Course Curriculum for M.A. in Leadership ~ Social Justice Concentration

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Module I: Practice of Building a Learning Community

This module has four main purposes: to encourage the development of a learning community; to increase self-awareness of purpose, values, and program goals; to deepen qualities in critical reflection; and, to learn the philosophical orientation and practices of the graduate program. Prior to the first day of class, students in the social justice concentration will be “introduced” via Moodle and will receive individual Hall-Tonna values assessment and coaching. They will also be asked to do some reading and to arrive on June 17 with an initial written reflection.

Module II: Foundations of Social Justice

Learners in this course provide the first text by answering—What is your personal lived experience of social justice and/or injustice? What is social justice to you? From this starting point, the class explores perspectives on “What is social justice?” from historical and contemporary resources and provides a context for this discussion in the Catholic Lasallian traditions.

Module III: Leadership Theory

This module focuses on learners’ understanding of historical and contemporary theories of leadership, and critically examines the assumptions and values that are implicit in these respective theories. Learners complete this module with a thorough understanding of 21st Century Leadership practices, an understanding of the fundamental differences between leadership and management and their personal definition of leadership.

Module IV: Social Movements

Social change can be understood on a continuum beginning with direct service and leading to community organizing and empowerment. This module uses case studies of social movements and learners’ own experiences to explore the nature of leadership and systemic change. Particular attention will be invested in the notions of advocacy and social mobilization.

Module V: Values, Ethics and Decision Making

Grounded in philosophy and values study, learners in this course will deepen their capacity to understand how background beliefs, moral character, and moral principles influence decision-making. Rather than provide a list of “dos and don’ts,” this course calls upon us to search deeply for the internal and external influences that help us know right from wrong.

Module VI: Sustainable Organizational Change

This module is designed to provide learners with the assessment, learning, and research tools necessary to effect sustainable change in their own organizations and communities. Participants will learn about action research and develop and refine a research project proposal and implementation plan.

Module VII: Building Cross-Cultural Capacity

The purpose of this module is to 1) deepen our awareness of the complexity of cross-cultural issues and develop skills to engage other people successfully across these differences; and 2) develop capacity to value and approach differences requires a willingness to move across a line, or boundary, which defines that difference. 

Module VIII: Global Contexts for 21st Century Leadership

Systems Theory is a contemporary telling of an ancient and perennial story about the world as alive, dynamic, and interrelated. Because leadership is a relational activity that takes place in complex social organizations, systems theory and the thinking it fosters, it is particularly useful to practitioners of leadership in the 21st century.

Module IX: Global Perspectives on Human Rights, Equity & Justice

This module provides an opportunity for the program to adapt to changing global issues and the interests and expertise of students and faculty. While the topical focus may change, the overall purposes will be to provide a context and history of the topic, to explore a theoretical framework that helps us understand the justice issues at hand, and to create opportunities for action. Potential topics include economic inequity, human trafficking, perils and opportunities of international development, and healthcare.

Module X: Policy, Leadership and Systemic Change

In this course we view policy and the policy making process as a vehicle for systemic change through leadership. The policy cycle—the process, product and evaluation -- is examined through several lenses, including but not limited to: systems theory, values, participatory democracy, action research, and adaptive leadership. Existing social policies provide the case studies for the course.

Module XI: Personal and Organizational Learning

During this course learners will have an opportunity to demonstrate leadership practices and ideas about social justice and social change that have been explored and applied over the course of the program. This will include group reflections on the learning that has been gained through their research and guided reflection on personal and professional learning. The weekend retreat will be the vehicle for tying this together.