PRST 5500 / 6500 / 7500
Foundations of Leadership
3 credit hours

Course Information

Course Description:

Students will study leadership from a historical and contemporary perspective. They will identify, apply, and reflect on aspects of leadership development, including concepts of personal change toward effective leadership in a changing environment. Topics cover historical development of leadership theories, personal assessment and development, values and ethics, motivation, power, followership, group dynamics, diversity in leadership, controversy with civility, change process, and citizenship. Through a process of selected readings, self discovery, simulations, and case studies, student will observe, critique, and practice leadership behaviors. Students will be required to devote time to in-person observations, interviews and learning projects.

Course Philosophy and Goals:
This course will highlight the changes in leadership development theory over time. Students will assess and frame their own leadership style, strengths and weaknesses. Students will expand their understanding of inclusive and collaborative leadership behaviors and develop competencies for using them effectively.

Course Objectives:

A. Cognitive skills:

  1. Acquire summary knowledge of the history of leadership development.
  2. Acquire specific knowledge of current theories of leadership.
  3. Explore range of leadership behaviors in themselves and others.
  4. Develop a personal definition of leadership.
  5. Compare and contrast selected authors of current leadership books.
  6. Examine the impact of leadership on organizations.
  7. Understand the nature of individuals in groups.
  8. Understand and value the nature of followership as a leadership development process.
  9. Collaborate with others to achieve a common purpose.
  10. Demonstrate the ability to express a difference in opinions and acceptance of others.
  11. Identify responsibilities of citizenship.
  12. Assess leader's role in a change process.
  13. Express in writing the learning experiences of the course.

B. Affective Skills

  1. Become aware of the impact of a leader's style on others.
  2. Explore and recognize congruence of actions and values.
  3. Recognize signs of commitment in self and others.
  4. Accept and value leadership style preferences of self and others.
  5. Understand ethnic and cultural impacts in leadership development.


Acceptance into M.P.S. program or by special permission.

Course Topics: Modules

Module 1: Overview of Leadership and Purpose of Course; Syllabus Review; History of Leadership Timeline; Music metaphor; Developing a Leadership Definition; Observable Group identification communicated to faculty member; Behavior Style Assessment; Selection of Leadership Book for Analysis; Journal Entry #1; On-line introduction to faculty member and classmates;? Read Text - Chapters 1 & 2.

Module 2: Trait Theory key points discussion; 'Sharpen the Saw'; Behavior Style Assessment Feedback and discussion; Read 'Appreciating the Styles'; Journal Entry #2; Read Text - Chapter 3 and "Followership" Article; Visit # 1 to observable group.

Module 3: Skill Theories and Followership discussion; Interview Skills; Journal Entry #3; Arrange Leader Interview #1; Read Text - Chapter 4; Visit # 2 to observable group.

Module 4: Assessment 1 Assigned; Style Approach to Leadership discussion; Simulation Exercise; Journal Entry #4; Conduct and summarize Leadership Interview #1; Read Text - Chapter 5 and "Teamwork" Article; Visit # 3 to observable group.

Module 5: Assessment 1 due; Situational Approach to Leadership and teamwork discussion; Case Studies; Journal Entry #5; Read Text - Chapter 6; Visit # 4 to observable group.

Module 6: Test Results; Contingency Theory discussion; Case Studies; Journal Entry # 6; Read Text - Chapter 7 and "Power and Influence" Article; Visit # 5 to observable group.

Module 7: Leadership Book Analysis due; Path-Goal Theory, Power, Influence and Motivation discussion; Case Studies; Journal Entry #7; Read Text - Chapter 8 and "Communication" Article, Visit # 6 to observable group.

Module 8: Leader-Member Exchange Theory and Communication discussion; Assessment 2 Assignment; 2nd Leader Interview Assignment; Journal Entry #8; Read Text - Chapter 9; Visit # 7 to observable group.

Module 9: Assessment 2 due; Transformational Leadership discussion; Change Process; Change Process Assignment; Film John Gardner, Uncommon American; Journal Entry #9; Read Text - Chapter 10 and "Managing Conflict" Article; Visit # 8 to observable group.

Module 10: Team Leadership and Conflict and Civility discussion; Case Studies; Test 2 Results; Journal Entry #10; Read Text - Chapter 11; Visit # 9 to observable group.

Module 11: Psychodynamic Approach discussion; Complete Leader Interview #2 and summarize; Case Studies; Journal Entry #11; Read Text - Chapter 12 and "Cultural Influences on Leadership" Article; Visit # 10 to observable group.

Module 12: Diversity in Leadership discussion; Case Studies; Journal Entry #12 (final entry); Read Text - Chapter 13 and "Citizenship"; Visit # 11 to observable group.

