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    Saybrook University
  Jun 20, 2024
2018-2019 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring Addendum 
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2018-2019 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring Addendum [Archived Catalog]

Department of Leadership and Management

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Department Overview

The Challenge

Contemporary organizations are comprised of diverse people who creatively self-organize into global social networks that have dynamic cultures and are mediated by innovative technology to achieve a common purpose. Organizational leaders face many challenges. Among them are how to courageously lead with integrity and have an inclusive global vision. Then there is how to manage in an engaging manner that draws upon diverse talent and creative ideas so all organizational members meaningfully contribute to the organization’s success and society’s well-being.

Saybrook University’s Department of Leadership and Management aids professionals to take up this challenge and be leaders who foster the emergence of vital new organizational systems, global economic perspectives, distributed workplace environments, and business philosophies which give rise to an equitable and sustainable future where all can flourish.


Saybrook University’s Department of Leadership and Management is a vibrant interdisciplinary innovation hub-a systems-based think tank and consortium for practical application in all sectors-that strives to develop organizational leadership and management that collaboratively envision and build sustainable solutions that couple organizational success with social innovation in a wide range of organizations and institutions, including for-profit, non-profit, and governmental agencies.


The Department of Leadership and Management strives to unleash professionals’ potential to:

  • Be tomorrow’s courageous innovative leaders today,
  • Envision and design the future of their organization and its operating systems,
  • Collaboratively manage and engage the workforce with a global perspective,
  • Systemically solve complex problems and build sustainable solutions, and
  • Accomplish organizational goals while serving the greater global society and its future.

Concretely, to accomplish its mission the Department of Leadership and Management offers a dynamic portfolio of leading edge master and doctoral programs for professionals who want to be visionary contributing leaders in the field of business, healthcare, education, and the not-for-profit sector, or who want to be consultants to organizations and civic communities. Degrees are rooted in current scholarship and professional practice to educate professionals as innovative leaders and managers of interdependent organizational systems who can:  

  • Analyze complex organizational situations through a systems lens,
  • Anticipate nonlinear cause-effect relationships and plan accordingly,
  • Respond to challenges proactively and collaboratively with stakeholders,
  • Plan and execute wise strategies and processes that avoid unintended consequences,
  • Implement systems, networks, and partnerships that sustain organizations and priorities,
  • Think critically and operate ethically under pressure.

The Department of Leadership and Management’s graduate programs are learner-driven. Each program emphasizes opportunities for students to prioritize and pursue their professional goals and interests.  Each program combines distance learning with the stimulation of unique learning afforded by periodic residential conferences.  In this way, learning is approached as a fundamentally connected activity: student interests are connected with faculty and fellow students, and connected with real-world issues in the workplace or elsewhere.

Degree Programs

The Department of Leadership and Management’s degree offerings are designed to meet the needs of 21st Century organizations. Whether the organization is in the public, private or nonprofit sector, the program offers research-based learning that has practical applications. The programs are built on foundations in three primary skill areas: management, leadership, and innovative collaborative design. These ensure students develop the mastery and expertise needed to accomplish their professional goals. They are holistic in nature, placing academic and professional development in an interdependent, interactive context. This context fosters the consideration of professional, organizational, and global social environments. 

The Department offers a MA in Leadership NOLS, MA in Leadership & Management and a PhD in Managing Organizational Systems. 

The Master of Arts in Leadership NOLS is a unique program which challenges the concept of traditional learning by combining online coursework with three wilderness expeditions. Students explore four distinct leadership roles: self-leadership, peer leadership, active followership, and designated leadership.

The Master of Arts in Leadership & Management is focused on leading and managing in a distributed work environment and offers four specializations:

  • Executive and Civic Leadership
  • Global Workforce Collaboration
  • Innovation Leadership
  • Project Management & Collaborative Work Systems

The MA in Leadership & Management program can be linked to the PhD program, allowing students to receive both an MA and PhD in a shorter period of time. 

The PhD in Managing Organizational Systems currently offers four specializations: 

  • Collaborative Strategic Global Management
  • Educational Leadership
  • Humane Education
  • Leadership for Sustainable Organizations

These programs offer applied learning for working adults who want a rigorous and academically sound program that will enable them to accelerate their career progression. Students critically examine theoretical concepts and analyze current practices enabling them to develop their own perspectives and evolving best practices that can be applied in their professions. 

The programs provide professionals with the core knowledge and skills needed in one’s profession while developing the essential broader interpersonal and critical thinking skill sets essential for leadership and management. Students will develop skills in systems analysis, innovation leadership, collaborative and team operations, global workforce engagement, emotional and cultural intelligence, talent management and development, project management, design thinking, organizational development and transformation, change management, conflict resolution, and virtual workplaces.

Learning Models

To accomplish its mission, the Department designed the Master of Arts and the Ph.D. programs with a combination of features known to support professionals’ success in graduate school. The learning experiences in both programs are characterized by the following.    

Crossing Disciplinary Perspectives: Programs draw upon faculty who have diverse academic expertise and a variety of professional backgrounds in order to engage students in interdisciplinary inquiry and a critical examination of perspectives and practices.

Interactive Design: Each course is taught in a multi-modality, interactive fashion that builds a dynamic collaborative learning environment. Students and instructors continuously engage with one another’s diverse experience and perspectives, forming a “virtual learning place.’ Course learning interacts with the workplace and career as it is continuously applied by students in timely ways.  

Global Coursework: Both the graduate and doctoral programs enable students to develop their global perspective and cross-cultural skills by participating in courses which have an international immersion component.

Cohorts: Students form cohort-based learning communities for holistic work together as teams, as peer professionals who support and challenge one another to reach their academic and professional goals, and to increase each one’s development as multiple perspectives are sought, valued, and engaged. 

Virtual Course Learning Forum: Each course has a virtual online site that contains the core materials (e.g., course description, syllabus, required reading, videos, weekly instructions) and is the hub of weekly instructor-student, student-student interactive dialogues and team work, and knowledge-sharing social networks. 

Webinars and Coaching Sessions:  Real-time interactions in periodic course webinars and one-on-one coaching sessions with students complement the online course work for the best of both worlds. Through these interactions, real-world applications of learning are able to get real-time exploration. 

Residential Conferences:  Cohorts and instructors from the degree programs convene as an entire learning community at 5-day conferences twice per year.

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