Notes from the Field: Leadership Studies at USD gets a BIG boost!

Cheryl Getz

Cheryl GetzThe Leadership Studies program (one of the oldest Leadership programs in the nation) is on the move! Two years ago, the president at the University of San Diego (USD) agreed with School of Education Dean Paula Cordeiro that the name “School of Education” did not accurately represent the totality of the work being accomplished across all programs in the school. After many conversations and some angst, the school was renamed “School of Leadership and Education Sciences,” or SOLES. This change better reflects the notion of leadership as an activity that teachers, counselors, administrators, educators, nonprofit managers, consultants and other professionals can engage in with others to achieve desired results. It also reminds prospective students, donors, alumni, and friends of SOLES that one program: Leadership Studies does much more than prepare educational leaders.

Consistent with SOLES in transition, is a move this fall into a brand new state of the art facility on the USD campus to house all academic programs, faculty offices, classrooms and the many institutes, centers and partner programs involved with SOLES. The 80,000 square foot building includes cutting edge technology in many of its classrooms, an executive education classroom, conference rooms and computer labs. At the heart of the structure are a 188 seat auditorium on the first floor and a traditional academic reading room on the second that will be the home to all of the Leadership Studies dissertations! The café, which allows students to connect their computers, blends 16th-century Spanish Renaissance ambiance with 21st-century technology. And finally, there are several areas for students and faculty to meet together in a beautiful setting overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Along with this physical move, the Leadership Studies Program is also getting a new look. Beginning in September, the program will transition into the Department of Leadership Studies. The department now includes nine full time tenure-track faculty, six administrators, two executive assistants, several full-time doctoral graduate assistants, and numerous part-time and affiliated faculty members from the US and abroad. Leadership Studies has always been characterized as having interdisciplinary foci; but many of the faculty and students have a growing interest in a more integrated and developmental approach to the study of leadership. This interest is consistent with the overall philosophy of SOLES which is one that encourages faculty and students to engage across programs, departments, centers and institutes in meaningful ways that lead to individual, group and systemic transformations. In Leadership Studies there is a great interest among the faculty in developing the capacity to hold the tension that often exists due to ideological differences with respect to curricular decisions, research methodologies, and the like. This approach provides students with many options as they begin their own exploration and integration of the study of leadership.

The Department has several graduate degree programs including a PhD and MA in Leadership Studies, an MA in Nonprofit Leadership and Management, and one in Higher Education Leadership; two credential programs, several graduate and undergraduate certificate programs and an undergraduate leadership minor. In the PhD and MA programs, students select courses and specialize in a variety of areas such as: consulting and organizational leadership; and k-12 private/public school leadership, to name just a couple. In addition to the rigorous coursework offered as part of these degree programs, the department is able to offer applied learning opportunities through the various institutes and centers in the department and in SOLES. Through experiential conferences and academies students strengthen their understanding of leadership theory and leadership development in various areas and disciplines. Offerings through The Leadership Institute, The Center for Applied Nonprofit Research, the Community College Leadership Development Initiatives (CCLDI), The Educational Leadership Development Academy (ELDA) and the SOLES Global Center occur throughout the year using a variety of delivery formats, including weekends, nights and/or weeklong events. Seminars are led by faculty within the department and in SOLES and in collaboration with experts and leadership consultants and scholars from regional, national and international groups and organizations.

For more information, visit the websites:
Leadership Studies:
School of leadership and Education Sciences: