Leadership Studies

Font size:
Normal Medium Text Large Text

Print this page:Print this page


Whitworth Home Page > Leadership Studies >

Why Leadership Studies?

The leadership studies minor provides graduates an academic experience that helps them to meaningfully fulfill the mission of Whitworth University, which is to prepare graduates to "honor God, follow Christ, and serve humanity."

In his award-winning book "Leadership," scholar James MacGregor Burns states that leadership as a concept is in crisis. He says, "Leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth." The crisis he identifies is intellectual. Too many who feel they are called to leadership or are thrust into positions where leadership is expected, may or may not believe they know what leadership is or how to do it -- whatever it is. Indeed Burns points out that scholars have never agreed on a definition of leadership, yet most people are fairly confident that they "know it when they see it." Most people in leadership positions have never had the opportunity to actually prepare themselves intellectually for leadership. Instead the common hope is that they will learn what they need to know as they go about doing their leadership roles. What leaders learn on the job is usually not sufficient, and this unrealized hope is precisely the leadership crisis that Burns identifies.

The Leadership Studies Program at Whitworth addresses the crisis. The minor provides its graduates with exposure to the historical development of leadership theory with opportunities for students to study deeply in the areas of Transforming Leadership Theory, Servant Leadership Theory, and the emerging thinking about Chaos Theory and Leadership. In addition to this rich theoretical background, students are also given opportunities to put theory into practice through various course projects and learning exercises embedded in the curriculum.

The Leadership Studies Program is also interdisciplinary in nature. Certain courses in many students' areas of academic interest are designated as supporting curriculum. In these courses students have the opportunity to relate leadership theory and skills to their specific academic majors.

Leadership studies graduates are thus equipped to offer their future employers and the communities where they reside leadership based on thorough intellectual preparation and mastery of leadership theory as well as a portfolio of useful leadership skills. Graduates of this program have found that their leadership-studies minor has enhanced their resumes as they began their initial job search, and has helped them to be more productive in their workplaces as they have moved to positions of greater responsibility.