Programs (M.A., Certificate)

The strategic leadership program prepares leaders for professional service and leadership through a body of learning grounded in the liberal arts and a Christian worldview. It builds on the foundation of an undergraduate education, enhancing the knowledge, capacities, and competencies of students by integrating academic rigor, theoretical and practical implications, and sound practice.

Leadership, in its broadest sense, is a relationship between people in which some are able to bring about changes that benefit all involved. In an organization this relationship has structure, with mutual expectations and modes of behavior. Thus, leaders play roles that depend partly on their social situation, but also on the needs, values, and opportunities of the entire group.

The M.A. in Strategic Leadership program at Bethel has three primary purposes:

  • To prepare students to apply creative, critical, and strategic thinking to leadership opportunities and challenges.
  • To equip students to adopt new approaches and techniques of information management, knowledge transfer, scholarly thinking, and application.
  • To empower students to discern and apply Christian ethics and worldviews to leadership practice.

Bethel University seeks applicants for the M.A. in Strategic Leadership program who are seeking to further develop their leadership, influence, effectiveness, knowledge, and skills.

Leadership Foundation Outcomes

  1. Integrate leadership theory, scholarship, and practice with developmental self-awareness.
  2. Develop effective tactics and strategies through the effective evaluation of an organization’s context, leadership opportunities, limitations, and competing interests.
  3. Respond to leadership dilemmas in a manner consistent with Christian ethical principles.
  4. Develop productive teams that value personal growth, healthy team environment, and sensitivity to broader networks and cultures.
  5. Communicate effectively in a variety of leadership settings.

Program Outcomes

Graduates of the M.A. in Strategic Leadership program demonstrate the ability to:

  • Show sensitivity to the needs and perceptions of others.
  • Respond effectively to complex and often conflicting leadership contexts, including organizational, local, regional, virtual, cultural, and global.
  • Assess various models of human interaction, and develop multi-platform, holistic approaches to leading in distributed, local, and hybrid environments.

Program Design

  • The program coursework is designed to be completed in approximately two years.
  • Courses are taken one at a time.
  • Classes meet one evening or Saturday morning each week. Electives may be offered on a different schedule, and some may only be offered only for online delivery. Students are encouraged to consider a variety of opportunities for elective credit, either from those elective courses offered within the program or from the wide variety of 3-credit-hour courses from other Bethel University Graduate School programs. In most cases, electives will require the approval of the department, and in some cases, the course instructor.
  • A supportive learning community allows students to learn, collaborate, and build trust with program colleagues and faculty members. This is a valuable aspect of a transformational learning experience at Bethel University.

M.A. Degree Program

Certificate in Leadership Foundations

LEAD 607 • Engaging Your Potential 0 Credit.

Orientation to Bethel University Graduate School, the MBA and MA Strategic Leadership programs, and the career coaching process.

LEAD 611 • Leadership Theory & Personal Agency 3 Credits.

Analysis of leadership theory and research as it applies to individuals and organizations. Evaluation of personal leadership capacities and the design of a specific plan for capacity increase. Analysis of the relationship between personal faith and leadership service.
Prerequisites: LEAD 607.

LEAD 621 • Worldview, Ethics and Leadership 3 Credits.

Explore Biblical, historical, and contemporary ethical frameworks. Explore how one's personal spirituality and vision of the world impacts one's leadership. Understand the biblical and theological foundations of leadership. Analyze the nature of ethical issues relating to personal integrity and leadership. Articulate personal foundations for ethical leadership.
Prerequisites: LEAD 607.

LEAD 631 • Leading Change in a Changing World 3 Credits.

Forecasting and designing alternative futures for organizations. Understanding organizational change as it relates to mission, strategies, tactics, and structure. Strategic planning and opportunity generation in light of theory, historical trends, environmental factors, and organizational capabilities.
Prerequisites: LEAD 607.

LEAD 641 • Organizational Diagnostics and Health 3 Credits.

