Frankenstein and Leadership

We’ve been placing significant emphasis on leadership, haven’t we? It’s an important topic in the field of sustainability, given our need for leaders who can persuade citizens to protect our environment, our society, and our economy.

Last week, we learned how leaders apply models, frameworks, and paradigms to analyze problems and identify pragmatic solutions. By applying the Octopus Model to our own College, we were able to identify how price and cost considerations can lead academic institutions to develop new revenue sources. Yale University’s Singapore campus, and Quinnipiac University’s medical school, provided two case examples of this analysis.

Then we learned how the principles of Simplicity, Creativity, and Humanity serve as the principal goals of effective communication. We critically analyzed the written and spoken works of Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, William Shakespeare, and Ronald Reagan as exemplars of these principles.

So where do we go from here? It’s time to discuss Frankenstein! The novel is the advance reading assignment for Tuesday; you should read the book in its entirety to prepare for our class discussion.

As you complete Mary Shelley’s tale, please think about the character of Victor Frankenstein. He is, quite clearly, the individual who finds himself in a natural position to assume the mantle of leadership and strive to avert catastrophe. We’ll discuss how well, or how poorly, he achieves this goal.

The novel also addresses important themes about the impact of bio-medical engineering on the sustainability of our society and our environment. Please be prepared to discuss these themes as well.

Then, on Thursday, we’ll apply the same themes to a recent military challenge with social, environmental, and economic consequences. To prepare for our session on Thursday, please read Mehar Omar Khan’s Don’t Try to Arrest the Sea: An Alternative Approach for Afghanistan. It was published in the Small Wars Journal in 2009, and has been placed online for public access by the Small Wars Foundation.

Finally, please recall the two administrative issues that we discussed in class last week:

1. Our quizzes will now cover content that we discussed in the classroom during the previous session, as well as the advance reading assignment for the current session.

2. When you receive an invitation from Top Hat to access its platform, please accept it. We plan to utilize it as we shift to an online quizzing system.

And that concludes our plans for the upcoming week! In a nutshell, we’ll begin by applying the principles of leadership to a fictional war between Man and Creature, and then end by applying these principles to a real war that continues today.