Loyola University Chicago

School of Education

New program builds leadership skills

New program builds leadership skills

John P. Dugan, PhD, an associate professor in the School of Education, was the driving force behind the new Leadership Studies minor, which is open to all students at the University.

By Kristen Torres  |  Student reporter

Loyola undergraduates can now enroll in a new Leadership Studies minor to help them become ethical leaders in a variety of careers. The minor, spearheaded by John P. Dugan, PhD, an associate professor in the School of Education, takes a wide approach to the study of leadership and is open to all students, regardless of their major.

Built around the Jesuit mission of social justice, the program includes real-world experiences and a curriculum that supports reflection. Here, Dugan talks about the minor, what prompted him to create it, and how all students can benefit from the program.

Why was the Leadership Studies program created?

I’m a part of the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership—a research program that collects data from around the world. We studied half-a-million college student respondents to see what fosters leadership development. We found that themes related to social justice transcended all disciplines, and we built the program curriculum around those results.

How does Loyola’s social justice mission fit into the curriculum?

Whether you’re studying communications, business, or nursing, there’s a commonality around the ability to build effective relationships and embrace community differences and values. Cultivating a commitment toward the public good means you’ll connect what you care about to leadership roles, regardless of your chosen career field.

How many students are currently enrolled in the program?

We have over 25 students officially committed to the minor and about 80 who are testing it out by taking the first class in the sequence. That course also counts toward the University’s engaged learning requirement, so time hasn’t been lost for those students who are testing the waters.

How does the first class—Introduction to Leadership Studies—give students a chance to get involved in the community?

For the first course, we wanted to embed the University’s service learning requirement. Students pick an area of passion—whether it be animal rights, environmental rights, whatever issue they feel aligns with their values—and then complete 25 hours at a local site working around those issues. We interweave what it means to engage in the community with these leadership values. They become a focal point for learning about leadership in the course.

Why should someone get a minor in Leadership Studies?

In today’s job market, students need to be able to do more than just acquire knowledge. They need to have the leadership skills to bring that knowledge to life. A lot of times students will get exposure to leadership in their academic majors, but because of the major’s requirements, it’s often just a single class or a smaller part of the overarching curriculum. There’s little opportunity to go in depth. Because the minor is interdisciplinary it wraps around the student’s major, allowing them to dive deeper into the development of leadership knowledge and skills—and then to connect those skills back to their major.

The Leadership Studies minor is an 18 credit-hour program with four required courses (one of which is a field-based internship course) offered by the School of Education—plus two elective courses offered by a variety of departments. The four required courses are sequenced and must be taken in order; the two elective courses may be taken at any time. Learn more at the program website.