Learning Areas

Students will gain a deep understanding of system change, expertise as reflective scholar-practitioners and ethical and participatory leadership skills through the study, research, reflection, design and implementation of leading theory-practice change.

Core learning areas

Specific learning goals for this core curriculum content area are:

  1. To understand the major theoretical perspectives in leadership and change literature regarding:
    • The complexities of leadership at the beginning of the 21st century including issues of inclusion and marginalization
    • The rationale for, challenge of and difficulties with creating new organizational forms
    • The strengths and weaknesses of different change strategies as they relate to diverse social systems and diverse populations
  2. To apply major theoretical perspectives in the leadership and organizational change literature to real-life cases and to reflect on these applications, in essence, to acquire the skills of leaderly learning
  3. To reflect and act on one’s own ideas, analyses, values and personal and organizational interests as they relate to issues of participatory leadership, new organizational forms and desired change strategies

Inquiry and research skills learning goals

Students will gain an understanding of scholarly inquiry that is both practice-based and theory-based, and will have the knowledge and methodological tools with which to carry out original research.

Specific learning goals for this core curriculum content area are:

  1. To understand and critique research and scholarly literature in leadership and organizational change
  2. To design original research that adds to the knowledge-based of one’s own field
  3. To reflect and act on one’s own ideas, analyses, and values as a scholar-practitioner

Individualized learning areas

Each student is required to demonstrate learning outcomes in two Individualized Learning Areas (ILA). The individualized learning offers the student the possibility to study in-depth areas. Students are encouraged to develop one ILA in a content area related to their dissertation direction, and the other ILA in mastering the research method of their dissertation. These outcomes are encouraged to be viewed as building blocks of the Doctoral dissertation and focus on issues of the student’s own area of professional experience and involvement.

Students should be in discussion with their core faculty advisor about their individualized interests, possible mentors, relationship to dissertation study and the like, especially toward the end of the second year and definitely into the third year.

Learning achievements demonstrating goal accomplishment by year

It must be emphasized that the following timeline is based on a student progressing on a 4-year to candidacy model. For students taking three or five years to candidacy, the recommended submission pace and date of the learning achievements would be different although the sequencing would likely be the same.

Year 1

  1. Reflective leadership essay (2 credits)  The student demonstrates the ability to reflect in-depth on the personal meaning (e.g. personal values, personal organizational interests) of his/her past, present and prospective roles as a leader in an organization. The student is encouraged to submit this essay by the middle of year 1. It is expected that this autobiographical essay will explore the roles and qualities of the student’s organizational leadership experience within the context of the significant literature in the field.
  2. Case studies of leading change (2 credits)  The student demonstrates an ability to apply key issues and concepts to the complexities of real-life leadership and change situations. The case study and analysis must be substantial enough to enable the student to apply the literature and explore change situations. The student is encouraged to submit this document by the end of year 1.
  3. Ethics in leadership & inquiry (1 credit)  The student demonstrates familiarity with and understanding of leadership theories, concepts, and themes and their application to an area of the student’s interest. Generally, students will fulfill this assignment in approximately 7,500 words including approximately 20 scholarly citations. The student is encouraged to submit this document by the end of year 1.
  4. Nature of leadership A (1 credit)  The student demonstrates familiarity with and understanding of leadership theories, concepts, and themes and their application to an area of the student’s interest.
  5. Proseminar 1 (2 credits)  A year-long cohort-based Proseminar with on-site and on-line learning activities.  The focus of Proseminar 1 is the core curriculum areas and the development of  reflective practice as a learner.
  6. Learning plan (1 credit)  Student identifies overarching learning goals, their challenges as a learner and directions for year 2.
  7. 4 residencies (no credit)

Year 2

  1. Nature of leadership B (2 credits)
  2. Organizational change module A (2 credits)  The student designs, leads and evaluates a change initiative based on: an assessment of needs; theoretical and practical considerations in the field of leadership and organizational change; and a commitment to participatory leadership styles and ethical professional practice. Residency sessions as well as Proseminar discussions will assist students in the process of designing and implementing this change project.  In some ways, the actual specifics of the organizational change in the student’s area of professional interest and expertise is less important than the design and implementation of leadership strategies grounded in experience, theory and reflection. Thus, the program is interested in the theoretical and experiential underpinnings of the strategies the student uses to lead the change project. Similarly, the program is interested in the leadership principles and values the student draws on to work with others to further organizational change in the professions. The program is interested in the depth and quality of the student’s reflection on his/her role as the change agent, whether or not the change initiative itself was successful.
  3. Organizational change module B (4 credits)
  4. Proseminar II (2 credits)  A year-long cohort-based Proseminar with on-site and on-line learning activities.  A significant aspect of this year’s Proseminar is the development of and reflection on leading change.
  5. 4 residencies (no credit)

