Our Story

<< Back to Our Approach to Leadership

Our Vision and Mission

At the MA in Leadership Program at Saint Mary’s College, we envision a future of thriving communities, workplaces and institutions that reflect human values of justice, wisdom and social and ecological well being.

Our mission is to provide a quality and enriching learning environment for working professionals that serves to achieve one's personal, professional, and academic goals; that promotes a love of lifelong learning; and that develops leadership capacity that is ethical, collaborative and service oriented.

To fulfill this mission, we offer a curriculum designed to fit into the lives of working professionals, which incorporates the lived experience and knowledge of learners, and develops the competencies needed to foster meaningful and sustainable change in one's work and life.


Our Story

The Master of Arts in Leadership at Saint Mary’s College was launched in 2001. At the time, leadership was relatively new as a distinct academic discipline and we were one of approximately 15 graduate leadership education programs in the U.S. As one of the pioneer programs we continue to evolve along with the field of leadership that leverages the assets of higher education toward fostering meaningful change in one’s work and life. We are now one of hundreds of leadership programs across the globe.

What makes us unique in this growing and diverse field of academic leadership education programs is that we are informed by the values of the Three Traditions of Saint Mary’s College, which reflect a commitment to justice, service and whole person learning. Our hybrid online/in-person program provides a transformative education in collaborative leadership for working professionals responsive to the complex and emerging challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

Initially focused on public sector leadership, by 2003 we expanded our focus to include professionals from private and not-for-profit sectors. Today, program participants are not just from all three sectors, but represent diverse industries, levels of responsibilities, ages, ethnicities, and vocational aspirations.

Other key milestones for the MA in Leadership program over the past 15 years include:

2003  -  First MA in Leadership cohort completes its program of study

2005  -  Over 100 students graduate

2006  -  The MA in Leadership undergoes a redesign

2008  -  The Leadership Center is launched

2012  -  A social justice concentration is added

2014  -  Over 500 students graduate

2018  -  44 cohorts of students have enrolled in the MA in Leadership program (and counting!)

2019 -  New Curricular Update Incorporating Added Leadership Coaching and Social Justice Elements

Our graduates consistently report that the program has been life-changing for them, both professionally and personally. They tell us that their employers, colleagues, family and friends recognize their increased competence and confidence in building relationships, navigating and facilitating change, working effectively under pressure, and creating the conditions for more productivity and well being in both work and life. They also tell us that they are more capable identifying and deploying their unique skills and gifts that improve their lives and the organizations to which they belong.

To learn more about the M.A. in Leadership program and to find out how this program can help you with your career and educational goals, visit one of our Open House events or contact us for a personalized appointment.