LDR 101: Leadership Prologue

LDR 101 seminars explore how the liberal arts inform good leadership. They engage every first-year student in the exploration of an interesting topic while providing the intellectual orientation and skills foundational to college learning and effective leadership. All LDR 101 seminars, regardless of topic, share specific learning goals based on the faculty's conviction that all good leaders work well with others, think analytically, and communicate effectively. For these reasons, all LDR 101 seminars place special emphasis on five fundamental intellectual and leadership skills: critical thinking, writing, public speaking, digital literacy, and teamwork.

Each seminar is designed to help you do the following, both singly and as a member of a team:

  • Summarize and explain the main ideas of a text, speech, doctrine, principle or belief.
  • Identify and analyze significant issues, problems, and questions, and evaluate or develop effective responses.
  • Articulate, compare and judge the strengths and weaknesses of two or more competing arguments about an issue, problem or question, supporting your comparative judgment with appropriate evidence.
  • Develop, focus and organize ideas concerning a central topic, and create, revise and present these ideas in written, spoken, visual and digital forms using appropriate sources.
  • Articulate how working toward the outcomes above has informed your understanding of leadership and your capacity to lead.

Leadership Prologue Courses, Fall 2021

Select a course section to view the description.

Note: Section numbers are subject to change.

LDR-101A: From Handbills to Hashtags: A Global History of Student Activism (4.00)

Young people have long been at the forefront of social change. Students in particular have emerged as leaders of protest movements since the mid 19th century, using the tools of critical thinking and exposure to the world of ideas to engage the social and intellectual challenges of their times. This course will examine the leadership and legacy of student movements in a variety of historical periods and places, including: students’ roles in and responses to nationalism, communism and fascism in Europe; decolonization; the Civil Rights movement in the United States; the campaign against the Vietnam War; the Iranian Revolution; the Tiananmen Uprising; and the Arab Spring. We will conclude our study by examining contemporary student movements around the world, as events unfold. The final project of the semester will invite students to identify and develop a course of action around a contemporary problem of their own choosing.

Taught by Kristian Blaich.

LDR-101B: Ethical vs. Lawful Leadership in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) (4.00)

There are numerous examples involving moral dilemmas in science. More women specialized in STEM disciplines in the past few decades, but their increased presence in leadership roles has not paralleled. Are women more ethical than men? One can debate different leadership styles across numerous professional fields in STEM, but every leader must behave ethically; it's undebatable. A good leader guides, inspire, and nurtures; but ethics is the foundation of excellent leadership. How do psychological processes of moral behavior control potentially disastrous and life-changing outcomes from ethical dilemmas in science? Do local and federal guidelines parallel ethics? This seminar seeks to define leadership, evaluate barriers to women in STEM leadership, redefine good leadership traits, and discuss case studies involving ethics in science. We will analyze complex cases, the implications of unethical leadership, and debate hot science topics.

Taught by Yakini Brandy.

LDR-101C: Leadership as Influence (4.00)

In Leadership as Influence, we will explore leadership from the perspective of management science. In the management literature, there are almost as many definitions of leadership as there are people who’ve defined it. However, the most common theme that persists through all of these definitions is the concept of influence. Hence, in this seminar, we will study the science of influence and persuasion, interrogate real-life and fictional character examples of influencing behaviors, and put these tactics into action through course activities. Throughout the course, we will interrogate ethical considerations of influence tactics and how to apply one’s strengths to one’s leadership and influence attempts. We will talk to professionals about leadership and influence in their careers and students will execute acts of leadership and influence using the skills learned.

Taught by Amy Breidenthal.

LDR-101D: Race, Gender and Social Change: Case Studies of Women's Leadership in US History (4.00)

Struggles for racial and gender equality represent central narratives in the history of the United States, and the leadership of American women has been essential to those narratives. Using a case study approach, this course will examine the lives, leadership, identities and values of several prominent—and some not-so-prominent—American women whose ideas and activism have shaped social change in various historical periods. Main topics include: women’s participation in the American Revolution; women in abolition; women as labor organizers; women’s suffrage; anti-lynching campaigns; women in the Civil Rights struggle; feminism and the women’s rights movement; Native American women’s activism; and more contemporary campaigns such as Black Lives Matter. As we consider these topics, we will maintain an on-going class discussion about what constitutes leadership, whether there are distinctively female forms of effective leadership, and how personal identity informs leadership issues.

Taught by Mary Cain.

LDR-101E: Leadership and Social Justice in the New South (4.00)

“There was a South of slavery and secession,” Atlanta Constitution editor Henry Grady proclaimed in an 1886 speech to businessmen in New York. “That South is dead.” But we are still reckoning with the legacy of white supremacy and Jim Crow laws that arose in the wake of Reconstruction. This course will focus on the history and legacy of the “Old South,” and the social justice leaders who have helped forge the “New South” that we are living in today. We will learn more about leaders such as Representative John Lewis and Stacey Abrams, and each member of the seminar will become a leader of our communal effort to better understand how such leaders effect social change. This focus will provide a framework for improving foundational skills for success in college (critical thinking, writing, public speaking, digital literacy, teamwork) and, by extension, strengthening each student’s leadership skills.

Taught by James Diedrick (Professor Emeritus of English).

LDR-101F: Leadership at the Nexus of Nature and Public Health (4.00)

This course will explore how one’s relationship with nature can become an avenue to cultivate identity, personal reflection, health promotion and leadership development. As nature can be linked to multiple physical, social and psychological health benefits, we will examine various strategies to assess their strengths, weaknesses and application to current topics. Different examples on the role of nature based social movements in cultivating inclusive leadership development, community building and advocacy are explored. Course materials will include readings, media content and videos. Students will draw on literature from environmental health, outdoor education, and leadership development to recommend an outdoor engagement activity for the college.

