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Course Descriptions

Courses can be taken individually or you can work toward a Values Based Leadership certificate. 

Certificate requirements are:

  • 6 core courses
  • 3 electives
  • Pecha Kucha presentation & capstone

Regardless of whether you take one course or the whole series, you can expect the following:

Core Courses

Elective Courses

C1: What is Leadership?

Studies have shown that, “common sense” effective leadership isn’t always “common practice.” This course will support leaders to establish a shared understanding of leadership through examining several leadership models/perspectives. Students will reflect on their own personal leadership characteristics to facilitate a better understanding and clear communication about what will and will not work for themselves and their organizations.

Within this course, students will:

  • Establish foundational understanding of leadership theories/perspectives
  • Craft a personal perspective of leadership
  • Develop a shared perspective of leadership within organizations

E1: Leadership Lessons for Transformational Times 

As difficult as change may be for the individual, and for the organization, it is often while working through a challenging time of transition that we strengthen, or even create, the values and community focus that is the focus for this series. In this course, students will learn approaches/strategies for effective leadership through times of disruption.

Within this course, students will:

  • Learn from leadership lessons for transformational times
  • Explore strategies for leading through disruptions, crises, and threats

C2: Self-Awareness, Confidence & Values 

Leadership begins with knowing who you are and what you stand for. Guided by self-awareness and clarity of core values, leaders confidently share/model these values, leading those on the same quest, with the same vision. This course will explore the concept of “leading from within,” supporting students in developing ways to continually enhance confidence, and clarify, articulate, and commit to their core values and personal vision.

Within this course, students will:

  • Explore the concept of “leading from within”
  • Enhance self-awareness and confidence
  • Clarify, articulate, and commit to core values and personal vision

E2: Supervising Career Development Practitioners 

Developing leadership competency is an ongoing process for which supervision can play an integral role. Supervisors can support employees or other supervisees in identifying gaps, building skills, and promoting a sustained focused on professionalism, quality performance, and effective leadership. In this course, students will reflect on the supervisor-supervisee relationship and the role of supervision in their own development as well as their roles and responsibilities in supervising others.

Within this course, students will:

  • Understand the role supervision plays in leadership
  • Explore the supervisor-supervisee relationship

C3: Trust, Motivation & Recognition 

A central element for successful relationships between leaders and those they lead is trust; trust, in turn, is a key to motivation. Students will examine the role leaders play in recognizing and rewarding the trust of followers.

Within this course, students will:

  • Consider how leader-follower relationships are shaped through trust
  • Learn strategies for gaining/maintaining trust
  • Explore the central role trust plays in motivation
  • Understand a leader’s role in recognizing and rewarding others

E3: A Social Justice Approach to Leadership and Advocacy 

Community-based organizations often serve the diverse needs of underserved and/or disenfranchised groups. Working within this climate, leaders hear stories of heartbreaking challenges, some of which they cannot solve. In this course, students will learn how to adopt a social justice approach, use advocacy to support change in their communities, and establish boundaries and self-care routines to facilitate sustainability.

Within this course, students will:

  • Understand roots of social justice and advocacy in support change
  • Learn how to ethically implement social justice and advocacy-based approaches within their organization
  • Develop self-care strategies to promote resilience and sustainability

C4: Leadership within the Organizational Context

This course looks at leadership considerations within an organizational structure, focusing on how leaders can support an organizational commitment to values and community through embedding values within the organizational structure and day-to-day activities of the organization. Students should come prepared with copies of the values, vision, and/or mission of their organization for reference throughout the course.

Within this course, students will:

  • Examine organizational values, vision, and/or mission
  • Understand leadership requirements within the context of a values-based, community-focused organization
  • Explore ethical principles and strategies for “well-run” organizations
  • Consider examples of “values in action”

E4: HR Life Hacks for Leaders 

“Life Hacks” are simple-to-implement solutions to common, everyday problems. Adopting this time-saving approach for HR can help leaders manage ever-changing working environments and shifting priorities. In this course, students will expand their professional toolkits with a variety of strategies for addressing common leadership problems.

Within this course, students will:

  • Learn how to implement a “life hack” approach to HR/leadership issues
  • Explore a variety of strategies for common challenges

C5: Leading for Change 

Given the exponential growth of information and technology, today’s leaders must rely on values to guide their own decisions as well as the experts they consult with, trust, and rely on. In this course, students will examine the evolution of leadership and strategies for initiating change including dealing with resistance.

Within this course, students will:

  • Explore how leadership has evolved and will continue to evolve
  • Consider two methods of initiating change
  • Learn strategies for addressing / reducing resistance to change

E5: Leadership & Communication

Strong interpersonal communication skills are foundational for effective, values-based leadership. In this course, students will learn the role communication plays, review communication skills, and explore communication barriers/challenges.

Within this course, students will:

  • Review the basics of effective communication (e.g., levels of communication, barriers, feedback)
  • Understand the roles listening and non-verbal communication play in leadership
  • Examine how public speaking and conflict management are relevant to leadership

C6: Leadership: Where do we go From Here? 

Throughout the series, students have cultivated a “leader as idealist” mindset, clearly articulating a vision and gaining commitment from others through shared values and beliefs. In this final course, leaders will reflect on newly acquired awareness and develop strategies for continued development and growth.

Within this course, students will:

  • Summarize and reflect on learning from the core courses in this program
  • Compare self evaluations and peer evaluations
  • Develop strategies to maintain leadership growth going forward

E6: Teams & Leadership

Teams are a central component of any organization and leaders play an essential role supporting a team’s formation and success. With organizational restructuring shifting power from managers to teams themselves, effective leaders need to empower people at all levels of organizations and support the development of leadership skills/abilities in others.

Within this course, students will:

  • Learn strategies for creating/maintaining effective teams and maximizing participation of team members
  • Explore the roles and behaviours of effective team leaders
  • Understand distribution of leadership among team members within a variety of organizational structures
  • Be able to encourage/mentor leadership skills/abilities in others

And for those completing the Values Based certificate requirements:

Pecha Kucha & Capstone

Students will need to present a Pecha Kucha on their capstone project and facilitate a brief discussion. 

A Pecha Kucha is a very structured style of presentation requiring 20 slides for 20 seconds each. The presentation should last approximately 7 minutes, follow the 20x20 format, and provide key information on your selected topic. Presentations should be formatted using a presentation software which can enable automatic advancement of slides (e.g., PowerPoint).

Note: for more details on how to structure a Pecha Kucha presentation, watch How to Make a Pecha Kucha – a Pecha Kucha on creating Pecha Kucha presentations. 


In the Capstone submission, student must identify and critically examine one leadership challenge relevant for their work context, providing a rationale for their selection. Students will then describe 3 strategies for addressing this challenge including references to resources/reading within the coursework or additional research.

Lastly, students will propose a plan for implementing each strategy including a timeline and method for evaluating success (e.g., how will you know you have made an impact?). 

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