Students enrolled in the online MS in Organizational Leadership program are able to complete the program in under two years. Typically, students take between two to three, three-credit hour classes per semester. Breaks between semesters, as well as holidays are built into the schedule.
705.700 Individual and Group Dynamics
Individual and group dynamics are at the core of evidence-based management practices. Leaders direct individuals and groups and the interaction that occurs among multiple groups toward accomplishment of a mission or purpose. Additionally, they need to understand self-leadership involving personal resilience as well as methods of building cultures of resilience. Knowing how groups and followers function is essential to sound decision making, implementing new concepts, changing direction, solving problems, and motivating others. Students dissect modern theories and research in individual and group dynamics. They identify and fit accepted principles of dynamics to their current work environment, respecting the uniqueness of their organization. They differentiate small and large group dynamics and dissect the role of group leader, focusing on issues such as boundaries, group identity, cohesion, conflict, power, group recognition, and intergroup alliances.
705.605 Ethics, Integrity, and the Responsibility of Leaders
Confronted with moral problems every day, people make critical decisions based on their beliefs, which incorporate their core values. Understanding how values are formed and applied, and being able to assess those judgments, are essential to leaders who must guide and assess employees’ integrity and ethical behavior every day. Through readings, case studies, and discussion, students probe how executives and supervisors resolve ethical problems. They discover ways to develop and gain employee input to and support for agency and unit values. In addition, students examine the forces that currently guide professional and organizational behavior, such as the Constitution of the United States, judicial opinion, and religious doctrine.
705.718 Strategic Planning for Leaders
A strategic plan sets a steady course for an organization, allowing it to endure changes in administration, shifts in demand for service, political influence, fiscal fluctuation, and more. Setting the course of action through strategic planning is relevant to every organization, regardless of size, discipline, or task. Through readings and discussion, students develop an individualized approach to strategic planning based on experience and needs within their own agencies. Students apply an array of techniques to assess, modify, and present strategic plans and motivate others to participate in the strategic planning process. They learn to incorporate strategic plans into their day-to-day functions. Students employ a variety of techniques to involve and motivate employees to participate in the strategic planning process and implement the plan once it is established.
705.732 Capstone I
At a time when new information emerges every day, with greater speed and at a greater volume than any time in history, knowing how to find and apply research is one of a leader’s most important skills. Technology gives today’s leaders incredible access to raw data, intelligence analysis, best and promising practices, organizational histories, and much more. It is incumbent on leaders to wade through this information quickly and efficiently to determine its accuracy and relevance, and then guide others to use it. Students experiment with and apply a variety of methods designed to help them identify and assess existing research, policies, organizational studies, government data, scholarly journals, and popular articles. They apply the findings of their research to conducting agency, unit, policy, and program assessments and convey findings in practical ways to employees, executives, political leaders, and others.
705.620 Managerial Economics
All organizations are driven by or conform to economic realities. In a period of tight budgets and public demand for fiscal accountability, leaders must know how to apply basic economic theory to strategy, decision making, and problem solving. They must know how to assess demand for services and apply scarce resources to meeting these demands, and they must do so within the constraints of a budget over which they may have only limited control. Students apply techniques of demand analysis, benefit-cost analysis, and forecasting and learn ways to influence decision making and the budget process. They apply their understanding of economics to establishing, modifying, or sustaining the strategic and daily operational approaches and tactics of their immediate work group.
705.712 Project Management: Leading Projects to Successful Outcomes
Leaders manage projects and project teams every day. They form expectations, optimize stakeholder involvement, and integrate needed change into existing environments. They develop tasks, assign responsibilities, and track progress. Achieving intended, high quality outcomes through effective project management is both science and art. Students apply the seven-step project management life cycle – initiating, planning, organizing and staffing, implementing, measuring and assessing, controlling, and close-out – to routine, exceptional, unit, and agency-wide projects. They focus on essentials such as assessing capability to deliver, defining individual and team workload, budgeting, communicating, scheduling tasks, and monitoring progress. Students plan the role of managers, supervisors, and team members in a variety of projects. They have the opportunity to focus on projects they bring to the class from their own organization.
