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GRAD 9050: Building Leadership Potential with Transferable Skills

Diverse group of grad students team working on a paper chart for a visioning exercise

Spring 2016 Grad 9050 students with a hands-on strategic planning exercise. 

This is a 1 hour specialized leadership and transferable skills course that helps doctoral students recognize their potential and versatility for careers within and beyond the academy. 

Framed by Brent Ruben’s Leadership Competency Scorecard 2.01, the syllabus is organized around four themes: Personal Competencies, Organizational Competencies, Analytical Competencies, and Communication Competencies.

Course Rationale: Employer surveys consistently reveal where recent graduates struggle in the work place: transferable skills (aka soft skills.) In other words, employers report that advanced degree holders possess requisite disciplinary knowledge, but they need to improve their ability to lead teams, communicate effectively, solve problems, and make data-driven decisions. 

Hence, this course explicitly targets those high-demand transferable skills that employers seek across job sectors. Intended to complement graduate mentoring and coursework, the overall aim of this leadership course is to increase the marketplace competitiveness and career success of graduate alumni. 

Students will be expected to:

  • complete an inventory of transferable skills and a Strengthquest assessment;
  • connect individual strengths and transferable skills to leadership theories;
  • create an individual development plan and set professional development goals;
  • practice communication, decision making, teamwork and critical thinking skills;
  • describe high-demand skills in cover letters, résumés, and LinkedIn profiles;
  • conduct an informational interview or job shadow a leader; and
  • tap into self-study resources for skill building, career exploration across job sectors, preparing job search documents, and preparing for the job interview process.

Student Testimonials

"My leadership aspirations have changed in that now I have a much greater understanding of just exactly what leadership entails, what skills I already have, and what skills I can work to improve upon as well as gain. I think the IPDP was helpful in that it gave me an itemized list of general characteristics and traits that I can focus on achieving and or improving." 

"How I go about marketing my resume and engaging in the job process are different because of this class. I feel that I can be more intentional with my resumes and market myself more effectively. As a result, my leadership aspirations have changed because I realized that by highlighting my transferable skills I can be more successful and an effective candidate. It was a WONDERFUL and INFORMATIVE class, I would highly recommend it to all grad students."

"I feel that this class helped me to see more possibilities outside of academia."

"The title (in my opinion) does not do justice to the content of the course. I've taken away invaluable life lessons from it - ones I hope will help me become a better person in all walks of life. I would strongly recommend and encourage other students in our department to sign up for your course..."

Text: Northouse, P.G. (2015). Introduction to Leadership: Concepts and Practice 3rd Ed. Los Angeles: Sage

How to enroll: The course is offered both spring and fall semesters, and eventually online. Enrollment is capped at 25. Look for Grad 9050, "Build Leadership Potential with Transferable Skills." in the MU Schedule of Classes.