semester experience, or in an undergraduate degree program like the one at the University of Richmond that was put together during my time there? Allow me to discuss four aspects of leadership studies that represent some of the primary elements that would be considered “best practice” when it comes to the study of and preparation for leadership. History and Ethics Matter in Liberal Learning I work hard to provide my students with an historical look at how we have come to study leadership. And, while the execution of leadership—leaders leading—is a phenomenon that began, no doubt, with the first civilized people, the actual study of leadership is a relatively new field. Some leadership scholars suggest that the study of leadership is a fully mature discipline. I disagree. One can argue that the study of leadership is less than a hundred years old in total 2 and, in fact, did not become a subject of serious intellectual ref lection until the mid-70s, perhaps gaining real momentum with James MacGregor Burns’s text, Leadership.3 Those of us who care about leadership studies need to advance this truth and doing so in the liberal arts setting fits well. Always learning more is a foundation piece of the liberally educated person, so it is altogether appropriate that the study of leadership be advanced as one of “incompleteness.” In line with this framework, I work with my students to help them read about leadership with a critical eye, including asking them to read some articles on leadership that would be considered by most—me, at least—to be belowaverage or poor analyses of the subject matter. In a time when nearly anyone can claim authority about a wide variety of subjects, I believe it is imperative that liberally educated students are encouraged to be critical readers; not cynical or negative in approach, but balanced and critical. Another note about the study of leadership at institutions that value liberal education: it is okay, desirable even, to address the ethical dimensions of leadership. We, colleges and universities that prize the liberal arts and sciences, are in position to discuss and advance the merits of good and effective leadership as compared to just effective leadership. There are many examples of leaders throughout history who have been effective, but who have done so at the expense of those asked or, as more often was the case, were required to follow. Liberal


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education should make no apologies for promoting an understanding of good, effective, moral, ethical leadership. I go a step further with my students to suggest that just knowing about this kind of leadership is insufficient. Modeling it should be the goal, the objective of the liberally educated person who is thrust into a position of leadership. There Is No Cookbook! My first advice to my students and to you is this: Burn all the cue cards, dump all the checklists, and if anyone tries to sell you his or her version of a “leadership cookbook,” politely walk away.4 The cue cards, the checklists, the cookbooks—each is an incomplete and sometimes misleading way to describe the phenomenon and prescribe the behaviors of men and women who lead. This is a tough first step, for all of us are tempted, or want, to think there is a leadership master plan and that, at heart, all great leaders are alike or at least nearly so. The paradoxical truth is that, by definition, every leader has a unique imprint—his or her “leadership fingerprint,” if you will. No two leaders—regardless of common factors of age, gender, race, or nationality—are alike. Those who truly excel at leadership learn how to capitalize on their fingerprint. They systematically cultivate one-of-a-kind thinking based on the strengths, needs, and potential of their organization and the people who work alongside them. Notwithstanding the differences and individuality of leaders, there is common ground—principles, habits, attitudes, commitments—that characterize the men and women best equipped to provide leadership for the modern organization. These are not rules, or ingredients, but qualities of leaders who achieve greatness and goodness in their own unique way. Let’s call them qualities of person, as I think this language comes closest to describing what effective leaders tend to share in common. These qualities help to provide a backdrop against which a person can take personal inventory of the characteristics, skills, and experiences that would shape his or her fingerprint in a leadership role. I have identified seven qualities of person. Most are variations on the ideas of others who have thought deeply and written with some clarity about leadership. There are leadership scholars who have more to say about these and other elements of leadership, and I commend them to you. These seven qualities of person are placed in priority order—some things simply are more important. At the risk of appearing falsely humble, I suggest to you that what I have to share—in its entirety—is not rocket science. And, there are other attributes, qualities of person that

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you might judge are more important than the seven I call off below in brief. Good for you! That sort of civil disagreement is good for the whole—all about being liberally educated.

Telling the Truth Sounds simple, but the single biggest problem facing leaders today is the allure of the half-truth: the idea that you’re only dishonest if you utter an outright lie. In other words, what is not said has nothing to do with honesty—a tempting shortcut? Yes, but it carries a hefty price. The truth has a way of coming to light in its entirety, casting an uncomfortable glare on the most inconvenient facts. In that glare, the cost of dishonesty is evident—strikingly so. If you get caught in a jam, even a real tough one, tell the truth. We Americans are very good at forgiving, and even forgetting, but we are very tough on leaders who disrespect us by not giving us the facts and diminish the role of leader by being disingenuous. This habit of not telling the truth makes it harder on all those called to leadership, as one dishonest leader can generate a creeping cynicism that makes leading all the more difficult for others. Truth telling is about personal courage—a willingness to do the right thing. It comes first in leadership. Without truth, there is no trust, and without trust, leadership is impossible. I also have come to believe that the leaders in an organization hold the key to creating a culture of honesty, and this, I can assure you, is a critical aspect of leading a successful organization, whether it is a profit or not-for-profit, big or small, complex or otherwise. I often tell my students that they should make an effort to tell the truth lovingly whenever possible, but they must not let their fear of offending get in the way of truth telling. The price is way too high.

Serving Oh my, here we go with the line about how the leader should or must always put the needs of others above his or hers at all times. I will stop short of this ideal. But, let me be clear that the leader who wishes to lead his or her organization for the longer pull must be prepared to put others above self. Men and women of faith have an edge in understanding the value of this quality, but being a person of faith does not


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guarantee this quality. The person who sees leadership as service tends to be a person with a humble spirit: a leader, who takes his or her work seriously, but is careful not to take him or herself too seriously. So much of this quality is about attitude. It was once explained to me by a wise person that to be humble is not to think less or poorly of oneself, but to not think of oneself at all. Now, that is a very high standard, one to which I can only aspire, but I like the notion of the leader, in his or her role as leader, not “thinking” of himself, not “thinking” of herself in fulfilling the leadership role. Leaders who serve report that they work with others, not that their coworkers work for them. People who see leadership as an opportunity to serve are men and women who do not assume they are “deserving” of the perquisites—financial and otherwise—that often accompany leadership positions, particularly in formal organizations. Although it is human nature to enjoy the good things that often come with being called leader, servant leaders never forget from whence they came. Servant leaders know that the privileges of being in charge are not to be abused. They understand that their most important role in the organization is to encourage, create opportunity, and inspire success among the men and women who serve alongside them. They never forget that leaders need followers, and the good and effective leader strives to be the kind of leader he or she would want to follow. Communicating True North Good leaders are charged with staying focused on and communicating the organization’s primary mission—“true north,” if you will. Establishing the organization’s mission is an administrative skill deserving of a separate article, but the best leaders, when faced with important decisions or opportunities to communicate, ask themselves: “Does my action serve or advance the organization’s mission?” Being a good communicator has little to do with being an outstanding orator, though this is another leadership skill to be coveted. No, leaders who communicate well are committed to being sure that their organization shares important and strategic information in an honest, timely way, thus allowing employees at all levels to be reminded of the organization’s mission and know what is occurring in the life of the enterprise. And, as this occurs, a working environment is created in which the employees develop a sense of ownership and loyalty that will advance the organization’s mission, whatever it might be.

Forever Becoming Leader


Communication becomes the foundation for motivation within the organization. The leaders of larger, more complex organizations “communicate” by being certain the leaders working alongside them share this same commitment to communication. There is no magic to all this, and in the final analysis effective communication is not about newsletters and e-mails and staff meetings, though all of these can assist in the effort and are almost always a part of the process. Being an effective communicator of true north is, once again, about attitude, and motivation— about believing and trusting in the men and women who work in the organization. My experience tells me that all of us get sloppy in this area. We forget that new men and women join our organization and are unaware of our organization’s culture and peculiarities. This oversight is unintentional, but can, over time, create confusion summed up by the classic phrase, “Well, I thought everyone knew about that rule or policy or organizational habit.” One final note on communicating true north: first-rate, comprehensive planning, used as a leadership tool, can do a great deal to help define or redefine organizational mission and create an environment where communication is timely, honest, and provides a context for the men and women who carry out the work of the organization. Giving Authority I often refer to this as one’s ability to “hand-off,” tracing back to my days long ago as a football player and coach. Handing-off means giving authority to people. In football, when the quarterback hands it off, he really is giving it up to the runner and the nine other folks who will make something happen with that opportunity. This quality is really about trust and wisdom and believing in the worth of one’s fellow workers—the other leaders in the organization. A great many leaders talk a lot about giving authority, but, when faced with the opportunity to do so, they just can’t live it out. To be about the business of handing off, the leader must live with the reality that occasionally able people will do things differently from the way he or she would do them. You can get sideswiped and sometimes surprised, but if you hire good people, you must let them do the work. You’ll never move forward without investing capable people with authority. Good leaders develop a capacity for and come to understand the wisdom of handing off. This has been a leadership strength for me, though I was never a quarterback. It has been my very good fortune to be surrounded by


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excellent people in almost every job I have held in these many years. My genius, if I have any, has been to let these men and women do their jobs. In short order I become their advisor, their counselor— asking questions, probing for data to support their decisions, handing out credit and recognition to them without a pause. Cultivating Informed Intuition In my view, technology is a wonderful thing. The capacity we have to gather and analyze important data has never been greater. I am a leader who likes to have information—lots of it. But, even in this age of instantaneous data, a single decision may carry more weight than a million facts. My point: care about the research and know the latest trends, but know, ultimately, many important decisions (and almost all the really difficult ones) require some new and unknown synthesis that is neither guess nor fact. Good leaders learn to follow their informed intuition. Most of the leaders I know who have distinguished themselves in their company or field are ones who trust their instincts. They cultivate the practice of receiving and understanding data and reports and recommendations, but they also have learned to trust their sense of rightness, their informed intuition. You will want to exercise some care here. Never forget that some men and women (those who work with you and those you may work for) are determined to make everything data driven; if there is no solid information to support a choice, then he or she doesn’t make it. As a leader, you cannot discount this position. Rather, you must arm yourself with the best information available surrounding a choice that needs to be made, then—as leader—decide when it’s right to pull the trigger and accept the consequences. Moments of absolute certainty rarely arrive! Building Pockets of Greatness You should know that I have adjusted my seven qualities of person by one, replacing what had been number six, “Fixing Irritation,” with a new one titled, “Building Pockets of Greatness.” I have been persuaded in the last several months that this characteristic of leadership is more important—much more so at this moment in time—than fixing irritation, a quality that called for the leader to be alert to fix irritation as a way for him or her to stay grounded in reality and to maintain a sense

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of humility about the total effort of the organization. Acknowledging that no leader can fix irritation everywhere, good leaders make a practice of finding f law and making sure it is corrected. Building pockets of greatness draws its inspiration from Jim Collins’ booklet, Good to Great and the Social Sectors, where he maintains that “It might take decades to change the systemic context, and you might be retired or dead by the time those changes come. In the meantime, what are you going to do now? This is where the Stockdale Paradox (an inspiring portion of the book, Good to Great) comes into play: You must retain faith that you can prevail to greatness in the end, while retaining the discipline to confront the brutal facts of your current reality. What can you do today to create a pocket of greatness, despite the brutal facts of your environment?”5 Such is the charge to those who lead. Unable to fix all of the problems in any organization, one must strive to create pockets of greatness. Dreaming Big and Hitting Homeruns on Occasion Freud had a lot to say about dreams that emerge from the unconscious, but leaders must embolden themselves for dreams of the conscious kind. One mark of a leader is the will to swing for the fence, aiming for the homerun. If a leader can inspire his or her organization to dream big, every individual becomes better for it. Finding a challenging task and executing it with confidence serves to raise the bar for the whole organization. And big dreams aren’t reserved only for big organizations. The organization I serve, Centre College, became the smallest college in the smallest town ever to host a General Election Debate in October 2000. This Vice Presidential Debate between Messrs. Cheney and Lieberman set “the standard by which other national debates will be judged.” It was a dream articulated and f lawlessly executed by an entire team of people at Centre, in Danville, and in Kentucky. A leader can have high aspirations, whether the setting is an elementary school PTA with fifty active members or a corporation with five thousand employees. To be clear, I am not talking about ideas that completely outstrip the ability and capacity of the people staffing the organization. That’s a quick way to ruin. Good leaders understand that a big challenge, successfully executed, creates an organization full of men and women who forever believe “they can.” These seven qualities of person that manifest themselves in those who lead might be thought of as a cross between common sense and


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being smart—evidence one more time that good and effective and even inspired leadership is not rocket science, but a phenomenon that can have the effect of rocket fuel in your organization. The Body and Language In all fields there are some texts and ideas that need to be “included” in the students’ experience. This is true, of course, in the study of leadership. I judge that there is a body of knowledge that demands the attention of those men and women who wish to understand and comment on the phenomenon of leadership. Others are in better position than I to compile a list that would constitute the canon for leadership studies, but it is important for us—those who believe in leadership studies—to establish and reexamine the listing of such works. I would offer, with some measure of certainty, one book that should be on such a list. John Gardner’s On Leadership6 has been the primary text in my course since I started teaching it. His book, a rather philosophical analysis of leadership, is worthy of inclusion on any list of “must reads” related to leadership studies. Leadership scholars, in addition to making important additions to this body of knowledge, should be helping to identify and promote those books and articles that are most important. This process is more critical these days because it is so very easy for men and women—to include those with impressive credentials and position—to share their ideas about leadership and every other field of study. So, we need some of the sages to provide intellectual “discrimination,” if you will, as the leadership canon develops and matures. When I started teaching about leadership, I thought it inappropriate and much too “trendy” to provide students with taglines, coined words, phrases, and catchy labels—hereafter things—that are often associated with leaders and leadership. I was wrong! I think I avoided sharing and emphasizing these things because I believed them to be anti-intellectual and not capable of standing the proverbial test of time. I may be proved right about the test of time issue, but I was wrong in suggesting that these taglines, coined words, phrases, and catchy labels are somehow anti-intellectual. Truth be told, these things teach and can provide a context for serious conversation about leadership. An example might be helpful. I have used Jim Collins’ text, Good to Great,7 with my class. His book, which has been the favorite secondary text I have used in my course, is absolutely filled with coined words and phrases and ideas—for example, “pretense structure,” “unsustained

