The UO’s College of Education is offering a new minor in leadership, called Leadership + Administrative Skills, after a decade of work on the program.
The college’s Educational Methodology, Policy, and Leadership (EMPL) department designed the minor for undergraduate students planning to pursue leadership roles in education or social services. The college has been working on the minor for so long because the minor doesn’t just teach leadership through hands-on experiences like the graduate leadership program offered at the UO or in leadership programs offered by other universities.
“For many of us who don’t identify as traditional leaders, I think a program like this really gives a set of skills and theory and confidence,” said EMPL Ph.D. student Lorna Porter.
Kathleen Scalise is an associate professor in the College of Education at the UO, and last year she joined the college’s decade-long effort to create a leadership program for undergraduates.
She said that the LEADS curriculum at the UO is a mix of leadership theory and practical applied work, and it was created with the intent to get students to “think about what it means to identify as a leader,” according to Scalise. The minor includes training in data analytics and decision making, program outcome evaluation, and studying historical leadership models.
Scalise also said that the department struggled with translating the graduate leadership program’s cohesive body of leadership theory into a curriculum accessible to undergraduate students.
“We all come to leadership in unique ways,” said Scalise.
The first LEADS course offered by the UO is being offered this winter. Scalise will be teaching the course, titled “Exploring Leadership,” which emphasizes examining historical examples and models of leadership in educational and social systems as well as basic project managing skills.
To earn a minor degree at the UO, students are required to earn 24 credits in their respective minor field. For the LEADS minor, students aren’t required to take the full 24 credits from classes that LEADS suggests. Instead, LEADS students can opt for taking 24, 20 or 16 credits in LEADS classes. LEADS students would instead substitute in the needed amount of credits from courses in other departments, and thus fulfill the UO’s credit requirement for minors.
Scalise said that the department is currently formulating a list of substitutable classes and is looking for student and faculty feedback. The department is considering accepting credits from courses under departments such as Environmental Studies, Planning, Public Policy, and Management and Journalism.
“I think a LEADS minor would be great for pretty much any undergraduate who wants to be part of change processes and get involved in what’s going on,” said Ellen Hawley McWhirter, a counseling psychology professor. “Whether they see themselves as a leader or a participant in any of the activities they’re involved in across their curriculum… I think the knowledge and the skills they would gain would be pretty much priceless for anything you’re gonna do.”