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Department of Leadership and American Studies

Majors and Minors

American Studies

American studies examines the American experiment from an interdisciplinary perspective, based on the liberal arts and sciences. It incorporates the study of economics, history, literature, art, the media, film, urban studies and women’s studies, among other fields. Students read deeply in these areas, and through research learn to think and write critically about the nature of American life.

American studies majors complete common core courses, and then choose electives within the following three tracks:

  • Constitutional studies
  • Humanities
  • Social sciences

You can also minor in American studies.

Sample Courses

AMST 120 Encounters with the Constitution

This course explores the constitutional, historical, political, sociological and economic implications of selected landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases as a means of gaining greater understanding of the Constitution and its significance in everyday life. Topics include the role of the judiciary, the powers of the federal government, race, religion, abortion and economic rights. The course is designed for students who are considering law school and serves as an introduction to the constitutional studies concentration.

AMST 300 The American Experiment: Global Influence

A critical evaluation of the American experiment through the lens of the global community that asks what it means to be an American in an increasingly global world. Students explore post-colonial world views of a number of influential philosophers, scholars, leaders, and policy makers on America’s life, culture, and place in the world. Topics may include global rights and duties, resource scarcity, cultural imperialism, public health, and the clash of liberalism with fundamentalism.

AMST 310 The American Economy in Literature

A study of the workings of the American economy using selections from literature. Course readings will include excerpts and short works by authors including Frost, Steinbeck and others. Topics to be covered include supply and demand, capitalism, income inequality, public goods and government regulation, and labor markets.

AMST 335 Moot Court

This course examines the art of appellate argument in the United States judicial system. Appellate argument requires many skills, including analyzing case law, identification of logical fallacies, internalizing a complex set of facts, argument construction and organization, brief writing, oral presentation, and impromptu responses to public questioning. Utilizing the American Collegiate Moot Court Association Annual Problem, students will complete a complex set of tasks, which will culminate in a simulated oral argument and appellate brief.

Leadership Studies

The human social experience has always involved leadership. No matter your major or path in life, the process of leading and following will be present. Studying leadership will help you develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes to participate meaningfully in the leadership process in any setting.

The minor in leadership studies is open to all students and is an integral part of the President’s Leadership Program. It offers theoretical and practical approaches to becoming a successful leader in one’s chosen profession and in the larger society.

Sample Courses

LDSP 210 Self, Group and Leadership

This interactive course introduces you to the role of self and group in the leadership process. Through academic study, personal assessment, in-class activities and assignments, you’ll learn how personal development impacts leadership capabilities, the importance of self understanding to effective leadership, and the relationship between self identity and group process. In addition to self-study, you will study group development, group think and the effect of power and communication styles in group dynamics.

LDSP 320 Leadership Through the Ages

In attempting to understand leadership in the 21st century, one cannot ignore the insights and practices of significant figures from the past. This course is designed to introduce students to some of the most influential historical leaders and thinkers from throughout the world and to examine how their lessons in leadership may or may not be applicable to current leadership issues. Using an interdisciplinary approach, students will study leaders acting in multiple contexts to understand how the contemporary and immediate situational factors influence leadership behavior.

LDSP 240. Theories and Perspectives on Leadership

This course provides a multidisciplinary introduction to the field of leadership studies. Social scientific approaches to the study of leadership will be considered, with a focus on the application of theory to practice. The influence of the humanities and the natural sciences on the study of leadership will also be considered. Contemporary trends, topics and debates will be explored, along with traditional approaches to the study of leadership.

LDSP 386 Values Leadership

This course examines the paradigm of values leadership as a theory and a philosophy. Values leadership is based on selecting, defining, modeling, and promoting values to unify individuals in striving toward a shared vision. Values based leaders create a culture of trust and leverage core values that inspire individuals to a higher level of motivation, morality, and achievement. Terminal, instrumental, and organizational values are explored. The techniques of envisioning, culture shaping, developing self-led followers, fostering trust, and ethical decision making are explored. The course considers the moral responsibilities of a leader toward his or her followers.

Full curriculum

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