Curriculum & Course Schedule

Course Curriculum

Spring Term Senior Year 

  • LDSH 206: Leadership, Systems and Organizational Change (1 UG Credit/3 G Units)
    • This course lays the groundwork for understanding and practicing a new paradigm of leadership; one that promotes meaningful systems change to transform people and their organizations toward a state of flourishing. This course provides a deep and expansive exploration of contemporary leadership frameworks and theories, their underlying values and world-views. We explore several key distinctions and trends in the field of leadership theory, such as: management and leadership, transactional and transformational, technical and adaptive, heroic and post-heroic, leader-centric and relational, and hierarchical and networked leadership. We examine these distinctions and trends in relationship to the culture and purposes of organizations and the kinds of change sought. By delving more deeply into established leadership theories and perspectives, learners enhance their practice of leadership, taking to heart the oft-quoted view of the pioneering social psychologist Kurt Lewin, who said, “There is nothing so practical as a good theory.” 
  • LDSH 273: Facilitating Change: Individual and Group Approaches (1 UG Credit/3 G Units)
    • Enhances one’s effectiveness in developing others, improving performance, fostering learning and promoting collaboration, in service of personal and organizational goals and aspirations.
    • This course draws upon the variety of disciplines that inform the practice of coaching, such as psychology, adult learning, communication, and human performance to acquaint the learner with the theories, models, and skills needed to effectively coach individuals and/or groups. The course offers ample opportunities for learners to explore the craft of coaching, to develop their skills, and their unique style. The course also focuses on coaching in organizational life as part of one’s leadership practice as a pathway for individual and organizational learning and change developing others. Attention to how coaching links with organizational goals and culture, as well as designing and learning from results- oriented actions, is explored as well.

Summer Term (POST GRADUATE) 

  • LDSH 202: Becoming a Learning Community (3 units)
    • This course establishes the foundation for success in the program in four distinct and interrelated ways. One, the course acquaints the student to key values, principles, concepts, practices and methods of the program.  Two, it helps to facilitate the transition into graduate level study, as well as into learning in an blended in-person and online program. Three, the course enables students to develop important skills that enable effective engagement in the coursework, with learners in the cohort, and in learning and practicing leadership within and outside of the program. And four, the course begins the journey in which a collection of individual learners who enter the program with unique backgrounds, needs, and aspirations, and eventually develops into a community of learners.
    • Participation in this learning community journey provides the experiential ground for learning leadership as a relational and social process, which is seen by many as necessary for practicing leadership in an interdependent world. This leadership learning journey also provides practical knowledge in building learning communities in contexts in work and life.
  • LDSH 203: Values and Ethics in Leadership (3 units)
    • What has constituted leadership in our parents' generation, and the associated values and skills necessary to be successful as a leader, has changed dramatically in our lifetime. Globalization, multiculturalism, technology, and the ever-turbulent nature of organizational life require new kinds of knowledge and skills on the part of managers and leaders.  What is your vision for making a contribution to this world, and what unique gifts do you bring?  What combination of values represents your vision of leadership?  This course seeks to provide language and experience to help us begin to explore both the inner and outer dimensions of leadership, through reading, writing, coaching, and experiential exercises.  What role do our values, or soul, play in mediating between our inner and outer lives?  We invite you to bring your whole self, shadow and light, into this exploration, where we explicitly hope to develop practical action in leadership suitable to the 21st century.  Many of the concepts and practices introduced will be further developed in subsequent courses in the program.

