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Leadership and Social Change (11:607:202)


Note: There may be a few minor revisions to the syllabus throughout the semester, which will be shared with you through email and on Course Announcements.

Course Description

3 Credits. Students learn about the social change model of leadership development, compare it with other leadership theories and philosophies, evaluate their own personal leadership style and its implications as a practicing leader of social change, and apply the principles of the social change model to their own community contributions.

Learning Goals

As a result of this course, students will:

  • Describe the social change model of leadership development.
  • Compare/contrast the social change model of leadership with other leadership models/philosophies/strategies.
  • Distinguish between best practices in the social change model and the pitfalls of social change.
  • Evaluate personal leadership style and its implications as a practicing leader of social change.
  • Apply the theories and practices of the social change model to their community contributions.

Required Textbook

Leadership for a Better World - Understanding the Social Change Model of Leadership Development (2016) Wiley, John and Sons; by Susan Komives and Wendy Wagner. Second Edition. ISBN-13: 978-1119207597 or ISBN-10: 1119207592

The textbook will be the basis for all assignments for the course, so it is essential that you have access to the book. It is critical that you get the 2nd edition of the text as there are significant changes/additions/omissions vs. the 1st editions. I strongly encourage you to not delay in getting a copy. Having to wait for a back-ordered textbook and not having a text will not be approved as a valid excuse for late assignments.

Text is available in: paperback, eBooks, and book rentals.

Paperback text available at RU Bookstore.

Course Assignments

  • Assigned Readings: Chapters 1-12
  • Miscellaneous Articles
  • One Online Threaded Discussion to Introduce Yourself to the Class
  • Ten Online Threaded Discussions on Course Topics
  • Eight Reflection Papers
  • Three Short Papers
  • One Voiceover Powerpoint
  • Three Short Quizzes
  • One Long Quiz

Assigned Readings

Readings are from the required text listed above. Each week you will be expected to read all the assigned materials and to be prepared to participate in online discussions as described in the Weekly Content tabs (Week 1, Week 2, Week 3...). The readings associated with each chapter are meant to provide an overview of the weekly course topic, facilitate online discussions and contribute to the development of your personal leadership profile. Additional readings are assigned and will appear in the weekly course tabs.

Online Threaded Discussion

Throughout the semester, you are expected to contribute to online discussions. There will be 11 graded threaded discussions for the semester. After completing the weekly assigned readings, you are required to respond to online discussion questions and activities drawn from the readings, as well as respond to your peers in the threaded discussions. You may also be divided into smaller groups to facilitate more in-depth discussion. The specific discussion questions will be indicated in the Threaded Discussion tab of each Weekly Content section. It is expected that you will participate fully by addressing each question and acknowledging the responses of others when responding to threaded discussion questions.

The threaded discussions allow students to discuss weekly course topics and weekly assigned readings as well as practice leadership skills and competencies. This includes sharing your thoughts, knowledge about the discussion topic, the outcomes of your self-assessment, and insights about what you have learned from the contributions of others.

As part of the discussion, it is important that you incorporate the readings and provide constructive responses regarding the ongoing conversation. The objective of the threaded discussion is not to just repeat what other students have said, but to add something new to the ongoing discussions. These discussions allow the professor to determine if you comprehend and can apply the course content. During online threaded discussions, please reference course materials, quote from the text, provide your opinions agree or disagree with text or classmates, expand on the ideas of others, and present a new perspective regarding discussion topic. When you are citing, quoting, or paraphrasing additional source materials, make sure references are included. Your online contributions should be A MINIMUM of 250 words in length. Proper grammar and word usage are also required.

Your contributions to the online discussions will be graded for quality ie: your ability to critically evaluate the question/information you are discussing. Review Threaded Discussion Grading Matrix for information at how to provide quality responses and how your responses will be graded.


There are 4 quizzes/tests. Weekly quizzes will be available from 6 a.m. Friday until 11:59 pm on Sunday unless otherwise noted.

Basis for Grading

Students are assessed on quality and effort of their work, timeliness and participation.

