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Curriculum & Course Descriptions

Here you can explore the course descriptions for the M.A. in Organizational Leadership degree. Courses are designed to encourage collaboration and build applicable skills like team building, conflict resolution, and change management for you to take back to your organization.

Curriculum Overview

30 semester credits are required to complete the M.A. in Organizational Leadership

  • 15 credits in ORGL Core courses
  • 15 credits in ORGL Elective courses

Total: 30

*Students may also include offerings from the COML curriculum for elective courses.

Click to download  printer-friendly Progression Plan that features the most important information about this degree.

Course Descriptions

Download the printable list of course descriptions here.

ORGL 600: Foundations of Leadership

This course is a foundation for learning and developing the practice of leadership. It includes investigating various theories of leadership and communication strategies leaders use in their practice. Students explore the self through multiple assessments and reflections, in relationship to individuals, groups and organizations. Students explore personal and relational dimensions of leadership in the context of multiple perspectives and develop a personal leadership growth plan including a personal leadership philosophy. Knowledge of the use of different types of written communication and scholarship is fostered in the Leadership discipline. The paradoxes and ambiguities of leadership are examined in various contexts.

ORGL 605: Imagine, Create, Lead

3-day On-campus Residency

This team taught course has a two-fold purpose. It is designed to provide an orientation to the ORGL program and Gonzaga experience during the 3 days on campus. This experiential class provides an environment where students meet and engage with peers as well as with staff, and faculty advisors. During the face to face portion of class students have numerous opportunities to establish relationships that support their success throughout the program and beyond graduation. Throughout the course, students are introduced to the history and key concepts in the field of creativity. Further, through the theme of “seeing and seeing again,” students are challenged to apply and expand their creative and imaginative capacity. Students explore Ignatian imagination and perspectives from the liberal arts (art, history, literature, music, and so on) and are exposed to different techniques for developing and enhancing their own creativity and imagination in the context of leadership practice.

ORGL 610: Communication and Leadership Ethics

Inquiry into the personal, organizational, and social values present in moral dilemmas. Students will develop skills in ethical communication and decision-making, and recognize how to act for the common good as leaders who can acknowledge and consider multiple moral perspectives within a global context.

ORGL 615: Organizational Behavior and Theory

The purpose of this core course is to provide exposure to theories of organizations, organizational behavior, and systems as well as a variety of strategies and tactics useful to successful leaders and followers. The content includes a traditional macro organizational theory emphasis on structure and culture and then extends to organizational behavior focusing on leading teams and interpersonal relationships.

ORGL 620: Leadership Seminar

The leadership seminar is designed to be a culmination of leadership coursework in the organizational leadership program. The course provides an opportunity for reflection, synthesis, application, analysis, and evaluation. Students will examine the formation of their leadership philosophy and professional development milestones achieved in the ORGL program and will synthesize and evaluate their individual leadership development plan for the future.

ORGL 504: Organizational Communication (3 credits)

This course will explore contemporary concepts about the meanings and functions of communication in organizations. Organizational communication encompasses not only communication within businesses, but also within large private or nonprofit associations, larger community groups, and governments both large and small. We will cover selected topics in organizational communication research such as culture, socialization, systems theory, communication and technology and globalization.

ORGL 506: Leadership and Diversity (3 credits)

Who we are – whether we are comfortable with this idea or not – is shaped in part by the social roles we occupy and how society sees us in those roles. As we will see from the very beginning of this class, our social roles, the class we are born into and our gender all have implications for our lives. We will explore intercultural communication as a tool for bridging differences and learning about identities, practices, and cultures.

ORGL 510: Renaissance Leadership for the 21st Century in Florence, Italy (3 credits)

This course will help emerging leaders develop new perspectives and strategies and bring healthy creativity and energy to their organizations. Drawing upon the creative processes of artists, painters, architects, musicians, and writers, students will apply the same dynamics of creative thinking to the practical work of leaders. An interdisciplinary approach explores the power of Renaissance thinking as it applies to renewal, rediscovery, invention, and creativity.

