Course Catalog

Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership

Chairperson: Michael Carey
Associate Professors: M. Carey, D. ConnersK. Hoover, A. Popa

The M.A. degree in Organizational Leadership is an interdisciplinary program that integrates knowledge and research from the social sciences, communication arts, and the humanities. The central objective of the program is to provide an advanced degree which synthesizes knowledge from diverse fields into a focused yet flexible plan of study that is useful to leaders in all forms of social organization. The program is designed for the student whose professional goal is a generalist leadership position in a corporate, government, non-profit, or community organization.

The Organizational Leadership master’s degree is intended to meet the needs and schedules of working adults. Required courses in the degree program are offered exclusively on an evening or weekend basis. The program consists of 30 semester credits. A required sequence of 15 credits is supplemented by electives totaling 15 credits, which are chosen by each student from a list of selected graduate courses. Students are permitted to take up to six credits of individualized readings, research projects or an internship as part of the elective component. The curriculum is dynamic and changes may occur on a yearly basis.

Graduates of the M.A. in Organizational Leadership program are able to: understand the relationship of liberal arts study to leadership; develop effective strategies to be social change agents; develop and enact a leadership approach that acknowledges values and incorporates differences; create and utilize an integrated vision as a leader; understand and analyze organizations from multiple frameworks and, become an agent for productive change; be a knowledgeable consumer and effective practitioner of organizational research; and understand how to form and apply ethical systems within organizational settings.


Each applicant must complete and submit the following materials to the Department of Organizational Leadership:

  1. A completed application for admission (see appendix for inquiry form) and a non-refundable fee.
  2. A written statement from the applicant which: a) describes their own interest in the Organizational Leadership degree. b) assesses their strengths as a leader and describes what they hope to gain from a graduate degree.
  3. A resume of professional experience.
  4. One letter of recommendation from an employer, professional colleague, or faculty in the student’s undergraduate major which evaluate the applicant’s leadership ability and capacity to complete a graduate degree.
  5. One degree-bearing transcript from a regionally accredited university. Only the highest level of degree achieved is required (minimum: bachelor’s degree). Additional transcripts may be requested upon review.

*Additional documents may be requested


International Applicants

  1. International Transcript Evaluation: All international students applying directly to a Gonzaga University graduate program must have each foreign transcript evaluated through an AACRAO approved, third-party evaluator (such as World Education Services (WES) or Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE)). Canadian transcripts are exempt from this requirement.
  2. All international applicants who have not graduated from a United States or Canadian institution or whose native language is not English, must submit an official TOEFL iBT score of at least 88 or IELTS of 6.5 or better. Details can be found here:
  3. Submission of a financial declaration and supporting documentation by each international applicant.


A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university is required.

Program Outline: 30 credits

    Required Courses: 15 credits
    ORGL 600 Organizational Leadership 3 credits
    ORGL 605 Leadership and Imagination 3 credits
    ORGL 610 Communication and Organizational Ethics 3 credits
    ORGL 615 Organizational Behavior and Theory 3 credits
    ORGL 620 Organizational Leadership Capstone 3 credits

    Graduate electives complete the Organizational Leadership degree program. Students may choose graduate-level courses from a list of electives provided in this catalog offered by the Department of Organizational Leadership or by other graduate divisions of Gonzaga University. (MTSL 509, Academic Writing for International Graduate Students, cannot count towards the ORGL elective requirements).  Up to six credits may be selected within the elective component from the independent professional study options (ORGL 660-ORGL 671).

    Servant Leadership Concentration: 12 credits

    ORGL 530 Servant Leadership 3 credits
    ORGL 537 Foresight and Strategy 3 credits
    Two of the following five courses:* 6 credits
    ORGL 510 Renaissance Leadership for the 21st Century

    ORGL 522 Leadership, Community Empowerment, Collaboration, and Dialogue

    ORGL 532 Leadership Justice and Forgiveness

    ORGL 535 Listen, Discern, and Decide
    ORGL 689 Leadership and Hardiness

    Note: *Other ORGL or cross-listed courses may meet the Servant-leader criteria and must be approved by the advisor.