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comparisons,” “red f lag mechanisms,” “the hedgehog concept,” “the f lywheel and the doom loop,” and so on. During the first year or two I used his book, I worked with some success to help the students decode what Collins was saying into more conventional language regarding leadership studies—language with which I was more comfortable. Then, one afternoon the students asked me why I was doing this. They didn’t buy my answer and persuaded me, in short order I should add, that Collins’s use of words and labels really worked for them, providing them with a clearer understanding of how leadership was having impact. They were teaching. I was learning. I have reversed course and have become comfortable with using these things in the study of and preparation for leadership. One still should exercise good judgment about using catchy labels and other things as a teacher/scholar, but allowing students to gather up some of this language, which may fall into disfavor over time, is okay—desirable, even. Leadership by Association I have long believed that chances to be around leaders of consequence are opportunities not to be missed. I believe this is true for leaders of all ages, even those of us who are longer in the tooth, but I believe it to be of special value to younger men and women who are learning to be leaders—those among us who are busy with the study of and preparation for leadership. How can we accomplish this for students? Again, the experience in the liberal arts and sciences, I contend, creates special opportunities for students to listen to, intern with, and work alongside leaders in all walks of life during their undergraduate years. If you are one who directs programs or teaches in the field, my strong encouragement is to seek out multiple ways for your students to be in the presence of men and women who understand the value of sharing their wisdom, their insights, their misgivings about leadership and its practice. Many of these men and women—professors of practice, if you will—are in position to do much more than just tell “stories” about their successes and their failures. They almost always bring substance and intellectual value to the classroom or meeting. My point here is a simple one: be intentional and determined in bringing leaders of practice into the learning experience of those who study it. Doing so enriches the reading and the writing and the understanding of all. Be ready, anxious even, to share the stage with leaders from business, education, law, medicine, public service, and so


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on. These individuals, properly informed of what you expect them to accomplish with the students, will exceed your expectations. Conclusion Finally, being a good and effective leader is more about developing and maintaining a practice of curiosity, inquiry, and the testing of good ideas than it is about acquiring and applying an established set of facts or skills. Authentic leadership, if I may be permitted one final sports analogy, is akin to being a skilled athlete who has mastered the fundamentals, but who approaches each play fresh, always observing, learning, and applying new knowledge, even in the heat of action. Good and effective leaders know that there is no magic to being successful—they understand through experience and intuition that each day will require courage, knowledge, f lexibility, honesty, humility, focus, trust, judgment, aspiration, inspiration, and more. Leadership, particularly in these times, demands our best, and these men and women, our nation’s current students and tomorrow’s citizen-leaders, are best served by having the opportunity to study and be prepared for leadership! Now finishing my tenth year in the presidency here at Centre College, my wonderful wife, Susie, and I talk often about the endless questions that are asked and the wonderful openness of the intellectual life here at Centre. But, as mentioned earlier in this chapter, my students have not asked why the study of leadership is a profoundly good and important topic for a young person involved in a rigorous program of study in the arts and sciences. Forever the optimist, I have judged that these students have come to understand, at a much earlier age than I did, that the process of becoming leader—the journey, if you will—fits nicely into the notion of being liberally educated; that they understand and even welcome the idea that a person is always a student, forever learning about and unceasingly acquiring new ideas and skills needed for good and effective leadership; that to be a leader puts one in the position of forever “becoming”; that the expectations are to acquaint, to develop, to encourage a lifelong desire to know more about leadership. Armed with a broad view of what’s good for their community, their nation, and our world, plus a good dose of courage, students are ready to start, ready to be inspired to action. Good for them! Good for us!

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Notes 1. “Mary Marcy, “Democracy, Leadership, and the Role of Liberal Education,” Liberal Education, 88 (Winter, 2002): 6–11. 2. Alan Filley, Robert House, and Steven Kerr, Managerial Process and Organizational Behavior, 2nd ed. (Glenview, IL: Scott Foresman, 1976). 3. James MacGregor Burns, Leadership (New York: Harper and Row, 1978). 4. John Roush, “Leadership Fingerprints,” Leadership Kentucky Connections, Winter/Spring, 2002. 5. Jim Collins, Good to Great and the Social Sectors (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), p. 30. 6. John W. Gardner, On Leadership (New York: Free Press, 1993). 7. Jim Collins, Good to Great (New York: HarperBusiness, 2001).

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Leadership Is the Practice of the Liberal Arts Ja m e s M a ro o s i s

They characterize men who ignore our practical needs and delight in mental juggling of the ancient sophists as “students in philosophy” but refuse this name to those who pursue and practice those studies which will enable us to govern wisely both our households and the commonwealth—which should be the objects of our toil, of our study, or our every act.1 —Isocrates 400 BC Athens Discriminate, Illuminate; use abundantly all things available.2 —Confucius 400 BC China In a volume about integrating leadership into the liberal arts, this chapter thinks otherwise. It agrees with the other contributions to this volume that an education in the liberal arts is critical for meeting the leadership challenges of today’s world. However, it diverges from the mainstream in two respects: first, it portrays education in the liberal arts less as an academic venture and more akin to the development of the ability to respond to opportunities in a creative and moral manner; second, it asserts that, contrary to preconceptions and stereotypes, studying management, as a discipline of thinking and action, is central to realizing the ancient promise of leadership, which is the liberal arts as a practical wisdom aimed at doing good things in the world. The leadership tradition of the liberal arts is not the academic tradition of the liberal arts. The academic tradition stresses intellectual,


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analytic, and abstract thinking; the leadership tradition stresses intelligence, opportunism, and the ability to take advantage of situations. The purpose of one is to study ideas; the purpose of the other is to act in an appropriate manner to get the right things done. The leadership tradition is action oriented. It is not only about concepts and theories but also about percepts and moral response-abilities. The leader is a doer, an opportunist, a creator who uses artistic sensibilities, training in the virtues, and liberal arts competencies to understand change and get things done. Hence the purpose of leadership in the liberal arts is not simply to study leadership or to be able to talk about it in academic forums. It is to learn how to read, hear, feel, and respond to what is being called for in the here and now. The leader as a liberal artist is constantly learning to recognize and understand the dictates of a situation and responding to the opportunities and dangers of the present moment. The fact that we rarely think of “taking advantage of a situation” in terms of doing something good tells us how far removed we are from this tradition of the liberal arts, where advantage means the ability to do what is right. Isocrates once wrote: I come now to the question of advantage—the most difficult of the points I have raised. If anyone is under the impression that people who rob others or falsify reports or do any evil thing get the advantage, he is wrong in his thinking; for none are at a greater disadvantage through out their lives than such men and women; none are found in more difficult straits, none live in greater ignominy; and in a word, none are more miserable than they.3 There is a rich tradition here. It is founded by Isocrates and Xenophon in ancient Greece, and was developed by Cicero and Quintillion in Ancient Rome. It can be traced through the Middle Ages and the early Renaissance in Augustine, Castiglione, Erasmus, and More, and it is reemerging today as the managerial tradition of the liberal arts adumbrated in the writings of Peter Drucker, Marshall McLuhan, and Mary Parker Follett. This type of learning teaches the service, stewardship, leadership, and management of one’s skills and opportunities in a way that is highly effective and deeply moral. It teaches novelty in action, the need for elegance and decorum, and saying and doing the right things, as a defining characteristic of effective leadership. Teaching the virtues as managerial tools, it teaches ethics as doing things.

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We hope to show that leadership in the liberal arts requires expanding existing humanities programs to teach leadership as the liberal arts, as the management of the liberal arts in a moral and ethical manner. It is not that difficult to understand the liberal arts in terms of leadership and management training. Confucius tells us in The Unwobbling Pivot that the best way to manage anything is through pattern recognitions and learning to follow the process patterns. Things have roots and branches; affairs have scopes and beginnings. To know what proceeds and what follows, is nearly as good as having hands and feet.4 Heraclitus points out that the only way to manage change is to expect it and prepare for it. You will not find the unexpected unless you expect it; for it is hard to find, and difficult.5 Anticipating the unexpected and learning to respond to it is what we need to learn in an age like our own where new technologies are continually changing the way we live. Innovations such as cell phones, laptops, and the Internet have had a huge impact on the way we think and do things. None of them simply made things better. All of them made things different and with each new service—and disservice— they provided came a new sense of purpose, a new set of gripes, and a new need to rethink who we are and why we do things. The key here is learning how to read the changes between “the roots and the branches” while getting those perceptions to work together with our hands and feet to get the right things done. This chapter demonstrates that the way to do this is through learning how to use the liberal arts as leadership tools. In this way, we will be looking at the liberal arts as a tool kit and the practice of leadership as a way of putting the arts into action in today’s world. This is Cicero’s old definition of the humanist ideal as “the effective use of knowledge for the guidance of human affairs.” For him, the humanist is not an abstract thinker. He or she must learn how to use what they know for their advantage and the good of society. In this way we will approach the liberal arts as a practice, as something we do, and management or leadership as a discipline of thoughtful action, a form of practical wisdom. Likewise, we will see how the practice of management can be understood as the doing of the liberal arts and how the leadership entails mastery of the liberal arts.


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A good example of this mastery is eloquently expressed by Benjamin Graham, the author of The Intelligent Investor, who wrote in his memoirs, What I brought into Wall Street was an academic viewpoint that was self-adjusting to practical considerations. My school training had made me searching, ref lective, and critical. I was able to add to these qualities two others that generally do not accompany the theoretical bent: First, a good instinct for what was important in a problem or situation and the ability to avoid wasting time on inessentials: and second, a drive toward the practical, toward getting things done, toward finding solutions, and especially toward devising new approaches and techniques.6 This description of the liberal arts implies that creativity, innovation, and responsibility have their origins in man’s relationship to things and not in man’s infatuation with ideas. It points to a natural self adjusting of liberal arts into the practice of getting things done by using research, ref lection, and critical judgment to produce effective results. There is nothing modern about this. It retrieves something as ancient as it is new, and as Western as it is planetary or trans-cultural. Graham’s description of himself is from the same model that Homer uses to describe Odysseus as polytropos, “the man of many devices.” If we compare Graham’s description to the Isocratean definition of an educated person we see a stark congruency. I hold that man to be wise who is able by his powers of conjecture to arrive generally at the best course, and I hold that man to be a philosopher who occupies himself with the studies from which he will most quickly gain that kind of insight.7 This very same ideal is manifest, as we shall see, in the practical simplicity of the Chinese approach, and in the common sense practicality one finds in many of the world’s mythic heroes, heroines, and fairy tale characters. The point is that practicality requires intelligence and in many ways it is the same sort of intelligence that is imparted by a liberal arts education. Our task here is to situate the practice of management in this ancient trans-cultural planetary model of practical wisdom to draw some philosophical conclusions. This analysis of the practice of management will indicate that the tools and insights needed to survive in today’s world

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are thousands of years old, require rigorous, almost daily training to remain current, and are all about learning how to be highly effective people by putting knowledge into action in an ethical manner. Pursuant to this we will: ●

Lay to rest the notion that management studies is only about business. Develop a fundamental understanding that management and leadership as liberal arts disciplines require mastery of the liberal arts to be effective. Recognize that as a practical wisdom, management cannot deny that it is fundamentally a deeply moral and highly ethical discipline that is rooted in ancient and medieval modes of realism.

In this way we will see that one very powerful and effective way to retrieve and renew the meaning of the humanities as Humanitas as “the effective use of knowledge” is through the practical wisdom of the practice of management. Leadership in the liberal arts is leadership through the liberal arts. Management Is Not Business Management To follow this line of argument, it is necessary to “suspend disbelief ” and try to dissociate the word “management” from the word business and the term “liberal arts” from their current academic connotations. As Peter Drucker pointed out in “Management’s New Paradigms,” It is important to assert—and to do so loudly—that management is not business management, anymore than say, medicine is obstetrics. Management, like leadership, is a function. It is a doing specified by its objectives, which means there are as many different types of managing (money, words, people, health, family) as there are things to manage. There are, of course, differences in management between organizations— MISSION DEFINES STRATEGY, AFTER ALL, AND STRATEGY DEFINES STRUCTURE—but the difference between managing a chain of retail stores and managing the Roman Catholic Church are amazingly fewer than either retail stores or Bishops realize. So whether you are managing a software company, a hospital, or the Boy Scouts, the differences apply


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to approximately 10 percent of your work. This 10 percent is determined by the organization’s specific mission, its specific culture, its specific history, and its specific vocabulary. The rest is pretty much interchangeable.8 Management as we shall see is nothing but the trivium applied to the language of organizations. The Liberal Arts Are Not Academia As management is not business management, the liberal arts are not a collection of academic subjects to be studied in school. In fact, in many ways what passes as a liberal arts education is really an education in applied social sciences, applied psychology, or applied political ideology. The original meaning of the liberal arts as a well-managed threefold path, as a tri-via, has been all but forgotten. It is this older trivial understanding of the liberal arts that constitutes the discipline and practice of management. Management as a discipline of study has its roots in medieval understanding of the liberal arts. In the Middle Ages and all through antiquity, the goal of a liberal education was to be of service to God and the community. Even if the pursuit of learning was a delight, the purpose of learning was to apply it to the world. The whole point about scholarship as a cloistered pursuit was that these studies were so important for society that society needed to create a free space where they could be pursued in leisure. So higher education had a dual function: in itself it was an intellectual pursuit but in the world it served the humane ends of a just society. Its practical value was in learning how to put wisdom into action for the corporate well-being of the community. At the core of this understanding of education was the practice of the three liberal arts of Rhetoric, Grammar, and Dialectics (Logic). These were called the three ways of liberal arts of language or the trivium. These three ways consisted of: ●

Rhetoric was the art of transformation—persuasion, empowerment, negotiation—and was generally understood as the arts of eloquence and decorum. The goal here is to change the way people think. Originally rhetoric was the art of discovery and ingenuity, the source of innovation and entrepreneurial initiatives. Rhetoric is an agent of change sensitive to situation and purpose. Grammar was the study of words and their interanimation with other words, which means etymologically (studying their history and

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meaning in different contexts), exegetically (interpreting their meaning), and philosophically (exploring their consequences). The goal here is to study words and their interaction with other words through their history, interactivity, and implications. Grammar focused on studying what is, how it works, what it means, understanding nuance as a source of opportunity and meaning. Dialectic (logic) was the art of following arguments, evaluating the soundness of thinking. It was about mapping things out in an orderly fashion; it was about learning how to think things through. Dialectic is the home of abstract intellectualism. It is the place where thinkers draw conclusions from an abstract and ref lective study of the facts. The goal here is clarity, focus, and accountability.

