Leadership Course

The Leadership Course will challenge you to think about yourself as a leader. Through group projects, oral presentations and written communication, you will strengthen your ability to engage others in the quest for positive social outcomes. Topics include "Leaders for Social Justice," "Leading Quietly," and "Science Advocacy." This course will help you to build relationships across differences, participate in ethical decision-making, communicate through writing and public speaking and create team fellowship.

Resisting Authority (Honors)

FacultyDiane Grossman
T TH 9:30 - 10:50 AM

When we think of history and politics, we often think in terms of 'leaders.' Who won a battle? Who was president at the time? Who led the civil rights movement? These are typical questions that seem to presuppose that we know what and who leaders are, and that we prize the concept of leadership. Even Simmons has "branded" itself on the idea that we help to create the next generation of leaders. But, more recently, there has been a new discussion about "followership." Perhaps we can't all be leaders. Perhaps we don't want to be leaders. But, except for the most isolated hermit, everyone will—inevitably—find themselves in a group where they follow. Typically, following has had a negative connotation, and in this course we will certainly examine—through theory and dramatic real-life cases—the downside of following. But how does one become a principled follower? Or, as some put it, a "courageous follower"? Are people naturally leaders or followers? Can we teach appropriate obedience as well as disobedience? These are the sorts of questions we will be asking in this course. Looking at these issues from a multi-disciplinary perspective, we will use philosophy, history, social psychology, anthropology, and media to try to better understand the dynamics of groups and of followers specifically. In addition, the most recent presidential election raised new questions and concepts of leadership that we will study in this class. We will also ask what role race, class, and gender, among other aspects of identity, play in these processes.

Women Writers as Leaders (Honors)

Faculty: Valerie Geary
T TH 12:30 - 1:50 PM

In this literature-based course we will explore the power of the pen as it pertains to some of the earliest leaders in the feminist movement: the courageous writers who tossed aside societal and conventional norms, often at great personal cost, in order to have their voices heard. We will span generations and geography in order to survey a vast array of writing themes, styles, and genres particular to the experiences of women in the world around them as they strive to inspire, cultivate, and lead social change. We will discuss several different genres, including fiction, poetry, essays, and memoir, among others.

Crusaders, Campaigners, and Con-Artists: Political Leadership on Film and TV (Honors)

Faculty: Rachel Gans-Boriskin
M W 12:30 - 1:50 PM

From Academy Award winning/nominated films like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Manchurian Candidate, Being There, and Dave to Emmy Award winning television programs like The West Wing, Veep, and House of Cards, tales of politicians and power have long been a staple of American entertainment. These stories, complete with high stakes and intrigue, both reflect and shape how Americans view politics, politicians, and political leadership. In this class, students will view American political media texts from 9 decades, analyzing the depictions, placing them in their historical contexts, and identifying who is and is not represented within them. Students will reflect on the ways in which media depictions of political leadership have helped shape their own views of politics and consider the kinds of depictions that might help build a "more perfect union."

African Resistance Movements

Faculty: Jessica Parr
TH 3:00 - 5:50 PM

This course will use literature and film to reflect on resistance to colonization, beginning in the twentieth century. Topics will include anti-colonization movements, such as the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa. This course will place a specific focus on Africa, and primarily on African women from the independence movements in the 1960's onward.

Because Who is Perfect?

Faculty: Hyun Uk Kim
T 3:00 - 5:50 PM

This course provides students with a broad interdisciplinary introduction to the field of disability studies (DS). Drawing from a wide range of multimedia materials from the humanities, the social sciences, education, the arts, and other areas of inquiry, the course explores the ideas that dis/abilities are social and cultural. Students will enhance their critical reflection and writing skills, read literary and media representations through the lenses of social model of dis/ability (i.e., DS), explore the intertwined intersections between dis/ability and other social constructs (i.e., race, class, gender, sexuality, and so forth), and eventually articulate their own roles as thought leaders in their respective disciplines to challenge the longstanding and persistent oppression for those people who have been deemed to be "different" in order to create a more just society for all.

Boston Women Leaders

Faculty: Erin DeCurtis
M 3:00 - 5:50 PM

This course will explore women leaders in Boston. The course will identify trends common to these women leaders as well as the unique leadership practices that successful women leaders in Boston enacted that contributed to the social, economic, political and personal successes they achieved. Students will use lessons learned to develop their own leadership philosophy. The course will include interviews with current women leaders in Boston from business, nonprofit and government sectors.

Civic Engagement and Mobile Activism

Faculty: Kris Erickson
T 3:00 - 5:50 PM

This course explores how ordinary citizens are increasingly turning to social media to become engaged leaders in civic society. We will investigate, specifically, the relationship between mobile media and activism, and how mobile users are increasingly using their technological knowledge to affect significant societal changes. While mobile technology offers new opportunities for activism and civic engagement, it also presents new challenges. This course will explore both the successes and challenges of contemporary social and political movements, locally and internationally, such as #blacklivesmatter and anti-globalization, and strategies for successful civic engagement.