    Global Leadership Concentration: 12 credits

    ORGL 570 Introduction to Global Systems 3 credits
    Required Study Abroad Immersion or Internship 3 credits
    ORGL 609 Development Communication
    ORGL 577 Methods of Inquiry and Strategy for Contemporary Global Issues
    Two of the following elective courses:* 6 credits
    ORGL 517 Organizational Change and Transformation
    ORGL 518 Transforming Leadership
    ORGL 520 Conflict Resolution
    ORGL 535 Listen, Discern, and Decide
    ORGL 689 Leadership & Hardiness
    ORGL 689 Global Citizenship

    Change Leadership Concentration: 12 credits

    ORGL 515 Leadership and Human Potential 3 credits
    ORGL 516 Human Relations and Organization Development 3 credits
    ORGL 517 Organizational Change and Transformation 3 credits
    One of the following elective courses: 3 credits
    ORGL 518 Transforming Leadership
    ORGL 523 Psychology of Leadership
    ORGL 550 Team Building and Leadership
    ORGL 551 Advanced Team Building and Leadership
    ORGL 690 Contemporary Leadership Strategies to Combat Hate

    Strategic and Organizational Communication Concentration: 9 credits

    COML 504 Organizational Communication 3 credits
    Two of the following four courses: 6 credits
    COML 509 Social Media Engagement and Analysis

