Minor in Leadership Skills

(18 Credits)

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 have an important competitive edge over others. Students who obtain the Minor in Leadership Skills will have that edge, setting them apart from other students in their career search.

Through the Minor in Leadership Skills students will develop and hone their knowledge and skills in critical areas including group processes, team dynamics, ethics, conflict management, communication and advocacy. Students will develop a personal leadership philosophy, apply critical thinking skills, and hone their leadership style. Whether students continue on to graduate school, enter the workforce, or choose another path, they will have the knowledge, perspective and skills to make a leadership contribution in their future endeavors.

The Leadership Minor includes 18 courses offered at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences from which students can choose. Principles of Leadership, Stewardship and Leadership, and Leadership and Civic Engagement 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.

Additional electives available include Foundations of Volunteer Management, Grant Development and Management, Leading Nonprofit Organizations, Foundations of Program Planning, and Building Community Partnerships, which provide emphasis on leadership skills within the nonprofit arena.

Through the Minor in Leadership Skills students have the opportunity to integrate knowledge and skills from their major with leadership knowledge and skills preparing them for application within the context of their community and workplace during their studies at the university and afterwards in their careers.

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 while completing their major requirements
  • Prepare students while on campus to serve in formal and informal leadership roles while on campus
  • Enhance students ability to think critically about leadership and the world around them
  • Build students personal leadership development agenda for action and service
  • Engage students to effectively organize and lead others
  • Prepare students to serve as a responsible 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 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)
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.

One of the following three courses:

11:607:486: Leadership Practical Applications (3)
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.

— OR —

11:607:487: Transformational Leadership (3)
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.

— OR —

11:607:488: International Relations: Leadership for Sustainable Development Practicum—Travel Seminar (4)
This course is an introduction to leadership and sustainable development within a developing country. Students examine the inter-relationship of multiple groups working to build stronger communities. This course is a Junior/Senior Colloquium.

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 Civic Engagement (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

11:607:203 Foundations of Volunteer Management (3)
With approximately 1.4 million volunteers, community-based, functional and charitable institutions in the United States, nonprofit organizations play a vital role in community life and are an integral part of the economic, political and social structure of our nation. In 2014 roughly 62 million Americans volunteered 7.9 billion hours, the estimated value of this volunteer service is nearly $184 billion. Thus, the nonprofit venue offers a rich and viable employment opportunity on both a local and national level for our graduates to gain diverse and meaningful work experience, further their knowledge while making a positive contribution. In this course students compare volunteer management models and examine volunteer-dependent organizations. Students explore organizational recruitment practices, risk management policies and how to select, train, engage and recognize volunteers. Students examine the volunteer management practices and make recommendations based on the theories and practices studied in class.

11:607:364: Grant Development and Management (3)
Despite a stagnant economy, foundation, government and corporate grant awards have been substantial as evident by: 4.2 billion dollars in grants from Gates Foundation (2015); 3.3 billion dollars in Environmental Education grants from the US Environmental Protection Agency; and 456 million dollars (2015) awarded by New Jersey Pharmaceutical Novartis, which ranked first in the US for corporate giving (2014). Obtaining a grant is just the first step, implementing and managing the funded initiative is where the real work begins. This course introduces students to the grant development and management process. Students participate in a guided process and build their skill set to locate and identify grant opportunities, develop a viable proposal and prepare a formal funding application. Implementation and management of the funded project including fiscal and legal responsibilities are addressed including follow-up reporting requirements. This course is particularly useful for students who anticipate working in the nonprofit sector including healthcare, public health, human services, education, community development, non-governmental organizations (NGO), faith-based organizations, non-profits, government (local, state, federal), and foundations.

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)
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.

11:607:400: Leadership of Nonprofit Organizations (3) Fall Only
Leaders in nonprofit organizations face the unique challenge of finding creative ways to generate revenue, attract high caliber employees and volunteers without the lure of big salaries, maintain goodwill, and engage meaningful evaluation methods to determine organizational impact. In the nonprofit arena leaders must balance multiple stakeholders including executive boards, funders, employees and volunteers who are often at odds with each other and/or have competing priorities with respect to the fundamental mission of the organization. In this course students build the skill set for effective leadership in the nonprofit world. Strategic planning, fundraising, lobbying and advocacy along with leading a paid workforce and volunteer constituents in the nonprofit sector are addressed. Students identify their personal leadership style and develop specific goals for their continued growth and development.

11:607:401: Foundations of Program Planning (3)
While the pragmatic Maine expression of ‘You can’t get there from here’ is often associated with driving directions, its meaning extends beyond the map. Course syllabi, Degree Navigator and MapQuest are all tools used to chart a course, without which the journey can be longer and more costly than anticipated. Likewise successful programs, whether the focus is on environment, agriculture, or social areas, require well designed plans that include organized intentional events resulting in valued outcomes for a clearly defined audience. Through this course students develop the skill set to methodically design, develop, implement, and evaluate educational programs that are effectiveness-based and impact-driven. Students identify client needs and develop a plan to create relevant educational programs to meet these needs. 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), foundations, and businesses and corporations.

11:607:402: Building Community Partnerships (3)
Building and mobilizing community coalitions and partnerships is a well-developed strategy for leveraging resources towards solving complex community problems. These solutions require the engagement of multiple community sectors. In this course students learn the essential elements for building collaborative partnerships across disparate groups. Students examine various coalition/community partnership frameworks and develop leadership skills necessary to initiate, build, evaluate, and sustain durable coalitions and community partnerships. 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.

11:607:484 Practical Leadership Applications in Agricultural Science (4)
This course provides students with relevant knowledge and skills related to agricultural work environment. Classroom instruction coupled with an "intensive field experience" in international destination (The Netherlands 2016, Germany 2017) provides international perspective while preparing students to be productive contributors in the workplace. Students apply and integrate classroom-taught theories, principles and skills to authentic situations encountered beyond the classroom. Establishing contacts and developing rapport with agricultural leaders further enhances student growth, development and opportunities.

11:607:486: Leadership Practical Applications (3) (if not taken as required course)
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) (if not taken as required course)
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.

11:607:488: International Relations: Leadership for Sustainable Development Practicum—Travel Seminar (4) (if not taken as required course)
This course is an introduction to leadership and sustainable development within a developing country. Students examine the inter-relationship of multiple groups working to build stronger communities. This course is a Junior/Senior Colloquium.