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Minor in Leadership Skills

About the Program

Employers consistently report leadership as a key skill that is increasingly important in the workplace and increasingly difficult to find among job applicants. Prospective employees with knowledge and experience in leadership skills have an important competitive edge over others. Students who obtain the Minor in Leadership Skills will have that edge, setting them apart from others in their educational and professional endeavors.

Through the Minor in Leadership Skills, our students will develop and hone their knowledge and skills in critical areas including group processes, team dynamics, ethics, inclusivity, conflict management, communication, and advocacy. Students will develop a personal leadership philosophy, apply critical thinking skills, and cultivate their leadership style. Whether students decide to pursue advanced studies, enter the workforce, or choose other paths, they will have the knowledge, perspective, and skills to make a positive contribution as a leader.

The Minor in Leadership Skills consists of 18 credits of coursework offered through the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. Principles of Leadership, Stewardship and Leadership, and Leadership and Social Change are 200-level courses which establish the foundation for the curriculum.

At the 300 level, Presentation Skills: Advocating for Change, Communication for Today's Leader, The Ethical Leader, and Conflict Management Practicum immerse students in the issues and challenges leaders face.

Group Process/Team Dynamics, International Relations: Leadership for Sustainable Development Practicum, Leadership Practical Applications, and Transformational Leadership are 400-level courses which expand the scope and further prepare students for working with and leading others. Leadership Skills for Facilitating Effective Meetings, Meeting Management/Parliamentary Procedures, and Emotional Intelligence provide additional skill development while engaging students in practical applications as they learn, practice, and process their experiences.

Through the Minor in Leadership Skills, students will integrate content knowledge and skills from their major with leadership knowledge and skills. They will gain the ability to apply these skills within the context of their community and workplace.

Policy on Artificial Intelligence Technology

Cultivating ethical leaders is the foundation of our work. Our coursework is rooted in the development of integrity, critical thinking, and personal growth. Intellectual honesty is vital in our courses and in our assessment of our students' work. While AI has revolutionized many fields, it is important to acknowledge that it is limited in contributing to students' academic and personal growth. As such, our expectation is that all work submitted through our courses is original work, completed in accordance with the Rutgers University Academic Integrity Policy. It is expected that students do not engage in unauthorized collaboration or make use of AI composition software such as ChatGPT for any of the assigned course work.

Learning Objectives

The Leadership Minor will:

  • Introduce students to leadership theory, methods, and models as the underpinning to responsible leadership behavior.
  • Provide students the opportunity to develop their interests, knowledge, and skills in leadership in addition to completing their major requirements.
  • Prepare students to serve in formal and informal leadership positions.
  • Enhance students' ability to think critically about leadership in various contexts.
  • Develop students' personal leadership agenda for action and service.
  • Engage students to effectively organize and lead others.
  • Prepare students to serve as a responsible, ethical and inclusive leaders.

Learning Goals

As a result of completing the Leadership Skills Minor students will:

  • Identify leadership philosophy, styles, and traits.
  • Demonstrate effective leadership communication skills.
  • Demonstrate effective conflict management skills.
  • Analyze ethical leadership situations.
  • Evaluate group process and team dynamics.
  • Analyze leadership theories and models.

Required Courses (15 credits)

11:607:200: Principles of Leadership (3)
Described as "a complex, multidimensional process," leadership can be conceptualized as "a trait, an ability, a skill, a behavior or a relationship" (Northouse p. 9, 2012). Learning about leadership is useful regardless of one's professional position or status as each of us may need to assume a leadership role. This course provides students with an introduction to today's popular topic of leadership. Students examine their leadership philosophy and its impact on their leadership style. Topics covered include: the nature of leadership, leadership traits, style and skills. Leadership obstacles along with strategies for effective leadership are addressed.

One of the following two courses:

11:607:380: Communication for Today's Leader (3)
If leadership is about "human communication that modifies the attitudes and behaviors of others in order to meet shared…goals" (Hackman & Johnson, p 11, 2013), then effective leadership is not possible without effective communication. In this course, students explore leadership and communication from a theoretical, as well as a practical, hands-on perspective. Students apply leadership theories and principles to personal leadership experiences, think critically to evaluate the subjects of leadership and communication, evaluate traits and characteristics of effective leaders by focusing on communication skills, assess organizational culture and conclude how strong communication can create a mutually beneficial environment. Students strengthen their own communication skills through varied portals including journaling, discussions, video posts and papers.

— OR —

11:607:381: Presentation Skills: Advocating for Change (3)
For better or worse, leaders are often measured on their public speaking skills. Ironically, public speaking is frequently identified as one of the top-ten fears. Yet public speaking is a skill that can be developed. This course is designed to strengthen students' presentation and public speaking skills with a leadership focus on advocating for change. Upon completion, students will be able to enhance the public dialogue, a powerful vehicle for professional and personal growth. With a foundation of communication and leadership knowledge and application, students build a presentation skill set, which is useful for other college courses, the workforce and community at large.

11:607:382: Conflict Management Practicum (3)
As society evolves, so does the complexity of its challenges. Ranging from local to global issues, today's environmental and other social concerns cannot be resolved through research alone. Rather, skilled leaders are needed to develop a multidimensional approach to problem solving. In this course students develop crucial conflict management skills in consensus building, negotiation and mediation. Conflict theory is explored as a precursor to understanding and enhancing individual conflict management styles. Students develop their personal toolbox of communication and conflict management strategies and skills and learn how to appropriately apply these in a variety of social and professional contexts. Timely, relevant examples from environmental and social issues are employed to highlight the value of utilizing negotiation and mediation in problem solving.

