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Prepare to Lead into the Future with Champlain's Online Master's in Leadership Degree

One of the major lessons from the past six months of unprecedented global transformation is that the world needs leaders who are able to not only adapt to rapidly evolving conditions, but who are also able to inclusively engage diverse stakeholders in the creation and implementation of new visions and strategies. With the speed of change seemingly accelerating every day, leadership is no longer about looking backwards to fix what is not working, but rather about looking forward and continually engaging others in building the new. 


A Program Built to Address Today's Leadership Challenges

Built to answer the leadership call of our times, Champlain College Online’s newly evolved Master’s in Leadership (MSL) program prepares leaders for both today’s challenges, and the unknown horizons ahead. The new program is designed for working professionals in any organizational sector who are seeking to advance their leadership experience, either within or beyond their current organization. 

To allow for more flexibility and topical coverage, the updated program is now built upon a 10 three-credit course model (30 credits total), compared to the prior version, which consisted of 6 six-credit courses (36 credits total). In addition to creating more space for timely topics like diversity, equity and inclusion; communications in a technology-mediated world;  and leading with integrity, this updated format offers students the option of an elective course for a deeper dive in a particular area of interest. Additionally, the new MSL builds on Champlain’s long tradition of strong online learning while differentiating itself from the prior MSEL program by adopting new philosophical and pedagogical directions. Specifically, the MSL embraces three complementary approaches to management and organizational change, including:

Strength-Based Inquiry

This describes an intentional approach to personal and organizational development and change that suggests that the very act of asking generative questions has a profound impact on outcomes. Inquiry and change are not separate actions; rather, our questions focus our attention and ultimately our knowledge. Countering the negativity bias that pervades organizational life, this approach is grounded in the growing body of strength-based research and neuroscience that invites us to shift our focus toward the positive possibilities that often go under-noticed and unleveraged within ourselves and our organizational systems.

Collaborative Leadership

This describes several frameworks of leadership development that respond to organizations needing to be more innovative and adaptive. This change, driven by organizational climate, is characterized by new business models and structures that rely on stakeholders external to the “core” organization and the corresponding need for higher levels of employee engagement. While more traditional models of leadership may have served us well in the past, the most successful and innovative organizations today are seeing the need for leadership that is more collaborative and is shared both within and among groups.

Integrated Reflective Practice

The MSL Program is deeply committed to learning outcomes that are linked to an experiential approach to learning called Integrated Reflective Practice (IRP). IRP was first created at Champlain College as a framework to structure its approach to experiential learning and to ensure a high level of consistency among courses and programs in providing learning experiences that are “authentic.” It consists of three self-reinforcing components that include applied action research projects, deep dives into the content areas of leadership, and reflective practice.

The new MSL combines these three very powerful methods of leadership development, change, and learning to create a new program that is unique in its commitment to advancing the progressive management techniques needed in the current and future organizational climate. The synergies of these philosophical underpinnings provide students with the tools to create and build organizations capable of adaptive strategies, innovation, and positive social impact through the creation of cultures that accelerate successes and foster caring and respectful relationships among all stakeholders.


Building Critical Leadership Skills

Students in the program will: 

  • Develop & expand their individual and collective leadership competencies 
  • Understand, apply, and integrate key leadership areas (such as: Distributed Leadership, Strength-Based Leadership; Innovative Strategy; Relational & Collaborative Cultures; Ethical Leadership; Adaptive Learning; Communication) 
  • Apply their leadership skills through integrated & reflective practices
  • Assess and respond adaptively to system dynamics both within and beyond their organizations

During the 10-course sequence, students will specifically strengthen 12 leadership competencies designed to prepare them to be effective leaders in today’s world, including: 

  • Collaborative Partnering 
  • Cooperation Cultivation 
  • Content Credibility 
  • Design Thinking for Innovation 
  • Ethical Integrity
  • Flexibility & Resiliency 
  • Generative Communication 
  • Growth & Development Mindset
  • Inclusivity & Equity 
  • Strategic Perspective 
  • Solutions Orientation
  • Visioning & Implementation 

The world is changing every day, and the need for leaders who can adapt and collaboratively engage others to build better tomorrows is needed now more than ever.  We are confident that graduates from the Champlain MSL program will be prepared to lead into the future. 


About the Author

Lindsey Godwin, PhD

Lead Faculty, MS in Leadership Program

Lindsey Godwin, PhD, leads Champlain's online master's in leadership program; she also serves as the Academic Director for the David L. Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry, and is the Robert P. Stiller Endowed Chair & Professor of Management in Champlain's Stiller School of Business.

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