As a leadership school, NYU Wagner offers rigorous coursework and programs that prepare individuals to take on a variety of roles across sectors. These courses offer conceptual frameworks for understanding the role of leadership in high-impact organizations, analytical tools for developing and assessing strategy, approaches to working with stakeholders to mobilize commitment, and methods for leading change and achieving scale. They also enable leaders to use different lenses and models for evaluating their personal, interpersonal and organizational effectiveness and growth.

Below are leadership courses at NYU Wagner. Because they change by semester and year, please consult current course listings online to see what is being offered.

Strategic Leadership for Public Service Organizations *
(Executive MPA)

This advanced seminar is designed to equip mid-career students with the tools, perspectives, and frameworks for executing high-impact strategy within mission-driven organizations.

Topics include conceptual frameworks for understanding high-impact organizations and the role of strategic leadership, analytical tools for developing and assessing strategy, approaches to working with stakeholders to mobilize commitment, and methods for leading change and achieving scale.

We will explore a wide range of sources from established approaches to strategic planning and management to emerging practices such as narrative leadership and a campaign approach to change. The course will also draw heavily on the experiences students bring to the classroom.

Seminar: Leadership Confronted
(Executive MPA)

This seminar is designed for students to derive insights from scholars in the field of leadership while continually relating it to their own life as managers and leaders.

At the conclusion of the course students will have had the opportunity to integrate their past work experience, graduate coursework, and new knowledge and skills of leadership so as to be better able to learn and perform at higher levels as an effective individual leader and insightful colleague to others.

Reflective Practice: Learning from Work

This course is designed to prepare students for a lifetime of learning by providing tools to help students learn from their own experiences as well as from those of others.

This process is explored through three lenses: (1) the individual, using assessment tools designed to help students become more aware of themselves and their impact on others; (2) interpersonal dynamics, exploring how person/ role issues shape work group dynamics and can either facilitate or interfere with performance; and (3) organizational focus, examining several frames for thinking about organizational change and growth.

Students must be working at an internship or in paid employment at a public service organization during the semester they are taking this course. This course provides students with the opportunity to obtain credit for their internships.

Leadership and Social Transformation*

This course explores the role that leadership plays in organizational efforts to change thinking, systems and policies—taking into consideration the contested process by which the responsibility of addressing intractable problems is distributed among key diverse actors in a shared-power world.

Traditional approaches to leadership, i.e., defined by single heroic individuals who influence followers—are contrasted with new perspectives consistent with the demands of today’s complex problems, particularly when inclusive, transparent and democratic solutions are expected.

Emergent perspectives reveal leadership as the collective achievement of members of a group who share a vision, and who must navigate the constellation of relationships, structures, processes and institutional dynamics within the larger system in which they are embedded

The Core of Leadership in Public Service *
(Executive MPA)

The goal of this course is to enable students to become more effective change agents of public service institutional transformation.

This course is an Executive MPA cohort seminar that covers complex issues such as identity and diversity, organizational structure, and the indices and nature of institutionalized belonging. The course also addresses organizational integrity and transparency with the goal of giving students critical intellectual, analytical and practical skills that will support all of their learning efforts at NYU Wagner as well as their professional endeavors.

The Meaning of Leadership*

Leaders change the course of history. Or do they?

Each of us has an idea of what makes a good leader, but where do these ideas come from? Is there a difference between the concept of individual leaders and leadership?  

This course will examine the meaning of leadership by looking at the impact of history, culture and circumstance on how we define and identify leadership.

Undergraduate students will 1) read about different models of leadership, 2) hear from leaders in business, nonprofits, and government, and 3) examine their own leadership styles.

Innovative Leadership for Human Development:
The UN and the MDGs

The course will explore an integral framework for international development that compliments the current hyper-rational, statistical, technocratic, bureaucratic approach. Integral development includes systems/institutions/ policies, cultural development, individual behavior and individual consciousness and values.

The course will then enable students to experience and practice innovative leadership methods that can make a dramatic difference in their life and work. As an alternative to a “command and control” leadership style, innovative leadership is facilitative, participatory, collaborative, creative and profound.

Four levels of innovative leadership will be experienced, enhanced and practiced: physical/sensory capacities, psychological/historical capacities, mythic/symbolic capacities and unitive/intuitive capacities.

UN program experience will be shared related to the role of innovative leadership in achieving the MDGs in Nepal, Albania, the Eastern Caribbean, Kenya and the Philippines.

* Indicates courses taught by faculty, fellows and scholars from the Research Center for Leadership in Action at NYU Wagner.