JoAnn Danelo Barbour
Professor and Chair, Doctoral Program in Leadership Studies
I recommend students read both broadly and in-depth, and read for different reasons. I read current fiction and travel narratives for relaxation. I have recently rediscovered science fiction and poetry; and I will challenge myself to read one classic work of literature yearly. I try to read popular works of science for understanding, and philosophical works to challenge my ways of thinking and knowing. But I read in-depth from history, historical novels, biographies of historical and modern leaders, and from the Renaissance, the historical era of which I am most enamored: literature, politics, characters of every stripe, painting, sculpture, artists, architecture. Ah, belissima!
Anny Fritzen Case
Assistant Professor, Teacher Education
Lisa Delpit, a prominent education scholar, famously reminded educators that they spend most of their time teaching other people’s children. This reality ought to invoke a deep sense of curiosity, compassion and humility. Along these lines, I recommend that my students read nuanced narratives of teaching such as “Holler If You Hear Me: The Education of a Teacher and His Students” by Gregory Michie or “The Power of Their Ideas: Lessons for America from a Small School in Harlem” by Deborah Meier. I also recommend “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis” by Robert D. Putnam and the informative and inspirational resources on the Children’s Defense Fund website. These and other similar materials can help current or future educators begin to understand and appreciate the values, cultures, backgrounds, fears and dreams of their students.
Making Human Count
Professor, School of Law
The usual tools of lawyers are cases and legislative materials. But there are many aspects of the law that cannot be found in these formal sources. For several decades, law professors have been weaving works of literature into classes to tell the stories of the law. One of my favorites is Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood,” about the murder of the Clutter family in Kansas in 1959 by two drifters, Dick Hickock and Perry Smith. In Capote’s hands, the murder becomes more than a tale of legal rules or even good versus bad. It becomes a story about human beings, with personal histories and individual experiences. I recommend the book because it serves as reminder to see all of our clients – even those who have done wrong or who are otherwise marginalized – as complex persons who deserve to have their story told.
Irrational is OK
Associate Professor of Economics, School of Business Administration
Economics courses typically rely on analytical precision to describe the world around us. Yet, the real world is messy, and cannot be expected to always (ever?) conform to our assumptions. This disconnect is one of the most exciting areas of academic research in economics, and bridges the gap between “textbook” economics and real world economics. Thankfully, this work is often produced as mass market books written for non-academics. Examples of these include: Dan Ariely’s “Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality and Irrationally Yours”; “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness” by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein; and “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel Pink.
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