Sunday, October 27, 2013

Madison's Managers (Bertelli and Lynn): judgement, rationality, balance, and accountability.

I am enthusiastic about Madison's Managers by Bertelli and Lynn, Jr. What I like about it is its grounding in the law and political process, its making clear that policy school managers are very different than those from a business school, and its "transcendent" tone (albeit grounded in separation of actual powers). It gives to our students a distinctive vision, one that many already share but have not well articulated, and it gives to our faculty a purpose that is much more than providing courses and curricula. (Think of a medical school where what you want to produce are physicians, not students who happen to learn a variety of subjects and are good diagnosticians...  Or USC, where we not only produce BA holders, but also Trojans (faithful, scholarly, skillful, courageous, ambitious--with an overarching sense that you contribute to society).)

I don't think most of students would be able to read MM without lots of help. You need to know too much. But the basic ideas of judgment, balance, rationality, and accountability can be inculcated and exemplified. 

Now, perhaps all of this already happens. But in my years I am not sure I have ever heard the kind of arguments Bertelli and Lynn make, or those values, in our seminars or in hallway conversation.  "Governance" is no substitute for what MM says. 

The veterans and active duty students I see know all of this, albeit not the MM version but at least the "transcendent" values are ones they understand, no matter how much they know too much about their service. We are not just a school that trains people technically. We are not just about intersectoral, or leadership, or ... We are a school that has a distinguished mission. Our students surely know how to be USC Trojans, or at least many do. What we need to do is make them members of the Price Club.