The James A. Garfield Center for the Study of the American Presidency cultivates in students a deep understanding of the institution of the presidency and the individuals who have held the office. The Center also convenes conferences at which scholars examine presidents, theoretical perspectives on the presidency, and the leadership challenges that confront the chief executive in making domestic, economic, and foreign policy.

Areas of Distinction

  • Each academic year, the Center engages a coterie of accomplished students of diverse academic backgrounds-Garfield Presidency Scholars-around issues that get at the very core of presidential leadership, both in theory and in practice. Across a program cycle. the Presidency Scholars scrutinize the life, values, decisions, and ultimate effectiveness of an American president of significant historical standing. Over the course of four years in the program, a student has the opportunity to engage in deep examination of four exceptional presidents.
  • The academic inquiry is animated by the reading of several books on the president in question, focused discussions led by student working groups, interaction with guest speakers, and travel to Washington, D.C., and other destinations most relevant to a particular president's life. The desideratum is that students will come to profess profound appreciation for that president as a person, as a leader in a particular time and setting, and as a governmental actor within the broader and intricate constitutional system.

Primary Academic Programs Associated with this Center (others may also be influenced by the Center)

  • Political Science
  • History
  • Communication
  • Public Leadership (minor)
  • Ethics (minor)
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Philosophy

Key Personnel

  • Douglas M. Brattebo, Director and Associate Professor of Political Science