Leadership Focused Academic courses are offered throughout the University, including within

Organizational Dynamics

Graduate School of Education

Department of Earth & Environmental Science

Fels Institute of Government

Management Department of the Wharton School

The MS Program in Nonprofit Leadership

Department of Naval Sciences

School of Nursing

School of Social Work

School of Social Policy


Organizational Dynamics

DYNM 551. Devil's Advocate: Power of Divergent ThinkingShort-term or long-term? Us or them? Build or buy? Margin or volume? My way or the highway! Ad infinitum, apparent forced choices--or no choice--and limited perspectives can create costly tugs of war or constricted judgment without our minds (and hearts) and in organization dynamics, persuasive, and often hidden, divergence in thinking offers great opportunity for learning, creativity, and sound decision-making. This course offers several robust, practical techniques for bringing the value of diverse perspectives in politically productive ways to leadership thinking, communications, and organization dynamics.

DYNM 553. Becoming a Courageous FollowerThis course will examines both personal and professional behaviors that constitute effective followership. While the leadership literature is saturated with books on becoming better leaders, there is a dearth of awareness on finding and supporting those who follow those leaders effectively. Students will use surveys from the limited literature on effective followership to profile their own organization's dynamics on styles of followership, and stories of success and failure in confronting organization mistakes and leadership errors will be researched. The outcome of the class will be a personal profile on followership style and an organizational profile on its followership culture.

DYNM 555. Leadership & Sustainability: How to Engage in Collaborative Innovation The objective of this course is to engage students in an experience of collective innovation and apply that innovation to potentially alleviate a sustainability problem in the Penn community. Students will be working on real projects that relate to the sustainability challenges within the Penn community. They will be asked to immerse themselves into the social system they will be studying through interviews and other activities to gain "situation awareness" then experiencing practices for reflection, after which they will look for prototype innovation solutions to emerge. These prototype solutions will then be ready for implementation subject to university review.

DYNM 601. Gender Issues in Organizational LeadershipThis seminar will explore the intersection of gender and organizational behavior as it has evolved and in the current social and economic context in this country. We will examine the social, cultural and structural dynamics within organizations that differentially affect women and men, as well as the gender-linked resources each brings to organizations. Topics that will be addressed include the debate over the correct situation of women in the workforce; the social construction of gender; the relationship of gender and power in understanding gender dynamics in the workplace; the intersection of gender and class; gender issues in organizational leadership; policy and practice as reinforces of gendered dynamics; the interaction of culture and organizational structure; and restructuring organizations to better meet the needs of women and men in today's culture. The course will 1) address the development of a theoretical framework for understanding gender issues in the workplace; 2) explore more specific ways in which policies and practices have different effects on employees and managers by virtue of gender and; 3) focus on alternative conceptualizations, structures, policies and practices that could make it possible for both men and women to be successful in the workplace and to avoid gender-based discrimination. In this last section, we will specifically discuss various organizational change processes that address gender issues within organizations.

DYNM 602. Leader-Manager as CoachNew work technologies, increased competition and employees' desire for more involvement in their work are changing the traditional role of the manager. Rather than directing, planning and controlling the work, managers and leaders are facilitating processes and coaching and developing their employees. Team based organizations are built on coaching as a core requirement of the team leader role. This course explores the theory and practices of individual coaching as leadership behavior. The focus is on helping managers develop their skills and improve their performances as coaches. We will examine the need to provide others with successful performance strategies, timely feedback on strengths and on development needs and growth opportunities in order to challenge others to reach their potential. We will explore workplace environments that foster the growth and achievement of those we lead.

DYNM 603. Administrative Decision Making and Problem SolvingHow do you make important decisions when confronted with organizational, social or personal problems? Is your primary approach to use a strategic process? How many strategies do you know and use? In this course we will review and discuss research and descriptions about how "normal" people solve problems and make administrative, ethical, and social decisions. We will evaluate situations and problems where quantitative methods can be applied in order to improve both the process and outcome of complex problems. Using readings and classroom case exercises, we will consider cognitive errors or biases, as well as personality and group dynamics forces that influence making choices. We will also consider how psychological stress, gender, and leadership apply to decision-making and problem solving in organizations. Most research readings and methods of analysis and evaluation are based on assumptions, theories, modes, and research conducted by psychologists and published in psychology journals. The underlying assumptions of the psychological approach to the topic will be presented and discussed.

