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Course Descriptions


The Organizational Leadership and Development master’s curriculum is informed by leadership and organizational research in the social sciences.  The curriculum places emphasis on both the growth of leaders’ minds (how they know) and their knowledge and skills (what they know) to expand their capacity to think well when facing challenges and complexity.  Critical and reflective thinking practices are interwoven throughout the curriculum to prepare leaders to be successful in the knowledge and innovation economy.

Please note: new courses reflect a change to the course catalog. Revisions are effective January 2013.

ORGL 500, Organizational Leadership (3 credits)

Course Description:  This course surveys contemporary theories of leadership, and students critically assess the underlying assumptions and validity of theories in the research.  Emphasis is placed on the development of critical and reflective thinking skills in leadership.  Students will explore the values and assumptions that guide their actions and decisions and will develop their own voice in authoring their leadership.  Students will begin developing their leadership portfolio.

ORGL 520, Data-Driven Leadership (3 credits)

Course Description:  A core competency of organizational leadership is the ability to gather information, analyze and critically evaluate information, and then use information to make informed decisions.  In this course, students will learn to become effective consumers of research and data, as well as learn the fundamentals of organizational research and analysis including surveys, interviews, field experiments, quasi-experimental designs and program evaluation.

ORGL 530, Change Leadership (3 credits)

Prerequisite:  ORGL 500

Course Description:  This course explores and critically assesses the research on change leadership theories.  Drawing on current leadership research and tools, students explore options to enact leadership and impact real, sustainable positive change from any position in an organization or community.  Students learn to become responsible for systems rather than to systems and learn to address paradoxes and conflict to create positive change.

ORGL 540, Human Behavior in Organizations (3 credits)

Course Description:  This course focuses on the behavior of people in organizations and the interrelationships between individual, team, and organizational processes.  Major theories pertaining to human behavior in organizations are explored, and emphasis is placed on application of these theories to relevant and important organizational challenges that students are facing.  Topics include individual processes (perception and learning, personality and values, diversity and culturally competent practices, emotions, attitudes, motivation), group processes (group dynamics, decision making, conflict, power and influence, leadership, influence without authority, politics in organizations) and organizational processes (culture and change).

ORGL 550, Organization Assessment & Evaluation (3 credits)

Prerequisite:  ORGL 520

Course Description:  This course explores theories and models for assessing and diagnosing organizations.  Students will learn to collect and analyze diagnostic information, select and design an intervention, and evaluate and institutionalize the change improvement – all in collaboration with the client system.  In addition, students will learn descriptive and inferential statistics including correlational analyses, regression, t-tests, ANOVA, and basic test construction analyses.

ORGL 560, Innovation & Decision Making (3 credits)

Course Description:  This course focuses on theories of decision-making and innovation from disciplines as diverse as psychology, sociology, economics, and the cognitive sciences.  Students will learn to identify and frame problems, evaluate and choose alternatives, implement decisions, and evaluate decision outcomes.  Students will learn creative problem-solving processes for innovation.

ORGL 570, Group Dynamics & Development (3 credits)

Course Description:  This course focuses on the scientific study of groups.  We will focus on psychological theories and their application to groups, especially in relation to group processes, team design, team environment, team development and team effectiveness.  Students will learn group process interventions to improve the effectiveness of intact work groups.

ORGL 580, Conflict & Negotiation (3 credits)

Course Description:  Every organization has conflict and organizational members engage in conflict management, whether this process occurs formally or informally.  Many individuals engage in conflict management without fully understanding why they do what they do or how they actually behave during conflict.  In this course, you will learn theoretical models and frameworks to help you better understand the differing types of conflict that can arise within an organization, why conflict arises, when conflict can help versus hurt an organization, and how conflict can be managed.  The course provides you with the opportunity to apply theory and observe the impact of your actions and thinking in dyadic and multi-party exchanges.

ORGL 597, Special Topics in Organizational Leadership & Development (3 credits)

Course Description:  In this course, students will explore current issues in organizational leadership and effectiveness.   This course may be taken more than once with different content.

ORGL 615, Organization Development (3 credits)

Prerequisite:  ORGL 550

Course Description:  Organization development is a process that applies a broad range of psychological science knowledge and practices to help organizations build their capacity to change and to achieve greater effectiveness.  It is both an area of scientific inquiry and a professional field of social action.  This course will explore both theory and interventions of organizational change and effectiveness.  Topics include the planned change process, action research, human process interventions, techno-structural interventions, human resource interventions, strategic change interventions, and consulting skills.

ORGL 698, Organizational Leadership & Development Capstone (3 credits)

Prerequisite:  ORGL 615

Course Description:

This capstone course is the culminating experience for the Organizational Leadership & Development master’s program.  Students will prepare a portfolio of their work throughout the program including a leadership philosophy statement, resume, and artifacts completed throughout the coursework.  Students will complete a capstone project using empirically-validated research and theory.

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