11 IPS 410: Case Studies in Leadership

Students challenging IPS 410 come from a variety of experiential backgrounds, including HR, law enforcement, industry, military, education, and nonprofit administration, to name just a few. It’s a versatile course that embraces a lot of different leadership styles, so many experiential learning backgrounds apply.

Typically, students have success in this challenge when they’ve been in leadership roles for a number of years, have had people report to them for a long time (and been through difficult moments with that), and especially when they have put in self-study and professional development to develop their leadership style and have become good leaders.

Note that the course title is “Case Studies in Leadership.” That indicates that the course is about studying different examples of leadership. Student portfolios will have to apply, analyze, and evaluate the leadership of others as well as their own personal leadership practice.

The textbook for IPS 410: Case Studies in Leadership is The Leadership Challenge, 6th Edition – 2017

  • ISBN: 9781119278962
    Authors: Kouzes and Posner

What this course is (and is not) about

Case Studies in Leadership leads students through an in-depth study of different types of leadership. It uses case studies of well-known leaders to illustrate and illuminate leadership styles and put those styles in context with each other. It leads students through theoretical understandings of leadership, and it asks students to reflect on their own leadership style based on the case studies and readings in leadership theory. In other words, the course combines academic theory and real-world examples to help students understand their leadership style so they can grow as leaders after the class.

This course uses one of the most influential textbooks on leadership: The Leadership Challenge, by James Kouzes and Barry Posner. Successful challenges will use terminology from the book, including the book’s names of the Five Practices of Leadership, and be able to interpret and apply those styles to their own experiences with leaders and leadership.

The course is not a step-by-step guide to becoming a leader for someone with little to no experience in managerial or leadership positions. It’s not just a self-reflection on your leadership experiences. It’s not purely a study of famous leaders.

This course also has a pretty specific definition of leadership. It covers leadership in the public and professional world (companies, organizations, volunteer groups, politics, schools, and many other settings) and addresses ways of successfully leading a team of peers towards a goal. This leadership involves working with others who are usually outside your personal/family unit. With this definition, things like Teaching and Parenting aren’t under the purview of this course challenge. (I know these are two of the hardest, most important roles one can have; they just aren’t covered by this specific course.)

To do well in this challenge, students weave academic terminology and theory from the textbook and other resources into their own stories about leadership experiences. They also link their artifacts in the Supporting Documentation to the Course Outcomes very clearly.

Students who do well with this challenge have had to use multiple different leadership styles, and have often been in several leadership positions, either in different companies or organizations, or through moving up the ranks at one company. They can talk about their early leadership failures and growth experiences, what they learned and how they became better leaders through that learning. They’re also able to reflect on leaders they have worked under, and how they’ve used that knowledge to shape their own leadership style.

While the above is intended to help guide you through thinking about the course and how to frame your experience to challenge it, what follows below is the official language from the IPS 410 syllabus. You need to address the following course outcomes, and if the reviewers request an interview, be ready with answers to the questions below.

Use these Course Objectives to shape your Learning Narrative and help you in selecting and requesting Supporting Documentation. You may also think of sections to add to your PLA resume by using these Outcomes as a guide.

Course Description

Case Studies in Leadership introduces and analyzes effective leadership styles. Leadership practices and models are applied to case studies. Through various forms of reading, writing, presentations, video and/or multi-media, students will apply theories to assess their own leadership style and identify styles of popular companies/people. Completion of LEAD 325 is recommended. PREREQ: Admitted to IPS or BAS program or declared a leadership certificate with upper-division standing or PERM/INST.

Course Objectives

●     Assess the current status of your personal leadership practice inventory and identify areas to improve using application in real-world situations.

●     Utilize research perspectives on leadership to analyze traits, behaviors, and relationships that leaders possess.

●     Learn how leaders shape organizational culture and values and how a leader facilitates change.

●     Utilize the language of leadership as described by Kouzes and Posner.  This shared language will support your analysis.

●      Utilize journaling as a writing tool to impact your leadership practice.

●      Understand and communicate what it means to be a leader.

●      Use your own experiences to articulate the validity of current and past leadership research.

●      Evaluate and implement effective and respectful communication strategies using written, verbal, electronic, and other appropriate technologies.

●      Gather academically substantive information to support analysis of leadership practices in the language of Kouzes and Posner.

●      Understand and communicate what it means to be an exemplary leader.

●      Evaluate and implement effective and respectful communication strategies using verbal, electronic, and other appropriate technologies.

●      Demonstrate effective oral communication skills.

●      Demonstrate critical thinking by applying what you’ve learned to personal experience and your leadership goals.



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