DYNM 605. (GAFL605) Managing Project Risk, Uncertainty and the UnexpectedThis seminar will focus on the six stages of project risk management articulated in the best practices standard developed by the Project Management Institute. These include: (1) Risk Management Planning; (2) Risk Identification; (3) Qualitative Risk Analysis; (4) Quantitative Risk Analysis; (5) Risk Response Planning and (6) Risk Monitoring and Control. Although the management processes involved in some stages may appear easy to understand, their implementation always requires appreciation of and commitment to the complexities of risk management by the leadership of the organization. Stages 2 and 4 concern qualitative assessment; Stages 4 and 6 are more analytic in nature and involve discussion and review of quantitative techniques. Class participants will be asked to find past or current projects in their own organizations that could have or currently can benefit from early identification of risk. Students will work in teams to identify the benefits of, and more importantly, the challenges and barriers to, establishing risk management processes in their enterprises.

DYNM 606. (GAFL625) Understanding and Managing Complex Organizations Today's organizations are highly complex workplaces; made up of traditional and interconnected departments, professional and technical employees with wide variations of education and training, and are spread out geographically and intellectually. The class intends to explore the interplay between all these elements by introducing the students to the basics of organizations and challenge them to explore their own beliefs and approaches. The course will equip the students with the various organizational theories and the current scholarship on organizational management. To put theory within a practical framework, the course will systematically go through all of the various aspects of leadership and management such as governance, mission/vision, strategic planning, day-to-day management (workforce issues, technology, and finance), conflict management, change management, and crisis management. Organizations of all types (non-profits, for profits, corporations, governmental and quasi-governmental) as the subject is best understood through multiple lenses. While the class does not have a prerequisite, it is intended for more advanced masters students or for individuals with considerable work experience, especially in management roles and comfortable with self-directed academic work.

DYNM 624. Program LeadershipThe objective of Program Leadership Skills is to provide students with an understanding of current principles and best practices in the maturing field of Program Management. Students will investigate the relationships between Program Management, Project Management and Portfolio Management as separate but co-dependent disciplines, and examine the importance of each to the successful achievement of organizational goals. Focusing on Program Management, the course will examine the unique challenges that are faced when managing organizational activities that principally pursue strategic goals, and that must be responsive to outcomes of activities being pursued and changes in strategic direction. The course will provide a forum for discussing the various types of Programs that organizations pursue, and for understanding how Program Managment best practices can be applied to each type of Program. The course will explore the need to adapt Program Management principals in a context-specific way to ensure that Programs deliver their expected organizational value. Moreover, it will examine how-despite qualitative differences between Programs-common approaches can be used to assess Program Management maturity and performance, and to define the skills required of a successful Program Leader.

DYNM 626. Leading the Professional Service OrganizationThe purpose of this seminar is to understand appropriate leadership behaviors for professional services. Students will gain first hand exposure to prominent leaders of diverse service organizations, and will research how those leaders both develop and deploy their leadership agenda.

DYNM 633. Leadership from the Middle of the OrganizationThis course is designed for you if you are preparing to take responsibility without authority for actions that will make you the leader you have been looking for. The aim of this course is to prepare participants to drive results in an uncertain organizational environment, under high pressure. The learning objectives of this course are: a) to involve you in designing your personal cycle of leadership and development to benefit your organization and yourself and b) to experience applying the idealized design process to designing your personal LftM approach. The course requires reading, a class project, and independent work on your personal LftM opportunity or challenge.

DYNM 635. Organizational Essentials for LeadershipThrough presentations by expert speakers, case dicussions, and participation in team projects, students will review and evaluate critical issues from across the frames of business, including general; human resource; marketing; information and stakeholder management; leadership; corporate culture; communications; organizational behavior; sales, marketing and public relations; finance and financial reporting; ethics and social responsibility; unions and government relations; and business law. Each of these elements will be studied in light of changing environmental conditions, including the economy; society; consumer behavior; market trends; regulation; politics, unpredictable events such as 9/11; organizational change; history; and internationalism.

