University of California, Riverside

Leadership Pathway



Course Description


Leadership Pathways Framework: Education, Experience, and Exemplars 

The Leadership Pathways program is comprised of Faculty from Business (Professors Elaine Wong and Roger Conway), Political Science (Professor Ron Loveridge), Psychology (Professor Thomas Sy) and Sociology (Professor Steve Brint).  Admission to these courses will be by application.  The expertise from our multifaceted Faculty provides a diverse and comprehensive learning environment for our students.  More importantly, this diversity of perspective is organized in an integrative framework for leadership development, involving Education, Experience, and Exemplars.

The program is based on strategies for drawing on the “Three E’s” of leadership development: Education, Exemplars, and Experience.  The Education component is focused on developing foundational concepts in leadership and will include seminar discussions, workshops, key readings, self-discovery inventories, and reflective writing. The Exemplars component involves vicarious learning from role models, mentors, and coaches, and will include leadership shadowing, identifying and securing personal mentors and coaches, gaining insights from case studies, and interacting with California leaders.  The Experience component is focused on acquiring leadership skills via experiential learning. This involves the application of previously learned leadership concepts via internships, laboratory exercises that have real world applications (e.g., ropes courses, team building activities, etc.), and leadership development plans.

As discussed below, each of the three proposed courses coalesce around the Triple E framework. These leadership development strategies are ingrained in all three courses, although each course will place more emphasis on certain strategies (e.g., Leadership Pathway Course 1 emphasizes the Education strategy via seminar discussions to achieve the learning objective of defining, describing, and analyzing various definitions and approaches to leadership). Accordingly, certain strategies are shared across the courses (e.g., continuing to revisit and refine one’s definition of leadership in all three courses). This shared process is important because learning about leadership is an iterative process that is honed over time. In addition, the proposed courses are progressive with each course building upon the key lessons of the former: 1) Leadership Pathway Course 1 provides foundational knowledge on key leadership models, 2) Leadership Pathway Course 2 facilitate self understanding about one’s approach to leadership via assessments and personal discovery, and 3) Leadership Pathway Course 3 is a practicum allowing students to practice and experience leadership. Professors Tom Sy, Elaine Wong, and Ron Loveridge will teach these courses, respectively, beginning Fall 2014. Below we provide an overview of the three Leadership Pathway courses, along with detailed course syllabi (see Appendices). The framework for these courses exist in the classes currently taught by the participating faculty members and will be further refined to fit with the design described in this proposal.

Leadership Pathway Course 1: Foundations of Leadership

Leadership Pathway Course 1 combines elements of the Education and Exemplar strategies to provide a foundation in leadership. This course is an advanced undergraduate seminar on leadership in organizations. The primary goal of this course is to provide a fundamental grounding in the main and emerging topic areas of leadership in organizations. Among the topics to be examined include: (1) Classical Approaches to Leadership; (2) Leadership Emergence; (3) Individual Differences/Personality: (4)  Transformational/ Charismatic Leadership; and (5) Leadership and Emotions.

In addition to key readings and seminar discussions, leadership exemplars (leadership experts, political and business leaders, etc.) will be invited as guest speakers to reinforce key learning points related to the selected leadership topic.  Students are also required to integrate key aspects of the course materials such as Transformational Leadership (Bass, 1995), Pygmalion Leadership (Eden, 2003), Shared Leadership (Pearce, 2003), Leader-Member Exchange (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995), and the emerging field of Followership (Sy, 2010) into their definition of leadership and articulate their leadership vision in the form of a “leadership logo” (graphic representation).

Key Learning Objectives for Leadership Pathway Course 1:
•    Define, describe, and analyze various definitions and approaches to leadership
•    Assess the strengths, weaknesses, and assumptions of key theories of leadership
•    Reflect on and critique the extent to which you are acquiring an understanding of yourself and developing your competencies as a leader
•    Develop a personal leadership vision and logo
•    Practice leadership via small group interactions and discussions

Leadership Pathway Course 2: Leadership Discovery

Leadership Pathway Course 2 builds on the foundational knowledge and leadership vision of the first course.  This course combines the Education and Experience strategies for further self discovery and learning about one’s leadership style. This is designed around three perspectives: 1) a focus on the leader, 2) the followers, and 3) the situation. Within these perspectives, foundational leadership theories are revisited at the individual and group levels as well as leadership challenges facing leaders today including motivating and influencing others, building high-performance teams, managing conflict, leading diverse teams, and leading change. Through the course topics and assignments, the aim is to enhance students’ ability to understand, analyze, evaluate, and formulate recommendations for developing their own leadership styles and capacities.

These goals are achieved via selected foundational readings, case studies, activities, and videos. Key theories from Leadership Pathway Course 1 are revisited and applied in the form of case studies, activities, and videos to provide opportunities to relate these theories to concrete leadership situations. Course assignments are also designed to render theory and research into meaningful personal discovery. More importantly, personal discovery is enhanced via self assessments and inventories, including Myers Briggs Step II, FIRO-B, Change Style Indicator, Career Leader, Learning Type Indicator, Hemispheric Mode Indicator, and 360 Emerging Leaders Profile.

Key Learning Objectives for Leadership Pathway Course 2:
•    Increase self-awareness.
•    Understand individual impact and contribution to a group.
•    Receive and digest behavioral feedback from others.
•    Clarify individual values and beliefs as they manifest in individual behavior.
•    Communicate matters of personal importance clearly, concisely, and with credibility.
•    Discover individual leadership style and effective leadership of others.
•    Plan and think strategically about their future.

Leadership Pathway Course 3: Leadership Laboratory

Leadership Pathway Course 3 continues the focus on leadership discovery (e.g., refining leadership vision) but combines the Experience and Exemplars strategies to unite classroom learning with actual leadership experience. This practicum satisfies the requirement for co-curricular engagement outlined in the current Call, which may be achieved via several paths, including 1) planning, organizing, and executing an event or project, 2) job shadowing an exemplary leader to glean key lessons, 3) identifying mentors and engage in coaching sessions to provide students with feedback about their leadership styles, and 4) in-depth study and case analysis of local community leadership and governance. Students will consult with the professor at least once a week during the quarter.  This class should not be an independent study project.  The consultation will include discussion of students’ written work, presentations, practicum contributions, and interactions with California leaders.

Key learning Objectives for Leadership Pathway Course 3:
•    Learn to apply leadership skills in the real world
•    Learn how to apply the theories, research findings, procedures, and skills learned in the classroom to practical challenges and opportunities
•    Understand how local policies and governance affect communities
•    Sharpen and focus students’ decision-making skills through guided observations, data gathering, consideration of alternatives, and reflection
•    Provide exposure to, and involvement in, collaborative activities in our community
•    Develop leadership skills in collaborative group projects or supervised internships
•     Learn from California leaders
•    Develop written and oral communication skills
•    Develop greater understanding of areas of strength and areas in need of improvement from instructor feedback and de-briefing

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Thomas Sy
E-mail: thomas.sy@ucr.edu

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