ORGL 516: Organizational Development (3 credits)

This course focuses on how OD consultants – internal or external – can support both leaders and all members of an organization in achieving their goals, mission, and vision. Students will explore ways to conduct systematic diagnoses of organizations, consider how to create and implement effective OD interventions, and investigate multiples methods, tools, and technologies used to effectively implement major change in organizations. Through consideration of the predictable human dynamics involved when orchestrating the implementation of major disruptive change, students will develop an awareness of the nature, application, and practice of the profession of Organizational Development.

ORGL 517: Organizational Change and Transformation, 3-day on-campus residency, Spokane, WA (3 credits)

3-day on-campus residency

Managing change is a critical skill to support organizations in achieving their goals, mission, and vision. Building on theories from the field of change management, the experiential learning in Spokane will introduce multiple interventions, reinforcing that different situations require different approaches. The course is appropriate for people in various levels and types of organizations, providing the tools to support effective change leadership.

ORGL 518: Transforming Leadership (3 credits)

How do contemporary leaders go beyond the social exchange theory to convert followers into leaders and leaders into moral agents? This course offers a comparison of transactional and transforming leadership by examining past leaders and events. An examination of the dynamics of transformation and how leadership can facilitate it within individuals and organizations will help students develop new insights into the theory and practice of transforming leadership.

ORGL 520: Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (3 credits)

This course provides an overview of conflict on different levels, from micros through mezzo, macros to violent international conflict. Using real-life situations and case studies, students will practice skills and strategies for dialogue, decision-making, and ultimately conflict transformation and system change. This application is generic and therefore appropriate for all professions whether formally or informally involved in resolving conflict.

ORGL 522: Leadership, Community, Empowerment, Collaboration, and Dialogue at St. Andrews Abbey in Valyermo, California (3 credits)

Includes a 5-day residency at St. Andrews Abbey in Valyermo, CA

What is the meaning and purpose of life and activity? How is need for such meaning and purpose encountered in community? How does the leader develop community to facilitate individual growth and collective flourishing? Through study, experience, and scholarship students explore and practice the leadership processes of empowerment, collaboration, and dialogue in the context of creating structures and processes for sustaining and transforming community. At the Benedictine Abbey students become participant observers in a five day immersion designed to explore, practice, and come to an expanded understanding of the role and purpose of the leader’s involvement and commitment to building and sustaining meaningful and purposeful community.

Students may elect to take this course as part of the servant-leader concentration.

ORGL 524: Leadership in Human Resources (3 credits)

In this course students will explore the changing role of the human resource leader in organizations. The growing emergence of the human resource leader as an organizational change agent will be examined as well as the skills necessary for success. Topics include policy and practice within organizations; selecting, training, motivating, evaluating, and compensating employees; labor relations; and applicable legislation.

ORGL 530: Servant Leadership (3 credits)

The foundations of Servant-leadership are explored with an emphasis on reviewing the original writings, and on conceptualizing and articulating the philosophy through a clarification of what it is, and why Servant-leadership is relevant. Human development theories are used as theoretical frameworks for identifying criteria to assess servant-leaders and servant-organizations, and for understanding how they develop and function. Dialogue is encouraged as a way of integrating aspects of the philosophy with applied experience and gain insights into the students own leadership approach.

Students may elect to take this course as part of the servant-leader concentration.

ORGL 532: Leadership, Justice, and Forgiveness (3 credits)

Emotional discipline based in love calls a person toward meaningful responses to human suffering. Such responses are grounded in discernment regarding human conflict, oppression, power, and harm, and the opportunities—personal, familial, societal, and global—that rise from the crucible of potential that is our humanity. The course engages students toward self-responsibility in the context of reconciliation, and the depth of heart, mind, and spirit that leads to healing and growth in community with others. Students will work to apply the interior leadership necessary for discernment and action within oppressive systems.

Students may elect to take this course as part of the servant-leader concentration.

