The Garden of Leaders Revolutionizing Higher Education

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2019-01-24
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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The Garden of Leaders explores two related questions: What is leadership? And what sort of education could prepare young people to be leaders? Paul Woodruff argues that higher education--particularly but not exclusively in the liberal arts--should set its main focus on cultivating leadership in students. Woodruff advances a new view of liberal arts education that places leadership at the root of everything it does, so that students will be prepared to lead in their lives and careers--and not necessarily in management roles.

Woodruff views the contemporary university as sorely lacking an emphasis on leadership, and presents three core sets of recommendations for how they can and should foster it. First, Woodruff posits co-curricular groups, activities, and projects as essential activities for students to gain confidence and leadership skills. Administrations should encourage students to engage in activities outside the classroom, convert coached sports teams into student-led clubs as far as possible, and discourage social organizations that are segregated by race or sex.

Second, Woodruff advocates for a different curriculum for all undergraduates, no matter their major-arguing that they need to be taught leadership in the forms of key skills including communication (including good writing, listening, and speaking), as well as exposure to key material in history literature, social science, and ethics. Students should be asked to consider the hardest ethical dilemmas that leaders face, toggling between Machiavelli and great ethical thinkers such as Confucius and Socrates.

Third, Woodruff calls for the teaching methods used by instructors to re-orient themselves around the question of leadership, particularly by emphasizing teamwork. Professors should respect their students' independence, avoid tyrannical teaching, and remember that all teachers teach ethics simply by the examples they set in dealing with students.

Whether in engineering, music, or classics, The Garden of Leaders advances leadership as a core value that should be at the heart of the educational enterprise-contending that while a college campus can be many things, it should at the very least be a ground upon which new leaders can grow.

Author Biography

Paul Woodruff is Darrell K. Royal Regents Professor in Ethics at the University of Texas at Austin. He holds over forty years of experience as a professor and is the author of books such as The Necessity of Theater (OUP 2008), The Ajax Dilemma (OUP 2011), and Reverence (OUP 2014).

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Alexander the Great Had Aristotle
Where Do Leaders Come From?
Can We Have Too Many Leaders?
Why a University?
The Plan of This Book
Why I Write This Book
Chapter 2: Leading from Freedom
The Un-Tyrant
Giving Shape to Freedom: The Lifeboat
Leading with Authority: Beyond Carrots and Sticks
Describing Leaders?
The Charismatic Dictator
The Art of Following
Learning from Women
Leaders: An Endangered Species?
Chapter 3: Messianic Leadership: Joan the Maid
Joan the Maid
Shaw's Saint Joan
Joan's Holy Ignorance
Educating Joan?
Chapter 4: Natural Leadership: Billy Budd
Nature's Best Child
Melville's Billy Budd
The Billys Among Us
Why Educate for Leadership?

Chapter 5: Educating Billy
The Garden of Not Eden
Learning from the Outside World
Learning in the Classroom
Using Data
Readings for Future Leaders
Chapter 6: Facing Evil: Learning Guile
This Side of Paradise
Failures of Leadership at Melos (Thucydides)
Machiavelli's Prince
The Limits of Guile (Sophocles' Philoctetes)
Facing Evil in Organizations: Defeating the Immune System
Chapter 7: Facing Evil in Ourselves: Justice and Compassion
Seeing Danger
Understanding Your Own Faults in Others
Unblocking Compassion
Justice and Self-Knowledge
Facing Your Faults in Others: Bartleby's Boss
Know Thyself
Chapter 8: Facing Complexity: Leadership and Lying
The Knock on the Door
The Leadership Dilemma: Home Team vs. the World
Moral Dilemmas
Machiavelli: Breaking the Rules
Following the Rules
Living Well with Complexity
Chapter 9: Facing Fear, Showing Courage
Facing Enemies
Facing Friends
Showing Courage
Chapter 10: Finding Courage
What Sort of Thing is Courage?
Courage with Others
False Courage
False Cowardice
Faking It?
Truing Courage
Sources of Courage
Sources of Failure
Chapter 11: Performing Leadership
Performing Leadership: George Washington at Newburgh
Wearing the Face of Leadership
Hiding Faults
Hypocrisy: Tartuffe and Alceste
Defining Hypocrisy
Looking as Good as You Try to Be
Hard Questions
Chapter 12: Good Ears, Strong Voices
Good ears
Strong Voices
Technology: Beyond Words
Overcoming Differences
Character: The Finest Example
Chapter 13: Becoming Magnetic
Virtues, or Beauties of the Soul
What Leaders Must Become (and Followers Too)
Character with Commitment
Making Character Shine
Character in Community
Character and Diversity
Wei Wu Wei (Silent Leadership)

Chapter 14: Tyrant Teaching
The Lesson: Be Silent
Mind-Murder: The Accomplices
Mind-Murder: The Perpetrators
The Authority Trap
The Coverage Trap
Chapter 15: Teaching Ethical Failure
Ethical Hubris
Moral Holidays
Turning our Backs on Values: The Gorgias Syndrome
Not Believing in What We Teach
Chapter 16: A Campus Revolution
What We Learn
How We Learn
First, Agree on Goals
Second, Every Teacher Teaches Ethics
Third, Stop Teaching
Fourth, Students Hire Coaches
Fifth, Give Students Time
Sixth, Trust Students
And, Last, a Plea to Parents

Chapter 17: Epilogue: Summary of Recommendations for Change

Chapter 18: Supporting Materials
A. Leadership and the Humanities
B. Classroom Study Guides and Further Reading
C. Using Teams for Leadership Experience

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