These arts were always understood as leadership tools. As Roger Mason points out in his book on Kingship and the Commonwealth, The study of grammar and rhetoric, of eloquence as defined by Cicero and Quintillian, may appear to be a rarefied academic exercise of distinctly limited application and appeal. Yet what cannot be over stressed is just how intensely practical . . . the humanist education programme actually was. For this was a curriculum deliberately designed for the lay elite, a training in and for citizenship, which would equip the recipients to serve their prince, their kingdom and their commonwealth.9 I. A. Richards has pointed out in his Teaching as Interpretation that the original purpose of these arts was To orient, to equip, to prepare, to encourage, to provoke, a mental traveler to advance by his own energies in whatever region may be his to explore; to make him or her think for themselves and make them able to do so sanely and successfully. He goes on to say that this has always been the aim of a civilizing education . . . [and that] . . . Rhetoric, Grammar and Logic, if we set aside their repulsive terminology’s and associations, are the headings under which to arrange what the student we hope to help needs most to study.


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His point being that a training in Rhetoric, Grammar and Logic, as Arts not sciences, which is at present almost entirely lacking in the curriculum, is what is most needed.10 This point is well taken; you will rarely find the trivium being taught with any seriousness as arts in most liberal arts faculties. Instead we tend to teach the liberal arts as applied sciences, be it applied psychology, applied political science, applied cognitive theory, or applied anthropology. We rarely teach the application of the liberal arts as practical tools to get things done. If we look to see where the practical application of the four levels of grammatical exegesis or the five classical divisions of rhetoric are being taught as practical tools to understand and implement change, we may be surprised to see that they are being studied in the business and management faculties as the practice of management. Surprisingly, it is the trivium that is the core curriculum managers must learn to do their jobs. What management programs teach, without realizing it and with no sense of their historical mission as moral tools, is the old liberal arts practices of rhetoric, grammar, and logic that along with the quadrivium made up liberal arts and sciences education. ●

Rhetoric is innovation and entrepreneurship. It is the basis for developing mission statements and management plans. Rhetoric is needed to work with people, facilitate meetings, sell ideas, empower fellow workers, make presentations, talk on the phone and in front of people, write memos, and market and advertise products. It is about transforming the way people think. How do I use the phone to enhance my effectiveness? How do I get people to buy this product or buy into this idea? Grammar is the study of organizational and informational interfaces, the art of interpreting the processes that make up an operation and then learning the true meaning of an organization. It is about a deep multilevel exegetical analysis of the meaning and the manner of an organization and how things work. What are you doing and why are you doing it? What business are you in? It works on many levels at once, is sensitive to change, and is devoted to calling things by their right names. Logic is logistics, strategic planning, setting goals, and developing action plans, downsizing to increase effectiveness. It is about

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seeing what will work managing for results. How can we achieve a 10 percent reduction in our insurance costs? How do we sort things out to identify problem areas and areas of opportunity? Discovering the trivium at work in management is important for two reasons. First, it makes it very clear that management has every right to call itself a liberal arts practice, albeit a practice that is quite different than the one currently being taught in today’s liberal arts curriculum; and second, it reintroduces grammar and rhetoric as a legitimate and not just remedial course of study. This points us to the battle of the books or the history of the trivium as the history of a battle within the trivium over who controls and defines the meaning of the liberal arts. It points us to the age-old issue of the mismanagement of the liberal arts. This is a battle that had already begun when Plato threw Homer and The Sophists with their “MBA programs” out of his ideal Republic. In the Middle Ages, this battle raged between the Ancients (The Grammarians and Rhetoricians) and The Moderns (the Logicians). Today it is the yet-to-be-declared turf war between the Management Schools and the liberal arts faculties over the direction and goals of higher education. This is a battle that has to stop and it has to stop now; there is too much at stake. The first step toward ending this conf lict is to break through our denial and admit that such antagonism still exists. The next step is to approach this problem therapeutically and in depth to look for the intellectual and psychological complexes, fears, and anxieties that are instigating and perpetuating it. I am talking here about exposing a great sea of resentment and distrust that is in the way of any real integration of management and the liberal arts. If we can recognize that this is a 2500-year-old feud that carries with it all the ferociousness of a tribal vendetta—a balkanization as it were of the liberal arts—and if we look at this relationship with the consciousness of someone who is tired of acting out these destructive complexes, then we can work together on reintegrating all of these shadow elements and looking at them in a totally new way. This requires courage and the willingness to let go of old identities to rethink who we are as liberal artists, managers, and educators in a far more honest and effective manner. It means to see the place of management in the history of the liberal arts. This requires taking on new roles and responsibilities. It requires recognizing that one’s old expertise has now become one’s


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new ignorance. What does the way that colleges have tried to organize and departmentalize knowledge during the last century have to do with the new ways needed to organize learning for the next? Restructuring means a lot of stress, with uncertainty taking the place of certainty and dialogue taking the place of set rules and regulations. This new uncertainty is healthy if it can be depersonalized and seen for what it really is: a byproduct of the new mosaic and a source of new insights and awareness. In many ways, we are way beyond the threshold of this wonderful revival of unmodern thinking. The reinvention of the three ways of the liberal arts reintegrated in the way of managers and leaders must learn and do things is only the tip of the iceberg. In many ways we are back in the Middle Ages. Medieval and preliterate motley is everywhere. As McLuhan points out in his “The Middle Ages: Then or Now?” In our electric time, when all happenings have an increasingly resonant and simultaneous character, we begin to feel a con-natural sympathy with, and understanding of, the medieval period, as well as a sense of identity with primitive and pre-literate societies for whom the environmental sense of ecological equilibrium was a primary consideration in their imagination of order.11 Here the reappearance of the trivium is no trivial matter. It is the efficacy of the trivium, and not some nostalgia for the past, or some platitudes about the importance of a classical education that is responsible for its reinvention and institution in the management faculties. This reinvention is a response to a real need that the original three liberal arts seem to meet. It is the need to learn how to survive in today’s multitechnological trans-cultural global realities. The fact that this adaptation takes on the form of the trivium hints that the keys to our survival in today’s world may be aboriginal and ancient instead of what is touted today as postmodern and multicultural. The renewal of this integrated understanding of the liberal arts could mark the end of the hegemony of abstract Western logic (both modern and postmodern) and the pseudo uni-logical-multiculturalism it has engendered. It should mark the end of the rhetoric/grammar/ logic split and the need to reintegrate the trivium as the basis for a vital and relevant renewal of the liberal arts. As the invention of the printing press gave us the renewal of classical antiquity, through the dissemination of the ancient texts, electronic technology has given us the renewal of preliterate and medieval modes

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of awareness, through the corporate tribalism of global communication networks. Paradoxically, postmodernism is a thing of the past while forgotten ancient sensibilities are renewed and put into action. This renewal begins with the restoration of management and leadership to their rightful place within the liberal arts not only as liberal arts disciplines, but also as liberal arts subjects. The subject of management is ethics—doing the right things for the right reasons. In essence, like the ancient liberal arts it puts to work, management is an ethical discipline that must be taught and practiced as such. Education in educated society must be education for virtue, and must aim at creating the desire for it. Education that does not strive for the “good man” is ignoble and cynical. Anyone as highly equipped with knowledge, with ability to learn, and with ability to do—and with income—as is the educated man of educated society, is equipped with so much power as to be a menace, if not a monster, unless he have virtue. He must have high ethical values, strong moral responsibility and a commitment to serve no mean end. He needs spiritual values founded in the knowledge of man’s fallibility and mortality, in man’s imperfection and man’s aloneness, and in the knowledge that freedom is but responsibility to choose between service to a true and to a false master.12 Management Is Ethics It is very important to understand that management, like ethics, is about responding to situations and not merely following rules. It is not about taking orders and doing things right (being efficient or correct), it is about seeing what needs to be done and doing the right things (being effective and creatively engaged in bringing forth things of real value). Management as a doing is fundamentally a moral activity and therefore good management needs to learn to do the right things for the right reasons. As we will see, managing, like leading, is a moral activity that lives by necessity in the world of the moral virtues. To do the right thing for the right reason is precisely how Aristotle and Aquinas describe Practical Wisdom. This is what the Greeks called Phronesis, the Latins called Prudence, and the Chinese call The Way. My point is that management as a practice entails all the discipline entailed in the ancient understanding of practical wisdom.


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Virtue is a “perfected ability” of man as a spiritual person; and justice, fortitude, and temperance, as “abilities” of the whole man, achieve their “perfection” only when they are founded upon prudence, that is to say upon the perfected ability to make right decisions.13 Now this notion of prudence or practical wisdom has its roots in the preliterate Homeric world of the Greek’s and the pre-Confucian world of the Chinese, and it is comprised of two distinct components. First it is a type of knowing and second it is a type of doing. Practical wisdom “knows” what to do and it does it. It is a way of being effective by developing plans, expediting options, producing results, making things happen, and living in the world. So that practical wisdom is a knowing that is a doing and a doing that is a way of being. This, of course, is the classical definition of virtue. As Aristotle points out in the sixth book of The Nicomachean Ethics of the five intellectual virtues and the four moral virtues . . . ONLY PHRONESIS . . . practical wisdom . . . the management of things or oneself requires knowing what to do and doing it. Practical wisdom is knowledge in action or knowledge in practice and EVERYTHING that should be taught in management belongs to this field of the liberal arts. It is called Ethics. What makes this wisdom practical is not that it belongs to a different type of reason like Kant’s distinction between practical and pure reason. What makes it practical wisdom is that one’s knowledge of the way things are is transformed into effective actions generating results. This is straight out of the aristoleo-thomistic tradition. Describing exactly what it means to be an effective manager or a good leader, Josef Pieper points out that “An education to Prudence means the objective estimation of the concrete situation of concrete activity, and the ability to transform this cognition of reality into concrete decisions.”14 This is why I think books like Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (no matter how much academics may cringe) or Peter Drucker’s The Effective Executive and Managing for Results should be required reading and built into the core requirements for first year liberal arts students to be read alongside selections from Cicero and Lao Tzu. You need to learn to teach them as bridges to understanding ethics as a way of living and working with others in the world. The time to learn how to be effective is at the beginning of one’s studies. When I taught these books in freshman philosophy classes as an introduction to the study of ethics, I would use a student’s desire to be effective to whet his or her appetite to do good.

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The idea is to begin with Covey or Drucker and end up with Plato, Xenophon, Mencius, or Confucius. When you focus on teaching the efficacy of the virtues, learning constellates around the humane nature of one’s tasks. It focuses on the things we need to know to understand things and make the right choices. It is the humanist tradition of the liberal arts of management that teach the ability to “read” situations and reorganize priorities to get the right things done, by putting those priorities into action in a proper manner. This of course requires encyclopedic learning, moral training, and managerial competencies. In this sense, management can be understood as “the practice of existential readiness.” For unlike the ref lections of a philosopher, or the creations of an artist (words on a page, paint on a canvas), the manager puts knowledge into action, and he or she is responsible for getting things done. Management is a way of being or comporting oneself in the world. It is about being effective, being innovative, and being entrepreneurial. It is about embracing life, staying in touch with things, and working things out. It is an ethics without the moralism of rules and regulations. This means an ethics grounded in the four cardinal virtues of Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance. The good manager needs the courage to be fair without acting out. He or she needs to develop those habits (virtues), which allow them the capability to do the right things for the right reasons. The idea is to become response-able, to learn how to f lourish within contexts, to be eloquent, decorous, and act appropriate to the situation without being vacuous, devious, mean, or evil. As a practical wisdom, management is about being good by bringing goods, not necessarily “products,” into the world. It is about learning the meaning of bestowal. This is what makes a person, a society, a community, or an organization worthy—an understanding of gratitude, response-ability, and accomplishment versus an understanding of perceived entitlement, group resentments, and blame. Peter Drucker reiterates these points when he indicates that management, . . . deals with people, their values, their growth and development— and this makes it a humanity. So does it concern with, and impact on, social structure and the community. Indeed, as everyone has learned who, like this author, has been working with managers of all kinds of institutions for long years, management is deeply involved in spiritual concerns—the nature of man, good, and evil.


