Principles of Effective Leadership 2017

Course Description

This course will examine issues related to effective leadership in a variety of areas including public sector, private sector, for profit, and not for profit. We will explore these issues in large part through the experiences of men and women who have held leadership roles. We will also examine leadership issues as they have arisen in historical contexts. The majority of class sessions will be led by guest speakers, most, though not all, of whom are distinguished alumni of the college. Students will be expected to take an active role in introducing and helping to lead discussions involving the guest speakers.

Evaluation will be based on attendance, preparation, and participation in class discussions, and a final 5-page paper with a 5 minute presentation. You should do the readings assigned before class. You will be expected to purchase one book, available at Water Street Books:

Professor: William E. Simon, Jr.

Email: [email protected]

Class Time: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Tues, Wed, Thurs (1/3/17- 1/26/17)

Class Location: TBD

Office Hours: By Appointment

Course Website: TBD


“On Effective Leadership” by Chandler and Chandler
Other readings and excerpts will be available on the class website in PDF format:


“Profiles in Leadership” by Walter R. Isaacson

“The Road to Character” by David Brooks

Gospel of Wealth” by Andrew Carnegie


Students who miss more than two class sessions (except in case of illness) will receive a grade of Perfunctory Pass or lower.

Meeting our guest speakers, and probing their approaches to leadership, is the primary goal of this Winter Study course. Two components of this course will help you fully engage our speakers throughout the course:

  1. Hosting Duties: Each student will be asked to host one of the guests, meeting him or her at dinner or breakfast before the class meeting, then introducing the guest and stimulating the discussion after the guest’s opening statement. After each visit, we will spend some time at the following class session de-briefing, sharing impressions, surprises, and lessons learned.
  1. Final Paper: The 5-page final paper may take a variety of forms and formats, but should address what you see as the basic themes in the readings and what you have learned from the guest speakers – both collectively, and more specifically in the cases of at least three different individuals. In general, you should aim to:
  • Identify and summarize a main theme in the course
  • Develop support for the theme with facts/details about guest speakers and individuals from the readings
  • Highlight details mentioned by guest speakers that either interested or surprised you, and explain why they did.
  • Incorporate the significance of the speaker’s accomplishments or field of work (how/why is this topic important, is this a career or focus that you would be interested in?)

  A specific proposal – one paragraph and presentation outline – is due January 16th.

  The final paper is due January 25th at the beginning of class.


Schedule of Classes   


Class 1 (Tue)             Introductions

1/3/17                          Who we are (instructors, students, and guests). Come prepared to discuss your expectations as well as to identify someone from the past or the present that you think is or was a great leader, or some specific act of great leadership, and to explain why your choice exemplifies great leadership.

  • What is leadership?
  • What are some of the differences between public sector and private sector leadership?
  • Outline the framework of the course
  • Discuss the subplots

Readings:  “On Effective Leadership” by Chandler and Chandler

  • (pp. 3-8, 9-22, 203-217)

“The Road to Character” by David Brooks

  • Introduction (pp. 261-267)



Class 2 (Wed)            Profiles in Leadership: Ulysses Grant, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Douglas MacArthur and Vince Lombardi


                                    Readings: “Profiles in Leadership,” edited by Walter Isaacson

  • Ulysses Grant (pp. 57 – 82)
  • Roosevelt (pp. 187 – 208)




Class 3 (Thu)             Leadership in the Field of Health Care

1/5/17                          Guest Speaker: David T. Feinberg, M.D., M.B.A.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Geisinger Health System.


Class 4 (Tue)             The Importance of Communication


1/10/17                        Readings: “On Effective Leadership” by Chandler and Chandler

  • (pp. 12-14, 205, 209-210, 213, 216 )




Class 5 (Wed)             Leadership in the World of Social Entrepreneurship and Athletics
1/11/17                        Guest Speaker: Greg Zaff

Co-Founder, National Urban Squash & Education Association

Guest Speaker: Tim Wyant

                                    ‎Executive Director, National Urban Squash & Education Association

Guest Speaker: Julie Greenwood

Executive Director, Squash Haven

[Moderator: Dave Johnson, Dean of Freshmen]



Class 6 (Thu)             Leadership in the Political Arena

1/12/17                        Guest Speaker: Governor Howard Dean

Former Governor, Vermont



Class 7 (Tue)             Leadership in the Political Arena

1/17/17                        Guest Speaker: Governor Jane Swift

                                    Former Governor, Massachusetts



Class 8 (Wed)                        Business Leadership: The Art of Subtlety

1/18/17                        Guest Speaker: Steve Harty ‘73

                                    CEO, Harty Management Advisors



Class 9 (Thu)             Leadership in the Legal Profession

1/19/17                        Guest Speaker: Michael B. Keating ‘62

Partner, Foley Hoag LLP



Class 10 (Tue)           Leadership in the Non-Profit World

1/24/17                        Guest Speaker: James E. Piereson

President, William E. Simon Foundation


Reading: Gospel of Wealth                     



Class 11 (Wed)          Student Presentations

1/25/17                        Final paper due at the beginning of class.




Class 12 (Thu)           Final Class: Reflections on Effective Leadership