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Rotating Curriculum for MA in Diversity Leadership

An Interdisciplinary Approach to Curriculum

Our courses seek to educate not only DEI professionals but also leaders who need to be DEI attuned to move their organizations forward with intention, guided by the wealth of experience and academic rigor our faculty bring to this program.

Through collaborative curriculum from the College of Arts and Sciences, Opus College of Business and the School of Education, graduates of the MA in Diversity Leadership will be able to leverage the unique elements of the program. You'll gain cultural competence to equip employees to do meaningful work and engrain DEI into the culture of their organization.

Learn Everything at your own Pace

The program is designed for busy people and allows you to learn at the pace that is right for you. For example, if you aren't able to take classes during the summer, you can skip summer semester and complete the degree in three years instead of two.

MA in Diversity Leadership Courses

Students will take 6 required courses and 6 elective courses in two areas of study: Principles in Leadership and Culture and Society. Each course will run independently for a 6-week time period.

Leadership is about insight, initiative, influence, and impact. We will have an opportunity to explore principled leadership in this class, positioning you for continued success in both your career and the UST MA program. We will gain a framework and skillset for developing your ability to make meaningful impact within dynamic and complicated organizations. Leading self and others incorporates insight into self-awareness, interpersonal and team dynamics, taking initiative and having influence both with and without formal authority, and examining the larger impact on organizational systems and the common good.

To be effective and just, leaders need to practice inclusion at self, interpersonal, team, organizational and community levels, based on foundational knowledge, skills, and mindsets applied in diverse domestic and global contexts. This course introduces a range of perspectives including legal, ethical, structural, political, symbolic, historical, social, and relational, to explore topics such as bias, power, privilege, and harassment in organizations, intercultural competence, and global workforce and market demography. Emphasis is on using these frameworks and concepts for assessing and transforming your workplaces (local and global) and communities to be intentionally diverse, inclusive, and equitable.

Perfecting story-telling skills is an essential tool for all leaders, especially for DEI leaders where awareness, empathy, and mutual respect are paramount. In this course we will introduce students to principles that effectively link DEI related information to influencing business and organizational outcomes through storytelling. Our business culture demands concise and meaningful communications that can both inform and influence decision makers. This course is designed to teach DEI leaders principles and skills that enhance their thinking about presentations and the use of a variety of communication channels to facilitate positive business decisions. We will explore how information grounded in shared human experiences can impact organizational strategy and foster more inclusive and more effective organizational cultures; be able to build a structured thinking process to tell a compelling story; and gain skills in confidently understanding and using information to influence outcomes.

In this course, we will begin to understand race as a social and political construct with cultural resonance that has the power to shape where and how people live, their social conditions, and their ability to access humane existence. We will engage ideas about race and identity as more than just attitudes or biases that can be easily changed, but as constructed realities embedded in systems and institutions of everyday life. Most importantly, we will think about and discuss strategies for resisting ideologies and understanding the ways these ideologies are dangerous and limiting for everyone who accepts them without critique – not just those who are victimized by their systematic oppression.

This course explores the convergence of sociology and biology in how we define gender, sex, sexual orientation, and sexual behavior. Topics are examined in developmental order from conception to adulthood and include current issues relevant to the LGBTQIA+ community and society at-large with particular emphasis on applications to the workplace.

Navigating Political Participation is designed to provide a thorough, thoughtful, and engaging examination of the concept of political polarization in the United States. We will consider various measures of the degree of polarization in the public and among elected officials, potential causes of observed changes in polarization over time, and the impact of political polarization on our politics and ourselves. In this course, you will gain a broader understanding of the causes, consequences, and impacts of political polarization, and you will enhance your ability to critically analyze current political debates. The assignments in this course are designed to further develop your ability to analyze research findings within political science and integrate academic works into your own arguments.