Environmental Leadership in the 21st Century

Faculty: Zinnia Mukherjee
M 3:00 - 5:50 PM

Rising global temperature, marine pollution, depletion of freshwater sources and extinction of endangered species will be some of the major global challenges of the 21st century. Yet, appropriate actions toward environmental protection are often delayed because of lack of effective environmental leadership. This course will explore the role of environmental leadership at various levels in tackling major environmental challenges of the 21st century. Specifically, we will ask: what role can individuals and families play in providing community leadership to generate better environmental outcomes? Can students provide leadership in turning their college campuses greener? Can countries lead each other to adopt greener practices.

Health Care and Your Leadership

Faculty: John Lowe
T TH 3:00 - 4:20 PM

Diabetes, obesity, heart attack, migraines----your race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender and geographic location will all affect your entire health care experience; your diagnosis, the types of drugs you will be prescribed and how professionals will behave towards you. This course will examine the current state of health care in the US, the disparities that Obamacare was intended to remedy, and the fundamental social dynamics such as gendered roles (think male doctors, female nurses) that hold the status quo in place. Students also will begin developing some of the key leadership competencies needed by health care professionals, as defined by the National Center for Healthcare Leadership, which includes team leadership and participation, understanding the dynamics and culture of the organization in which you work, self-confidence, analytic thinking and relationship building.

How TV Frames America

Faculty: James Corcoran
M W 12:30 - 1:50

The media theorist George Gerbner has noted, "Those who tell the stories hold the power in society. Today television tells most of the stories to most of the people, most of the time." In this course students will explore the leadership roles storytellers play in our culture. In particular, they will look at the power of television to frame social categories and how those portrayals often lead us to specific views of the culture, society, and individuals. They will examine the stories television has told, and continues to tell, about race, gender, class, and sexuality, and whether these stories shape our identities, as well as our perceptions and misperceptions of different groups within our society, or merely reflect who we are as a people.

"Love Calls Us to the Things of this World:" Leaders for Social Justice

Faculty: Becky Thompson
LDR-101-01: M 12:00 - 2:50
LDR-101-02: T 12:00 - 2:50 PM

The course title comes from a poem by Richard Wilbur that speaks to love for the earth and humanity that is nurtured by a deepening sense of justice and wholeness. This course focuses on several social justice seekers whose work is helping to heal the world. In the face of human displacement, environmental degradation, and violence, these leaders offer forms of spiritual activism that are based on expanding one's consciousness to move us beyond dogmatism, arrogance and greed. Spiritual activism insists on social justice while encouraging us to embrace what it means to be fully human. The course will make room for several contemplative practices—yoga, meditation, free writing, conocimiento, dance, mindfulness, deep listening and talking circles—as we journey together to help create a world free of racism, xenophobia, sexism, and other oppressions.

Leadership in Law and Social Justice: Addressing Injustices Through the Legal Field

Faculty: Maria Elena P. Rivera-Beckstrom
LDR-101-17: T 8:00 - 10:50 AM 
LDR-101-18: TH: 8:00 - 10:50 AM

"What is legal is often not just. And what is just is often not at all legal" (Quigley 2007: 15). This quote demonstrates exactly that -- justice and legality are not always connected. But legal means may be used to address injustices. This course examines the ways in which the legal field has been central in fighting social injustices by people both 'ordinary' and 'extraordinary'. Some of those people are manifestly leaders as understood in common parlance. But others are unwitting or accidental leaders whose experiences resonated with others, or whose motivation was mainly to help others, or who wanted to right a wrong. Through this course, students will learn about the various ways in which leadership is demonstrated in the legal field, as well as learn what it takes to be an advocate of causes for social justice, among others. It will feature cases such as Brown v. Board (school segregation), Obergefell v. Hodges (same sex marriage), Braschi v. Stahl Associates (rights of surviving partners of same sex marriages), Loving v. Virginia (inter-racial marriage), Nabozny v. Podlesny (harassment and bullying in schools), among others, and leaders such as Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader-Ginsburg and Bryan Stevenson, along with many others who were litigants of cases.

Leading Quietly

Faculty: Mary Shapiro
T TH 3:00 - 4:20 PM

When asked to name leaders, very likely we list extroverts: Martin Luther King, Jr., Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey. Indeed, leadership is often defined by extroverted traits: outgoing, gregarious, forceful. So where does that leave those of us introverts who don't want to lead while standing in the spotlight? How can we use our strengths to lead in alternative, yet equally powerful, ways? Together we'll broaden the definition of leadership by looking at quiet leader role models (such as Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Emma Watson) and you'll discover how you've already led but may just have not labeled it 'leading'. You'll build skills to get your ideas heard; to negotiate conditions that enable you to make your best contributions in teams, clubs and the classroom; and to manage the perceptions of others so that they see: yes-- leadership can be done quietly!