DYNM 636. 21st Century Leadership Development: Integrating Cultural Influences into Coaching PracticeThis course is intended for students with an interest in culturally complex leadership and organizational development. This course has a dual purpose. First, through reading, class discussion and written reflection, the course will enhance student understanding of coaching models, methods, and cases informed by cross-cultural psychology, intercultural communication, anthropology and international business disciplines. Secondly, through guided practice, students will develop their skills in coaching across cultural differences. Students will coach one another through a self- assessment, development planning process and initial movement toward their objectives using a global scorecard using Rosinski's global coaching process as one illustrative example of this kind of coaching.

DYNM 662. Entrepreneurship and Leadership: Creating WinnersThe course examines the challenges of startup ventures and provides practical information to participants who are considering an entrepreneurial venture. It explores strategies for identifying opportunities, creating successful business models, valuing a business, raising capital and managing the business. The course looks closely at the leadership roles of both the CEO in a large organization and the entrepreneur in a venture. The course examines how leaders in all kinds of organizations set priorities, identify game-changing opportunities, shape the organizational culture and motivate their teams to achieve outstanding performance or, sometimes, fail. The course stresses the leadership responsibilities of the board of directors in providing governance and oversight in both for-profit and non-profit organizations.

DYNM 669. Leadership in Organizations: Private and Public, Personal and ProfessionalThe most valuable resource of any organization is the people who work there; the human capital, if you will. This seminar will explore the issues of the leadership of this human capital to meet the goals of the organization and the personal and professional goals of the people in the organization. We will read about and discuss issues such as: Crisis Periods of Leadership, Enhancing One's Leadership Capability, Conflicts Between the Organization's Leadership and One's Personal Leadership, and Strategies for Success in Leadership Positions. Additional themes of power, authority and control will be examined in terms of the organization and the individual. The seminar requires a considerable degree of participation from the students. Our explorations of leadership both begin and end with each of us individually. Therefore, the seminar will reflect both our common readings and our mutually uncommon (individual) lives as we all negotiate this interesting and challenging personal and professional journey.

DYNM 618. Leadership in Educational InstitutionsIn this course class members will simultaneously engage in an academic study of educational leadership focusing on Pre-K-12 schools and school districts, and in a continuing leadership development laboratory experience designed to increase one's personal efficacy as leader. A basic assumption for the course is that leadership is a central component of schooling; teaching is considered as foremost a leadership activity, whether with five year olds or high school seniors, and successful schools and districts are assumed to have capable leaders. The course will give particular attention to the recent shift in role expectations for school leaders - from competent manager to accountable instructional leader - and what this shift means in relation to the day-to-day work of educational leaders.


School of Education

EDUC 652. Developing Instructional Leadership in PracticeThis course emphasizes how to connect organizational systems with the school's instructional mission. Students investigate how distributive leadership is a key factor in consistent implementation of the instructional mission. The significance of building a community of learners for both adults and children is explored. Participants study the importance of aligning, managing, and evaluating curriculum, instruction, assessment, professional development and instructional support systems with a focus on K-12 student achievement in mathematics and science. Inquiry into effective uses of technology, begun in the fall term, is intensified in this term. Coursework includes interactive case studies, debates, inquiry projects and field investigations.

Department of Earth and Environmental Science

ENVS 619. Environmental Leadership in PhiladelphiaPhiladelphia-area individuals and organizations have provided progressive leadership on many local, national, and international issues. These leaders come from government, business, NGOs, and academia. This course, given over a two week period, provides students with an opportunity to meet with these leaders at their place of employment. These experts will discuss their organization, their environmental priorities, and their thoughts on career opportunities. Each expert will also provide an in-depth explanation one or two of their progressive, sometimes cutting-edge, approaches to environmental management and science.

Fels Institute of Government

GAFL 703. Statistics for Public LeadershipThis course will present students with the tools to use statistical information to analyze and measure the performance of public programs.
GAFL 631. Politics and Public LeadershipThis course is designed to orient students to the constraints that characterize leadership and management in the public service. The course traces the origins of these constraints, illustrates their durability, and suggests ways in which public agents may deal with them more effectively. Key historical documents and recent classics are examined for their bearing on contemporary views on topics such as public goods, the role of science in governing, individualism and the theory of rights, factions and interest groups. The main areas of inquiry are the environment of public service, policy analysis, politics, and political realism.

