Syllabus: Leadership Communication


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This is the syllabus for an online course I teach at Milano The New School called Leadership Communication.

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Syllabus: Leadership Communication

  1. 1. MILANO GRADUATE SCHOOLSummer 2010Leadership Communication CRN 1848OnlineInstructor: Bonnie McEwan, Visiting Lecturer 917-693-0940 Instructor bio: SummaryThis course examines the personal communication competencies that leadersrequire to motivate followers and inspire positive change. We focus on leaderswho desire to make a difference, whether in an organization, through a socialmovement, government, or informal associations and spiritual groups.The course content favors the view that the fundamental task of leadership is theinstigation and management of change, and recognizes a leader as someonewho may or may not hold formal position power. We consider the leader’sresponsibilities not only to followers and others within her group, but to societalwellbeing and the greater good.Assignments and GradingThis course is highly participative. Students are expected to log in to theBlackboard course area at least three times per week, to offer originalcontributions to the class discussion and complete all assignments on schedule,including weekly readings and screenings.There will be five short assignments on topics chosen by the instructor and onecourse project on a subject of the student’s choice.Grading FormulaShort assignments: 50% of final grade (10% each)Class participation: 25% of final gradeStudent project: 25% of final gradePLEASE NOTE:Incompletes are granted only in cases of medical emergency or bereavement. 1
  2. 2. Student ProjectEach student will select an issue or topic relevant to the coursework andcomplete one of the following: • A comparative analysis of two contemporary leaders working in the same field who approach communication in different ways. The analysis should be between 1,600 and 2,000 words (8 to 10 pages) and supported with citations from the course readings, as well as additional sources identified by your own research. If the leaders you choose are not public figures for whom a body of work is generally available online, you must submit samples of their communications, such as videos and copies of speeches, along with your analysis. • An original speech to be delivered at an actual event by you or by a leader whom you have interviewed. Details of the objectives, time, place and audience, as well as a biography of the speaker, must accompany your submission. • A written, in-depth critique of a presentation, speech, press conference or other communication that has been captured in video. The selection you choose may be delivered by anyone who is generally recognized as a leader, such as a business, religious or nonprofit leader, an elected official, a celebrity or even an historical figure. Be sure to consider body language and visual cues in your critique, along with the historical context within which the event took place. You must submit a link to, or a copy of, the video along with your critique. • Same as above only critique a podcast that is at least 8 minutes long. Be sure to consider voice tone, inflection and historical context in your critique and submit a link to, or copy of, the podcast along with your critique. • An original video or audio presentation of at least 10 minutes featuring you speaking on a topic of your choice and exemplifying at least 3 specific characteristics of good leadership communication. If you choose this topic, you must also submit a brief, annotated list that specifies each of the 3 exemplary techniques and points out where they occur in your presentation. • A classic research paper on a relevant topic of your choice. It should be between 1,600 and 2,000 words (8 to 10 pages) and supported with citations from the course readings, as well as additional sources identified by your own research. 2
  3. 3. NOTE: Students are required to have their project topic approved by the instructor no later than week 4 of the course.Readings and ScreeningsAll readings are available in the Blackboard course area in the e-reservessection. Video and audio selections are available via links, which are included inthe syllabus and the online discussion thread for the appropriate week.Course ScheduleWeek One: Language“Words are a form of action, capable of influencing change.” - Ingrid Bengis,author, Combat in the Erogenous Zone: Writings on Love, Hate, and Sex- Introductions and Course Overview- Screen and discuss the film, “Into the Storm,” a drama about Winston Churchill.Part 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10:[Don’t be apprehensive about so many parts. Each section is roughly 10 minuteslong, so the whole film is just a little over an hour and a half.]- 1st short assignment, due on Monday of week 2: Churchill’s US counterpart,Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was considered a highly effective communicator.(FDR is played by Len Cariou in Into the Storm.) Screen these speeches byRoosevelt and write 400 to 500 words (2 - 3 pages) giving your views on hiscommunication style.1933: Two: Vision“True places are not found on maps.” – Herman Melville, author, Moby DickReadings for discussion this week:- Wills, Certain Trumpets. Chap. 14, Rhetorical Leader: Martin Luther King, Jr. 3