11:607:385: The Ethical Leader (3)
The news is peppered with stories about leaders who have made bad ethical decisions. But how does a normally honest, forthright, caring individual cross the line to duplicitous, dishonest wrong doings which ultimately can lead to their demise and often public shame? Students explore the inextricable need for ethics within the realm of leadership in social science and history. Topics to be addressed include power and self-interest; how values influence leadership; leaders and followers; and leadership for the greatest good. Students will participate in dialogue relevant to current societal and historical situations in business, politics, history, etc. and how individuals contribute to the moral fabric of our society.

11:607:485: Understanding Group Dynamics and Team Processes (3) Spring Only
Do you like working in a team? Do you prefer to work on you own or on a team? These two questions along with 'Tell me about a team project and your contribution' are classic interview questions to which applicants should be prepared to respond. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, Job Outlook 2016 Study, 78% of employers want applicants who have the ability to work in team.
A 2013 Ernst and Young study noted "the problems confronting organizations are now so complex that teams are essential to provide effective solutions. To achieve superior performance, companies need to tap into the full range of skills and expertise at their disposal." In Group Dynamics and Team Process students examine the underpinnings for successful team initiatives and explore the knowledge, attitudes and skills needed to become effective team members and leaders. Though participation in group activities during the course, students analyze teams and assess their personal experiences. The characteristics of effective teams and basic team processes including motivation, group cohesion and group roles along with challenging issues of conflict, power and influence, problem solving, and decision making are reviewed.

Electives (3 credits)

At least three credits from the following courses:

11:607:201: Stewardship and Leadership (3)
An introduction to the concept of stewardship and leadership styles. Topics covered include problem solving and decision-making, influence and community development. This course fulfills the SEBS Ethics requirement.

11:607:202: Leadership and Social Change (3)
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

11:607:250: The Cross-Cultural Leader (3)
The purpose of this course is to provide students with the purpose, understanding, value and applicability of building cross-cultural competencies in order to become effective cross-cultural leaders. Students will identify and acknowledge both differences and similarities that exist between and among cultural groups and systems in order to develop these competencies, the foundation of cultural intelligence. This course is beneficial for students pursuing careers in healthcare, public health, human services, education, community development, non-governmental organizations (NGO), faith-based organizations, non-profits, government (local, state, federal), foundation and business and corporations.

11:607:255: Inclusive leadership (1.5)
Inclusive leaders possess insights about the ways to engage everyone and create a high-performing organization. They also demonstrate the skills to facilitate involvement and collaboration among all team members, whatever diverse characteristics they show. This course provides the knowledge and skills needed to demonstrate inclusion that creates organizational growth and success, but also fosters employee belonging and engagement. Students will examine some of the diversity, equity, and inclusion challenges that inclusive leaders must address as they create welcoming and high performing groups. Students will build self-awareness through readings, self-assessments, writing assignments, and discussions about inclusive leadership traits and competencies. Insights and activities will prepare students with knowledge, confidence, and capabilities to serve as inclusion change agents as they apply their learning in future leadership roles in our changing society

11:607:380: Communication for Today's Leader (3) (if not taken as required course)
If leadership is about "human communication that modifies the attitudes and behaviors of others in order to meet shared…goals" (Hackman & Johnson, p 11, 2013), then effective leadership is not possible without effective communication. In this course, students will explore leadership and communication from a theoretical, as well as a practical, hands-on perspective. Students will apply leadership theories and principles to personal leadership experiences, think critically to evaluate the subjects of leadership and communication, evaluate traits and characteristics of effective leaders by focusing on communication skills, assess organizational culture and conclude how strong communication can create a mutually beneficial environment. Students will strengthen their own communication skills through varied portals including online journaling, threaded discussions, video posts and papers.

11:607:381: Presentation Skills: Advocating for Change (3) (if not taken as required course) Spring Only
This course will strengthen student presentation and public speaking skills with the leadership focus on advocating for change, participating in civic engagement and promoting community service.

11:607:383: Meeting Management/Parliamentary Procedures (1.5)
Key concepts of parliamentary procedure, the foundation for decision making and meeting management are covered. Students learn meeting management techniques and facilitation skills.

11:607:384: Emotionally Intelligent Leadership (1.5)
"Emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence. It is not the triumph of heart over head—it is the unique intersection of both." Daniel Goleman. This course enables students to understand and develop the skills needed to foster emotionally intelligent leadership. Students explore their experiences in leadership with a focus on learning one's strengths and limitations. Students apply critical thinking skills through essays, case study, analyses, and reflective discussion questions.

11:607:388: Facilitating Effective Meetings (1.5)
Whether it is with the fraternity/sorority, the Polish Club or the volunteer fire department, meetings provide the opportunity to demonstrate leadership and build cohesiveness among the attendees. Meetings also provide a forum for attendees to share their views and an opportunity to participate in shaping the organization's future. Ineffective meetings translate into lost time and opportunity for both the leader and the group. This erodes the credibility of the leader, creates a frustrating environment for attendees and discourages future participation.
This course covers the key concepts of meeting management and effective facilitation skills for presenting content, dealing with challenging participants and unpopular topics. Students learn how to develop and maintain balanced participation, establish a sense of common purpose, enhance collegiality and move the agenda forward.

11:607:486: Leadership Practical Applications (3) Fall Only
This course is an exploration of leadership from a practical perspective. Theoretical underpinnings, leadership models, styles and skills of leadership are reviewed. Students develop skills in networking, problem solving, public speaking and influence. This course is a Junior/Senior Colloquium.

11:607:487: Transformational Leadership (3) Spring Only
This course presents a critical analysis of the concepts, principles, and practices of Transformational Leadership and the implications for developing leadership capacity, serving as role model, influencing decisions and organizational change.


Lisa Sanon-Jules, Ed.D.
306 Martin Hall, G. H. Cook Campus