  1. Participation in Threaded Discussions (10 Discussions @ 35 points each)
  2. Reflections Papers (8 Assignments @ 25 points each)
  3. Short Quizzes (3 short Quizzes @ 25 points each)
  4. Long Quiz (1 long Quiz@ 50 points)
  5. Powerpoint with Voiceover (100 points)
  6. 3 Short Papers (@ 75 points each)
  7. Introductory Threaded Discussion (5 points)

Accumulation of points will result in the following grade ranges for this course:

A = 900-1000 points
B = 800-899 points
C = 700-799 points
D = 600-699 points
F = below 600

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Please follow the procedures outlined at Full policies and procedures are at Office of Disability Services website.

Academic Integrity

The university's policy on Academic Integrity is available at policies on academic integrity.

The principles of academic integrity require that a student:

  • properly acknowledge and cite all use of the ideas, results, or words of others.
  • properly acknowledge all contributors to a given piece of work.
  • make sure that all work submitted as his or her own in a course or other academic activity is produced without the aid of impermissible materials or impermissible collaboration.
  • obtain all data or results by ethical means and report them accurately without suppressing any results inconsistent with his or her interpretation or conclusions.
  • treat all other students in an ethical manner, respecting their integrity and right to pursue their educational goals without interference. This requires that a student neither facilitate academic dishonesty by others nor obstruct their academic progress.
  • uphold the canons of the ethical or professional code of the profession for which he or she is preparing.

Adherence to these principles is necessary in order to ensure that:

  • everyone is given proper credit for his or her ideas, words, results, and other scholarly accomplishments.
  • all student work is fairly evaluated and no student has an inappropriate advantage over others.
  • the academic and ethical development of all students is fostered.
  • the reputation of the University for integrity in its teaching, research, and scholarship is maintained and enhanced.

NOTE: Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to:

  • Resubmitting your own work that has previously been evaluated in this class or any other class.
  • Copying text directly from websites and other sources without attributing the original source(s).
  • Copying the work of students in other sections (past or present) of this course.

Failure to uphold these principles of academic integrity threatens both the reputation of the University and the value of the degrees awarded to its students. Every member of the University community therefore bears a responsibility for ensuring that the highest standards of academic integrity are upheld.

NOTE: To help protect you, and future students, from plagiarism, all essay assignments will be submitted through

Turn It In

Students agree that by taking this course all required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to (directly or via learning management system, i.e. Canvas, etc.) for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers will be included as source documents in the reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers. Use of the service is subject to the Usage Policy posted on the site.

Attendance and Participation Policy

Students are expected to actively participate in all of the online activities for the course. Attendance in the online sessions is determined by thorough, thoughtful, relevant and on time contributions made in the weekly assignments including threaded discussions, reaction papers and quizzes. The course proceeds with the assumption that students have thoughtfully read and reviewed the assigned materials.

Students are responsible for completion of all assigned readings, materials discussed and assignments on or before the assigned due date.

Student Wellness Services

Counseling, ADAP & Psychiatric Services (CAPS)

848-932-7884 | 17 Senior Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

CAPS is a University mental health support service that includes counseling, alcohol and other drug assistance, and psychiatric services staffed by a team of professional within Rutgers Health services to support students' efforts to succeed at Rutgers University. CAPS offers a variety of services that include: individual therapy, group therapy and workshops, crisis intervention, referral to specialists in the community and consultation and collaboration with campus partners.

Violence Prevention & Victim Assistance (VPVA)

848-932-1181 | 3 Bartlett Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

The Office for Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance provides confidential crisis intervention, counseling and advocacy for victims of sexual and relationship violence and stalking to students, staff and faculty. To reach staff during office hours when the university is open or to reach an advocate after hours, call 848-932-1181.

Disability Services

848-445-6800 | Lucy Stone Hall, Suite A145, Livingston Campus, 54 Joyce Kilmer Avenue, Piscataway, NJ 08854

Rutgers University welcomes students with disabilities into all of the University's educational programs. In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, a student with a disability must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation.

If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus's disability services office will provide you with a Letter of Accommodations. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. To begin this process, please complete the Registration form on the ODS website.

Scarlet Listeners

732-247-5555 |

Free and confidential peer counseling and referral hotline, providing a comforting and supportive safe space.


Thomas Donovan, Ed.D.

Office Hours: I am available by email or by phone (by appointment).