    COML 511 Communication Consulting and Training

    COML 512 Strategic and Crisis Communication

    COML 515 Relational Communication
    ORGL 501 Methods of Organizatn Research
    3.00 credits
    Gall, Gall, & Borg note that research is a systematic and persistent approach to answering questions (2006). This course meets that charge head on as we attempt to explore the philosophies of research and how to answer questions that we are passionate about. Through engagement with primary research and exposure to current methodologies and the inquiry process, this course requires the development of a full research proposal (e.g. literature review, rationale for the proposed questions, formal research questions and/or hypotheses, and proposed method description).
    ORGL 504 Organizational Communication
    3.00 credits
    All organizations - from Microsoft, to churches, to social clubs, and universities — rely on communication, and being able to communicate strategically is crucial to meaningful participation. This course will explore contemporary concepts about the meanings and functions of communication in organizations. Organizational communication encompasses not only communication within businesses, but also within large private or nonprofit associations, larger community groups, and governments both large and small. We will cover such selected topics in organizational communication research, such as culture, socialization, systems theory, communication and technology, and globalization.
    ORGL 506 Leadership and Diversity
    3.00 credits
    Who we are, whether we are comfortable with this idea or not, is shaped in part by the social roles we occupy and how society sees us in those roles. As we will see from the very beginning of this class, our social roles, the class we are born into, and our gender all have implications for our lives. We will explore intercultural communication as a tool to bridge differences and learn about identities, practices, and cultures.
    ORGL 507 Certificate Credit
    3.00 credits
    ORGL 509 SocialMediaEngagement&Analysis
    3.00 credits
    This course will explore, examine, and analyze the ways in which communication technologies and social media influence the nature of communication, and the manner in which we interact with one another on a daily basis, as well as our socially shared values, beliefs, and attitudes. This course will introduce students to different strategies and techniques for evaluating the effectiveness of digital communication.
    ORGL 510 Renaiss. Ldrdshp for 21st Cent
    3.00 credits
    This course provides an examination of Renaissance leadership as it applies to contemporary organizations. Course study is designed for an interdisciplinary group of students to explore the power of Renaissance thinking as it applies to renewal, rediscovery, invention and creativity. This course will help emerging leaders develop new perspectives and strategies to bring health, creativity and energy to their organizations. Learners will draw upon the creative processes of artists—painters, architects, musicians, and writers--and apply the same dynamics of creative thinking to the practical work of leaders in today’s organizations. Special emphasis will be given to the artists of the Italian Renaissance, especially as developed in the city of Florence.
    ORGL 513 Adv Topics in Comm:
    3.00 credits
    Communication and leadership are closely intertwined, whether in our current period of post-modernity or during the European Renaissance. Fifteenth century Italy, Florence in particular saw a flowering of the arts and scholarship unmatched in history. This can be seen in the rhetoric of art and architecture, religious preaching, political writing and oratory, and in the humanistic philosophy that emerges from it. This course examines this period through readings, discussions, and on-site visits to historical settings in Florence and Siena, in order to formulate the critical questions necessary to bring these ideas to our contemporary world. Using the Italian Renaissance as the canvas, we will study multiple examples of rhetoric, both written and visual.
    ORGL 515 Leadership and Human Potential
    3.00 credits
    The growing emergence of the leader as an organizational change agent will be examined as well as the skills necessary for success. Topics include policy and practice within organizations; selecting, training, motivating, evaluating, and compensating employees; labor relations; and applicable legislation.
    ORGL 516 Relational Dynamics & Org Dev
    3.00 credits
    This course will focus on “seeing” and “changing” organizations through the research, theory, models, and praxis of the field and consulting practice of Organizational Development (OD). [Please note: this is not a course on the nature and characteristics of good leadership- it’s about consulting to leadership.] This course focuses on how OD consultants, internal or external, can support both leaders and all members of an organization. We will investigate multiple methods, tools, and technologies used to implement major change effectively in organizations.
    ORGL 517 Organzl Change-Transformation
    3.00 credits
    Students will be exposed to the concepts of organizational change, health, and transformation. After developing a profile of a healthy organization, students will use this as a guide, practicing methods of organizational diagnosis and intervention. This course will provide opportunities to consider how to align people around new ways of doing things. Students will have the opportunity to gain confidence and competencies in leading change, and conclude the class with action planning specific to each individual’s interests. Leading change is a critical skill to support organizations in achieving their goals, mission, and vision. Building on theories from the field of change management, we will explore how different situations require different approaches but have common foundations. The course is appropriate for people in various levels and types of organizations, providing tools to support leading change effectively.
