The Batten School and Center for Politics Launch New Batten Course Taught by Center for Politics Director Larry J. Sabato

The University of Virginia Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the UVA Center for Politics today announced a new Batten School undergraduate course that will be taught by Center for Politics Director Larry J. Sabato and Center for Politics Chief of Staff Ken Stroupe this spring. The course, titled “Lessons in Leadership: JFK and the Most Personal Office,” is the first-ever Batten School course to be taught by Sabato and will introduce students to the history, politics, and leadership legacy of John F. Kennedy.

“JFK’s assassination was one of the flashbulb moments of modern American history, a deeply shocking event and one that had significant consequences for the nation and world,” said Sabato. “The elevation of JFK to secular sainthood after Dallas meant that almost every president of both parties has used the Kennedy legacy to enhance chances for their agendas. Even more than a half-century later, JFK’s words and image are inescapable. This class will trace the impact of JFK from his birth nearly 102 years ago through to the present.”

From topics as wide-ranging as tax policy and space exploration to the war in Vietnam, dismantling of the Berlin Wall and the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, the course will trace the impact of Kennedy’s brief presidency over nearly sixty years and focus on how Kennedy’s life, presidency, and tragic assassination have influenced leadership styles and public policy worldwide. Undergraduate students majoring in public policy and leadership will be able to register for the class beginning Monday, Nov. 5. 

“Aristotle said that politics is everything, and the ancient philosopher had a point,” said Batten School Dean Allan Stam. “Politics, whether you’re a fan or not these days, plays a pivotal role in all of our lives. As students of public policy and leadership, a strong foundation in American political history is a necessity. How can one hope to be an effective leader or policymaker if one does not understand the complex origins of our own political history? Or better, be able to recognize the role history continues to play in shaping our current reality? I can’t think of anyone better than [Professor] Larry Sabato to lead a course of this nature and wish I could be a fly on the wall.”

Earlier this year, the Batten School and Center for Politics announced a new National Symposium Series on Democracy called “Democracy in Perilous Times: Unprecedented Challenges and Controversies.” The series features recognized speakers such as Martin Luther King, III; Republican strategist Karl Rove; former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile; political commentator Ana Navarro; CNN’s Jim Acosta; Rep. Adam Schiff (D, CA-28); and others. The next event in the series is the national premiere of CHARLOTTESVILLE, a two-hour television documentary on the events of Aug. 11 and 12, 2017, produced in partnership with the PBS Community Idea Stations. The premier event, part of the Virginia Film Festival, will take place on Saturday, Nov. 3, at 4:00pm at the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville.   


About the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy: The University of Virginia Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy is authoring a new model of public policy education. Of the 250-plus schools of public policy and administration in the U.S., the Batten School has the distinction of being the only one explicitly committed to teaching leadership—how it works, why context matters in decision-making and which actions lead to tangible results. The School’s programs inspire students to act vigorously, effectively and ethically on behalf of the common good. Learn more at

About the UVA Center for Politics ( The UVA Center for Politics is a non-partisan institute that seeks to promote the value of politics, improve civics education, and increase civic participation through comprehensive research, pragmatic analysis, and innovative educational programs.

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