Examination of theory and research surrounding organizational structures and behavior. Assessment of organizational health at multiple levels in light of relevant research, theory, and organizational relationships and patterns. Sustainment or improvement of organizational health through leadership techniques that enhance organizational effectiveness and empower individuals.
Prerequisites: LEAD 607.

LEAD 651 • Leadership Formation and Strategic Talent Management 3 Credits.

Global thought leadership, current theory, and best practice implementation on building leadership cultures and coaching emerging leaders. Understanding structures and systems that foster talent development, employee engagement, retention, and effective succession planning. Introduction to research, best practices, and formal processes to address leadership competency gaps through individual development planning.
Prerequisites: LEAD 607.

LEAD 789 • MBA/MASL Dual-degree Portfolio Addendum 0 Credit.

Synthesis of key learnings from the two master’s degree programs after having completed LEAD 795 for the first master’s degree.
Prerequisites: LEAD 611, LEAD 621, LEAD 631, LEAD 641, LEAD 651, LEAD 795. Grade exceptions: Graded on an S/U basis.

LEAD 795 • Integrative Team Capstone 3 Credits.

Culmination of leadership courses as students continue in graduate work. Foundation for a collaborative project that synthesizes scholarship and practice around the development of a real-life business/leadership project. Exploration of interconnections within business and connections with other aspects of life.
Prerequisites: LEAD 611, LEAD 621, LEAD 631, LEAD 641, LEAD 651. Grade exceptions: Graded on an S/U basis.

SLDR 605 • Topics in Leadership Studies 3 Credits.

Course is offered as an elective, and covers a variety of emerging, transitional, and/or exploratory leadership topics.
Prerequisites: LEAD 607.

SLDR 615 • Managing Projects & Quality Initiatives 3 Credits.

Introduction to project management theory, issues, and skills associated with project management. Analyze connections between behavior, knowledge, and processes that influence the success of projects in organizations. Assess projects, management, and tools for management based on best practice.
Prerequisites: LEAD 607.

SLDR 640 • Beyond Diversity 3 Credits.

Dimensions that relate to the workplace. Use of cultural intelligence tools and inventories to increase personal awareness and understanding of others. Synthesis of diversity theory and tools to build effective, inclusive leadership in the workplace and community.
Prerequisites: LEAD 607.

SLDR 645 • Leading in Times of Crisis 3 Credits.

Assessment of crisis situations and the variables contributing to particular episodes. Analysis of resources and opportunities available during crisis and their impact on a crisis situation. Synthesis of self-awareness, faith foundations, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills for the organization and direction of individuals and groups during times of intense difficulty.
Prerequisites: LEAD 607.

SLDR 650 • Managing Conflict Through Dialogue 3 Credits.

Transitioning from "dealing with incidents" to leading teams that learn from conflict. Developing personal and professional boundaries when dealing with complex organizational environments. Thinking productively about conflict from organizational, developmental, and spiritual standpoints.
Prerequisites: LEAD 607.

SLDR 660 • Followership: The Other Side of Leadership 3 Credits.

Overview of the traditional views and attitude toward followers, analysis of different models and styles of followership, and the characteristics of "good" followers. Analysis of relationship between leaders and followers and leadership and follower styles. Exploration of bad leadership, courageous followership, transformational leadership; planning for improving followership abilities.
Prerequisites: LEAD 607.

SLDR 672 • Strategic Communication for Leaders 3 Credits.

Application of the theories of persuasion in communication contexts including public speaking, business writing, and interpersonal responses. Analysis of both ethical and persuasive communication skills during interpersonal interactions. Evaluation of the interactions between technology and communication. Demonstration of public speaking with the use of professional presentation software.
Prerequisites: LEAD 607.

SLDR 789 • Portfolio Deliverable 0 Credit.

Synthesis of key learning from the Master of Arts program, including a reconsideration of earlier work, leadership theories and growth concepts, and the development of a professional portfolio.
Prerequisites: LEAD 611, LEAD 621, LEAD 631, LEAD 641, LEAD 651. Grade exceptions: Graded on an S/U basis.