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He goes on to describe management as a liberal art because it is a knowing and a doing. Management is thus what the tradition used to call a liberal art— “liberal” because it deals with fundamentals of knowledge, selfknowledge, wisdom, and leadership; “art” because it is practice and application. Managers draw on all the knowledges and insight of the humanities and social sciences—on psychology and philosophy, on economics and history, on the physical sciences and ethics. But they have to focus this knowledge on effectiveness and results—on healing the sick patient, teaching a student, building a bridge, designing and selling a “user-friendly” software package.15 What Drucker describes as management is clearly what we have been describing as a liberal arts activity. But he seems to be confusing the liberal arts with academia. The liberal arts already include a social function in the leadership tradition of the liberal arts. The humanism at work in the heart of management and leadership studies is by definition a form of social or civic prudence, what Thomas More calls a form of “civic comeliness.” The purpose of an education oriented to developing leadership skills is an education in learning to act with appropriateness, decorum, humility, and effectiveness; to be a person capable of understanding and doing the right things in an appropriate manner. Drucker seems to miss the mark when he defines the liberal arts as liberal ⫽ knowing and arts ⫽ doing. That is not what these words mean. The word liberal comes from the Latin libertas, which is the root of words like to liberate or liberty. The liberal “part” of the liberal arts is about freedom. The art “part” means “to make.” So the term liberal arts means, quite literally, “the arts that make us free.” What Drucker describes as The Liberal Art of Management the ancients described as practical wisdom “the ability to put knowledge into practice,” or as they would say, to put truth into action. So if we ask Drucker the question that he asks everybody else, “What business is management in?” and he tells us “the ‘Liberal Arts’ business” we have to say to him, as he is so famous for saying to others, “You are wrong! It is in the ‘practical wisdom business’ and it is carrying on a tradition that is thousands of years old. The roots of which are found in Homer and extend through the ancient sophists, through Cicero, Dante, and Castiglione, it reaches us in the West and from the

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I Ching through the sayings of Confucius and the writings of Lao Tzu in the East.” To be a good manager one must be encyclopedic, hands-on, and capable. In this sense, management is the nexus where liberal arts training is put into practice. To be a good manager one needs to get an effective education, which means one must learn the right things for the right reasons, and those things belong in the domain of the liberal arts. This is why Drucker concludes his analysis by pointing out that, For these reasons, management will increasingly be the discipline and the practice through which the “humanities” will again acquire recognition, impact and relevance.16 This leads us to the question of applying the liberal arts as management tools to understand and work with the new patterns of everyday existence that make up today’s world. Managing Change By managing change I mean the way technological change reorganizes the way we live. McLuhan’s work is indispensable here. He teaches that in an age of rapid change, the manager must learn how to detach from his or her situation to comprehend what is happening. The shift in technologies, the move from paper data processing to electronic data processing for example, or the introduction of computers into libraries, is not an enhancement of existing operations but the creation of a whole new operation. It not only creates different work environments, but it also creates different businesses or ways of learning with different priorities and different opportunities. A corporation, as is a college, is an extension of the technology it uses and the technological environment it is in. Technological innovations actually change the bones and sinews, the muscles and joints that make up a corporation. The innovative leader must perceive these changes to develop action plans that will allow the organization to survive. What McLuhan learned from T. S. Eliot is that innovation and creativity is always a response to change: recognizing the new actualities and letting go of the old possibilities. McLuhan’s book on Management— Take Today: The Executive as Drop Out—suggests living in the moment by discriminating new processes from old products and seeing what new services and disservices these new technologies are creating. The


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task of the manager is to transform missions and organizational goals to conform to the ever-changing new way of things. He tells us, Paradoxically, electronic man has no choice but to understand processes, if he is to be free . . . The only method for perceiving processes and patterns is by inventory of effects obtained by the comparison and contrast of developing situations.17 Let me give you an example of what McLuhan is talking about without trying to lay out his whole understanding of media. The best example is the one that he himself suggested, Edgar Allen Poe’s A Descent into the Maelstrom.18 This is a story about a fishing business operated by three brothers. Let’s call it Three Brothers Fishing. These three brothers were expert sailors and shrewd businessmen who developed a daring business plan to maximize profits and minimize costs. The best place to find the best fish was also the most dangerous because it was protected by a huge whirlpool. No one who ever got caught in this maelstrom came back to talk about it. Any boats that were ever caught in it would sooner or later wash to shore in broken pieces littering the beaches with their wreckage. But Three Brothers Fishing decided it was worth the risk. They would time the maelstrom. They would go out early before it appeared in the morning and come back before it reappeared in the afternoon. In this way they would catch the best fish and bring them back and sell them before any of the other boats had a chance to come home. They did this for a while and made quite a profit until one day they got caught in an unexpected storm. Using all the tricks of their trade, one brother tied himself to the mast so he would not be thrown overboard hoping the boat was shipshape enough to see him through the storm. Unfortunately, the storm was so violent that the wind broke off the mast and this brother was immediately swept away and drowned. The remaining two brothers held on for dear life, also hoping that their sturdy and seaworthy craft would see them through. It probably would have if their only problem was a storm on an angry sea. But they had forgotten one thing. All at once they heard a scary roar getting louder and louder, then felt a lurch with the boat being taken under tow. Almost simultaneously, they looked at each other, horror stricken because they realized they were caught in The MAELSTROM and therefore doomed.

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One brother panicked. He did not know what to do. He went mad with fear. The end was near, and he knew it. He lost his mind. The other brother also panicked. He closed his eyes and waited for the end to come. He waited and waited and waited but nothing happened. Opening his eyes, unexpectedly, he saw that the boat was on the outside lip of a huge whirlpool. Still perfectly aware of the hopelessness of his situation, something unexpected happened. He was gripped by awe and wonder and lost his sense of fear. All of a sudden, he realized that this was a magnificent sight that few men have ever seen and none have lived to talk about, so in a very weird way he was privileged to have this opportunity to admire its beauty. He realized he was going to die but he also realized he could die appreciating the wonder and beauty of this spectacle. This meant he had time to contemplate and appreciate the beauty of his situation. It was not the thrill of the moment but his ability to detach, his desire to understand, to appreciate and to learn about what was happening to him, that allowed him to collect himself and experience the whirlpool as an observer, a philosopher with a hunger to experience its beauty and know its secrets. At this precise moment this sailor became a liberal artist. Once again and just as suddenly, the boat lurched forward and began to drop into the tight swirl of the whirlpool and once again he thought this was it and once again he was wrong. The boat hung on the inside of a water funnel with hundreds of other objects slowly waiting for their time to plunge to the bottom and be wrecked into a thousand little pieces. This sight was breathtaking. The sides of the whirlpool were smooth like glass and the swirl of thing spinning around in it made for a myriad of wonderful patterns and colors. Studying these new patterns and interactions between things in the whirlpool he was lost in wonder. He noted how glass-like and crystal clear were its waters, how loud and ominous its roar. Then he began to study the way other objects were moving around in this swirl while they patiently waited, like him, to meet their doom. This led to a type of gallows humor. He began betting on which objects would crash to the bottom first. He bet a tree trunk against a barrel and lost. He kept betting and he kept losing, until all of a sudden he saw a new pattern emerge that led him to a new understanding of the whirlpool. His musings and ref lections revealed that long, irregular objects like his boat sooner or later took a quick turn for the worse and dove down to their oblivion but cylindrical objects such as barrels seemed to hover


James Maroosis

in the whirlpool and only descend to certain level and then stop. They did not necessarily crash to the bottom. It was the boat and not him that was doomed. The boat was built to navigate on the rolling wave like the surface of the water, but to survive these swirling water patterns of the whirlpool meant depending on something other than the boat to survive. Now the job was to put these insights into action. He needed to transform his understanding of the whirlpool into decisions that would transform reality. In other words, he had to become a manager and put his new understanding of things into action. It was innovative or cease to exist. The way out was to find a barrel and get off the boat. He tried to explain this to his other brother but it was no use. His brother was paralyzed by fear and would not listen. He was like a bureaucrat refusing to change. What he saw was that the old rules would no longer work and therefore everything was doomed. He was a technician who knew boats. He knew that he and the boat were doomed. He knew how to do things right. But there is no right way to do a boat in a whirlpool. The problem with being correct about the future of boats in whirlpools was that it blinded him to new possibilities and his ability to reevaluate his sense of identity and purpose. He could not disassociate himself from the boat in much the same way that most “post-moderns” cannot disassociate themselves from modernity. Like them, he correctly misunderstands the meaning or opportunity in his situation. Seeing he could not reason with his sibling, the innovative brother could only leave him behind. He lashed himself to an empty water barrel and let his new understanding of himself and his situation see him through the apparent confusion and despair of the new realities he found himself in. He was no longer a sailor. He was a seafarer and like the great Odysseus he could use his intelligence to manage his way through unexpected situations. Discovering New Patterns Is a Scanning Process By discovering the new patterns and relationships between things in the whirlpool, the liberal arts sailor, the innovator, using his ability to detach from his situation and contemplate what was going on, saved his life and lived to talk about it. This adumbrates what managers and leaders have to know and do to survive in today’s world of rapid change. Today’s managerial challenge is to learn how to adapt to the evernew multiform whirlpools that new technologies create. In this sense

The Practice of the Liberal Arts


a manager or leader acts like an artist who is able to discriminate processes and articulate what is important in a given situation. Like Poe’s sailor, the artist is an integrator, a person who is able to perceive and work with things in the here and now. As McLuhan points out, The artist is the man in any field, scientific or humanistic, who grasps the implications of his actions and of new knowledge in his own time. He is the man of integral awareness.19 But if the artist is the person of integral awareness, the manager and leader is the person who puts that awareness into practice. He or she transforms artistic “integral awareness” into appropriate modes of action. Here is a very powerful reason why the study of art needs to be included as an essential part of a management and leadership training. To understand media and the way media change things, you must understand how to use the arts as navigational tools. If men were able to be convinced that art is precise advanced knowledge of how to cope with the psychic and social consequences of the next technology, would they all become artists? Or would they begin a careful translation of new art forms into social navigation charts? I am curious to know what would happen if art were suddenly seen for what it is, namely, exact information of how to rearrange one’s psyche in order to anticipate the next blow . . . the artist can show us how to “ride the punch,” instead of “taking it on the chin.” It can only be repeated that human history is a record of “taking it on the chin.”20 If McLuhan is right, then artists and their art can be used as an early warning system to anticipate dangers and recognize new opportunities. This means that managers and leaders must learn to use the serious artists and their impact on the art traditions the way the seafarer learned how to use things in the whirlpool to discover the new patterns of organization and opportunity. How this is done is not only the subject for another day but also the basis for developing a new curriculum that would integrate the art as training perception with management and leadership studies as training for action. When we include the four cardinal virtues we will have recreated a thoroughly ancient way to train students and faculty alike to meet the challenges of today’s world—a studia humanitas—for the twenty-first century based on the moral efficacy and relevance of the liberal arts as managerial tools and leadership vehicles.


James Maroosis Survival Depends on Understanding The Ever-Changing Way of Things

The point is that at the heart of effective management practices is the willingness and ability to continually see things the way they are. The two brothers trapped in the boat that is caught in the maelstrom respond to their situation in radically different ways. One panicked and held on to his old understanding of things, gets lost in the confusion and was doomed; the other let go of his old understanding of things and learned to appreciate things the way things were in the whirlpool. Effective Management Is Openness to Being Effectiveness is sensitivity to the way things are and the ability to transform that sensibility into action. It is an openness to being. It is the transformation of knowledge into decisions corresponding to reality. It is this openness to being that is at the basis of effective and innovative management as much as it is at the core of the classic and medieval understanding of practical wisdom. This is an understanding of things that is rarely mentioned—much less taught—in many of today’s liberal arts colleges. By an openness to being, I do not mean just an openness to ideas but also and more fundamentally an openness to things. Here again, the practical wisdom of the manager points to an old medieval awareness. If the practice of management is a practical wisdom, the wisdom of management follows the truth of things. It is rooted in two medieval notions: first that “truth follows the existence of things”—Verum Sequitor Rerum Esse—and second that “all that is, is true”—Omne Ens Est Verum.21 Both of these claims leave nothing out. They are radical in their allegiance to reality. This radical allegiance to reality is at the heart of the managerial/leadership process as a creative and innovative activity. It is also the ground of learning and the essence of freedom in the classical and medieval leadership traditions of the liberal arts. This notion of truth is not something abstract. It is not a concept or an absolute. Its content is an ever-changing dynamic relationship that is an openness to a world of percepts and not concepts. Such an approach is not a closed system that can be constructed or deconstructed. It is a pure phenomenology of what is there to be

The Practice of the Liberal Arts


recognized and understood. It carries with it no agenda but a desire to understand. As Gerald Phelan points out, There is no key [to this approach] for [this type of philosophy] is not a closed system. Indeed, it is not a system at all. It is a wisdom . . . an open-minded habit of looking at things as they are and scrutinizing them long and patiently until they are, at last, seen by the intellect either in themselves or in their causes. There exists no magic key to open the door of such knowledge and insight; but there is one inexorable law which commands all efforts to acquire it: One must never close the mind to what is there to see. For the eye of the mind, the intellect, as truly sees as do the eyes of the body, and even more profoundly. And what it sees is analogical.22 The ground of this approach is a letting go, what Heidegger calls Gelassenheit, a stepping back, a detaching of oneself from one’s situation, to see things the way they really are, and this stepping back, this detachment, this free relationship to the world, is the defining characteristic of the liberal arts as the arts of freedom, in this sense the arts of survival. This is precisely what our seafarer had to do to survive the maelstrom. It is ref lection, detached rethinking, and replaying of events that turns any activity into an art form open to critical scrutiny, and reflection on things the way they are is what the sailor needed to do to survive. As effectiveness follows the truth of things, effective managers are realists. It is in this way that management can lead us back to the origins of the liberal arts as the place of being as bestowal, as the place where the mystery of things maintain their mystery. But management is not metaphysics and managers need not be metaphysicians. Their issue is how to work with things and not figuring out the essence of truth or questions about the nature of being. The manager organizes, prioritizes, expedites, monitors, and adjusts things. He or she brings forth and maintains working realities. Management plays the ancient role of creating order and preserving things that Aristotle attributes only to the wise. One Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words This type of practical wisdom plays exactly the same role in the East. The Chinese have a word for this but it requires training in reading Chinese to recognize this identity.


James Maroosis

Learning to read a Chinese ideogram is like learning how to understand f low charts and organizational structures. A mouth with sound waves coming out of it is the Chinese character for the spoken word. Put a man-like figure next to it and you get a sketch of “a man standing by his word” that is the Chinese word for Integrity. Similarly, the word for red, as Ezra Pound points out in his book ABC of Reading, consists of the figures of a “Rose, Iron Rust, Cherry and Flamingo,” the idea being that the Chinese use figures in relationship to one another to express the meaning of a thing.23 The word for authority has a big brother speaking to a little brother. The words show you what they mean. The Chinese word for The Tao (The Way) consists of three distinct figures of a crown (representing the intellect), a grid or patterned integrity (representing footprints or the path), and a feet (both making and following those foot prints). This is what it looks like in Chinese.

Pound translates this ideogram as “The Process. Footprints and foot carrying the head; the head conducting the feet, an orderly movement under the lead of the intellect.” In terms of Poe’s story, the footsteps are the process patterns (the rules of the whirlpool) that are learned and followed by our head (detached appreciation of things) and feet (following those processes and taking the actions).