Year 3

  1. Critical review of research (4 credits)  Students demonstrate an understanding of research designs, including basic, applied, and integrative research; and research paradigms, including both qualitative and quantitative approaches, in the literature of their field. Students are expected to critique the research studies in their own professional fields, including the quality of the research question(s), method(s) of inquiry, appropriateness of the data analysis procedures, and validity of inferences and conclusions drawn. The student is expected to explore the design models and critique their strengths and weaknesses. This Review is expected to be in the approximate range of 25 pages. The student is encouraged to submit this document by the end of year 3.
  2. Research redesign (2 credits)  The student demonstrates deep knowledge of at least two research methods by selecting two published peer-reviewed studies in the field, one qualitative and one quantitative, and redesigning them. This is expected to be in the approximate range of 20 pages. The student is encouraged to submit this document during Year 3.
  3. Cultural dimensions of leadership (2 credits)  The student demonstrates his/her ability to examine and synthesize ideas and concepts she/he has acquired and to prepare for the next stage of their development within the program and their practice. The specific focus of this essay invites students to reflect on leading change in a world of cultural differences, unequal access to power, and unresolved or unaddressed issues of social justice. The timing of submission of this conceptual paper during the third year will have much to do with how the student structures his/her individualized learning modules. In some cases, a student may submit this paper before beginning the ILAs and in other cases; a student might find it more appropriate to submit the conceptual paper as the ILAs are underway given that each ILA typically spans a period of 3-6 months.
  4. Proseminar III (2 credits)  A year-long cohort-based Proseminar with on-site and on-line learning activities.  The focus of Proseminar III is designed to provide support and consultation for  students in the process of formulating and completing their Concept Paper/Mini  Prospectus, as a precursor to the Doctoral Dissertation Proposal. Students served  as a peer community, providing support, advice, and critique. A significant  aspect of this Proseminar is the development of reflective scholarly practice.
  5. 3 residencies + 1 virtual support residency (no credit)

Year 4

  1. Individualized module A (content) (5 credits)
  2. Individualized module B (research) (5 credits)  The ILAs are discussed more fully in the learner’s guide. Each ILA requires the student to identify the learning goals, learning sequence, evidence of learning goal accomplishment, resources utilized, timeframe and deadline. The learning goals, as well as instructional sequence and nature of the demonstration, are determined by the student in consultation with his/her mentor faculty, and approved by the core faculty advisor.
  3. Dissertation concept paper (1 credit)  Students demonstrate the ability to identify a researchable problem of interest to them, to formulate a researchable question and to design a plan for study of the question, including how data would be collected, organized and analyzed. This concept paper is expected to be in the range of five pages, and can utilize any methodology or hybrid approach in the design of the proposal. Work on this learning achievement is done during the course of the third-year proseminar, and students are encouraged to use this paper as the initial concept for the dissertation proposal.
  4. 3 virtual support residencies (no credit)
  5. Integrative candidacy essay (no credit)  This is a non-credit bearing 10-15 page essay in which the student reflects on his/her growth as a leader and as a scholar over the course of their years in the program. This is the last assignment of the pre-candidacy period and, if approved (and once the registrar’s audit is completed), the student advances to candidacy and begins formal work on his/her dissertation proposal.
  6. Advance to candidacy and attend final residency in Santa Barbara (no credit)

Post-advancement to candidacy

  1. Dissertation proposal (4 credits)  Students demonstrate the ability to design original research suitable for publication in a scholarly outlet appropriate to their professional disciplines. The dissertation proposal is required to demonstrate a clear research problem/question, a comprehensive review of appropriate scholarly literature, and a research design appropriate to the question chosen. There is no page limit to a Doctoral dissertation proposal, but the format and requirements are outlined in the dissertation handbook. Typically, dissertation proposals are in the range of 100 plus pages.
  2. Dissertation (19 credits)  The dissertation’s purpose is to generate or confirm knowledge, to make a contribution to the field, and often but not necessarily to test or build new theory. For example, the aim of historical research in leadership might be to reveal features of the past that are as yet unknown, to integrate previously unused primary sources, to present well-documented explorations of an historical phenomenon, and to contribute to a continuing re-evaluation of historical interpretation. Other forms of inquiry, for example, case study, also do not necessarily contribute to theory formation. In generating or confirming knowledge, Doctoral dissertation research may include empirical, interpretive, or critical inquiry.  Students must complete a Doctoral dissertation demonstrating their ability to conduct original, scholarly research. A dissertation begins with a well-designed question or issue meriting investigation. The issue should emerge from and carry forward an existing body of theory and knowledge. The dissertation should demonstrate scholarship, creativity and originality and have implications for a particular issue in the field of leadership and change in the professions and/or communities.  We strongly encourage students to begin thinking about their dissertation area early in the program, even though the specific issue or ‘researchable question’ is not clearly defined. Since individualized outcomes are really building blocks for the dissertation, students will benefit most if they can identify the overall area of interest around which they have passion and which merits investigation, and then work backward to design the individualized outcome learning strategies and demonstrations.