ORGL 535: Listen Discern Decide (3 credits)

In this class, students will learn more in-depth concepts of Servant-leadership by learning approaches and practices of listening and discernment as a way of enhancing decision-making capacity. The course begins with a focus on interior and exterior listening. Listening and awareness techniques are then integrated with the principles and practices of discernment. The course progresses from a focus on the individual, to group, to listening and discerning and decision making in organizations and communities.

Students may elect to take this course as part of the servant-leader concentration.

ORGL 537: Foresight & Strategy (3 credits)

3-day on-campus residency

In this course students will integrate more of the servant-leader characteristics, and further develop the disposition of a servant-leader. The course explores the art, science and methods leaders use to acknowledge, stimulate, and further develop their capacity of foresight. Students engage macro-system perspectives applying strategy and stewardship as they consider introducing vision into the reality of complex organizational and community systems.

Students may elect to take this course as part of the servant-leader concentration.

ORGL 550: Team Building and Leadership (3 credits)

3-day on-campus residency

This three-day intensive program is designed to increase students\’ knowledge and understanding of leadership and team development through a combination of information sessions and active participation in cooperative, challenge activities. Challenge activities are designed to enhance students’ critical thinking skills, creativity, problem-solving ability, and ability to work effectively as a team. These activities present opportunities to taking leadership roles, recognize leadership styles, identify what works and what doesn’t work in given situations, and apply lessons to real life situations. Topics include the communication process, leadership models and styles, stages of team development, ethics, diversity, and visionary or principle-centered and creative leadership.

ORGL 551: Advanced Team Building and Leadership Intensive (3 credits)

3-day on-campus residency; Prerequisite: ORGL 550

This 3-day intensive program is designed to be taken along with ORGL 550, building on key concepts learned. The advanced session shifts the focus from group participation to group facilitation through team building and leadership development activities.

ORGL 570: Introduction to Global Systems (3 credits)

We exist in a rapidly shrinking world of intensifying technological, economic, social, cultural, and political interconnections. Organizations across a range of fields and industries are increasingly more diverse and international, and leaders have to address this complex work environment both domestically and globally. This course engages students to become familiar with a variety of global issues tied to organizational performance and to analyze those issues using systems-thinking concepts and tools. Students will gain a deeper understanding of social relationships of interdependence and accountability, as well as skills to integrate diverse ideas and perspectives from a variety of sources. Further through case studies, simulations, and discussions of current issues they will be able to refine global leadership skills such as self-awareness, inquisitiveness, open-mindedness, and cultural sensitivity.

ORGL 577: Methods of Inquiry and Strategy for Contemporary Global Issues: A Brussels European Forum Simulation, short-term study abroad program in Brussels, Belgium (3 credits)

Acquire the fundamentals of leading in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous global contexts while practicing strategic leadership integrating multinational perspectives. Develop the leadership capacity to examine contemporary global issues, comprehensively analyze policies, negotiate towards bilateral agreement, and work in multinational contexts to create viable and sustainable solutions. Competencies are gained from class instruction, mentorship, and coaching from an international simulation at the epicenter of the European Community, NATO, and the home of various multinational institutions in Brussels, Belgium.

ORGL 660: Reading in Social Systems (1-3 credits)

This independent study course is based on readings in a specific topic designed in consultation with the instructor. Students will discuss the selected readings on a tutorial basis with the instructor and prepares an annotated bibliography or bibliographical essay. Although individualized, this course is treated as a seminar in which students share their work with each other and the faculty member assigned to the course.

ORGL 670: Projects in Organizational Leadership (1-3 credits)

This independent study course consists of a formal research project investigating a problem in applied organizational or social research conducted under the tutelage of the instructor Although individualized, this course is treated as a seminar in which students share their work with each other and the faculty member assigned to the course.

ORGL 671: Projects in Group Behavior (1-3 credits)

This independent study course consists of a formal project of original research in a topic of group behavior that proceeds from a research design approved and monitored by the instructor. Although individualized, this course is treated as a seminar in which students share their work with each other and the faculty member assigned to the course.