    ORGL 518 Transforming Leadership
    3.00 credits
    Transforming Leadership is designed to be an examination of the dynamics of transformation and how leadership can facilitate transformation, both within individuals and in organizations. Specifically, the guiding questions are: 1) What is transformation; and 2) How can transformation be facilitated in individuals and organizations? As a graduate-level seminar, emphasis is placed on students and teacher forming a community of both practice and learning – of praxis – so all may both engage the current understanding and develop new insights into the theory and practice of transforming leadership.
    ORGL 519 Leadership in Non-Profit Orgs
    3.00 credits
    Designed for students preparing to assume the role and duties of a leader, supervisor, or governing board member of a non-profit organization. This course will review theory and investigate specific methods of behaviors of non-profit organization leaders.
    ORGL 520 Negotiation and Conflict Resln
    3.00 credits
    This course provides an overview of conflict on different levels, from micro through mezzo, macro to violent international conflict. The course will use real-life situations and case studies that will help students practice skills and strategies for dialogue, decision-making and ultimately conflict transformation and system change.
    ORGL 521 Technlgy & Comm in Organizatns
    3.00 credits
    ORGL 522 Ldrshp/Com-Empwrmt-Collbtn-Dia
    3.00 credits
    How does the leader develop community to facilitate individual growth and collective flourishing? Through experience and scholarship students explore and practice empowerment, collaboration, and dialogue in the context of creating structures and processes for sustaining and transforming community. At the Benedictine Abbey students become participant observers in an emersion designed to explore, practice, and come to an expanded understanding of the role and purpose of the leader’s involvement and commitment to building and sustaining meaningful and purposeful community. Experiential findings are then integrated with the literature on building community building and used to formulate a proposal for enhancing community flourishing.
    ORGL 523 Psychology of Leadership
    3.00 credits
    This course offers an introduction to the field of psychological issues in leadership. While the field is considered relatively new and growing, this course focuses on three popular and often discussed themes in this area: personality development, emotional intelligence and dimensions of a psychologically healthy workplace. Through the use of lecture, discussion, class exercises, film and readings students will begin with a look at leadership success and failure from the lens of psychology. Importance will be placed on the student understanding the psychological challenges of being in a leadership role and how to interact effectively with those who behave in ways that are less than productive for the organization. The middle section of the course offers an in-depth exploration of those psychological capacities necessary for effective leadership. Finally, characteristics of a psychologically healthy work environment will be explored.
    ORGL 524 Leadership in Human Resources
    3.00 credits
    In this course students will explore the changing role of the human resource leader in organizations. The growing emergence of the human resource leader as an organizational change agent will be examined as well as the skills necessary for success. Topics include policy and practice within organizations; selecting, training, motivating, evaluating, and compensating employees; labor relations; and applicable legislation.
    ORGL 530 Servant Leadership
    3.00 credits
    This course is an examination of the foundation, principles and practice of servant-leadership. Servant-leadership is explored with an emphasis on reviewing the original writings, and on conceptualizing and articulating the philosophy through a clarification of what it is, and why Servant-leadership is relevant. Human development theories are used as theoretical frameworks for identifying criteria to assess servant-leaders and servant-organizations, and for understanding how they develop and function. Dialogue is encouraged as a way of integrating aspects of the philosophy with applied experience and gain insights into the students own leadership approach.
    ORGL 531 Leadership & Spirituality
    3.00 credits
    ORGL 532 Ldrshp, Justice & Forgiveness
    3.00 credits
    The key learning theme I want students to understand is the idea of emotional discipline based in love that calls a person toward meaningful responses to human suffering. Such responses are grounded in discernment regarding human conflict, oppression, power, and harm, and the opportunities—personal, familial, societal, and global—that rise from the crucible of potential that is our humanity. I’d like students to gain knowledge in three ways. First, begin to appreciate the depth of heart, thought, and spirit necessary for a person to do long term, hopeful and efficacious work inside any system, be it personal, societal, or global, when that system is initially locked in an oppressive or harmful cycle. The personal character required to live from a meaningful or purposeful approach regarding what it means to be human creates complexities and potentialities that invite the student toward joy, courage, and sacredness, even or perhaps in the words of Victor Frankl especially in the midst of human suffering. Second, students will begin the process of understanding leadership (specifically servant-leadership), justice (conceptions of restorative vs. retributive justice) and forgiveness in the context of systems change toward reconciliation and depth of heart, mind, and spirit. Third, students will work to apply the interior leadership necessary for discernment and action within oppressive systems. In this course, therefore, each student will engage the following questions:
    ORGL 535 Listen, Discern, Decide
    3.00 credits
    In this class, students will learn more in-depth concepts of Servant-leadership by learning practices and approaches for listening and discerning as a way of enhancing decision-making capacity. The course begins with a focus on interior and exterior listening. Listening and awareness techniques are then integrated with the principles and practices of discernment. The course progresses from a focus on the individual, to group, to listening and discerning and decision making in organizations and communities.
    ORGL 537 Foresight and Strategy
    3.00 credits
    The course is designed to further develop the student’s servant-leader disposition, and integrate more of the servant-leader characteristics. The course explores the art, science and methods leaders use to acknowledge, stimulate, and further develop their capacity of foresight. Students engage macro-system perspectives applying strategy and stewardship as they consider introducing creative vision into the reality of complex organizational and community systems (includes a 3 day residency).
    ORGL 530 Minimum Grade: C
    ORGL 550 Team Building & Leadership
    3.00 credits
    This three-day intensive program is designed to increase students’ knowledge and understanding of leadership and team development through a combination of information sessions and active participation in cooperative, challenge activities. Introductory activities help students to get to know each other and begin to work together to solve problems and think “out of the box.” Topics to be presented and discussed include the communication process, leadership models and styles, stages of team development, ethics, diversity, and visionary or principle-centered and creative leadership. The course will culminate in the development of personal mission statements and their presentation, along with short group presentations of key learnings. In addition to the mission statements, there are additional assignments that provide an opportunity for reflection and self-evaluation with regard to leadership styles, strengths and areas for improvement, and a plan for personal/professional development. Challenge activities are included in the schedule for all three days, but particularly emphasized on the second day when we will meet off-campus for group problem-solving activities and hiking (one to two flat miles). Challenge activities are designed to enhance students’ critical thinking skills, creativity, problem-solving ability, and ability to work effectively as a team. Activities included also present opportunities for taking leadership roles, recognizing leadership styles, identifying
    ORGL 551 Adv Team Bldg & Ldrshp
    3.00 credits
    This course is designed to continue where 550 left off. This three-day intensive program is intended to increase participants’ knowledge about facilitating team building and leadership development activities. Learning will take place through information sessions, involvement in cooperative, challenge activities as both a participant and facilitator, with opportunities for feedback, and group discussion. Topics to be covered include selection and sequencing of appropriate activities based on group characteristics, stage of development, time, and resources; leading safe challenge activities; methods of facilitating inclusion, participation in activities, and successful debriefs; what if situations and question and answer sessions; and hot tips drawn from experience. Prerequisite: Completion of ORGL 550 (Team Building I).
    ORGL 570 Introduction to Global Systems
    3.00 credits
    We exist in a rapidly shrinking world of intensifying technological, economic, social, cultural, and political interconnections. Organizations across a range of fields and industries are increasingly more diverse and international, and leaders have to address this complex work environment both domestically and globally. This course engages students to become familiar with a variety of global issues tied to organizational performance and to analyze those issues using systems-thinking concepts and tools. Students will gain a deeper understanding of social relationships of interdependence and accountability, as well as skills to integrate diverse ideas and perspectives from a variety of sources. Further through case studies, simulations, and discussions of current issues they will be able to refine global leadership skills such as self-awareness, inquisitiveness, open-mindedness, and cultural sensitivity.
    ORGL 575 Leadership and Accompaniment
    3.00 credits
    In this course students engage directly with local community leaders and gain first-hand experience of different community development models. Students learn strategies for thinking and practicing ethical leadership, and will have increased self-awareness and cultural sensitivity through critical reflection and action.
    ORGL 577 Global Issues: Brussels
    3.00 credits
    Students examine contemporary global issues, comprehensively analyze policies, and work with international peers to create viable and sustainable solutions while mentored by and learning from international experts. Competencies are gained from class instruction and also from simulations at the epicenter of the European Community, NATO, and the home of various multinational organizations in Brussels, Belgium.
    ORGL 590 Independent Study
    1.00- 3.00 credits
    ORGL 600 Foundations of Leadership
    3.00 credits
