Syllabus for LDR-435

LEADERSHIP PRACTICUM


COURSE DESCRIPTION

The Leadership Practicum offers a practicum experience for students who have studied leadership in the School of Business and Management. It is the terminal course in the leadership studies area, and its intent is to allow students to make use of what they have learned about leadership. That is, it provides an opportunity to apply that learning to professional contexts in which they are currently involved—at work or otherwise—through a carefully designed project. In addition, the course requires that each student act as a leadership consultant (working as a member of a consulting team) to other students in the class, advising them on their leadership projects through both informal advice and formal, written critiques.

Students taking this course should have successfully completed the other courses in the Leadership series, in particular the following:

  1. LDR-305: Foundations of Leadership
  2. LDR-324: Leaders in History
  3. LDR-345: Theories of Leadership

COURSE OBJECTIVES

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Course Objective (CO) 1   Apply knowledge of leadership to real leadership problems in an actual organization through a well-defined leadership project.
  2. CO 2   Integrate leadership concepts and practices in thinking about and acting on these problems in a particular context through the leadership project.
  3. CO 3   Practice leadership through the leadership project, following through on the project appropriately.
  4. CO 4   Analyze leadership in a particular context, and draw conclusions through a written summary report.
  5. CO 5   Examine leadership problems as a member of a leadership consulting team.
  6. CO 6   Provide ongoing guidance to others on leadership issues as a member of a leadership consulting team.

COURSE MATERIALS

There are no texts for this course. You are free to make use of the texts you used for previous courses in the leadership series, along with other resources.

COURSE STRUCTURE

Leadership Practicum is a three-credit online course.  It consists of three (3) modules and is the terminal course in the leadership series. Students propose and carry out a leadership project, providing guidance throughout to their classmates and receiving guidance in kind from their classmates. Modules include learning objectives and activities. Module titles are listed below.

  1. Module 1: Deciding on Your Leadership Project

  1. Module 2: Working on Your Project

  1. Module 3: Concluding Your Project

ASSESSMENT METHODS

For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete module papers, propose and carry out a leadership project, and complete a final project. See below for more details.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

In addition to an ungraded Introductions Forum, Leadership Practicum requires you to participate in graded class discussions.

Communication with the mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a posted question (discussion thread) and subsequent comments on classmates' responses.

You will be evaluated both on the quality of your responses (i.e., your understanding of readings, and concepts as demonstrated by well-articulated, critical thinking) and quantity of your participation (i.e., the number of times you participate meaningfully in the assigned forums). Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

Meaningful participation in online discussions is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement.

If you are interested in knowing how your discussions will be graded, click the following link. It shows the standards for grading, telling you what would constitute an "A" discussion, a "B" discussion, and so on. Online Discussion Rubric.

Specific directions for these activities, and the questions to be discussed, are given in the Module sections of the course Web site.

Leadership Project

A unique feature of this course is the means by which it allows students make use of all that they have learned about leadership and to apply that learning to professional contexts in which they are currently involved—work or otherwise. This is accomplished through a carefully designed project in which students have the opportunity to exercise leadership.

 

Although a full description of the requirements of this project is presented in the Module sections of the course, you will benefit from understanding what this project will entail. The project should include working closely with other people to effect or initiate positive change (e.g., influencing others, motivating others, coordinating others). Projects that do not involve interaction with people and effecting or initiating positive change—for example, ones involving only gathering information, shadowing a leader, or interning for a leader—are unacceptable, since they do not involve the exercise of leadership.