ORGL 681: Special Topics in Organizational Leadership (3 credits)

Leadership and Storytelling

3-day on-campus residency

Stories permeate virtually every dimension of our existence as noted in the familiar quote: “Civilizations have existed without the wheel, but no society has ever existed without story.” With groundwork in narrative, the class focuses on the kind of leadership that is demanded by the current world situation: Leaders who lead from their real selves or, Authentic Leaders. After exploring an understanding of authentic leadership, the course will shift focus to a key tool for leaders: the leadership story.

ORGL 689: Leadership and Hardiness 3-day immersion experience at Mt. Adams, WA (3 credits)

3-day residency at Mt. Adams, WA

This course will introduce students to existential psychology and psychological hardiness in the context of organizational leadership. Students will gain an understanding of existentialism through a personal exploration of meaning and how meaning informs psychological attitudes and existential courage during personal and organizational adversity. Partnering with an organization, students will engage various sources of feedback related to culture, climate, structure, and workforce and provide the organization a tangible plan for developing and/or sustaining a resilient organization. Students will learn to deconstruct and operationalize psychological hardiness through scholarly literature, classroom exercises, simulations, and a climb at Mt. Adams, WA.

ORGL 689: Leadership and Mindfulness (3 credits)

This course is a multi-­sensory, experiential introduction to mindfulness supported by empirical research.  Students will learn to define mindfulness and identify its empirical grounding and practical application in multiple leadership and communication contexts.  Discuss the relationship between mindfulness and Jesuit principles.  Engage in a regular, personal mindfulness practice and document reflections and learning achieved.  Make functional/practical and meaningful applications of mindfulness to leadership and/or communication contexts.

ORGL 689: Global Citizenship (3 credits)

In 2016, GlobeScan found that 51% of of people surveyed across 18 countries viewed themselves primarily as global citizens, rather than as citizens of their own nation. Considering the many issues currently facing ‘citizenship,’ such as the international migration crisis, Brexit, and the 2016 US Presidential election, how do we transcend political and state borders to assume the rights and responsibilities of our world? As an individual, we are ethical consumers, engaging actively in global issues. As a group, we must acknowledge our diverse global workforce through inclusivity, alongside the dedicated commitment to the well-being of those in our organizations, as well as our interconnected industries, communities, and world. This course will assist global learners in developing the personal and professional competencies required to responsibly address our increasingly globalized industries and society. Students will gain a deeper understanding of how global citizenship can successfully exist in micro-levels of organizational teams and small groups. This course offers an integrated, transdisciplinary, practical and dynamic framework for students to learn how global citizens must think, act, and communicate among diverse, intercultural populations.

ORGL 690: Development Communication, 14-day residency experience in Cali, Colombia (3 credits)

Development Communication (14-day residency in Cali, Columbia)

Emphasizing face-to-face as well as the use of digital communication tools, the class provides classroom instruction and practical training to help leaders better understand community development needs, as well as how individuals and organizations might work inclusively in partnership with local community institutions to engage and build up local community capacity and empowerment.

Servant-leader Concentration

The Servant-leader Concentration consists of two (2) required courses and two (2) elective courses.

  • 1st required course
    • ORGL 530 Servant Leadership
  • 2nd & 3rd courses (choose 2 from the following electives)
    • ORGL 535: Listen Discern Decide
    • ORGL 522: Leadership & Community Empowerment Collaboration & Dialogue
    • ORGL 532: Leadership Justice & Forgiveness
    • Other ORGL or cross-listed course that meets the servant-leader criteria
  • 4th course required

Global Leader Concentration

The Global Leader Concentration consists of 12 credits.

  • Required Concentration Course (3 credits)
    • ORGL 570 Introduction to Global Systems
  • Elective Courses (6 credits)
  • ORGL 517: Organizational Change and Transformation (3 credits)
  • ORGL 518: Transforming Leadership (3 credits)
  • ORGL 520: Conflict Resolution (3 credits)
  • ORGL 535: Listen, Discern, and Decide (3 credits)
  • ORGL 698: Leadership & Hardiness (3 credits)
    3-day domestic immersion on Mt. Adams, WA.
  • ORGL 698: Global Citizenship (3 credits)
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