The Practice of the Liberal Arts


Practical Wisdom Is Knowing How to Follow the Process Patterns In this sense, wisdom is not an idea, system, or an abstract proposition but a humble discipline diligently learning to work with the world to get the right things done. It consists of an ever-changing body of knowledge that follows the practice of being open to things. In this sense, it is the “to be” of things, the way things exist, that dictates the truthfulness of any human endeavor and the effectiveness of any practical activity. Truth understood in this way needs to relate and conform to new patterns of existence, but truth and wisdom are not these new patterns but conformity to those patterns. So that the role of the liberal artist is to understand and work with those patterns to get things done. All of this is about the recognition and restoration of order, a highly intellectual and immensely practical undertaking. The difference between truth as a dynamic co-creative relationship with the world and correctness, which is a logical analysis of concepts and procedures, is exactly parallel to the distinction between the innovator and the bureaucrat. The practice of management is not about following rules. It teaches us that we cannot follow old policies and procedures simply because that is the way we always did things or the way we want to do things. It is an error to think that vision is a function of the will. You learn to do the right things by staying in touch with reality and being open to nuance and details, working through the new processes to develop a creative continuity with the past by pointing toward a future that manifests itself through the actions you are taking today. This is G. K. Chesterton’s distinction between “the traditional” and “the tradition,” between the dead faith of the living and the living faith of the dead, between being a catalyst for renewal and being politically correct. Conclusion Management is a liberal art. It is a form of practical wisdom. It is about pattern recognition and creative responses. It is about learning to discriminate processes and how to follow new patterns as force fields. It is about understanding structure, looking for patterned insights into events, seeing things for what they are and taking a reality-based approach to things. It is the job of the liberal artist, the effective manager or leader, to reorient and recreate continuity through these changes. Reorientation


James Maroosis

as creative continuity is the meaning of tradition as a living process, and it is embodied by the sailor in how he saves himself through detached ref lection on his situation. This is best expressed by the old Chinese word for The Way, which is drawn with the feet listening to the head, and the head following the feet, both of them following the emerging patterns. This means the effective manager must take today on today’s terms. He or she must be in the world with the eyes and ears of a poet, a detective, and with the hands and heart of an athlete, a soldier, a builder developing strategies, and taking actions that meet today’s and tomorrow’s projected needs. This approach points us back to the forgotten roots of our Western educational heritage in Isocrates and Cicero. They both understood and insisted that being educated was a function of insightful creativity, nimbleness of mind, and moral competence. In this way, the business and management faculties are the one place on campus where anything like ancient and medieval understandings of the liberal arts is being taught, but they are not being taught for liberal/moral purposes. Here the failure to ground right action (effectiveness), in right reason (the four cardinal virtues), is a scandal of the highest order, and nothing less than a revolution in our understanding of the liberal arts can save us from catastrophe. The last temptation and the highest treason To do the right deed for the wrong reason. —T. S. Eliot Notes 1. Isocrates, Antidosis in The Rhetorical Tradition: Readings from the Classical Times to the Present, ed. Patricia Bizzell and Bruce Herzberg (Boston: St. Martin’s Press, 1990), p. 53. 2. Confucius, The Great Digest, The Unwobbling Pivot, The Analects, trans. Ezra Pound (Norfolk, CT: New Directions, 1951), p. 159. 3. Isocrates, Antidosis, p. 52. 4. Ibid., p. 29. 5. Sterling Lamprecht, ed. The Early Philosophers of Greece (New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1935), p. 120. 6. Benjamin Graham, The Memoirs of the Dean of Wall Street (New York: McGraw Hill, 1996), p. 141. 7. Isocrates, Antidosis, p. 51. 8. Peter Drucker, The Essential Drucker (New York: HarperBusiness, 2001), p. 72. 9. Roger A. Mason, Kingship and the Commonweal (East Linton, Scotland: Tuckwell Press, 1998), p. 107. 10. I. A. Richards, Interpretation in Teaching (New York: Humanities Press, 1971), p. 3.

The Practice of the Liberal Arts


11. Marshall McLuhan, “The Medieval Environment: Yesterday or Today” in Listening, 9, nos. 1 and 2 (Winter/Spring, 1974): 9–27. 12. Peter Drucker, Landmarks of Tomorrow (New York: Harpers Brothers, 1959), p. 157. 13. Josef Pieper, The Four Cardinal Virtues (Indiana: Notre Dame Press, 1968), p. 6. 14. Ibid., p. 31. 15. Peter Drucker, The Essential Drucker (New York: HarperBusiness, 1999), pp. 10–11. 16. Ibid., p. 11. 17. Marshall McLuhan, Take Today: The Executive as Dropout (New York: Harcourt, 1972), p. 7. 18. Edgar Allen Poe, “A Descent into the Maelstrom,” in Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe (New York: Doubleday, 1984), pp. 108–120. 19. Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (Corte Madera, CA: Ginko Press, 2003), p. 95. 20. Ibid., p. 96. 21. See Josef Pieper, Living the Truth (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989). 22. Gerald Phelan, Saint Thomas and Analogy (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 1941), p. 5. 23. Ezra Pound, ABC of Reading (New York: New Directions, 1960).

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Assessing the Impact of Liberal Arts-based Leadership Education Rona l d E . R ig gio

Assessing the impact of any form of higher education is an enormous and challenging task. Evaluating the impact of liberal arts programs, in contrast to more clearly defined disciplines (e.g., accounting, computer science, engineering, medicine, etc.), is even more difficult. The very nature of liberal arts education, with its emphasis on educating the whole person to think, speak, and write critically and intelligently, is much harder to evaluate in an objective and precise fashion because a liberal education is more about the processing of knowledge than about learning a particular, well-defined knowledge base. The assessment of a liberal arts-based leadership program presents a particularly interesting challenge. As it is done in the vast majority of colleges and universities, leadership education typically involves the development of students’ leadership skills through workshops, experiential exercises, and service learning experiences. Typically, these are not part of the academic curriculum.1 Fewer, but on the increase, are academic programs in leadership studies that challenge students to explore leadership from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, but give lesser emphasis to developing leadership skills. Often, but not always, these academic leadership programs are at liberal arts colleges and universities. Examples include the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond, Marietta College’s McDonough Leadership Program, Claremont McKenna College’s Leadership Studies Sequence, and B.A. programs in leadership studies at Peace College and Christopher Newport University.


Ronald E. Riggio

In a book chapter, Ronald Riggio, Joanne Ciulla, and Georgia Sorenson tried to distill some common features and themes for liberal arts-based leadership studies programs.2 First, it was suggested that programs should be multidisciplinary, as opposed to presenting one particular disciplinary approach, as is done, for example, in the organizational leadership programs offered by schools of business. Second was the importance of students gaining an understanding of the core literature, theories, and research on leaders and leadership. Other required curricular elements were courses on ethics and courses that develop critical thinking skills. Because of the social nature of leadership, it was also recommended that leadership studies students should have a good understanding of group dynamics. Finally, it was emphasized that experiential learning is critical for any leadership program. Students should apply leadership lessons learned in the classroom to internships, service learning opportunities, and experiential exercises. These elements of a liberal arts leadership studies program present three specific challenges and directions for assessing the effectiveness of a program. These challenges increase in terms of their level of difficulty. The first challenge is one faced by any liberal arts program, and that is measuring what a liberal education is supposed to impart to students. The trivium of grammar, rhetoric, and logic suggests that the primary themes of a liberal arts education are the ability to communicate (both written and orally) and to reason and think critically. Therefore, liberal arts programs should (and often do) require graduates to complete some sort of original written thesis or project that requires students to display both their writing and critical analysis skills. An oral presentation of the thesis is also often part of a “capstone” project/thesis. So, the first challenge is to somehow measure written and oral communication skills and ability to think logically and critically. The second challenge in evaluating a liberal arts-based leadership studies program involves the assessment of discipline-specific knowledge. Although there is certainly disagreement about whether “leadership studies” constitutes a unique discipline, the fact is that there is a body of scholarly work on leadership extending back more than a century. Admittedly, most of this research was conducted by scholars in more traditional disciplines—psychologists, sociologists, political scientists, military scientists, and more recently from scholars in education, business, public administration, and a growing number of philosophers, historians, and others. The challenge is to determine what theories, concepts, and research findings are essential for a graduate of a leadership studies program to know.

Assessing Leadership Education


The third challenge relates to the issue of whether leadership studies is simply knowing about leadership or whether leadership studies should, in the course of learning about leadership, also develop practical leadership skills in students. This same dilemma has been an issue in collegiate schools of business for some time, with the conclusion that business schools (MBA programs in particular) give scant attention to developing practical management skills.3 It is my firm belief, and one that I believe is shared by many of the faculty of liberal arts-based leadership programs, that students should learn about leadership, that they should have the opportunity to apply that learning in experiential opportunities, and that they should also learn and develop their leadership skills in the process. Stated plainly, students should be able to practice what we are preaching. These challenges provide direction to outcomes assessment efforts for leadership studies programs. They suggest that in addition to the typical outcome measures used generally in higher education, there should be specific emphasis on graduates’ communication skills (particularly the skills relevant to positions of leadership), knowledge of leadership as a discipline and area of academic study, and the acquisition of leadership skills along with continuing engagement in positions of leadership. Outcomes Assessment in Higher Education and the Liberal Arts It is not my intent here to review the issues involved in outcomes assessment in higher education or the extensive literature on the subject (although there are some excellent reviews).4 Instead, I want to focus on the key practical issues relating to assessing outcomes of higher education programs, with a special emphasis on the liberal arts. In most of education, the predominant outcomes assessment measure is the standardized test. Ubiquitous in primary and secondary education, as well as being de rigueur for college admission, tests are the most accepted means of measuring learning. Standardized tests are used in matriculation from one grade level to another, for admissions and placement purposes, and in primary and secondary education as a means of evaluating program and school quality. Standardized tests are less frequently used at the college level because the majority of students will not immediately be pursuing further education. Still, graduate admissions tests (GRE, MCAT, LSAT) are sometimes used to assess college


Ronald E. Riggio

learning and as a rough measure of the quality of specialized collegiate programs or departments. Although standardized tests have many advantages (e.g., typically good psychometric properties; ability to make comparisons across individuals, groups, and institutions; ability to assess detailed, specific information, etc.), they are often limited to assessing narrowly defined areas of knowledge and/or skills, and the importance placed on these tests can lead to limiting of the educational process (i.e., teaching to the test). More importantly, they are not necessarily the best tools for assessment in the liberal arts, which emphasizes breadth of knowledge, the ability to think critically, and communicate effectively. Tests certainly have their place in any comprehensive outcomes assessment program, but they should not be relied on exclusively in evaluating a liberal arts education. Measurement of critical thinking—one of the foundations of a liberal arts education—might be measured through a combination of a standardized test of critical thinking (there are many good tests being developed)5 and a writing assignment, research paper, a live debate, or in a simulation exercise that requires critical analysis. Likewise, creativity can be measured using a combination of tests of creative thinking and a creative project or product. Alexander Astin argues that many of the elements that liberal arts colleges claim to develop in students are affective, rather than cognitive, in nature.6 For example, liberal arts colleges purport to develop citizenship, character, and social responsibility, and this is particularly true also for liberal arts-based leadership studies programs. Therefore, it would seem important to assess whether the graduate of a liberal arts program is an engaged and active citizen and one who is “giving back” in some way to the community. Another way to think about the outcomes of a liberal education can be summarized by paraphrasing Benjamin Franklin. A liberal arts education should make alumni “healthy, wealthy, and wise.” We have been dealing with the “wise” part—the graduate has been exposed to selected bodies of disciplinary knowledge and has retained it, she or he knows how to think critically and systematically and can make rational and informed decisions. What about “healthy?” This refers primarily to psychological wellbeing. In other words, graduates should have a sense of being selfefficacious—believing that they can affect outcomes in their lives, that they can solve life’s problems, and that they can be able to achieve important life goals. They should be, in general, more satisfied (i.e.,

Assessing Leadership Education


“happier”) with their lives. I would also venture to guess, however, that well-educated individuals are more likely to be informed consumers of health care, read about the latest health issues, and be active participants in their own physical and medical care, and thus be physically healthier (of course they may be better able to afford quality health care, too, but that is the next part). The wealthy part is a “no-brainer.” College graduates earn far more than persons who do not graduate from college. There is also some evidence that all else considered, graduates of liberal arts colleges do well financially—on average better than graduates from comprehensive universities. It is important to emphasize, however, that this is clearly affected by factors associated with social class and privilege, and these factors play a huge role. The poor and certain ethnic minorities are at a disadvantage, in terms of both gaining entry to a college education (although there is evidence that private, liberal arts colleges do a better job of reaching the underserved than do public institutions), and for those who gain entry, arriving (and leaving) with certain liabilities. However, I am talking about “wealthy,” not only in the financial sense, but also in the more general sense of being educated and able to “enjoy the finer things in life.” Assessment Challenges for Liberal Arts Leadership Programs Returning to the three challenges for liberal arts-based leadership programs, the first challenge is to measure the fundamentals of a liberal arts education—ability to think critically, to communicate effectively, and to have breadth of knowledge across disciplines. This suggests that evaluation of critical thinking, creative thinking, and critical decisionmaking skills should be a mandatory component of any liberal arts outcomes assessment, and for a leadership studies program, it would be important to focus on these basic skills in terms of providing a foundation for leadership. The second challenge is to measure written and oral communication skills, with special emphasis on how those communication skills relate to leadership. Some sophisticated writing assignments and some opportunity to perform “live” (a prepared speech, presentation, or debate) would be part of an assessment of communication skills, or perhaps records of significant achievements in scholarly papers, speech, or debate, would suffice.


Ronald E. Riggio

The third challenge is to assess whether students know about leadership and whether they are better equipped to practice leadership. Given the variety of disciplines that study leadership, and the fact that leadership studies is an emerging, but not a recognized, stand-alone discipline, it is difficult to determine the knowledge base that comprises leadership studies. Still, programs have curricular content and there are ways of measuring students’ retention of that content. For example, a graduate of a leadership studies program should possess some knowledge of well-researched theories and models of leadership, understand some of the issues and controversies in leadership, be able to synthesize information, and be able to produce some creative insights about the topic. The most difficult part is to measure whether students are equipped for positions of leadership by virtue of the leadership studies program. This involves whether students have acquired some leadership skills (at least some fundamentals), and the even more complicated issue of whether the students have developed the value system to make them ethical and responsible leaders. A Model for Program Assessment Donald Kirkpatrick outlined a straightforward categorization for outcome criteria for any form of training program, and these categories will serve us well in guiding evaluation of the outcomes of leadership studies programs of all types. Kirkpatrick’s four types of criteria are: reaction criteria, learning criteria, behavioral criteria, and results criteria.7 Let’s examine how each is represented in evaluations of learning that takes place in academic leadership programs. Reaction criteria consists of measures of the impressions of students regarding the quality of the educational experience, the amount of learning they believe they have acquired, the value of the program to their personal development, and their enjoyment of the program. This is by far the most common form of outcome evaluation and the easiest to measure. Course evaluation surveys completed near the end of college courses are examples of reaction criteria, as are the surveys of recent graduates and longer-term alumni who are asked to rate the value of their college education. The problems with reaction criteria in terms of being a valid assessment of an educational program are many. Besides suffering all of the measurement problems associated with self-report measures, reaction

Assessing Leadership Education


criteria assess only the students’ reactions to the educational program, colored by their feelings, positive or negative, about the institution, the professors, the overall experience, and their expectations. Moreover, student reactions/ratings can be affected by factors unrelated to the educational program, such as whether they have gotten a good job offer or have been admitted to a prestigious graduate program. Importantly, there may be no relationship between how students feel about their learning or how much a student believes he or she has learned and actual learning. Learning criteria refers to assessments of the actual knowledge that has been transferred from the educational program. In the classroom, comprehensive tests are used as measures of learning criteria, but the individual nature of tests (i.e., different instructors for the same course who differ in the material they cover; the scope and quality of the tests, including the differential sampling of the course material; differences in test difficulty and leniency/severity of grading) make it hard to compare across courses and programs. As we have seen, the use of standardized tests overcome some of the measurement problems associated with tests developed for individual courses and allow for comparisons across students and student groups. The drawback to standardized tests is that they are narrow in scope and may not get at the sorts of creative learning that is the hallmark of a liberal arts education. Learning criteria can also be extracted from significant projects such as student theses, through oral examinations such as those that are commonly conducted in graduate Ph.D. programs, or via a prepared oral presentation. Faculty evaluations of student learning displayed in these projects or performances constitute another form of learning criteria. Behavioral criteria involve the student’s ability to actually apply what he or she has learned (e.g., to demonstrate application of critical thinking or leadership skills). Again, a capstone project, such as a research thesis, is one way to compel students to apply what they have learned from the curriculum (e.g., research methods, critical analysis) to a noncourse project. Behavioral criteria can also involve the use of knowledge and skills learned in college to alumni’s jobs or other postcollege activities. A common way that this is measured in outcomes assessment is by asking alumni to report on whether or how much they apply what was learned in college in their current jobs and to give specific examples. For instance, in a survey conducted of graduates with a bachelors degree in psychology, many alumni who were in human resources or marketing


Ronald E. Riggio

professions reported that they used material from their research methods and statistics courses “on a daily basis.” Another way to measure behavioral transfer of college-based learning that is more pertinent to leadership is to have alumni report on the specific leadership positions they have held in their careers, in civic and fraternal organizations, and the like. As many leadership programs attempt to increase a commitment to service and civic engagement, obtaining reports on hours spent in community service is another behavioral indicator that leadership learning did indeed later transfer to alumni’s professional and personal lives. We typically ask our graduates to complete a “leadership resume” that focuses on any leadership positions they have held in their jobs, community, or other sorts of organizations. Results criteria refers to the “bottom line” outcomes of whether training has led to an increase in financial and other life outcomes—what is often termed human capital (you might think of this as “wealth, health, and happiness”). Outcomes research that focuses on the salaries of college graduates is the most common results criterion that one sees reported in evaluations of a particular college’s or program’s success. For leadership programs, one outcome might even be the percent of graduates who reach “executive level” positions in their organizations. As far as the more affective data, we have included in our alumni surveys a standardized measure of subjective well-being developed by psychologist Ed Diener—the Satisfaction with Life Scale.8 In addition to these four types of criteria for measuring program effectiveness, Trudy W. Banta has outlined a number of considerations for outcomes assessment programs.9 The first rule is that assessment should be tied to the specific program objectives. In many instances, this is making sure that the mission of the program—what learning it purports to impart—is considered when evaluating outcomes. Banta also suggests that multiple measures be used to maximize the quality (reliability and validity) of the assessment, and she emphasizes the need to measure both the learning outcomes and the process. Finally, Banta recognizes that assessment should be an ongoing process and one that provides feedback for the continual improvement of the educational program. In terms of the design of an assessment program, there are a number of important considerations, some of which relate to any educational program, but some that are specific concerns for leadership education. First, it is important to conduct some sort of pretesting to determine the level of competencies that students bring to a program. This

Assessing Leadership Education


is particularly true when assessing knowledge of leadership (students may have been exposed to leadership issues and theories before entering the college leadership program) and this is particularly true for experiential leadership education. More and more, high schools and community colleges are emphasizing the value of gaining significant leadership experience as an imperative for applying to 4-year colleges and universities. Thus, students may arrive at a leadership program with significant leadership experiences, including internships, completion of summer and school-sponsored leadership programs, and other formative leadership experiences. This is particularly true if the college program has an admission process that selects students with substantial weight given to prior leadership experiences. This prior knowledge and experience needs to be statistically controlled for in any systematic evaluation. Another important issue is to embed assessment throughout the program to measure students’ progress as they move through the program, as well as to evaluate the effectiveness of program components. Finally, the assessment itself should be a learning opportunity for the students. Years ago, we constructed a one-day assessment center for students in a business school as part of an outcomes assessment, with an emphasis on measuring their readiness for positions in business and management. The assessment center consisted of a work simulation (in-basket test), mock hiring interview, business writing assignments, a prepared oral presentation, and a leaderless group discussion. We were pleased to discover that a majority of students completing the assessment center (60 percent) felt that the experience had better “prepared them for the business world.”10 More recently, we have been using an assessment center approach as part of the selection process for admission to a prestigious scholars program that has leadership ability/ capacity as one of the criteria for admission. With college tuition costs outpacing inf lation, those of us in the business of higher education are often challenged to prove our worth. Is a college education worth the price tag? Those of us in private, liberal arts colleges have even more to prove given that our rising costs are steeper than public universities. There is still more to prove for faculty teaching leadership from a liberal arts perspective. We are expected to not only produce educated graduates, but also to produce graduates who are budding leaders, or at least who have some enhanced leadership potential. Regardless of whether we are claiming to teach students about leadership or for leadership is largely irrelevant. We have something to prove, and sound assessment is the only way to do it.


Ronald E. Riggio Notes

1. Roya Ayman, Susan Adams, Bruce Fisher, and Erica Hartman, “Leadership Development in Higher Education: A Present and Future Perspective,” in The Future of Leadership Development, ed. Susan E. Murphy and Ronald E. Riggio (Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2003), pp. 201–222. 2. Ronald E. Riggio, Joanne B. Ciulla, and Georgia Sorenson, “Leadership Education at the Undergraduate Level,” in The Future of Leadership Development, ed. Susan E. Murphy and Ronald E. Riggio (Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2003), pp. 223–236. 3. See AACSB International, “Management Education at Risk,” Report, Management Education Task Force, http://www.aacsb.edu/dfc; Lyman W. Porter and Lawrence E. McKibbin, Management Education and Development: Drift or Thrust into the 21st Century? (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1988). 4. See Trudy W. Banta, ed. Hallmarks of Effective Outcomes Assessment (San Francisco: JosseyBass, 2004); Catherine A. Palomba and Trudy W. Banta, Assessment Essentials: Planning, Implementing, and Improving Assessment in Higher Education (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1999). 5. For an overview see Robert H. Ennis, “An Annotated List of Critical Thinking Tests,” http://criticalthinking.net/TestList.html. 6. Alexander W. Astin, “Assessment, Student Development, and Public Policy,” in Assessment in Higher Education: Issues of Access, Quality, Student Development, and Public Policy, ed. Samuel J. Messick (Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 1999), pp. 157–175. 7. Donald L. Kirkpatrick, “Techniques for Evaluating Training Programs,” Journal of the American Society of Training Directors 13 (1959): 3–9, 21–26; and 14 (1960): 13–18, 23–32. 8. Ed Diener, “Subjective Well-being,” Psychological Bulletin 95 (1984): 542–575. 9. Trudy W. Banta, “What Are Some Hallmarks of Effective Practice in Assessment?” in Hallmarks of Effective Outcomes Assessment, ed. Trudy W. Banta (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004). 10. Ronald E. Riggio, Monica Aguirre, Bronston Mayes, Christopher Belloli, and Carolyn Kubiak, “The Use of Assessment Center Methods for Student Outcome Assessment,” Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 12 (1997): 273–288; Ronald E. Riggio, Bronston Mayes, and Deidra J. Schleicher, “Using Assessment Center Methods for Student Outcome Assessment,” Journal of Management Inquiry 12 (2003): 68–78.


Leadership and the Liberal Arts: Moving Forward J. Thom a s Wr e n, Rona l d E . R ig gio, a n d M ic h a e l A . G e nov e s e

This volume entitled Leadership and the Liberal Arts: Achieving the Promise of a Liberal Education aspires to do just that. The intended audience is that robust assemblage of academics from all of the disciplines who, together with those who serve as administrators of our liberal arts colleges and universities, believe deeply in the transformative value of such an education in the lives of our students and, ultimately, in its ability to contribute to the betterment of society at large. The works included herein ref lect that devotion in their efforts to enhance contemporary liberal education to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex and diverse world. Those living in the twenty-first century need not be reminded of the complexities of modern life, the dizzying pace of change, and the increased necessity for an understanding of a world populated by peoples, cultures, and ideologies different from our own. Preparation for the demands and uncertainties of life has always been the hallmark and the great gift of a liberal arts education, yet it is not at all certain that the modern liberal education that began to take shape in the late nineteenth century and which reached its full f lower in the twentieth continues to serve fully its intended purposes. That possibility spawned the discussion contained in this volume. This collection of chapters—by some of the most thoughtful leaders and scholars of modern liberal education—ref lects upon what is meant


Wren, Riggio, and Genovese

when our liberal arts institutions claim to be preparing citizens and leaders. These chapters question whether it is enough to rely on the traditional liberal arts curricula, which rarely if ever address the notions of citizenship and leadership overtly, to adequately fulfill this longstanding mission of liberal education and the clear need for well-educated citizens and leaders in today’s society. In contemplating a remedy, the contributors explore the concept of leadership and its conceptual link to the many disciplines of the liberal arts. They explore how various facets of the traditional liberal arts curriculum inform, and are informed by, the study of leadership. Finally, they suggest specific ways in which the study of leadership might become an integral part of the liberal arts educational experience. The ideal outcome of all this is that those who share this devotion to the liberal arts will take up this debate about the status of liberal education and the possibilities that the study of leadership across the liberal arts curriculum can bring. How might this new dialogue be pursued? There are as many answers to this as there are liberal arts institutions. Certainly one can imagine that this volume could serve as the foundation for structured conversations across each campus. The divisions of this volume—beginning with an orientation to the notion of leadership and its worth, followed by a conceptual debate over how such a construct might intersect with the traditional liberal arts, and ending with a consideration of the nitty-gritty of how one might imagine actually implementing such an initiative— seem tailor-made for a series of discussions among all stakeholders within each academic institution. From such discussions can come a reframing of mission statements, the modification of curriculum structure or emphases, and even a dialogue about pedagogy. There is another potential piece of this puzzle as well. In the introduction, we indicated that the catalyst for this discussion linking leadership to the liberal arts has been the emergence of something new on the academic landscape, “the study of leadership itself—not as its own discipline, but as a field of study that encompasses the whole of the human condition, and hence embraces the entirety of the liberal arts curriculum.” The critical linkage between the two is that “the concept of leadership also clearly addresses the desired liberal outcome of producing citizens and leaders.” Particularly for those unfamiliar with this new field of leadership studies, it may be helpful to provide an introduction to it and its symbiotic relationship with the liberal arts. The study of leadership traces its roots back to the ancient classics, and it extends into the contemporary



world. Great thinkers have been seemingly obsessed with questions of leadership such as: Who shall govern? How shall they govern? How can power over others be legitimately exercised? To what ends should leadership be devoted? and Why should followers follow? From Plutarch and Plato, to Machiavelli and Erasmus, to Shakespeare and Voltaire, to James MacGregor Burns and Warren Bennis, perennial questions of leadership and followership have hounded academics just as they have perplexed leaders and office holders. If the study of leadership is ancient, as a distinct academic field, “leadership studies” is quite modern. Depending on when one identifies the starting point of leadership studies, it is a new and emerging field that is not even fifty years old. As such it is still finding its way and settling the key fundamental questions every academic discipline must face and (hopefully) resolve. The important matter for our purposes, however, is that leadership studies is cross- and multidisciplinary, encompassing fields such as philosophy, history, political science, sociology, psychology, classics, literature, business, organizational behavior, and virtually every academic discipline in the modern university. Its boundaries are f lexible, expansive, and elastic. The current trend of academic disciplines being so compartmentalized and isolated is what makes the cross-fertilization that is so necessary in the study of leadership such an attractive model to those who seek to reform liberal education. If leadership studies has the potential to inform the liberal arts, so too do the traditional disciplines of the liberal arts form the backbone of leadership studies. Indeed, the key to mastering leadership is found in the liberal arts. Given that the liberal arts encompass so many of the central fields of study relevant to understanding leadership, it should come as no surprise that the liberal arts offer students of leadership a useful entry into the mysteries of this field. To answer the challenging questions raised by leadership studies, the student must rely on what the ancient classics have to offer, what history might reveal, what political science tells us about power, what psychology tells us about human motivation, what sociology instructs us on group dynamics, how the great novels have approached human interactions, and the list goes on and on. The liberal arts are at the core of the study of leadership. One cannot master the field of leadership studies until one masters the liberal arts curriculum. In a sense, then, leadership studies and the study of the liberal arts in general are but two sides of the same coin. The common theme is that both share a passion for the liberal arts and an understanding of how leadership is a natural topic of study for the liberal arts. Leadership


Wren, Riggio, and Genovese

studies, particularly from the liberal arts approach, is about providing the foundation that allows graduates to understand leadership in a deep way and to recognize the role that leadership plays in society. As a result, students of leadership will make better leaders and citizens. But that has always been the intent of education generally, and of a liberal education in particular. Thus a volume entitled Leadership and the Liberal Arts: Achieving the Promise of a Liberal Education calls on faculty members in the traditional disciplines and academic administrators of liberal arts institutions to draw from a new aspect of the academic landscape—leadership studies—to achieve the full promise of a liberal education. Weaving the concept of leadership into the fabric of the liberal arts and sciences is intended to maintain the considerable glories of the liberal education while redressing the perceived impact of disciplinary specialization and the orphaning of the traditional commitment of the liberal arts to produce citizens and leaders. The importance of this discussion should not be minimized. At stake is the continued success of liberal education’s centuries-old evolution to meet new challenges thrown at it by a changing world. What happens next is up to you; we urge those lovers of a liberal education to begin the revitalization of this grand tradition.


