Master’s of Professional Studies: Community Leadership

Professors King-Meadows and Bickel listening to event participants

The Community Leadership program includes core courses that provide a broad understanding of the leadership, ethical and quantitative skills needed to excel as a community leader. Upon completing the core, students can take courses in policy, race/gender/class, education, urban studies, non-profits, health, and social entrepreneurship.

The program draws upon courses in the Graduate Certificate in the Non-Profit Sector currently offered through the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Health Administration and Policy and the Social Entrepreneurship pathway of the MPS in Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Leadership.

Required Core Courses (18 credits)

CLDR 601: Introduction to Community Leadership: Contexts, Models, and Communication

This Introduction to Community Leadership course is the foundational and first class for the Certificate and MPS in Community Leadership, grounding students in key concepts, skills, and experiences that they will continue to build upon throughout their graduate program and professional development. Students will learn the theory and practice of establishing an inclusive learning community with attention to developing leadership skills of self-reflection, deep listening, and facilitation. Thematic course units will investigate core program elements

-Social contexts of community leadership with special attention to urban settings, historical and structural inequity, and asset-based development.
-Models and metaphors for community leadership, including attention to diverse theoretical and practice-based approaches to leadership with opportunities to explore leaders’ identities and personal strengths.
-The central role of diverse media platforms and approaches to communication that underpin effective community leadership practice.

In addition to class readings, written reflections, and discussions, students will participate in a number of trainings and community-based experiences to complement their classroom learning. Across the course, students will develop a relationship with a community leader and corresponding partner organization. Through regular semi-structured conversations, they’ll have the opportunity to learn and discuss core elements of community leadership through direct mentorship of leaders and community-based experiences. Students will work with community partners to collaboratively determine and design a project with a product that will contribute directly to a need in their partner organization. At the end of this first foundational course for the MPS, in addition to the community project, students will also create a template for their overall MPS digital portfolio, designing a compelling media platform for planning and demonstrating their best learning and development as they move forward.

SOCY 600 or PUBL 600: Research Methodology

This course is designed to advance graduate students’ knowledge of the modes of inquiry in the social sciences and to familiarize them with research methods and techniques.

CLDR 602: Legal and Ethical Issues in Community Leadership

Community organizations and their leaders have a myriad of responsibilities driven by ethical challenges and legal requirements. This course focuses on the ethical and legal issues faced by community leaders and how they make decisions that affect their organizations and the citizens they serve.

CLDR 603: Capstone Project

This 6-credit course provides participants with a culmination experience in the theory and practice of collaborative leadership, community-centered social capital development, and culturally-inclusive problem solving. Students will demonstrate an appreciation for and application of community-based knowledge, methodology, theories, and traditions related to building community-assets. Working in conjunction with a local community partner organization and a faculty member, students will (1) identify and examine key issues facing a specific community, and (b) develop and deliver a research-based intellectual product that enhances the capacities of the served community and partner organization.

This is a 6-credit course.

SOCY 606: Social Inequality & Social Policy

This course examines poverty and inequality in modern society. The focus is on describing the extent of poverty and inequality, examining theories that attempt to explain these phenomena and discussing the policies that have been employed to mitigate them. In addition to class inequality, the course will consider racial and gender inequality.

The interdisciplinary capstone course is the culminating experience of the program, linking collaborative leadership, community-centered social capital development, and culturally-inclusive problem solving. The course immerses students in knowledge, methodology, theories, and traditions (both organic and formal) related to building community assets.

A key focus of the capstone course is examining different ways of defining and solving community problems. The course builds upon prior courses in the MPS Community Leadership curriculum to provide a field-level application of social, political, and economic theories to problem solving and asset building. In addition to class readings, written reflections, and group discussions, students will augment their classroom learning by participating in a collaborative community-based research project.

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Pathway Courses

As students enter the program, they will determine a pathway with an additional 12 credits of electives. Working with the Program Director, students will identify an appropriate grouping of four electives, which could include the pathways (described below) in Urban Studies, Nonprofits or Social Entrepreneurship – or a unique pathway designed with the Director.

