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    Saybrook University
  Apr 08, 2020
2016-2017 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook 
2016-2017 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook [Archived Catalog]

Department of Leadership and Management

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Department Overview


Saybrook University’s Department of Leadership and Management is a vibrant 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 21st Century needs and challenges of all kinds of organizations and missions. 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 comprised of the professional, organizations, and the global social environments in which they exist and function.

The Department offers a Master of Arts in Management and a Ph.D. in Organizational Systems.

The Master’s in Management, focused on leading and managing in a distributed work environment, and currently offers four specializations.  

  • Workplace Networks and Knowledge Management Systems
  • Strategic Management for Sustainable Business Systems
  • Project Management & Collaborative Work Systems
  • Innovation Leadership

The Ph.D. in Organizational Systems currently offers three specializations, each rooted in organizational systems concepts:

  • Leadership for Sustainable Systems
  • Educational Leadership
  • Humane Education.

The Ph.D. program also offers a tailored pathway for Ph.D. completion for students whose doctoral coursework began at a different university.

These programs are “professional applied programs” for today’s working adults who want a rigorous and academically sound program that will enable them to start or advance careers and job performance. Thus they critically examine theoretical concepts and analyze current practices enabling professionals to develop their own perspectives and set of best practices that can evolve and be applied as needed in each work situation.

They provide professionals with the core practical “technical” knowledge and skills needed in one’s profession while developing the essential “broader ” interpersonal and critical thinking skill sets essential for today’s leader and manager. The latter, among others, includes skills in systems analysis, innovation leadership, team operations, workforce engagement, emotional and cultural intelligence, talent management and development, project management, design thinking, organizational development and transformation, change management, conflict resolution, and virtual workplace management.

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.    

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.  

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, etc., weekly instructions, etc.) 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 periodic 5-day conferences scheduled at key points during the degree programs, usually twice per year.

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