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The Foundational Course: "Ethical Leadership in a Democracy"
"Ethical Leadership in a Democracy"
Living in a democracy demands that we recognize that the people shall rule, even as we worry about their capacity to do so. It is a form of government that calls upon us to demonstrate faith in each other, but to remain skeptical of one another’s motives and abilities. Without leadership, however, we can too easily remain polarized and paralyzed. Effective leadership allows us to reconcile competing factions and help us to choose a direction. Ethical leadership must also know why it is right to take these actions and convince the rest of us that this is so. The best leadership inspires us to take up the highest standards, and challenges us to meet the most formidable goals.

In this interdisciplinary course students read, discuss and reflect on the fundamental concept of leadership across a wide range of historical periods. They grapple with such questions as How are leaders best educated to be effective in a democracy? How important should morality be to leaders? What do citizens owe one another?

These questions belong to no single era, ideology, or discipline. Students meet leaders, large and small, in literature and throughout history. They consider the purposes of leadership in philosophy and confront the limits of leadership in the fine arts and religion. Most importantly, students learn to ask how the course readings and discussions might inform the development of their own characters and values to the leadership roles they will ultimately assume as they seek to make a positive difference in our world.

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