Examples of acceptable projects:

  1. Coordinating efforts involving several people to create a new strategic plan for an organization or organizational unit/department
  2. Leading a task force of people involved in revamping the way an organization or organizational department/unit assesses itself, and communicating the new assessment plan to all relevant constituents
  3. Developing with others a plan to motivate them to improved performance, and then initiating that plan with measures to ensure it can be sustained

Examples of unacceptable projects:

  1. Gathering data on some aspect of an organization in order to make a case for new directions
  2. Working as a special assistant to an organizational leader in order to assist him/her
  3. Surveying or interviewing others about some aspect of an organization and then writing a summary report

From the first weeks of this semester you will need to work closely with a facilitator (your supervisor or some other individual) at the organization where you'll be doing your project. Be sure to print out the "Tips for the Organizational Facilitator" found in the Course Documents folder in the top section of the course site and present them to your facilitator. It is important that he or she understand the nature of this project.

Note: Your classmates will be offering critiques of your project throughout the course, and a team of your classmates will offer an assessment of your final paper. This assessment is figured into your grade for the course. You, in turn, will be offering an assessment of the efforts of your classmates.

If you are interested in knowing how your project will be assessed, click the following link. It shows the standards for grading, telling you what would constitute an "A" project, a "B" project, and so on. Leadership Project Rubric.

End-of-Course Paper

This course does not have a midterm or a final examination. Instead, you will be asked to submit an analysis of your leadership project in an end-of-course paper.

 

The end-of-course paper is an opportunity for each student to discuss and analyze his or her leadership project. Your paper should be 10–12 pages in length (2500–3000 words) and should cover the following:

  1. A description of the problem on which the project focused; for example, how the problem was identified and what real evidence there is for its presence, why the problem has an impact on the organization, why solving the problem can make a significant difference to the organization.
  2. The means identified to address the problem: for example, changing current operations (procedures, culture, perceptions), strategic planning, adding or shifting resources, revising or adding organizational assessment mechanisms, rethinking the customer/market focus, rethinking leadership practices. (Note: If you propose the latter, you should have discussed it throughout the project with leaders within the organization.)
  3. The results of the project: that is, what effect will it have (or has it already had) on the organization and on organizational performance?
  4. Personal reflections on the project, its results, and how previous learning in the leadership program was brought to bear during the project.
  5. Reflection on the collaborative method (peer review)used throughout the project.

A full description of the paper and the requirements for completing it are found in the End-of-Course Paper section of the course Web site.

Your final paper should be well developed and convey your understanding of the readings and concepts. Your paper should be organized, coherent, and unified; it should also be free of spelling and grammatical errors. If you need help in writing such a paper, take a look at The Writing Center: University of Wisconsin-Madison.

If you are interested in knowing how your paper will be graded, click the following link. It shows the standards for grading, telling you what would constitute an "A" paper, a "B" paper, and so on. Final Paper Rubric.

GRADING AND EVALUATION

Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

  1. Online discussions (4)—10 percent
  2. Module Papers (3)—30 percent
  3. Leadership Project Design and Execution—25 percent
  4. End-of-Course Paper—25 percent
  5. Peer Review of Papers (group report)—10 percent

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:

A

=

93–100

C+

=

78–79

A–

=

90–92

C

=

73–77

B+

=

88–89

C–

=

70–72

B

=

83–87

D

=

60–69

B–

=

80–82

F

=

Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a nonarea of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS

First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

  1. Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.

  1. Take the time to read the entire Online Student Handbook. The Handbook answers many questions about how to proceed through the course, how to schedule exams, and how to get the most from your educational experience at Thomas Edison State College.

  1. Arrange to take your examination(s) by following the instructions in this Syllabus and the Online Student Handbook.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the learning management systems environment—how to navigate it and what the various course areas contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.

  1. If you are not familiar with Web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting assignments before class begins.

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

  1. To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the course Calendar. The Calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting assignments, posting discussions, and scheduling and taking examinations.

  1. Check Announcements regularly for new course information.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

  1. Cheating
  2. Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
  3. Fabricating information or citations
  4. Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others
  5. Unauthorized access to examinations or the use of unauthorized materials during exam administration
  6. Submitting the work of another person or work previously used without informing the mentor
  7. Tampering with the academic work of other students

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized assignment, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.

Plagiarism

Using someone else's work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > "Citing Sources.")

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else's. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

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