HIED 66657: Leadership in Educational Organizations

Catalog Description:

This course is designed to provide the future college administrator with an overview of research that focuses on theories and best practices in leadership. The course assumes some general exposure either to the theoretical concepts and/or the actual practice of leadership, and is designed to blend these perspectives. Students will be asked to supply what they are learning, though the focus of the course is not on skill development per se. On the other hand, it does not limit itself to pure research in the study of leadership. Leadership is viewed as a performing art, a philosophy, a social science, a science, and even a lifestyle.

Emphasis is given to manifestations of leadership in the higher education setting, which by nature will draw on sociological, business, political, and psychological constructs and approaches. Since leadership is closely tied to administration/management, governance, and organizational theory, we will intersect all of those domains. Finally, the scope of the course is focused on post-secondary, institutional-level leadership in the U.S.


The leadership course built upon frameworks offered in a course in leadership I took as an undergraduate. I was particularly interested in what impact different leadership styles could have upon institutional culture and climate. We examined different models and theories of leadership, examples of leadership and its impact upon an office or institution, and how leadership styles or approaches can vary at institutions of different size, status, mission, and history. I will use the material I learned in this class to ensure that my leadership style is appropriate for the office and institution at which I work.


Upon successful completion of this course, students will…

  • Demonstrate understanding of core concepts and theories of leadership in U.S. higher education

  • Articulate distinctions between the theory and practice of higher education leadership

  • Describe one’s own leadaership style and skill development needs

  • Analyze ways in which higher education situations create unique challenges for leadership and how leadership differs at different levels and in different types of institutions

  • Apply leadership theories to professional practice.

Key Assignments:

Critical Issue Analysis – I investigated high-tuition, high-aid and low-tuition, low-aid pricing models in higher education and the possible impact of each upon student access, retention, and post-graduation impact. I also examined the possible impact that higher education executives might have upon the pricing model used at an institution.

Personal Philosophy of Leadership – Throughout the semester, I developed and crystallized my own personal philosophy of leadership, drawing not only on the material presented and discussed in class, but also upon my experience and an interview with a leader in higher education.