Leading with Letters

Faculty: Lydia Fash
M W 9:30 - 10:50 AM

Leaders use and have used writing to change the world. This course will focus on texts that created significant social change and the authors who wrote them. Possible texts include works by Jane Jacobs (a pioneer of urbanism), Rachel Carson (mother of the modern environmental movement), Judith Butler (philosopher of gender as a performance), Barack Obama (the first African-American US President), and Malala Yousafzai (global advocate of girls' education). Students in this course will think about how and why books and speeches make us think, feel, and act, and how remarkable leaders have harnessed their power to improve the world.

Literacy Leads

Faculty: Janet Chumley
T TH 12:30 - 1:50 PM

This course will examine the extent of illiteracy among adults in the US, some of its causes, and its impact on their lives, including job and financial insecurity, health risks through clinical misunderstanding and accidents, social isolation, and transmission of illiteracy to children. Students will draft and write a paper articulating the serious consequences of this problem. In teams, students will develop projects and presentations looking at the kinds of leadership--and leadership vacuums--among the non-profit and government organizations that serve or have served the basic education (ABE) needs of adult learners. These include community centers, hospitals, religious institutions, Literacy Volunteers of America, public library efforts, school district-based programs like SCALE in Somerville or the Community Learning Center in Cambridge, the Massachusetts SABES (System for Adult Basic Education Support), community colleges, YMCA, Jewish Vocational Services, and many others.

On the Shoulders of Giants: Interdisciplinary Leadership for Health Professionals

Faculty: Kellene Isom
M 12:00 - 2:50

The future of healthcare relies on the advancement of the interdisciplinary healthcare team. In order to continuously improve healthcare strategies, promote innovation, and advocate for patients and our professions, we will draw upon the work of the inspirational leaders before us and the collaborative techniques of our colleagues. In this course we will examine and compare multiple approaches to leadership. We will look at leaders in healthcare, past and present, to introduce leadership concepts. Students will identify and develop their role as leaders in health professions. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the leader working in interdisciplinary teams in order to challenge traditional professional boundaries, improve patient care, and leverage diversity in the healthcare environment.

Who's Holding the Microphone?

Faculty: Ellen Davidson
M 12:00 - 2:50 PM

This course will give first year students the opportunity to investigate intersecting historical and current social justice movements based on their own interests. We will explore the benefits and challenges of collaborative leadership and more authoritarian leadership. We will consider the dynamics of working for your own rights versus working for the rights of others. We will consider the role of demographics in these groups in terms of overall membership and emergent leadership. We will consider the dynamics of working for your own rights versus working for the rights of others.

Women Leaders and the Rise of Human Rights

Faculty: Evan McCormick
LDR-101-05: T 12:00 - 2:50 PM
LDR-101-06: T 3:00 - 5:50 PM 

This course examines leadership by studying the unique historical role played by American women in advancing human rights in international politics during the 20th century. Students will examine a range of leadership models employed by women in diverse roles: from Eleanor Roosevelt's role in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to Cecile Richards and the global dimensions of the fight for reproductive rights, and to Madeline Albright and Condoleezza Rice as the first female secretaries of state. How did these women envision rights beyond those guaranteed by the state? What leadership attributes were most effective in protecting the rights of those facing injustice, persecution, and violence elsewhere on the globe? Answers to these questions will prepare students to engage with human rights ideas as leaders in their own political moment.

Women Leading Women Toward Education Across the Globe

Faculty: Kristin Nelson
F 12:00 - 2:50 PM

As many as 130 million girls between the age of 6 and 17 are out of school across the globe. In this course, students will ask and answer questions about how poverty, geography, violence, and child marriage stand as obstacles to these girls enrolling, attending and graduating from school. Students will examine the role leadership plays in this crisis as they study the work of such women as Malala Yousafzai, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfred, and Hillary Clinton. There will be discussions about whose voices are heard and whose are not. Students will explore leadership styles and work in teams to develop proposals for addressing specific problems related to girls' education. They will read stories told from the perspectives of girls' seeking an education, including the books I Am Malala and The Breadwinner Trilogy. Students with trauma may find the topics discussed difficult and triggering. Most come away inspired by the brave and resilient girls they "meet" over the semester.

Women with Words: Leadership through Writing

Faculty: Valerie Geary
T TH 11:00 AM - 12:20 PM

In this literature-based course we will explore the power of the pen as it pertains to some of the earliest leaders in the feminist movement: the courageous writers who tossed aside societal and conventional norms, often at great personal cost, in order to have their voices heard. We will span generations and geography in order to survey a vast array of writing themes, styles, and genres particular to the experiences of women in the world around them as they strive to inspire, cultivate, and lead social change. We will discuss several different genres, including fiction, poetry, essays, and memoir, among others.