Thomas E. Cronin is the McHugh Professor of American Institutions and Leadership at Colorado College. He earned his Ph.D. at Stanford University, served as a White House Fellow and on the staff of the Brookings Institution before teaching at several colleges and universities, including the University of North Carolina, Brandeis, and Princeton. He is the author of more than 150 scholarly or public affairs articles and the author, coauthor, or editor of 10 books, including The State of the Presidency; U.S. vs. Crime-in-the-Streets; Direct Democracy; Government by the People; Colorado Politics and Government; and The Paradoxes of the American Presidency. He served as acting president of Colorado College in 1991 and president of Whitman College from 1993 to 2005. He has also served as president of the Western Political Science Association, president of the Presidency Research Group, and president of CRC, Inc. He serves as a director or trustee on several boards, including the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Institute of American Universities, the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and Cascade Natural Gas Corporation. He has been a moderator of more than a dozen Aspen Institute executive seminars. Richard Ekman is the president of the Council of Independent Colleges. His previous positions include vice president for Programs of Atlantic Philanthropies, secretary of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, division director at the National Endowment for the Humanities, and vice president and dean of Hiram College. He earned a Ph.D. in the history of American civilization from Harvard University and serves, among other boards, on advisory boards of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, the Johns Hopkins University Press, and the Harvard University Library.



Jean Bethke Elshtain is the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago. Before that, she taught at the University of Massachusetts and at Vanderbilt University and has also been a visiting professor at Harvard and Yale. She holds nine honorary degrees, and in 1996 she was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has authored and/ or edited twenty award-winning books, written some five hundred essays, and is a contributing editor for The New Republic. She also serves on the Scholars Council, The Library of Congress; on the Board of Trustees of the James Madison Program in American Constitutional Ideals at Princeton University; The Board of Trustees of the National Humanities Center; and the Board of the National Endowment for Democracy. Michael A. Genovese received his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in 1979. He currently holds the Loyola Chair of Leadership Studies, is a professor of political science, and director of the Institute for Leadership Studies at Loyola Marymount University. In 2006, he was made a Fellow at Queens College, Oxford University. He has written seventeen books. He has won more than a dozen university and national teaching awards, including the Fritz B. Burns Distinguished Teaching Award (1995). He frequently appears as a political commentator on local and national television. He is also associate editor of the journal White House Studies, has lectured for the United States Embassy abroad, and is editor of Palgrave Macmillan Publishing’s, “The Evolving American Presidency” book series. In 2004–05, he served as president of the Presidency Research Group of the American Political Science Association. David M. Levy, a professor of economics at George Mason University, received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in a thesis directed by the Nobel Laureate George Stigler. He was previously awarded the department citation as the outstanding undergraduate in economics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is a specialist in the impact of expenditures on research and development on productivity as well as the role of ethics in consumer choice. Both of these research areas involve taking seriously the notion that ideas, be they scientific or ethical, have consequences. He is the author or coauthor of more than forty-two articles and books including, The Economic Ideas of Ordinary People, published in 1992. In 2006 his book The Vanity of the Philosopher: From Equality to Hierarchy in Postclassical Economics, coauthored with Sandra Peart, received the prestigious Outstanding Academic Title by



the American Library Association’s Choice magazine. Levy and Peart recently collaborated on a new book, The Street Porter and the Philosopher: Essays on Egalitarian Economics (University of Michigan Press, 2008). James Maroosis is a recipient of the 1984 Innovations in American Government Award co-presented by the JFK School of Government and the Ford Foundation for his work as a public sector administrator for the City of New York. He has a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Toronto and teaches Leadership Seminars that integrate the artistic insights of Poe, Pound, and Eliot with the ancient humanist ideals of Isocrates, Cicero, and Castiglione at Fordham’s Graduate School of Business. As the founder of NEPSIS, a management consulting firm, he has developed and delivered seminars on Management and the Liberal Arts: Bridging the Gap to facilitate dialogue and understanding between academic and professional faculties on campuses. Their purpose is to reintegrate the ancient relevancy and efficacy of the liberal arts as managerial tools with an ancient understanding of management as a moral discipline. His book Management Is the Liberal Arts: A Portrait of the Manager as a Liberal Artist is being published as part of the Culture of Enterprise initiative designed by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and funded by the Templeton Foundation to encourage more humane approaches to management and economics in an age of globalization. Richard L. Morrill became chancellor and distinguished university professor of ethics and democratic values in 1998, after ten years as president of the University of Richmond. He previously served as president of Centre College and Salem College. His most recent book is Strategic Leadership: Integrating Strategy and Leadership in Colleges and Universities (ACE/Praeger, 2007). Morrill holds degrees from Brown University (A.B.) magna cum laude in history, Yale University (B.D.) in religious thought, and Duke University (Ph.D.) in religion and ethics. Elisabeth Muhlenfeld has been president of Sweet Briar College since 1996. She came to Sweet Briar, a Virginia liberal arts college for women, following twelve years as dean of undergraduate studies at Florida State University (1984–96), where she also served as professor of English. A specialist in the literature of the American South, she has published four books: a casebook on William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!, a biography of Mary Boykin Chesnut, a one-volume edition of Chesnut’s manuscript novels, and (with C. Vann Woodward)



Chesnut’s original Civil War diaries. The author of dozens of articles and essays on Southern literature as well as undergraduate education and the liberal arts, Muhlenfeld currently serves on the board of the Council of Independent Colleges and is chair-elect of the Women’s College Coalition. Sandra J. Peart became the fourth dean of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies in August 2007. Previously, she was a professor of economics at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, where she also served as chair of the faculty. She received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Toronto. She has also taught at the College of William and Mary. A national leader in her field, she has directed the annual Summer Institute for the Preservation of the History of Economic Thought at George Mason University. She was the 2007–08 president of the History of Economics Society. In 2005–06, she was a fellow of the American Council on Education. She has special expertise in the history of economic thought and political economy, especially in the context of ethical leadership. She has authored or edited five books and numerous publications. She coauthored and coedited many with David M. Levy, a professor of economics at George Mason University. In 2006 Peart’s and Levy’s The Vanity of the Philosopher: From Equality to Hierarchy in Postclassical Economics, received the prestigious Outstanding Academic Title by the American Library Association’s Choice magazine. The collaborators recently published The Street Porter and the Philosopher: Essays on Egalitarian Economics (University of Michigan Press, 2008). Gama Perruci is the dean of the McDonough Center for Leadership and Business at Marietta College. A native of Brazil, he has a doctorate in political science from the University of Florida and a master’s in international journalism from Baylor University in Texas. His current research explores the impact of globalization on leadership development. He has been published widely in the area of international politics and Latin American leadership issues. Aside from teaching and his administrative duties, he also serves as a consultant to colleges and corporations dealing with international strategic planning. His most recent consulting assignments include a review of the Department of Leadership, Ethics, and Law (LEL) at the Naval Academy (Annapolis, Maryland) and an evaluation of the leadership program at Zayed University in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He has been a frequent guest analyst for the BBC World Service broadcast to Brazil. He is also a review board member of the Journal of Ethics in Leadership, published by Kennesaw State



University (Georgia), and a member of the International Leadership Association (ILA) Board of Directors. He also served as a member of the 2008 Selection Committee for America’s Best Leaders Project that was convened by the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Ronald E. Riggio is the Henry R. Kravis Professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology and director of the Kravis Leadership Institute at Claremont McKenna College. He is the author of more than 100 books, book chapters, and research articles in the areas of leadership, assessment centers, organizational psychology, and social psychology. His most recent books are The Practice of Leadership ( JosseyBass, 2007), Applications of Nonverbal Behavior (coedited with Robert S. Feldman; Erlbaum, 2005), and Transformational Leadership (2nd ed.), coauthored with Bernard M. Bass (Erlbaum, 2006). John A. Roush took office on July 1, 1998, as the twentieth president of Centre College. He began his career in higher education in 1972 at Miami University as an assistant football coach, and then transitioned to administration in 1976, completing his work there in January, 1982 as executive assistant to the president. He joined the University of Richmond in 1982 as executive assistant to the president and was made vice president for planning, executive assistant to the president, and secretary to the Board of Trustees in 1990. He is a regular contributor to professional journals in the areas of leadership, governance, and finance in higher education, and intercollegiate sport. A member of several professional boards and organizations, Roush has been active in the Association of Governing Boards, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Association of Presbyterian Colleges, the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities, and the American Council on Education. He also remains active in civic and community affairs and in the Presbyterian Church. Kenneth P. Ruscio was elected the twenty-sixth president of Washington and Lee University on March 7, 2006. A W&L alumnus and distinguished scholar in the study of democratic theory and public policy, he served as dean of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond for four years before assuming his present position. Before his tenure at the University of Richmond, he held various positions at W&L, including professor of politics, associate dean of The Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics,



and dean of freshmen. He was a postdoctoral research scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles from 1983 to 1985 and taught at both Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Kansas University. Ruscio earned his B.A. in politics from Washington and Lee University in 1976 and earned an M.P.A. and Ph.D. from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in 1978 and 1983, respectively. Ruscio has authored numerous articles and essays and the book, The Leadership Dilemma in Modern Democracy (Edward Elgar, 2004). He recently completed his second term as national president of Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership society begun at W&L in 1914 that now has chapters at more than 300 campuses. J. Thomas Wren, as a historian and legal scholar, brings a unique perspective to his position as professor of leadership studies at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond. He served for two years as associate dean for academic affairs and led the Jepson School as interim dean from July 2006 to July 2007. At the university and national levels, he has contributed to the development of leadership studies as a significant arena for scholarly pursuit. He has served as editor of the Journal of Leadership Studies. He also serves as one of the three series editors of the forthcoming Jepson Studies in Leadership and is coeditor of three volumes in the series. He has also edited The Leader’s Companion: Insights on Leadership through the Ages and is a coeditor of the three-volume International Library of Leadership. His most recent book is Inventing Leadership: The Challenge of Democracy. An expert on Virginia history, he has written extensively on such subjects as James Madison and the Virginia courts. His research interests include the roles of leaders and followers, leadership education, and the intellectual history of leadership. After graduating summa cum laude from Denison University, he went on to earn his law degree from the University of Virginia, a master’s degree from George Washington University, and a second master’s degree and doctoral degree from the College of William and Mary.


Ackoff, Russell, 61 active learning, 159–61 Addams, Jane, 7, 122–23 Aeschylus, 122 aesthetic representation, 28–29 aff luence effect, 154 Anthony, Susan B., 42 Aquinas, Thomas, 187 Aristotle, xi, 37, 39, 40, 69, 187–88, 197 assessment, 10, 20, 22, 101, 203–11 Association of American Colleges and Universities, 101, 105, 113 Astin, Alexander, 206 Augustine, 73, 178 Banta, Trudy W., 210 Barber, Benjamin R., 151 Barber, James David, 49 Beck, Robert, 63–64 Beethoven, 44 Bellow, Saul, 89 Bennett, William, 160 Bennis, Warren G., 88, 215 Benton, William, 86 Bethke, Paul G., 121 Bible, 39, 45 Bok, Derek, 99–101, 105, 113 Boyer, Ernest, 61 Bright, John, 132, 138–39 Browning, Robert, 122

Bryce, James, 155 Burns, James MacGregor, 104–105, 107, 110, 165, 215 Bush, George H. W., 43 Bush, George W., 50 Butros-Ghali, Boutros, 89 Cairnes, J. E., 132 Campbell, David, 51 Capra, Frank, 153 Carlyle, Thomas, 8, 122, 129–37, 140–41 Carson, Rachel, 45 Carter, Jimmy, 50 Castiglione, Baldassare, 178, 190 Cather, Willa, 124–25 Centre College, 9, 16–19, 34, 163–65, 171, 174 Cervantes, Miguel, 39 Cheney, Dick, 171 Cheney, Lynn, 160 Chesterton, G. K., 199 Christopher Newport University, 203 Chua, Amy, 46 Churchill, Winston, 44, 45, 129 Cicero, 14, 44, 178–79, 183, 188, 190, 200 cinema, 92, 153–54 citizen, definition of, 148 citizen leaders, 40, 77, 174 citizens, creating, 1, 3–4, 8–9, 13, 16, 18, 20, 32, 102, 216



citizenship call to, 118 democratic, 99–100, 114, 123, 145–61 effective, 18 engaged, 147–48 Fish on, 102, 32 Greek education and, 73, 183 Jefferson on, 23, 59 problem solving and, 77 responsibilities of, 160 victimization vs., 8, 188 Walzer on, 151–52 Ciulla, Joanne, 204 civic humanism, 15, 18, 32 Claremont McKenna College, x, 10, 203 classical languages, 15, 37–38, 45, 60, 63, 81, 90, 214–15 classics, literary, 42, 45, 122 Clinton, Bill, 43, 50 Collins, Jim, 171–73 Colorado College, 5 commercialization of education, 152–53 community-building, 46–47 Confucius, 39, 177, 179, 189, 191 Cooper, James Fenimore, 88 Corrigan, Paul, 88 Council of Independent Colleges, 5, 63 Covey, Steven, 188–89 creativity, 28–29, 50–52, 77–78, 84–87, 99, 180, 191, 196, 199, 206–209 critical thinking, 6, 14, 16, 62, 75, 99, 158, 160, 204, 206–207, 209 Cronin, Thomas E., 5, 14, 29, 155, 157 cross-cultural understanding, 76–77 Crutcher, Ronald, 57 Dante, 190 Darwin, Charles, 122, 132 Declaration of Independence, 46 democratic classrooms, 157–58 Dewey, John, 148 dialectic, 14, 182, 183. See also logic Dickens, Charles, 132 Diener, Ed, 210