This course explores leadership for the promotion of effective and ethical change in communities and organizations. Envisioning, initiating, sustaining and institutionalizing change will be examined through historical and contemporary case studies, interdisciplinary concepts and theories, tactical and strategic models for change. Simultaneously engaging in personal, inter-personal, structural, and cultural levels of inquiry will provide a coherent and global analysis. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racist work is presented and critiqued through class discussion and application to our work and community contexts.

Art in the street—including graffiti, murals, and other installations in public space—can provide an expressive avenue for marginalized voices while shaping urban space in a new and more inclusive manner. In contrast to art that is created for museums or the commercial art market, street art is uniquely positioned to engage with social issues from a critical perspective. This class will involve an analysis of street art projects around the world, with a particular focus on art in the Twin Cities.

The purpose of this course, focused on disability and intersecting marginalized cultural and social identities (e.g., race, ethnicity, social economic status, gender, sexual identity, age, education, religion), is to prepare leaders in all fields to work towards systematically deconstructing barriers and taking meaningful action to address the impacts of ableism* and other discriminatory practices such as racism. In this course, theory and practice are combined to assist leaders to generate knowledge, develop applications of, and share information about approaches and solutions to important problems in the areas of disability discrimination.

Over 70% of Americans indicate their workplace is the top location for the most frequent interaction with people who do not share their religious worldview or way of life. Furthermore, global religious populations are projected to grow at a rate 23 times higher than religiously unaffiliated populations. Religion is alive and well, and religious diversity, including secular identities, is only expected to increase in public and professional settings. Designed for students in all professional and public contexts, and emphasizing the case study method and opportunities to reflexively develop leadership for religiously diverse societies, this course introduces everyday interfaith leadership as the ability to draw on experience, religious literacy, and awareness of self and others to efficiently assess (inter)religiously complex situations, empathetically account for the various and often competing needs of stakeholders, and skillfully discern and take action to produce outcomes that serve the common public goods for all parties involved.

This course will integrate intercultural communication theories and research with applications of intercultural competence in practicing diversity leadership. The course will first introduce foundational theories and frameworks on how culture influences people's identity, perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors. Building on the cognitive understanding of culture, inclusive and equitable leadership is achieved through leaders' practice of intercultural competence. The course will cover the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) as an instrument to assess intercultural competence and to lead organizational change.

The U.S. public has long maintained contradictory perceptions of immigration: it has been understood as a foundational aspect of American society, and on the other hand, it has been subject historically to waves of xenophobia and the institution of restrictive policies. In the midst of a mainstream discourse, narratives from immigrant writers carry significant rhetorical weight and bring first-hand perspective that can influence and shift conversations in public spheres, as in politics, education, organizations, etc. This course privileges immigrant narratives as a counterbalance to public discourse and examines the power of narrative and storytelling through the study of literary genres, including memoir, fiction, poetry, and literary journalism. We will critically engage with these literary texts through thematic lenses including racial formation in the U.S., labor, family and gender, transnationalism, and pay special attention to immigrant histories and communities in Minnesota, including refugee and Korean adoption narratives. Students will work with the tools of literary and rhetorical analysis to evaluate and discuss the effect of narrative and consider the impact of narrative in public communication projects.

Race has been integral to the legal regime of citizenship in the United States, to the economic course of American history, and to the lived experiences of generations of Americans and those residing in societies that interacted with the United States for centuries. Specifically, the making of race—the categorical definitions that structured who belonged to specified racial groups, the opportunities and limitations that came with such racial classifications, and the relationship of racialized and ethnic cultural identity to American nationalism—has proven a powerful and enduring element of American history. We cannot understand our society as a product of complex and contingent pasts without grappling with the role of racial formation in both the American past and in our present. This course will trace that history, beginning with the trans-Atlantic slave trade and culminating in the early twenty-first century. We will approach the relationship between race, power, and citizenship as a dynamic interplay between large-scale changes and lived experiences and interrogate that relationship to pose questions about its social, legal, and human consequences.

Take the Next Step

Learn more about earning a MA in Diversity Leadership or the University of St. Thomas by requesting more information or attending a virtual Group Information Session.