Managment Department at Wharton

MGMT 100. Leadership & Communication in GroupsThis course is exclusively reserved for Wharton undergraduate students. As a Wharton undergraduate, you are in a position to become a future business leader. Management 100 is designed to increase your understanding of leadership and communication in teams and to help you build skills that are necessary for professional success. You will study literature on leadership, management communication, and group dynamics and also complete a field project, an integral part of the course. Your field project provides the context in which you will develop as a leader, practice communication skills, learn about the nature of group work, and enhance your sensitivity to community issues. Management 100 will enrich your Wharton experience by providing many opportunities for interaction with peers, advanced students, alumni, faculty and the community.
MGMT 610. Foundations of Teamwork and LeadershipThis course focuses on developing your knowledge and skill set for teamwork and leadership. This course is meant to be an intense immersion experience that draws strongly on the pedagogy of the "Wharton Teamwork and Leadership Simulation," a team-based, highly interactive, simulation that was designed specifically to allow you to experience the core concepts you will learn in this class. The simulation is based on research evidence and on specific business cases and outcomes. The simulation is strongly interwoven with your classroom experience and cutting edge and theory to give you a rich understanding of teamwork and leadership principles.


MS in Nonprofit Leadership Program (NPLD)

MS in Nonprofit Leadership Program (NPLD)The MS in Nonprofit Leadership Program is a graduate level program that focuses on grooming students to be leaders within the non-profit sector. The course as a whole targets several elements within this subject of non-profit management while individual courses focus on cultivating strong leadership skills which can guide and support the organization.
NPLD 786 Nonprofit Governance and ManagementThis course is about "doing good and doing well." It is designed to introduce you to the fundamental issues in accountability and governance and the administration and management in nonprofit organizations. Through research and analysis, you will understand multiple structures of accountability and the various stakeholders in nonprofits; understand the duties and dynamics of boards of directors in conjunction with other mechanisms of governance (e.g. chief executive officers, advisory boards, etc.); develop an understanding of management techniques and leadership skills for enhancing the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations. You will be asked to think about the challenges of running nonprofit organizations in a comparative context, with cases drawn from both the U.S. and abroad. The emphasis of this course is on acquiring operational skills. The course is designed for those who may have had years of experience managing other people and programs in the nonprofit sector but who want to develop a more systematic mastery of this challenge, as well as students from other sectors who aspire to a nonprofit leadership role.
NPLD 787 Leadership for the New EconomyThis fall semester course is for individuals whose careers will call upon them to be visionary thinkers, sophisticated system thinkers and enlightened strategic thinkers. It is for women and men who will take transformative leadership actions that can be successfully implemented by people and groups at all levels of organizations and social enterprises. Recent events have shown that established leadership models need to be revitalized, given the complexities of the contemporary world. Hence this course emphasizes the skills needed to engage in leadership acts relevant to the 21st century, competencies centered on building green technologies, creating sustainable energy, preserving the sanctity of water, fostering environmental-friendly policies, and constructing an economics predicated on principles of abundance rather than scarcity. Case studies of Lincoln, Gandhi, and Mandela will highlight that many of the key leadership lessons required for this era were elegantly crafted by these giants of history in conditions of extreme adversity not unlike the challenges of today. Key topics are decision making under conditions of uncertainty, building meaningful authority systems, using power creatively, harnessing the latent potential contained within conflicts and partnering with competitors and adversaries.
NPLD 793 Leadership and Social ChangeThis spring semester course explores the key elements of individual leadership (self-awareness, emotional intelligence); team leadership (principles of leading high performing teams and adaptive problems); organizational leadership (organizational culture, organizational partnerships); and leadership within networks (including social movements and network mapping exercises). The course is taught by the Director of the Wharton Graduate Leadership Program and is open to graduate students throughout the university as well as Penn juniors and seniors.
NPLD 787 Leadership for the New Economy(A) Prerequisite(s): Enrolled in NPLD program or permission of instructor. This fall semester course is for individuals whose careers will call upon them to be visionary thinkers, sophisticated system thinkers and enlightened strategic thinkers. It is for women and men who will take transformative leadership actions that can be successfully implemented by people and groups at all levels of organizations and social enterprises. Recent events have shown that established leadership models need to be revitalized, given the complexities of the contemporary world. Hence this course emphasizes the skills needed to engage in leadership acts relevant to the 21st century, competencies centered on building green technologies, creating sustainable energy, preserving the sanctity of water, fostering environmental-friendly policies, and constructing an economics predicated on principles of abundance rather than scarcity. Case studies of Lincoln, Gandhi, and Mandela will highlight that many of the key leadership lessons required for this era were elegantly crafted by these giants of history in conditions of extreme adversity not unlike the challenges of today. Key topics are decision making under conditions of uncertainty, building meaningful authority systems, using power creatively, harnessing the latent potential contained within conflicts and partnering with competitors and adversaries.


