Investing in Our Future Leaders
What is courage? How do people find courage?
These are the questions I wanted the 60 students in the Leading with Courage honors class to answer by the end of the semester—and I was not disappointed.
When former Governor Bill Haslam raised the idea of us teaching this course together, of course I said yes.
Leadership is a topic I spent years studying as a faculty member and now seek to put into practice every day as chancellor. Who would be a better co-teacher than a governor who put it into practice for an entire state?
Together with our 60 students, we decided by the end of the semester that courage is not the absence of fear but rather acting in the face of it. It’s not limited to the people we think of as brave; it’s something we all have the capacity for—every single day, in big moments and small.
We talked a lot in the class about small moments. Speakers like former Senator Lamar Alexander and Theotis Robinson, the first Black undergraduate student at UT, talked about small moments that became big moments. Our students listened closely, asked thoughtful questions, and never shied away from tough topics.
In them I see the courage to be bold, compassionate leaders, and I know that our future is in good hands.