Course Descriptions

Course Schedule

CL 5053 Introduction to Civic Leadership: This course provides an overview to the field of Civic Leadership. Drawing on social science research, the course explores how civic leaders contribute to problem identification, issue framing, change management, and program design, adoption, and evaluation.  Strategies, skills and acumen needed to successfully address these leadership responsibilities will be discussed. Additionally, this course focuses on the basic principles of personal leadership that are prerequisites to leading others. Students will focus on their individual personal development by assessing and identifying their strengths and weaknesses as leaders. Emphasis will be placed on personal vision, goals, spiritual assessment and reflection.  The entire course is intended to address the growing national concern about the decline in civic engagement and political participation. 

CL 5043 Leadership Theories - Current and Historical Perspectives:  This course presumes it is important to be familiar with the seminal readings on leadership and is grounded in the mental models and the underlying assumptions about leadership from current and historical perspectives. This course begins with the understanding that all individuals have mental models and working theories of leadership, some of them shaped by the literature as far 350 BC. For example, our western perspective of leadership contain much of what was discussed in 350 BC, with Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, a treatise regarding a leader’s morality, power, and personal doctrine in the service of victory, and in Plato’s 400 BC work, The Republic, an exploration of leadership and justice in the state. The course is specifically designed to provide a fundamental familiarity with the leadership literature historically, using those texts widely considered timeless and essential. Although the literature on leadership is quite voluminous, since some of history's greatest minds all over the world from the beginning of recorded history have wrestled with issues pertaining to power, authority, and influence, only a few of these texts are considered by scholars as “enduring” pieces of work. Through these texts and moving through time, a framework for understanding our historical and current views of leadership will emerge.

CL 5003 Leading Community Change: This course explores theories of leadership and change management and develops concrete skills in effecting community change through leadership intervention both proactively and in reaction to crisis. Study and application of various change models will be key learning goals of the course. Upon completing the course students will have developed skills in assessing root causes to community needs, building leadership plans around an issue or need, creating a program to address the need, and mobilizing multiple stakeholders to implement the program for change for the common good.

CL 5143 Introduction to Evaluation And Research Methods: This course surveys foundations of social sciences evaluation and research methods relevant to the civic leadership field. It is designed for first-year graduate students in the Masters of Arts in Civic Leadership. Other graduate students with a leadership dimension to their research from other fields are welcomed, as well. The course focuses on helping students know how to be good consumers of research as a major tool of leadership. Topics include the scientific method, research ethics, research design, measurement, sampling, quantitative, qualitative, and mixed data collection techniques, and data analysis and interpretation. Students learn how to define a research question, explore the strengths and limitations of various research methods, gain brief practical experience with several data collection methods, and draft a preliminary capstone proposal. It is expected that, upon successful completion of this course, students will study in greater depth those particular research method(s) most appropriate for their capstone topic, question and field(s) of study.

CL 5013 Ethical Leadership in Multicultural and Global Contexts: This course reviews a number of huge challenges to ethical leadership in the twenty-first century and emphasizes that the need for global ethical leadership is not merely a desirable option, but rather – and quite literally – a matter of survival. The current crises and those in the recent past reveal huge, and in some cases criminal, failures of both ethics and leadership in our current way of dealing with multi-cultural and global challenges.  The future of our city and our nation will require openness, cooperation and co-creation between people with very different world-views and from very different cultures. Through the presentation of research, class discussions, class readings, guest speakers, debates, and field trips within the community, the students will move forward in their understanding of key theoretical and practical matters in leadership, global ethics, and civic responsibility.

CL 5103 Effective Collaboration and Conflict Management: Today’s civic leaders face unprecedented challenges in foreseeing and responding to an ever-changing citizenry and communities. Diverse views among both diverse citizens’ groups make consensus more difficult to reach. Social media has changed citizen expectations and how they communicate with their leaders. Economic development demands an almost daily focus. Skills for establishing collaborative partnerships to creatively address community needs are critical. This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of conflict studies and conflict intervention processes in an effort to develop and enhance the skills to meet the leadership challenges ahead. Student will join scholars, scientists, and practitioners in the ongoing process of surfacing answers to current questions including:

  • What is the field of conflict management?
  • What are its leading theories, models, and processes?
  • What are its applied practices?

CL 5113 Strategic Communication for Civic Leaders: Strong leadership is fundamental to the success of community change. Leading civic initiatives successfully requires helping stakeholders at every level clearly understand where the civic leader is going, support the initiative, and do what is required to achieve the civic leader’s goals. Poor communication is repeatedly cited as a key contributor in the failure of major change efforts. Not surprisingly, communication skills are increasingly regarded as a critical skillset for leaders, particularly in situations where the leader is an instrumental driver of change. This course aims at helping the students

  • Develop a communication plan/ strategy that guides their change efforts and their capstone’s implementation;
  • Know exactly what their stakeholders need to understand, think and do in response to their communication efforts through the use of stakeholders analysis tools;
  • Consistently align the messages with the vision, values and objectives of your initiative;
  • Incorporate appropriate technology into their communication efforts. This will include helping students use digital cases studies as one method of communicating;
  • Understand communication as a two-way process; and
  • Measure the effectiveness of their communication efforts.

CL 5063 Participating in State and Local Politics as Civic Leaders: This course provides students with a deeper understanding of how civic leadership decisions are made by and with state and local government, in practice as well as in theory. Although the federal government context will be discussed, the focus of the class will be Metro Nashville and Tennessee. It is also designed to help students be better prepared to participate in state and local politics as civic leaders. Upon completion of this course, students will have:  (1) gained a more thorough understanding of some of the basic elements, structures, principles, and processes of the myriad state and local political systems; (2) emerged with a greater understanding and appreciation for state and local governments; and (3) become better prepared to lead in in state and local political contexts.

CL 5213 Implementing and Sustaining Evidence-Based Community Change - Externship:  This course presents frameworks for implementing effective program and research interventions. As the students understand and work through implementation frameworks, they will learn how programs and research interventions can achieve targeted fidelity and intended outcomes in a sustainable manner while enhancing their leadership competency and confidence. This course will provide a practical and conceptual bridge for supporting the effective delivery of the students’ programs and research interventions in ways that will help the students create and lead sustainable evidence-based or empirically informed practices. The course is offered in an independent studies format asking students to log 30 hours of time implementing their approved capstone proposal. The students’ learning will be evidenced in an end of the course presentation to academic and community leaders.

CL 5203 Master’s Project in Civic Leadership: The capstone is an opportunity for students to complete their Master of Arts in Civic Leadership degree by addressing a practical, real world challenge using the skills and knowledge they have gained throughout their program of study. The capstone process is an essential component of the MA in Civic Leadership. It is the culmination of graduate work in the program and the final product of the degree. The capstone process is an opportunity for students to examine in depth important civic leadership or engagement question with the ultimate end of developing a real solution to a problem. Capstone projects require students to get up-to-speed quickly on a specific civic leadership problem or issue area; enhance key process skills such as project design and implementation; and develop competency in gathering, analyzing, and reporting on data in ways that lead to evidence based practices. Students will interweave their learning in all these areas. 

For more information, please call 615-966-6155.