705.720 Leadership: A Developmental Process
Two primary factors comprise leadership: 1) knowledge of strategies, tactics, and practices, and, 2) self-understanding to develop wisdom, a requirement for highly effective leadership. This course focuses on the latter offering several processes including: moral development, power development, strategic and systems thinking, and organizational development—all critical understandings for the advancing leader. Students gain an understanding of the steps in the leadership development process as well as self-understanding of their current status to chart a path for future progress.
705.635 Leadership and Organizational Behavior
Effective leaders routinely take the pulse of their organization and know what it means. They develop a “sixth sense” about what works and what does not. Students assess how leaders influence organizational behavior and the various systems – individual, group, and culture – that contribute to the successful operation of today’s multifaceted service agencies. Through readings, case studies, and simulations, students compare organizational behaviors – including internal communication, quality control, and marketing – to activities in their own agencies. Students employ proven and innovative approaches to assessing organizations and developing ways to accomplish defined goals and tasks. They are exposed to the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ’s) required of the Senior Executive Service in the federal government.
705.745 Information Technology for Leaders
Leaders influence and are influenced by rapidly changing technology, but technology is changing with such speed that it is difficult for many leaders to remain current. Technology is transformational and connected to significant changes in interpersonal communication, shopping, war, evidence, news, intelligence, liability, and much more. Leaders drive the technology that is applied to data analysis, planning, information security, personnel management, personnel safety, internal and external communication, fiscal accountability, and routine and emergency communication. Students cite strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities associated with modern application of technology. They discuss and debate the current and future potential for technology in the workplace, as a tool to advance the well-being of people and communities, and as a vehicle for harm and disruption. Students focus on information sharing and analysis, telecommunication, and linking networks and systems. They apply technology to assessing needs and solutions, determining the best application and deciding when it reaches the point of overkill. They learn, too, how to judge technology-related information given to them by employees, vendors, and others.
705.615 Leading and Managing Change
Change is inevitable and a constant for many individuals and organizations. Budget, demand for services, resource allocation, labor agreements, and politics are among many factors that influence change, but may not be within an executive’s control. Change can be received well and perceived as essential to progress, growth, and excellence in the delivery of services. It also may be perceived as negative, imposing, and the cause of organizational decline. Knowing how to manage change well is the responsibility of every leader. Students scrutinize planned and unanticipated change. They discuss and debate current literature and processes for managing change. Focusing on change that has occurred in their own organizations, students consider its effect on resources, employees, and people’s satisfaction with the delivery of service. Students delve into the power, role, and influence of leaders as change agents and apply the lessons learned to their current work environment.
705.719 Crisis Mitigation, Management, and Communication
If not managed well, a critical incident or series of critical incidents can pose significant threat to a community and an organization’s well-being. It can establish, sustain, or destroy a leader’s reputation and survival. Effective prevention, mitigation, recovery, and restoration are contingent on a leader’s ability to develop crisis management and contingency plans, assess a situation, direct and motivate individual or multi-agency response, and communicate well to all involved. This course is built on the belief that a leader in a crisis is a leader in routine day-to-day matters, as well. Students review and evaluate current crisis management theory and practice. They draw on their experience to assess high profile situations and apply lessons learned to their own organizations and work environments.
705.820 Current Issues in Leadership: Capstone
Leaders today are tasked with effectively and efficiently responding to a rapidly changing political, social, strategic, operational, and technical environment. They guide a contemporary workforce that imposes new expectations and demands on its leaders. As a culminating course, students discuss the major issues that recurred throughout the entire curriculum and the creative solutions they developed to deal with these issues. The knowledge gained in previous courses of study, combined with new learning, provides a foundation for students to embrace proven traditional approaches and develop innovative methods to lead their personnel and organizations well into the future. Students participate in individual, group, and class projects to establish a course of action to pursue as they embark from the program.