Curriculum

Transformative Leadership is designed as a 36-unit online master's program. During the two years of coursework, all students meet, either in person or virtually twice per year, once in August and once in January. For in-person Intensives, students and the faculty gather at a retreat setting in the San Francisco Bay Area. Virtual Intensives takes place on a virtual platform like Zoom. Participation in all the Intensives is mandatory.

MA in Transformative Leadership - 36 units

I. Required Core Courses-27 units

1st Semester (fall)

  • TLD 6001 Online Intensive I (Required)
  • TLD 6125 Leadership: Models, Maps, and Metaphors (3 units)
  • TLD 6130 Ways of Relating: Interpersonal and Group Dynamics (3 units)
  • TLD 6300 Ways of Knowing: Systems and Metaphors (3 units)
  • TLD 7996 Integrative Seminar (1 unit)

2nd Semester (spring)

  • TLD 6002 Online Intensive II (Required)
  • TLD 6145 Leadership, Pluralism, and Creativity: Diversity in Action (3 units)
  • TLD 6325 The Leadership Experience: Understanding the Will to Lead (3 units)
  • TLD 7997 Integrative Seminar (1 unit)


3rd Semester (fall)

  • TLD 6003 Online Intensive III (Required)
  • TLD 6349 Creating Communities and Coalitions (3 units)
  • TLD 6635 Transformative Leadership: Leading Ourselves among Others (3 units)
  • TLD 7998 Integrative Seminar (1 unit)

4th semester (spring)

  • TLD 6004 Online Intensive IV (Required)
  • TLD 7999 Capstone: Action Project (3 units)

II. Electives-9 units

Electives may be taken from both the Transformative Leadership and Transformative Studies programs. Please review the CIIS Academic Catalog for possible electives.

Total program units: 36

Course Descriptions

Transformative Leadership Course Descriptions

TLD 6125 Leadership Models, Maps, and Metaphors (3.00 Units) This course is an exploration of transformative leadership within the larger context of personal and social transformation, focusing on the dimensions of complexity, creativity and collaboration, as well as exploring the vocabulary of contemporary leadership.

TLD 6130 Ways of Relating: Interpersonal Collaboration Skills and Group Dynamics (3.00 Units) This course addresses the fundamental nature of how human beings relate to each other, and how this affects the discourse and practice of leadership and systems change. Students will explore the implications and applications of a plurality of ways of relating. The course focuses on the development of transformative, mutually collaborative capacities in group dynamics and team leadership, and self-understanding in a team context.

TLD 6300 Ways of Knowing: Systems and Metaphors (3.00 Units) Ways of Knowing addresses the ways in which leaders and change agents know and make sense of the world. The way that stories can create different understandings of phenomena will be illustrated through the exploration of cultural and personal stories. The relationship of language to knowing will be illuminated as students experience how changing the way we talk can change the way we think and lead. This course also explores the foundations of systems thinking to better understand complex situations and approaches to systemic change. 

TLD 6145 Leadership, Pluralism, and Creativity: Diversity in Action (3.00 Units) The purpose of this course is to understand and experience the ways in which diversity can be a source of creativity and strength; to explore the challenges and opportunities confronted by leaders working toward creating productive, vibrant organizational environments that embrace differences; to learn how to move with increasing ease across and among diverse cultures in our work as leaders and in our daily lives in a multicultural, global society; to understand the theoretical and practical constructs that are helpful in this journey; and to deepen understanding of the impact of our own race, culture, gender, differing abilities, social class, and “sexual affectional” preference on leadership practices.

TLD 6325 The Leadership Experience: Understanding the Will to Lead (3.00 Units) The purpose of this course is to learn to become purpose-centered, internally directed, and other focused. The emphasis is on personal development and increasing your will to lead. By changing your thinking and behavior, you become more able to guide others in changing their thinking and behavior. Therefore, this course is designed to help you learn to better live your values and to more effectively exert transformative influence. The centrality of values to systems thinking and practice will be explored.

TLD 6349 Creating Communities and Coalitions (3.00 Units) Leaders must be able to inspire, influence, and communicate effectively with others to make their vision a reality. This course addresses the role of communities and coalitions in creating change. Topics covered will include the use of language; creating a vision; inspiration, influence, and creativity; communicating effectively; bringing people together; and setting an agenda for change.

TLD 6635 Transformative Leadership: Leading Ourselves Among Others (3.00 Units) This course serves as the first capstone project in the program. It provides students the opportunity to articulate their leadership philosophy, gives them feedback on their actual practice of leadership through a 360 feedback process, teaches them the skills to give as well as receive a 360 feedback, and how to develop their own vision of their role as leaders.

TLD 7999 Capstone Action Project (3.00 Units) This course involves putting into action what the students have learned during their two years in the program, integrating theory, reflection, and experience. Students complete work begun in Integrative Seminar courses through the design, implementation, and assessment of a capstone project. The following sentence is from the program description: “This program has been created for individuals who want to take the initiative and find ways to express their passion for making a contribution to the world.” This course allows students to take that initiative and to find ways to express their passions.

Capstone: Action Project

During their course of study, students will select a site where they will implement a leadership capstone project that reflects their learning and insights as they go through the Transformative Leadership program. The action site may involve a working group, an organization, a community, a classroom, a family group, or any aggregate of people engaged in a system of relationships.

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