Naval Sciences 

NSCI 201. Leadership & ManagementOnly Engineering, Nursing, and Wharton students receive credit. This course emphasizes principles of leadership, personnel and material management, and subordinate development in the context of the naval organization. Practical applications are explored through experiential exercises and case studies.
NSCI 402. Leadership and EthicsThe capstone course of the NROTC curriculum, this course is intended to provide the midshipman with the ethical foundation and basic leadership tools to be effective junior officers. Topics such as responsibility, accountability, ethics, the law of armed conflict, military law, division organization and training, and discipline are introduced through practical exercises, group discussion, and case studies.


School of Nursing

NURS 643. Leadership, Advocacy, and the Practice of Integrated Nursing Care of ASDEmphasis is on the synthesis of course content practice. Through classroom and clinical experiences, students critically examine the role of nursing in the life-long care of people with ASD, and identify ways to expand the scope of nursing care for this vulnerable population. Students explore the availability of services in the community and discuss approaches to patient advocacy. Students have opportunities to select an area of specialization to develop specific practice expertise. Such areas are Diagnosis and Referral Practices (e.g. ADOS Training), Behavioral Therapy Training (e.g. Applied Behavioral Analysis), and clinical research. Practical issues of collaboration and reimbursement for services are explored. Students' clinical experiences are designed to facilitate scholarship, independence and advanced specialization in a chosen component of ASD care, for example, behavioral analysis, screening and/or diagnosis, or an agenda for research. Students identify and implement an independent project.
NURS 708. Public Policy Leadership in the American Public/Private System of Health CareThis course will explore the philosophy and growth of public policy that has directed the American Health Care System in its ever expanding movement toward universal health care for all citizens. Analysis of health policy and systems content will assist the students to identify the knowledge and skills needed for the health or human service provider to assume leadership roles in the formulation of public policy for change; this includes system restructuring, service delivery and funding of health care. Emphasis will be on the effect of policy on the individual/family user of health care services rather than the effect on professional health care providers or health care delivery systems. Special attention will be given to the effect of policy on populations, both urban and rural, living near and below the poverty level.
NURS 748. Leadership Development for HealthThis course will provide the conceptual and theoretical framework for examining the concept of leadership within the contexts of health systems, health professionals and health policy. It will focus on characteristics of personal and professional leadership, change theory, and the application of critical thinking to the analysis of work environments, systems and the politics of health.

School of Social Work

SWRK 765. Social Work Leadership and ManagementThis course builds on social work knowledge, values, and skills gained in foundation practice courses and links them to the roles and functions of social workers as supervisors and managers in human service organizations. Course focus is on providing students with an overview of basic supervisory and human resource development concepts so they may be better prepared as professional social workers to enter agencies and provide direct reports (supervisees) with meaningful and appropriate direction, support, and motivation.


School of Social Policy

MSSP 795 Applied Leadership Workshop SeriesThis spring semester course consists of three (3) modules, each structured as a two-day (Friday-Saturday) workshop. This is a core elective within Penn's Nonprofit/NGO Leadership program and is open to students from all graduate programs. The workshops, taught by faculty from around the University on various contemporary themes, provide students with leadership aspirations or opportunities for hands-on practical skill development. In the past, workshop topics have included a workshop on social entrepreneurship, microfinance, nonprofit law, and other current topics that transcend individual interest and are transferable to graduate students from the School of Social Policy & Practice as well as the other graduate and professional schools at the University of Pennsylvania.
MSSP 796 Applied Leadership Workshop SeriesThis spring semester course consists of three (3) modules, each structured as a two-day (Friday-Saturday) workshop. This is a core elective within Penn's Nonprofit/NGO Leadership program and is open to students from all graduate programs. The workshops, taught by faculty from around the University on various contemporary themes, provide students with leadership aspirations or opportunities for hands-on practical skill development. In the past, workshop topics have included a workshop on governance, ethics, fundraising and resources development, and negotiations.