  4. 4. - Moodian, Contemporary Leadership and Intercultural Competence. Chap. 3,Developing and Implementing a Multicultural Vision.(Readings may be found in the e-Reserves section.)-2nd short assignment, due on Monday of week 3: Garry Wills calls MLK’s “IHave a Dream” speech “the greatest American speech given since Lincoln’stime” and compares it favorably to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Even if youhave seen it many times before, watch this news film of that speech now, withfresh ears. 200 to 300 words (1 - 2 pages) on the single thing that most impresses youabout the way MLK communicated his vision.Week Three: Framing“Ich bin ein Berliner.” – John Fitzgerald KennedyReading for discussion this week:- Burtis and Turman, Leadership Communication as Citizenship. Chap. 9,Developing the Framing Skills Needed by Every Direction-Giver. (Reading maybe found in the e-Reserves section.)Screenings for discussion this week:- Speeches of John Fitzgerald Kennedy: Inaugural Address, 1961: Rice University, 1962: Berlin, 1963: short assignment, due on Monday of week 4: Find three online examples ofeffective framing. They may be in any form (print, video or audio) and from anytype of communication, such as a speech, an email, an advertisement, a filmtrailer, a news story, or anything else you choose. Write a brief, one or twoparagraph explanation of why you chose each example. Be sure to include thelinks for your examples at the top of each explanation.Week Four: Narrative“To be a person is to have a story to tell.” – Isak Dinesen, author, Out of AfricaReading for discussion this week:- Simmons, The Story Factor. Chap. 2, What Is Story? (e-Reserves)- Novogratz, The Blue Sweater. Chap. 1, Innocent Abroad. (e-Reserves)Screenings for discussion this week:- Stories from around the world: American Indian: The Crow and the Stars Irish: Michael and the Fairies 4
  5. 5. Russian: A Russian Tale of Perseverance short assignment, due on Monday of week 5. Dinesen says that everyperson has a story to tell. What’s yours? Tell me in 400 words or in a 3-minutevideo.Week Five: Influence“You cannot antagonize and influence at the same time.” – J.S. KnoxReading for discussion this week:- Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Part IV, Be A Leader: Howto Change People without Giving Offense or Causing Resentment. (e-Reserves)Screening for this week:- Dr. Robert Cialdini, Principles of Influence (website video intro)[There is no short assignment this week.]Week Six: Performance“In the beginning was the performance.” – John Dominic Crossan, author, TheHistorical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish PeasantReading for discussion this week:- “Leadership as a Performance Art,” blog by Bette George. “Leadership as a Performing Art,” interview with Constance Goodwin in Fast Company magazine. “Leadership as Performance Art,” executive education course description. Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. for discussion this week:- Margaret Thatcher selections: Freedom, 1975: The lady’s not for turning, 1981: One moment, David Frost, 1982: No, no, no, 1990: and U2One 5
  6. 6. PryorThe N Word short assignment, due on Monday of week 7: Search the internet for twovideo clips that you consider good examples of ‘leadership as performance.’Send the links to me along with two or three paragraphs explaining why youselected each clip.Week Seven: Technology“Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.” --Mitchell Kapor, founder of Lotus Development Corp.Reading for discussion this week:- Hickman, Leading Organizations: Perspectives for a New Era, Chap. 17, E-LeadershipScreening for discussion this week:- Leadership in a Complex, Technology-Driven World, MIT Leadership Center that your final project is due on Monday of next week.Week Eight: Putting It All Together“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, not so good when peopleobey and acclaim him, worse when they despise him. But of a good leader whotalks little when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did itourselves.” -- Lao-TzuThroughout this final week of the course we will be sharing highlights of thecourse projects. Each student is required to post a summary of her project nolater than midnight on the Monday of week 8. Beginning on Tuesday studentsare encouraged to engage in a Q and A about all the projects.Assignment to be completed by Friday of this week:The Two-Sentence Takeaway – In two sentences, tell us the single mostimportant thing you learned (or experience you had) in this course. 6