Module 13: Leadership Ethics, Values, Congruence, and Citizenship discussion; Case Studies; Sharpen the Saw list due; Assessment 3 Assignment.

Module 14: Change Process Assignment Due; Assessment 3 due; A Higher Level of Leadership discussion; Assignment for Final.

Module 15: Final Exam - Write an 8 to 10 page essay that defines and defends - using citations from your text, other class readings and your research and using APA style - your personal definition of leadership:

  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses (with a long-term plan for improvement), style preferences, methods of acceptance and inclusion.
  • Discuss how you are or are not a transformational leader.
  • Discuss your leadership learning from this course.
  • Identify the "perfect" team and its characteristics to work with you in a change initiative.
  • Describe your own cultural influences, ethics and values system and their impact, and
  • Describe your personal leadership development goals for the next 5 years.
Specific Course Requirements:

Students will be expected to read, reflect, and analyze theories of leadership; assess their own and others styles, connecting analysis to leadership and group behavior; communicate effectively in writing with classmates and faculty member on a weekly basis; keep a weekly journal; conduct and summarize 2 leader interviews; observe a decision-making group on a weekly basis and apply leadership concepts to the group; participate in on-line discussions; outline a change initiative; write a book analysis; be open to personal change for excellence and set a course for their own future leadership development.

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook ordering information for this course:

Supplementary Materials:

Students will be required to select and read an additional current leadership book available from the Tennessee Virtual Library. Suggested/preferred books will be listed on the course website.

Hardware Requirements:
The minimum requirements can be found at
Software Requirements:
The minimum requirements can be found at
Specific software requirements for this course include Acrobat Read and Microsoft Office (to include PowerPoint.)

Instructor Information

Please see instructor page inside the course.

Assessment and Grading

Testing Procedures:

There will be 3 assessments of the students understanding of the text concepts. They will be short essay and open book. The final exam is open note, open book, open journal. It is expected to be the student's own work, but will not need to be proctored.

Grading Procedure:

Grades for this course will be determined by adequate completion of all required exams, assignments, and class participation in the various discussion forums.

Grading Scale:
Weekly Reading Assignments and On-line Participation 20 points
Assessments (10 points each) 30 points
Group Observations and Reflective Journal Entries

20 points

Leader Interviews (7.5 each) 15 points
Leadership Book Analysis 15 points
Change Initiative 15 points
Final Exam 25 points
  140 points

A - 126 - 140 points
B - 112 - 125 points
C - 98 - 111 points
F - < 98 points

Assignments and Participation

Assignments and Projects:

See weekly module details above under course topics.

Each student will select a decision-making group to observe weekly throughout the course. Students will be expected to select a group that makes decisions on a weekly basis and whose schedule is compatible with theirs. The group must be approved by the instructor as well as permission granted by the group. The student may not lead the group, although he/she could be a participant. Examples could be a work team in your place of employment, a church council meeting, a staff meeting of a local organization, etc. Observations are kept in the student's journal and are shared only with the instructor.

Through threaded discussions online, students will compare and contrast the outside leadership book selected.

Students will develop and outline a change initiative. Through threaded discussions, students will analyze proposed change initiatives.

Students will summarize and share summaries of 2 leader interviews with other students in online discussions.

Class Participation:

Leadership is not a solo enterprise. As such, participation in interactive aspects of the class are key learning applications and result in participation points calculated in the final grade. Students will be expected to communicate in the chat room, with the instructor, regularly check the course bulletin board, and participate in threaded discussions.


See weekly course modules above under course topics.

Course Ground Rules

Participation is required for successful completion of this course. Each student is expected to communicate with other students in team projects where applicable and a portion of the grade will come from the other team members. Students are expected to learn how to navigate in the Course Management System and keep abreast of course announcements. The Course Management Systemassigned e-mail address is to be used as opposed to a personal e-mail address. Technical problems need to be addressed immediately. Failure to submit assignments due to technical problems will not be considered grounds for leniency as it is the student's obligation to communicate problems with the instructor and to obtain technical assistance from the appropriate sources. Course netiquette is to be observed at all times.

Guidelines for Communications

  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members
Discussion Groups:
  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather than starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of others' ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.
  • Introduce yourself to the other learners in the chat session.
  • Be polite. Choose your words carefully. Do not use derogatory statements.
  • Be concise in responding to others in the chat session.
  • Be prepared to open the chat session at the scheduled time.
  • Be constructive in your comments and suggestion
Web Resources:


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in the Regents Degree Program. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading must be included in all courses.

Students With Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the left to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.

Technical Support

Telephone Support:
If you are having problems logging into your course, timing out of your course, using your course web site tools, or other technical problems, please contact the AskRODP Help Desk by calling

1-866-550-7637 (toll free)

or go to the AskRODP Help Desk website at: