Leadership and Communication

BAAS Course Block in Leadership and Communication

About the Leadership and Communication course block

The Leadership and Communication course block is an exciting skills-building and career-enhancing program designed by distinguished, award-winning Ivy League academic experts and researchers in consultation with top executives and leaders from the real worlds of business, government, and the nonprofit sector.

A Penn path to effective, ethical, and career-boosting leadership

Drawing expertly on the social sciences, humanities, and data sciences, each of the five Leadership and Communication courses is scheduled especially for working adults and taught by dedicated and experienced Penn-affiliated scholars.

Each Leadership and Communication course brings you one step closer to having the intellectual understanding and professional skills needed for effective leadership and communication.

LEAD 101, Leadership Theory and Practice: This intensive introductory course explores competing concepts and theories of leadership through lectures, readings, class discussion, and reflective writing assignments. Each week features a foundational element of leadership, from problem-solving to self-assessment to crisis communications. Through biographical analysis of effective public leaders, students learn to identify and develop their own distinctive leadership skills and strengths. By the end of the course, each student establishes the groundwork for a five-year leadership and communication career plan that may be further developed through additional certificate courses.

LEAD 101 is a prerequisite for all other LEAD courses.

This course counts toward the Certificate in Leadership and Communication and degree concentration.

LEAD 202, Leadership Lessons from the Social Sciences: Through lectures, readings, and written assignments, this course provides a survey of the best evidence-based ideas from social science research that impact leadership theory and practice. Readings from fields such as organizational sociology, political science, behavioral economics, game theory, and positive psychology offer perspectives on effective leadership and decision-making based on human behavior and relationships, offering students insight they can incorporate into their leadership plans and apply in a broad range of professional settings.

This course counts toward the Certificate in Leadership and Communication and degree concentration.

Prerequisite: LEAD 101

LEAD 203, Leadership Lessons from the Humanities: Learn leadership rhetoric, strategy, and principles from some of the most effective communicators and thinkers in history. Drawing from a range of philosophical and literary texts by Plato, Machiavelli, Shakespeare, and other great thinkers, the course explores a variety of moral frameworks and ethical perspectives on leadership. Videos, case studies, and writing exercises bring the readings to life and help students articulate relevant ideas they can incorporate into their leadership plans and apply in a broad range of professional settings.

This course counts toward the Certificate in Leadership and Communication and degree concentration.

Prerequisite: LEAD 101

LEAD 304: Professional Communication and Personal Development: This writing-intensive course is designed to enhance each student’s ability to communicate effectively in the workplace and other professional settings. Students apply the principles of positive psychology to enhance their personal development, learn best practices for professional writing and crisis communication, and practice organizing and editing their written and spoken communications for maximum impact. Assignments include presentations designed for different audiences, job-seeking and professional documents, and the opportunity to create or revise a five-year leadership and communication career plan.

This course counts toward the Certificate in Leadership and Communication and degree concentration.

Prerequisite: LEAD 101

LEAD 305, Introduction to Data Analytics: Effective leadership often hinges on the ability to collect, analyze, and communicate the impact of quantitative data sets. In this course, students discover how to use quantitative data in real-world problem identification, decision-making, and problem-solving. No math or statistics experience is necessary; the course instructs students in the programming language R and introduces key concepts in data analytics with broad professional applications.

Prerequisite: LEAD 101

LEAD 310, Leadership and Public Administration: Students are introduced to both classic and contemporary studies of how public laws and policies are translated into effective action, how and why government reform efforts succeed or fail, and complete an original case study on the ongoing revolution in public management theory and practice favoring public-private partnerships and “collaborative governance.”

Prerequisite: LEAD 101

LEAD 320, Leadership and Business Organization: Students interactively and critically study five of the most influential books ever published regarding why for-profit enterprises succeed or fail; do an original “management consulting” report on an actual business firm; and write a final paper on what, if any, particular individual styles or institutional structures predictably and reliably enable one to “succeed in business.”

Prerequisite: LEAD 101

LEAD 330, Leadership and Nonprofit Management: Students are immersed in research that profiles America’s vast and varied, large and growing “independent sector.” Students explore what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to leadership and innovation in the non-governmental, not-for-profit sector. Counting only the about 1.4 million nonprofit organizations that are registered with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, America’s charities, churches, private colleges, hospitals, and others nonprofit organizations have more $2 trillion a year in annual revenues, more than $5 trillion in total assets, and more than 14 million full-time employees. The focus case for the course is one of the nation’s oldest, largest, and most widely respected nonprofit organizations, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Participants in this course are introduced to an evidence-based approach to practicing nonprofit management as creating public value through boundary-spanning leadership.

Prerequisite: LEAD 101

APOP 100: Introduction to Positive Psychology: In the 20th century, the field of psychology made enormous and important strides in addressing mental health challenges. Today research in the field has expanded, inspired, in part, by Martin E.P. Seligman’s 1998 APA presidential address, to include the scientific study of optimal functioning and what helps people live full lives. This course focuses on the science of thriving—what does it mean to be “happy,” and how can one cultivate well-being at the individual and community level? Students explore the foundations of this science, understand a conceptual framework for well-being, and actively engage in activities that help to cultivate well-being. Drawing upon theory, empirical research, ancient and collective wisdom, we examine these topics critically and experientially and together build an engaged learning community.

APOP 120: Human Flourishing: Strengths and Resilience: What does it mean to flourish? What are we like when we are at our best? What helps us bounce back from challenges and adversity? Continuing the exploration of the science of positive psychology, students delve deeply into the study of character strengths as a framework for building positive character and well-being, and explore the concept of resilience, or the ability to overcome challenging situations. In this course, we explore how we can leverage our strengths to more effectively contribute to the greater world and enhance our own well-being. We also study the physical and psychological protective factors that constitute resilience, and how they are cultivated. Students learn about these topics from a scientific and experiential perspective, both as individuals and within our learning community.

APOP 200: Positive Psychology at Work: If flourishing is related to our lived daily experience, and approximately 50% of our waking hours are spent working, how do our workplaces contribute to, and diminish, our ability to thrive? Students are exposed to an array of research-informed strategies that have been applied in a variety of disciplines and workplaces, including business, education, health care, and nonprofit organizations. Exploration of case studies and salient research topics such as relationships at work, positive leadership, prosocial behavior, and our sense of meaning and purpose, guide our learning. Students gain an understanding of the variables that contribute to our ability to flourish at work and understand how we both experience and shape our work environments through our individual contributions.

LEAD 400, Global Leadership and Problem-Solving: Over the last two hundred years, most nations in all parts of the world have made real, often remarkable progress in improving human well-being as measured by such indices as life expectancy, education, nutrition, per capita annual income, personal security, and many others including a sense of individual well-being and personal happiness.

That global progress, however, did not “just happen.” Globally, major strides in human well-being have been due at least in part to leadership by individuals and groups in government, business, and non-governmental organizations; public-private partnerships among and between these leaders and their respective institutions; and cross-national and cross-cultural learning regarding “what works” with respect to ameliorating major public problems, improving human well-being, and enhancing individual happiness.

Applying lessons learned from six other Leadership and Communication courses, and examining case studies in “global leadership” from Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Sweden, Tanzania, and the United States, each LEAD 400 student will complete two projects:

  • A biographical analysis of a past leader who contributed significantly to human well-being, to be presented in the form of a video lecture by the student, and shared with other members of the class
  • A substantial research paper that prescribes a particular approach to a problem that presently threatens human well-being in multiple nations or regions of the globe (global warming, extreme poverty, infectious diseases, inadequate health care, or others)

The prerequisites for this course are LEAD 101, LEAD 304, LEAD 305, LEAD 310, LEAD 340, and LEAD 350.

LEAD 504: Professional Communication and Academic Writing: Writing effectively for a variety of audiences is a required skill for professional master’s students, both inside the classroom and in the workplace. This graduate-level online seminar introduces writing and communication strategies and skills for all graduate professional students who wish to pursue leadership opportunities in their chosen fields. Students will learn professional communication and academic writing practices and that will enable them to respond to a variety of workplace scenarios as well as influence and inspire others through effective written communication strategies. Through frequent writing assignments, hands-on exercises during class sessions, and a final analysis paper, students will learn how to write concise prose; summarize and evaluate documents and scenarios effectively; develop technical skills in writing clear instructions; and write persuasive proposals. The class will focus on strategies for effective critical thinking and writing, as well as how to write persuasively for multiple audiences, ranging from the general public to an academic audience. There will be special attention to the analysis of genres and audiences, and effective writing and revision strategies. Most importantly, you will be able to use the skills developed in this class throughout your academic and professional careers.

Prerequisite: LEAD 101

Courses are subject to change.

Penn LPS Online courses in Leadership and Communication are offered on an accelerated (8-week) schedule. Courses in this block include a weekly synchronous session.

All Penn LPS Online courses offer academic credit.*

Please note: Students completing this course block while enrolled in the online Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) degree are awarded a Certificate in Leadership and Communication upon completion of the degree. If you are enrolled in the online BAAS program and don't complete the degree requirements to graduate, you are not eligible to receive this certificate.

*Academic credit is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as a course unit (c.u.). A course unit (c.u.) is a general measure of academic work over a period of time, typically a term (semester or summer). A c.u. (or a fraction of a c.u.) represents different types of academic work across different types of academic programs and is the basic unit of progress toward a degree. One c.u. is usually converted to a four-semester-hour course.

The Leadership and Communication team: Penn LPS and Civic

Penn’s Leadership and Communication curriculum represents an ongoing team effort involving distinguished Penn-affiliated scholars and top present and former leaders in government, business, and the nonprofit sector. Both the 5-course Leadership and Communication certificate and the 12-course Leadership and Communication concentration were forged through a collaboration between Penn’s College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS) and Civic. As Penn’s home for lifelong learning, LPS offers high school, undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, graduate, summer, and online studies, as well as customized professional training with courses that span across academic fields. Civic works with universities, nonprofits, corporations, foundations, businesses, and governments to develop innovative programs in the fields of education, national service, civic engagement, conservation, public health, and more.

Meet the Leadership and Communication team

John Bridgeland

John Bridgeland

  • Founder, CEO of Civic
  • Vice Chair, Service Year Alliance at the Aspen Institute
  • Vice Chairman, Malaria No More
John J. DiIlulio, Jr., PhD

John J. DiIlulio, Jr., PhD

  • Frederic Fox Leadership Professor of Politics, Religion, and Civil Society, University of Pennsylvania
  • Nonresident Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution, Center for Effective Public Management
  • Faculty Director of Penn’s Fox Leadership International Program, Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society, and Partnership for Effective Public Administration and Leadership
Chao Guo, PhD

Chao Guo, PhD

  • Associate Faculty Director, Fox Leadership International
  • Associate Professor, School of Social Policy & Practice
Ferdous Jahan, PhD

Ferdous Jahan, PhD

  • Distinguished Senior Fellow, Fox Leadership International
Don Kettl, PhD

Don Kettl, PhD

  • Former Dean, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland
John Lapinski

John Lapinski, PhD

  • Robert A. Fox Leadership Professor, Faculty Director of the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program, University of Pennsylvania
  • Faculty Director of Penn’s Program for Opinion Research and Election Studies
  • Director of the Elections Unit, NBC News
Nora Lewis

Nora Lewis

  • Vice Dean of Professional and Liberal Education
Hope Lozano-Bielat

Hope Lozano-Bielat, PhD

  • Senior Fellow, Fox Leadership International
Elizabeth Matthew

Elizabeth Matthew, EdD

  • Associate Director, Curriculum Development and Instruction, Penn LPS Online
Rebecca Padot

Rebecca Padot, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, Department of History and Government, Misericordia University
  • Senior Fellow, Penn Partnership for Religion and Urban Civil Society
  • Penn Partnership for Effective Public Administration and Leadership
James O. Pawelski, PhD

James O. Pawelski, PhD

  • Faculty Director, Penn LPS Online Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology
  • Professor of Practice and Director of Education, Positive Psychology Center
Bruce Reed

Bruce Reed

  • President, Civic
  • Co-chair, Aspen Institute’s Future of Work Initiative
  • Senior Fellow, Results for America
Charlotte Ren, Associate Professor of Strategic Management at Temple University’s Fox School of Business

Charlotte Ren, PhD

  • Senior Fellow, Mack Institute for Innovation Management, Wharton
  • Associate Professor of Strategic Management, Fox School of Business, Temple University
Joseph P. Tierney

Joseph P. Tierney

  • Executive Director of the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program

Course Registration

Fall 2021 registration is now open

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