The Global Affairs class New York Times columnist David Brooks has taught at Yale three times in the past three years, “Humility,” will not be offered again next semester, Gawker has learned. In its first iteration, in Spring 2013, the reading list for “Humility” included some of Brooks’ own columns.
Instead, Brooks will teach a class on “Successful Global Leadership.” Here is the course description for that offering:
In an age of individualism and cosmopolitanism the ability to serve as an effective leader, and to lead a full life, depends on ability to end some freedoms and make crucial commitments: to spouse and family, to vocation, to faith or philosophy, and to community. Consideration of how to make commitments; how to decide on people and things to commit to; how to persevere within commitments; and the downsides of commitments. Preference given to upperclassmen and students associated with the Jackson Institute.
“Humility” was still scheduled in the official, online coursebook (accessible to all undergraduates) for next semester just a few days ago, we’re told. It’s not clear why the class was cancelled. Neither Brooks nor a Global Affairs departmental administrator have responded to a request for comment.
In response to an email from Gawker asking to confirm whether “Humility” has been cancelled and replaced with “Successful Global Leadership,” the dean of Yale College, Jonathan Holloway, wrote that he did not have the answers to our questions. (“Honestly, I have no idea.”) However:
Regardless of the reasons for Brooks’s decision, it might be helpful to know that Yale consistently offers around a thousand courses each semester. There is always a fair amount of movement as we approach each term: people cancel courses for personal reasons, people change courses due to requests from within programs or departments because of course cancellations elsewhere, etc.
Admission to “Humility” was highly competitive: undergraduates would attend the first day of class, we’re told, and Brooks would issue a writing prompt. A few days later, he would select about 20 students to participate in the class.
Needless to say, it would be a rewarding semester for everyone. Sometimes, a student would end up as an anecdote in one of his columns. Other times, a student would (more or less) write one of his columns. Always, Brooks learned as much from them as they did from him.
Anyway, we’ve asked Brooks if the class was cancelled, why it was cancelled, and whether humility is compatible with successful global leadership. We’ll update if he responds.