Urban Studies

In this pathway, students will learn how to understand and address the problems and assets of cities today, as well as policies and programs that can improve urban life. (choose any 4 courses)

PUBL 644: Urban Theory

This course reviews the main debates in urban theory. Topics include regime theory, economic theories of the city and social theories of urbanization.

PUBL 645: The U.S. City

This course examines the issues currently affecting metropolitan U.S. and evaluates current urban policies.

PUBL 646: The Global City

This course examined the global urban system with particular attention focused on the global urban hierarchy, third world urbanization and the connections between urbanization and globalization.

Additional Elective

Choose from other available electives to complete the requirements for this program

Non-Profits/Public Organizations

In this pathway, students will develop an understanding of the roles of nonprofit organizations in American society and how they operate, research methods used to evaluate nonprofit programs, and substantive areas in which many nonprofits provide services.  Completion of these courses, along with the SOCY 600 course that is a core requirement, will result in an additional Certificate in the Nonprofit Sector.

PUBL 613: Managing Public Organizations

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the world of public management. More specifically, it focuses on who public managers are, what they do, the environments within which they operate, the tasks they perform and the roles they play in their organizations. In addition to the assigned textbook and readings, the course is case-based. That is, principles elucidated in readings are expanded from the “real world” of public management.

SOCY 681: The Social and Institutional Roles of Nonprofits

This course describes the history, organization and functions of nonprofit organizations in American society. Topics include the functions of the nonprofit, government and for-profit sectors; the history of the social roles of volunteerism and nonprofit organizations; the impact of nonprofit organizations on American society and the changing roles of the three sectors in the 21st century.

SOCY 685: Structure and Function of Nonprofit Organizations

This course analyzes the internal operations of nonprofit organizations and external relationships that nonprofit organizations need to develop. Topics include nonprofit financial systems, budgeting requirements, relationships with the funding community, interactions with government, and effective use of human resources.

Additional Elective

Choose from other available electives to complete the requirements for this program

Social Entrepreneurship

In this pathway, students will learn to apply innovative entrepreneurial practices to the development of solutions to social, cultural, or environmental issues. 

ENTR 608: Design Thinking

This course addresses the fundamental principles of design thinking, and solving for difficult entrepreneurship and business problems facing early and growth-stage companies. A regional entrepreneurial company will serve as a source of problems for student teams who will take on the role of advisors. 

Prerequisite: Enrollment in the program or at least the second semester of graduate study.

ENTR 610: Intrapreneurship

This course identifies how participants can ultimately encourage and enhance a team’s synergy, causing it to become more than the sum of its parts, by showing commitment to both teammate and team goals and by jointly solving problems. It also provides a transformational learning opportunity for leveraging their leadership efficacy by cultivating self-awareness, successful communication skills, positive team interactions, and creating a growth mindset. 

Prerequisite: Enrollment in the program or at least the second semester of graduate study.

ENTR 611: Project Management Approaches

This course provides participants with the requisite knowledge to explore how agile concepts can be employed to enhance project performance. Participants will learn the roots of the agile movement, key concepts, definitions, roles, and various tools and techniques. 

Prerequisite: Enrollment in the program or at least the second semester of graduate study.

ENTR 612: Creative Problem Solving & Social Entrepreneurship

This course explores approaches to solve a specific socialpreneurship problem that is too ambiguous, complex, or messy to be addressed directly through traditional strategies. It seeks to increase the participants’ understanding of innovation and creative problem solving, and to enhance the ability to promote these skills in others. Students will work with a local, socially motivated entrepreneur and their organization to develop solution sets to a real-world complex problem. 

Prerequisite: Enrollment in the program or at least the second semester of graduate study.

Your Pathway

Design your own pathway with the focus of your current or anticipated community work and what you need to study. You will develop a plan for this individual pathway with the Director.

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