Dimock, Marshall E., 50 Drucker, Peter, 45, 49, 86, 178, 181, 188–91 Durrenmatt, Friedrich, 42 early republic, education in, 148–49 economics, 8, 77, 83, 106, 130–41, 190 Ekman, Richard, 5, 14–15, 22–23 Eliot, George, 122 Eliot, T. S., 191, 200 elitism, 4, 8, 21–23 Elshtain, Jean Bethke, 7 Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 45, 122 emotional intelligence, 49, 57 empathy, 25, 31, 38 engaged learning, 112–13 Erasmus, 178, 215 ethical action, 102–108, 181 ethical future, 77 ethical reasoning, 1, 29–30, 78, 100–101, 106 ethics business, 152 Carlyle’s Great Man theory and, 129–30 effectiveness and, 107 importance of, 165–67 institutional, 108 leadership and, 24, 104–105, 111, 135–36, 155, 165–66, 178–79 liberal arts as education in, 1, 38, 77, 165–67, 178–79 management as, 187–91 as a required course, 77, 204 values and, 30, 105–106 Western, 74 European Union, 62 experiential education, 3, 60, 158, 203–205, 211 Eyre, Edward James, 130–32, 138 Faulkner, William, 87 Fawcett, Henry, 132 Fish, Stanley, 32, 102 Fisher, Roger, 48

Index Follett, Mary Parker, 178 Ford, John, 153 Fordham University, 9 Franklin, Benjamin, 206 Freud, Sigmund, 39, 171 Friedman, Thomas, 69 fundamentalism, 154 Galileo, 39 Gandhi, Mahatma, 129 Garcia Marquez, Gabriel, 39 Gardner, Howard, 88, 110 Gardner, John W., 46, 172 Garfield, James A., 62–63 Gates, Bill, 56 general education curricula, 2, 6, 16–17, 19, 25, 71–79, 84 generalization, 61 Genovese, Michael, 8, 32 George Mason University, 8 Gibbon, Edward, 122 globalization, 6, 67, 69–70, 145–46, 150–51, 159 Goleman, Daniel, 49 Goodwin, Doris Kearns, 49 Gordon, George, 132 Gorky, Maxim, 122 Graham, Benjamin, 180 grammar, 14, 57, 182–86, 204 Great Man theory of leadership, 8, 129–30, 136, 141 Green, Jonathan, 85–86 Green, Thomas F., 98 Greenspan, Alan, 92 Greenstein, Fred, 49–50 Grinnell College, 16 Hand, Learned, 37 Harper, William Rainey, 98 Harvard University, 56, 83–84, 92, 94, 99 Havel, Vaclev, 7, 117–18 Hawthorn, Nathaniel, 122 Heidegger, Martin, 197 Heifetz, Ronald, 84–86, 90


Herodotus, 57 Hitler, Adolf, 129 Hobbes, Thomas, 39 Homer, 39, 122, 180, 185, 188, 190 Hooker, Richard, 14–15 Hoover, Herbert, 50 HOPE Scholarships (Georgia), 58–59 human powers, 98, 102–103 humanism, 14–15, 73, 190 humanism, civic, 15, 18, 32 humanistic leadership, 7–8, 118–25 humanities classics studied in, 90 definition of, 181 disciplinary integration and, 4 experiential education in, 60 general education and, 19, 71 human motivation and, 72 leadership and, 6, 71–72, 84, 86, 106, 117–25, 179 management and, 190–91 in the Middle Ages, 71 new “canon” of, 72 relevance of, 62 in the Renaissance, 15 stewardship and, 121, 148, 178 within liberal arts, 39 Hutchins, Robert Maynard, 98 Huxley, Thomas Henry, 130, 132 Ibsen, Henrik, 39, 42 individualism, militant, 9, 153 Institute for Leadership Studies (Loyola Marymount University), 8 integration of knowledge, 2–3, 6–7, 19–22, 33–34, 90–91, 94, 99, 104–105, 114, 195 intellectual history, thin vs. thick, 129 Isocrates, 177, 178, 200 James, Henry, 88–89 Jarvis, Williams, 160 Jefferson, Thomas, 23, 45, 59, 62, 148, 156–57, 160 Jenkin, Fleeming, 140



Jepson School of Leadership Studies (University of Richmond), ix, x, 8, 203 John Paul II, Pope, 118, 120 Johnson, Lyndon, 50 Joyce, James, 39 Kant, Immanuel, 188 Keck Foundation project, x–xii Kennedy, John F., 62 King, Martin Luther, Jr., 42, 44, 45, 119 Kirkpatrick, Donald, 208 Kohlberg, Lawrence, 105 Lao Tzu, 188, 191 leadership across the liberal arts curriculum, 33–35 alternative courses of study for, 56–58 antihumanistic, 120 an application in liberal arts of, 23–33 community-building and, 46–47 competencies for, 74–78 as contextual, 30–31 creativity and, 50–52 critical thinking and, 75 cross-cultural understanding and, 76–77 definition of, 4, 21 democratic, 148, 151, 155–57 education for, 20 ends of, 31 human agency and, 103–105 humanistic, 7–8, 118–25 informed intuition and, 170 listening and, 42–43 literature and, 87–89 manifestations of, 63–64 music and, 84–86, 90–92 mysteriousness of, 119 negotiating and, 47–49 as performing art, 41–42 pockets of greatness and, 170–71 poetry and, 87 problem solving and, 77–78

qualities of, 166–74 reinventing liberal arts through, 20–23 self-efficacy and, 49–50 servitude and, 167–68 speaking and debating and, 44–45, 75–76 stories and, 88 thick intellectual history and, 136–41 transformational, 135–36 true north and, 168–69 truth telling and, 167 writing and, 45–46, 76 Leadership Certificate Program, 93 leadership studies assessment of, 203–11 best practices of, 165–66 description of, 214–16 as field of study, 33, 103 global context of, 69–71 humanistic approach to, 71–74, 190 “leadership” in, 4–5 liberal arts-based, 203–11, 214–16 liberals arts and, 8, 21, 67–68, 71–74, 104, 203–11, 214–16 management and, 190, 195 narrowness of, 83 teachers of, 42 values and, 7, 104–13 Leadership Studies Sequence (Claremont McKenna College), 203 Levine, Donald, 98–101, 105, 112 Levy, David, 8 liberal arts apart from academia, 182–87 an application of leadership in, 23–33 colleges, 1, 16, 20, 22, 43, 48, 55, 61, 71, 196, 203, 206–207, 211, 213 commitment to, 1 current problems with, 1–3, 19–20 curriculum, 15, 27, 39 defined, ix, 13 description of, 37–41 graduates, 59 history of, 14–15

Index leadership studies and, 8, 21, 67–68, 71–74, 104, 203–11, 214–16 as “liberating arts,” 5, 37 in modern academia, 16–18 passion for, 1–2 professional training and, 60–63 purpose of, 18 reinventing through leadership, 20–23 in the Renaissance, 14–15 Lieberman, Joe, 171 Light, Richard, 113 Lincoln, Abraham, 42, 44, 45, 49 listening, 42–43 Locke, John, 39, 122 logic, 14, 58, 158, 182–86, 204 Loyola Marymount University, x, 8 Lundborg, Louis, 51 Machiavelli, Niccolo, 39, 45, 69, 73, 215 Madison, James, 40, 46 majors, academic, 16, 17, 19, 22, 28, 63–64, 68, 78, 93 management apart from business, 181–82 change and, 191–94 effective, 196–97 ethics and, 187–91 humanities and, 190–91 Marietta College, 5, 203 market conception of education, 152–53 Maroosis, James, 9 Marx, Karl, 45, 46 Maslow, Abraham, 105 Mason, Roger, 183 Mazzini, Giuseppe, 122 McDonnell, Lorraine, 149 McDonough Leadership Program (Marietta College), 5, 203 McKeon, Richard, 98 McLuhan, Marshall, 178, 186, 191–92, 195 Mead, Margaret, 89–90 Melville, Herman, 39, 42, 43 Mencius, 189


Middle Ages, 14, 71–73, 120, 178, 182, 185–86 Mill, John Stuart, 8, 122, 130–34, 136–37, 140–41 Miroff, Bruce, 156 models of knowing, 102–103 moral capacities, 99–102 moral ethos, 73–74 morals. See ethics More, Thomas, 178, 190 Morrill, Richard, 7, 20, 22, 32, 163 Morrison, Toni, 39 Muhlenfeld, Elisabeth, 6, 27, 29, 32, 34 music, 6, 14, 58, 84–86, 90–92 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), 59–60 natural sciences, rise of, 15 negotiation, 47–49. See also Principled Negotiation Nixon, Richard, 43, 50, 157 oral communication, 6, 44–45, 75–76, 78, 207 Peace College, 203 Peart, Sandra, 8 Peckham, Morse, 82 pedagogy, 58–60, 75, 99, 113, 150–51, 159–60, 214 Pericles, 38, 44 Perot, Ross, 43 Perruci, Gama, 5–6 Phelan, Gerald, 197 physical sciences, 60–61, 190 Pieper, Josef, 188 Pink, Daniel H., 31 Plato, 39, 45, 69, 99, 122, 135, 185, 189, 215 Plutarch, 39, 122, 215 Poe, Edgar Allen, 192, 195, 198 politics, 14, 44, 47–48, 50, 68–69, 81, 85, 90, 149, 151–52 Pomona College, 17 Potter, Beatrice, 122

228 Pound, Ezra, 198 powers of the mind, 98–99 practical wisdom, 9–10, 177, 179–81, 187–90, 196–99 Princeton University, 47, 50, 83 Principled Negotiation, 48 problem solving, 77–78 professional training, 60–63 Protagoras, 14 quadrivium, 14, 58, 184–85 Quintillion, 178 Reagan, Ronald, 92 Rembrandt, 122 Renaissance, 14–15, 71–73, 178 rhetoric, 14–15, 58, 73, 182–86, 204 Richards, I. A., 183–84 Riggio, Ronald, 10, 204 Roberts, Dennis, 70–71 Rokeach, Milton, 105 Roosevelt, Franklin D., 42, 49 Rosovsky, Henry, 83 Roush, John, 9, 34 Rousseau, Jean Jacques, 39, 147 Ruscio, Kenneth, 4, 19–20, 24, 27, 30–31, 35 Rusk, Dean, 94 Ruskin, John, 122, 132 Saint Francis, 122 Sandel, Michael J., 150–51 Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr., 45, 156 Schopenhauer, Arthur, 122 scientific method, 27, 39, 159 self-efficacy, 49–50 self-interest, 47, 121–22, 135 Shakespeare, William, 39, 42, 44, 45, 88, 122, 215 Shapiro, Daniel, 48 Shaw, George Bernard, 39, 42 silo effect, 19, 28, 33 slavery, 8, 129–34, 136, 141 Smith, Adam, 31, 134–36, 140

Index Smith, Page, 39 social sciences, 4, 6, 8, 15, 60, 72, 83, 90–91, 131–32, 182, 190 Solzhenitsyn, Alexander, 45 Sombart, Werner, 122 Sophocles, 39, 42, 43 Sorenson, Georgia, 204 Soyinka, Wole, 39, 42 speaking and debating. See oral communication specialization, 2, 13, 19, 22, 40, 100–101, 206, 216 Spencer, Herbert, 122, 132 Stalin, Joseph, 129 standardized tests, 205–206, 209–10 Starr, Ellen Gates, 122 Stevens, Wallace, 87 stewardship, 121, 148, 178 Stockdale Paradox, 171 Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 45 Swarthmore College, 18 Sweet Briar College, 6, 27, 32, 85, 91, 93 sympathy, 31, 186 Task Force on General Education (Harvard), 92 Taylor, Charles, 108 Tennyson, Alfred, 132 Thatcher, Margaret, 92 Thomas, Robert J., 88 Thucydides, 39, 44 Tocqueville, Alexis de, 39, 124, 147 Tolstoy, Leo, 39, 122 transformational leadership, 135–36 transparency, 120 trivium, 14, 60, 182, 184–86, 204 Twain, Mark, 39, 45, 88 United States Constitution, 45 universities, roles of, 145–48 University of Chicago, 7, 32, 98, 122 University of Richmond, 7, 20, 24–27, 29–32, 165, 203 Ury, William, 48

Index values democratic, 99–100, 102, 149, 159–60 leadership education and, 109–14 leadership studies and, 105–109 shared, 40, 45–47, 103–104, 149 See also ethics values criticism, 110–12 virtue, 38–39, 73, 99, 148–49, 178, 187–89, 195, 200 Voltaire, 215

Wells, H. G., 122 Wheaton College, 57 Whitman, Walt, 8, 137–38, 140 Whitman College, 5, 14 Williams College, 62 Wilson, James Q., xii Wilson, Woodrow, 47, 50, 62 Woolf, Virginia, 39 Wren, J. Thomas, 5 writing skills, 45–46, 76, 207 Xenophon, 178, 189

Walzer, Michael, 151–52 Washington, George, 42, 49, 149 Washington and Lee University, 4, 18, 19, 23, 27 Welch, Jack, 52

Yale College, 16–19, 61 Yankelovich, Daniel, 154 Zapata, Emile, 155–56