Fall Semester

  • LDSH 225: Engaging Cultural Differences Creatively (4 units)
    • We live in an ever complex and interconnected global environment. In our multicultural society, one of the cornerstones of effective leadership is the capacity to engage differences creatively and support the flourishing of followers. To truly understand cultural differences requires a willingness to move across a line, or boundary, which defines that difference. The starting point is increasing understanding of one’s own dimensions of difference, often a difficult and disorientating task as we rarely notice “the water in which we swim.” Learners will examine their own histories and how these inform the lenses through which they approach cultural differences. They will be exposed to a variety of conceptual models and practical communication skills, which will allow them to make meaning of and engage effectively across differences. Through review and discussion of articles of authorities in the field, they will gain a deeper understanding of the complexity of the diversity issues in the United States.
  • LDSH 221: Participatory Methods for Learning and Change (4 units)
    • This course is designed to provide learners with assessment, learning, and research tools necessary to effect sustainable and collaborative change in their organizations and communities. The course provides an overview of participatory inquiry strategies that are useful in initiating and sustaining significant change in human systems, ranging from small work units, divisions or whole organizations, and communities.  In addition to this overview, participants will learn in greater depth about two specific action research strategies — action inquiry method (AIM) and collaborative inquiry (CI, also known as cooperative inquiry) — and will have an opportunity to practice one of them.

Jan Term

  • LDSH 247: Action Learning for Leadership (2 units)
    • The Applied Leadership course invites learners to integrate, demonstrate, and synthesize 21st century leadership practices as they carry out a research project in which they have a compelling interest. Continuing the work of Sustainable Organizational Change, learners will design and report via a case-study an action research project in response to a need, problem, issue, opportunity or question within a specific group, institution or community. While drawing on the processes, values, skills, and theories learned in the M.A. in Leadership Program, the project offers the opportunity to practice sustainable relation-based leadership at the personal and organizational level. The inquiry may naturally catalyze significant leadership activity post-graduation.

Spring Semester

  • LDSH 231: Leadership for an Interdependent World (4 units)
    • As an integrative course near the end of the MA in Leadership program, Leadership, Systems and Interdependence draws upon elements from many of the courses that precede it. 
    • As Hall (2006) explained, fluency with systems requires “a peculiar blend of imagination, sensitivity, and competence that gives rise to the capacity to see all parts of a system as they are related to the whole….  System skills require the integration of all the other skills” (p. 110). As the penultimate course in the program, systems will be explored as interconnected fractals, ranging from the individual, to teams and organizations, and to communities, cultures and society. Looking across those fractals, complexity, emergence, points of inflection, and self-organizing aspects will be applied. Analysis of leadership practices that enable and limit systems is conceived as ends of a spectrum, rather than as positives and negatives, all of which can be useful in the appropriate contexts. The intention is to create wise systems and structures that liberate flow within and among each fractal. The aim for a default of liberating practices, those that integrates personal practices, facilitation, coaching and collaboration, and adds an emphasis on relational leadership, groups, teams and networks as “agents” of systems change, providing a pathway to create conditions for leadership to emerge and flourish throughout the system. 
    • The Leadership, Systems and Organizational Change course emphasizes leadership and how it informs systems change; this course integrates and informs how systems change work informs personal and collective leadership practice. Topics include Systemic Action Research, Social Innovation, Collective Impact, Social Movements for transforming organizations and society at the edge of their readiness. Learners continue working on their Leadership Development Plans, with emphasis on their design for systems leadership practice, and ongoing learning and development (more Action Research). In this course we emphasize cases of social justice movements, social innovation and ways to create transformative change in any and all institutions. 
  • LDSH 236: The Future of Leadership: Design and Practice (4 units)
    • At this point in the MA program, learners have examined personal values, theories of leadership, systems, research methods, cultural contexts and other elements of understanding and exercising leadership. It is now time to consider one’s future leadership practice, and what steps are needed to continue to learn and develop in that direction as you leave the program. Learners will begin to focus thinking on both how they exercise leadership in the workplace and in community, and how they lead themselves. 
    • Specifically, in this course learners, individually and in peer groups, will explore approaches to continuous engagement, organizational change, learning and feedback that draw these connections between self-awareness and systems awareness; illuminate blind spots; and lead to an understanding of how to be a learning organism continuously growing in leadership capacity in a learning organization continuously growing in leadership capacity. 
    • On the micro level, the focus is on how individuals learn and practice leadership now and projected into the future. On the macro level, learners will explore ways to engage others and develop and exercise leadership in peer contexts that are self-driven. By the end of the course, learners will possess a specific set of practices that will, over time, enable then to exercise leadership in a collaborative manner.