    This course is a foundation for learning and developing the practice of leadership. It includes investigating various theories of leadership and communication strategies leaders use in their practice. Students explore the self through multiple assessments and reflections, in relationship to individuals, groups and organizations. Students explore personal and relational dimensions of leadership in the context of multiple perspectives and develop a personal leadership growth plan including a personal leadership philosophy. Knowledge of the use of different types of written communication and scholarship is fostered in the Leadership discipline. The paradoxes and ambiguities of leadership are examined in various contexts.
    ORGL 605 Imagine, Create, Lead
    3.00 credits
    This team taught course has a two-fold purpose. It is designed to provide an orientation to the ORGL program and Gonzaga experience during the 3 days on campus. This experiential class provides an environment where students meet and engage with peers as well as with staff, and faculty advisors. During the face to face portion of class students have numerous opportunities to establish relationships that support their success throughout the program and beyond graduation. Throughout the course, students are introduced to the history and key concepts in the field of creativity. Further, through the theme of “seeing and seeing again,” students are challenged to apply and expand their creative and imaginative capacity. Students explore Ignatian imagination and perspectives from the liberal arts (art, history, literature, music, and so on) and are exposed to different techniques for developing and enhancing their own creativity and imagination in the context of leadership practice.
    ORGL 610 Comm. & Lead. Ethics
    3.00 credits
    Inquiry into the personal, organizational, and social values present in moral dilemmas. Students will develop skills in ethical communication and decision-making, and recognize how to act for the common good as leaders who can acknowledge and consider multiple moral perspectives.
    ORGL 611 Seminar Continuation
    1.00 credit
    Required of all graduate students to maintain continuous enrollment in the program while completing their final project.
    ORGL 615 Org Theory & Behavior
    3.00 credits
    The purpose of this core course is to provide exposure to theories of organizations, organizational behavior, and systems as well as a variety of strategies and tactics useful to successful leaders and followers. The content includes a traditional macro organizational theory emphasis on structure and culture and then extends to organizational behavior focusing on leading teams and interpersonal relationships.
    ORGL 620 Leadership Seminar
    3.00 credits
    The leadership seminar is designed to be a culmination of leadership coursework in the organizational leadership program. The course provides an opportunity for reflection, synthesis, application, analysis, and evaluation. Students will examine the formation of their leadership philosophy and professional development milestones achieved in the ORGL program and will synthesize and evaluate their individual leadership development plan for the future.
    ORGL 623 Qual Research Theory & Design
    3.00 credits
    The assumptions, theories, and practice of qualitative research are introduced. Students design, conduct, and report a pilot study that demonstrates basic research skills.
    ORGL 650 Internship in Orgnztnl Ldrshp
    .00- 3.00 credits
    On-site leadership experience for students under supervision of a site supervisor and professor.
    ORGL 659 Leadership & Economics
    3.00 credits
    The application of economic principles to the solution of current problems with emphasis on capitalism and North American economies are the foci of this course.
    ORGL 660 Readings in Social Systems
    1.00- 3.00 credits
    This individualized study course is based on readings in a specific topic designed in consultation with the instructor. Students will discuss the selected readings on a tutorial basis with the instructor and prepares an annotated bibliography or bibliographical essay. Although individualized, this course is treated as a seminar in which students share their work with each other and the faculty member assigned to the course.
    ORGL 661 Readings in Human Behavior
    1.00- 3.00 credits
    This individualized study course focuses on the investigating of scholarly research findings in an aspect of the behavioral sciences defined by the student and instructor. Students will prepare a written report of findings on the research problem selected. Although individualized, this course is treated as a seminar in which students share their work with each other and the faculty member assigned to the course.
    ORGL 670 Projects in Organizatn Ldrshp
    1.00- 3.00 credits
    This independent study course consists of a formal research project investigating a problem in applied organizational or social research conducted under the tutelage of the instructor. Although individualized, this course is treated as a seminar in which students share their work with each other and the faculty member assigned to the course.
    ORGL 671 Projects in Group Behavior
    1.00- 3.00 credits
    This independent study course consists of a formal project of original research in a topic of group behavior that proceeds from a research design approved and monitored by the instructor. Although individualized, this course is treated as a seminar in which students share their work with each other and the faculty member assigned to the course.
    ORGL 681 Special Topics in Org Ldrshp
    1.00- 3.00 credits
    ORGL 689 Special Topics
    1.00- 3.00 credits
    ORGL 690 Ds: Organizational
    .00- 3.00 credits
    This seminar explores new theories and issues. The specific theme of this course varies each time it is offered because the field of organizational leadership is constantly evolving.
    ORGL 693 Gonzaga: Camino de Santiago
    3.00 credits
    This immersion class focuses on the role of social infrastructure as a leadership tool for finding common ground and building healthy relationships in communities. The immersion is a 100km walk on the way of St. James, concluding at Santiago de Compostela.