Taught by Viniece Jennings.

LDR-101G: Fashion Matters: Intro to Leadership in the Global Fashion Industry (4.00)

Fashion elevates a fundamental physical need to an art form: human beings must clothe the body in order to survive. In this way, fashion shares elements with architecture (the need for shelter) and cuisine (the need for food). Fashion Studies has emerged as a vibrant field of academic study, with women such as Dr. Valerie Steele leading the way. This course will introduce students to Fashion Studies and will explore globalization and the leadership of women such as Anna Wintour (MET Fashion Institute, NYC). Topics of study will include: crucial moments in fashion history, the female body as the site of oppression/liberation, the rise (and fall) of top fashion designers, sustainabilty and the ethics of consumption, social media and "fast fashion," and African/African-American/Asian representation and experience. Practical knowledge regarding career paths/jobs/graduate training/internships in the multi-billion dollar global fashion industry will be explored.

Taught by Julia Knowlton.

LDR-101H: Cryptology and Cryptography: The Making and Breaking of Secret Codes (4.00)

Throughout history, leaders of nations and corporations have searched for ways to exchange messages in secret. In this LDR-101, we will discuss classical ways in which messages were exchanged, from ciphers used by Julius Caesar to public-key ciphers which have evolved since the age of the computer. We will see how each is constructed and analyze their vulnerabilities using mathematical tools. No mathematical background is assumed.

Taught by Alan Koch.

LDR-101I: 21st Century History (4.00)

College students today are the first entirely 21st century generation. This class will examine the history you have lived through. Using both your personal memories, primary source documents, and scholarly research we will consider what future generations should know about the first two decades of the 21st century. We will create an archive so future students will understand what life was like "way back in the early 2000s." Topics may include environmental history, political history, global history, music and fashion history, race and ethnicity, and public health.

Taught by Robin Morris.

LDR-101J: Social Business (4.00)

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus defined social business as a business created and designed to address a social problem. In this leadership class, we will leverage economic principles and business concepts as we explore leadership through the lens of an emerging type of business which brings together solving social problems and maintaining a sustainable business not dependent on donations for continuity. Students will learn about the history of social business, and its growth and expansion in different parts of the world will be explored. Students will also learn more about different types of social businesses, leadership in this sector and the main principles that social business emphasizes. If you are interested in social entrepreneurship or are thinking about starting a non-profit designed to solve a social problem, this class would provide information that could facilitate your preparation to achieve that goal.

Taught by Ruth Oyelere.

LDR-101K: Religion and Economic Justice (4.00)

Rising income inequality has prompted religious responses. Rev. M.L. King, Jr.'s Poor People's Campaign (1968) and the New Poor People's Campaign (2018-present), along with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and Interfaith Worker Justice, are the foundational religious movements dealing with food insecurity/hunger, poverty wages and wage theft, labor abuses, and human trafficking. We will study poverty and homelessness with and through a practicum experience with our community partner Hagar's House, a homeless shelter for families across the street from Agnes Scott, and within an increasingly-gentrifying Decatur. We will examine systemic oppression, movement building for social change, and engage activist leaders and change agents in the economic justice movement both on our campus (with the Agnes Scott College Living Wage Campaign), locally, and globally.

Taught by Tina Pippen.

LDR-101L: The Women of Wakanda: An Exploration of Women’s Leadership in Film (4.00)

This seminar will interrogate and explore leadership through the lens of the fantasy/science fiction film Black Panther with specific focus on female characters in the film and their leadership styles and characteristics. We will assess the portrayals of the women of Wakanda and examine the implications of these representations of leadership in the film. A brief history of the representation of women of color in North American films will provide additional context for the exploration of female cinematic stereotypes as it relates to the historical evolution of women and leadership in film. There will also be an examination of the role of women leaders in the film industry and the subsequent impact to onscreen female representation. Students will utilize viewing skills and strategies, including observations and note taking, to understand and interpret film clips and portrayals of leadership. The course will include an overview of leadership theory with a nuanced focus on the intersectionality of gender and leadership.

Taught by Heather Scott.

LDR-101M: Media, Communication, and the Shape of Our World (4.00)

After Johannes Gutenberg “invented” modern printing with movable type in the fifteenth century, it became much easier to disseminate information to large groups of people. Yet, the question remains: how is communication affected by the medium that exists between the speaker and the audience? Was Marshall McLuhan right when he wrote that “the medium is the message”? In this class we will consider how media has attempted to facilitate communication, transmit information, and tell stories, from Gutenberg to the present. We will examine old media and new media alike, including contemporary modes such as digital media, social media, and celebrity media. How does an understanding of, and ability to manipulate, media help leaders to lead? What is the relationship between media and leadership? We will interrogate these questions and this topic from different angles and by looking at various kinds of texts to create a discussion about the importance of media in the past, our present moment, and the future.

This class will have a strong focus on how arguments are made in the media and will examine topics pertaining to the ethics surrounding media and users. We will read some literary texts (including a film), write rhetorical analyses, and build toward a team debate in which the questions to be debated will come from the students. In the past, we've debated questions such as, "who should bear responsibility for the content on socia media platforms?" In the past, we've had two guest speakers, and I hope to bring them back. The first is a book historian and the second is the Director of Public Policy for Facebook.

Taught by James Stamant.

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