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Course Descriptions


MSLD 242: Living, Learning & Leading in the 21st Century (2 or 3 hours)

This course serves as an introduction to graduate study in the MSLD program. It provides an overview of the social, demographic, and technological changes impacting our society, organizations, and the communities in which we live. Special consideration will be placed on the impact of these changes on our ability to effectively influence individuals and groups toward goal accomplishment in given situations.  Students will complete a leader related self and multi-rater assessment that be referenced throughout the program and used for developmental purposes. The course includes an introduction to the MSLD competency model. (ALOP Substitute, 242 Living, Learning & Leading in the 21st Century) Those students who have completed ALOP 242 will enroll in the two-hour option and complete the last two weekends of MSLD 242.

MSLD 243: Moral Leadership (3 hours)

The study of ethics is the study of moral philosophy and the ways in which moral dilemmas are evaluated and, ultimately, resolved.  Throughout this course we will focus on exploring the perennial question, "What is right?"   Through processes of shared inquiry, we will explore the theoretical foundations for making ethical choices and examine implications for contemporary workplace, environmental, and sociopolitical challenges.  In particular, we will emphasize the nature of moral and ethical leadership, review and critique our professional Code of Ethics, and discuss best practices for developing moral leaders. Prerequisite: 242 or concurrent enrollment with MSLD 242 (ALOP Equivalent, 249 Ethics)

MSLD 244: Leadership Development (3 hours)

This course serves as a foundational investigation of leadership with emphasis on application and skill development. The goal of the course is to assist each student to become a more informed and effective leader in his or her intended work and community setting. The following foundational topics in leadership are included: Overview of key leadership theories and models; differences between management and leadership; followership, influence, and power; and introduction to leadership coaching. Several self-assessments used during the class. Prerequisite: 242 (ALOP Equivalent 245, Leadership Essentials)

MSLD 245 Organizational Savvy and Communication (3 hours)

Today's organizations are challenging, complex systems where success depends on the ability to navigate the political and communication environment to effectively work with others to accomplish individual and organizational goals. This class will examine tools and techniques for identifying and effectively interacting with organizational and political challenges and realities, and will base this in the historical evolution of organizations. In addition, a variety of communication challenges, strategies, and techniques will be examined. Topics include conflict resolution styles and models, negotiation, organizational politics, influencing processes, and the language of leadership. Prerequisite: 242, 244 (ALOP Equivalent, 253 Organizational Savvy and Communication)

MSLD 246: Business Acumen and Strategy (3 hours)

This course is designed to expose students to the “business of business.” The course includes a general overview of key organizational functions and of critical business concepts in economics, accounting, finance, marketing, and strategy.  Particular attention is paid to strategic thinking and planning including the role of values in strategy formulation, strategy implementation and communication, and competitive strategy and differentiation. Prerequisite: 242, 244 (ALOP Substitute, 244 Strategic Thinking & Decision Making)

MSLD 247: Global and Team Leadership (3 hours)

This course explores the complexity of leadership in organizations within a cross-cultural and global environment.  Topics include global organizations, intact and virtual teams, connections between organizational and national cultures, international and intercultural relations, diversity in the workplace, and the impact of globalization and diversity on HRD and HRM functions. Prerequisite: 242, 244 (ALOP Substitute, 252 Leadership in Organizations)

MSLD 248: Organizational Development and Leading Change (3 hours)

According to Anderson (2009) organizational development is “the process of increasing organizational effectiveness and facilitating personal and organizational change” (p. 3).  Indeed, change is in the very root of organization development.  Leaders must not only deal with change effectively but also help their followers thrive in a constantly changing environment. This course will focus on organization development and change leadership.  Topics include definitions and foundations of organization development, organizational culture, organizational systems, adaptive leadership, organizational diagnosis, and effective organization development interventions. Prerequisite: 242, 244, 247 (ALOP Equivalent, 253 Organizational Development and Leading Change)

MSLD 291: Capstone Seminar (3 hours)

Completed near the end of the MSLD program, this course acts as a capstone project to the student’s graduate school experience.  Students may select among three options: (a) an original research project, (b) a comprehensive literature search, and (c) an approved service learning or professional project in the student’s area of emphasis. The class ends with a "poster dissemination night" where students present an overview of their research or project to students, faculty, family and guests. Prerequisite: 24 hours of MSLD courses (ALOP Equivalent, 291 Applied Research). Students who elect the original research project will be required to complete an introduction to research class or independent study.


The HRD emphasis includes four courses. Three of the courses include the content recommended by the American Society for Training and Development – ASTD (Bernthal et al., 2004).  The fourth course is an elective, and may be chosen from MSLD or Drake University graduate electives. 

MSLD 262: Human Resource Development (3 hours)

The course provides a general overview of the human Resource development field, emphasizing its strategic nature within the organization and connecting it to the broader field of human Resource management.  Topics include leading the learning function; strategic HRD, adult learning and learning theories; theories of individual change; the ADDIE model (analysis, development, design, implementation, and evaluation) of training and development; and the impact of technology on the learning function. Prerequisite: 242 or concurrent enrollment with 242 (ALOP Substitution, 247 Adult & Organizational Learning)

MSLD 263: Performance Consulting (3 hours)

This course helps students practice models, approaches, and techniques of performance consulting in organizational settings.  Students will gain critical skills in applied organizational research, learning to identify gaps for performance improvement and to propose HRD interventions.  Topics include data collection methods, needs analysis and evaluation processes, the HPI model, data analysis, and best practices in internal and external consulting. Prerequisite: 262

MSLD 264: Designing and Delivering Learning (3 hours)

This course provides an overview of how to plan, design, and facilitate effective learning experiences for adult learners.  Design and development topics include writing instructional objectives, selecting appropriate training methods, designing games and simulations, and applications of technology and web 2.0 to face-to-face and distance learning.  Facilitation topics include the theoretical underpinnings and rationale for various approaches to facilitation, basic platform skills required for delivery and management of training situations, and the facilitation competencies required for facilitating non-training learning events and situations.  Prerequisite: 262, 263 (ALOP Substitution, 263 Designing Learning Interventions and 264 Methods & Technology of Facilitation)


The HRM emphasis includes four courses, covering the Human Resource Certification Institute Body of Knowledge ( and the HRM competencies/focus areas included in the literature consulted. In particular, the HRM emphasis follows SHRM’s curriculum recommendations (SHRM, 2011a). The Introduction to Human Resource Management course will be shared by the HRM and the HRD emphases.

MSLD 262: Human Resource Development (3 hours)

The course provides a general overview of the human Resource development field, emphasizing its strategic nature within the organization and connecting it to the broader field of human Resource management.  Topics include leading the learning function; strategic HRD, adult learning and learning theories; theories of individual change; the ADDIE model (analysis, development, design, implementation, and evaluation) of training and development; and the impact of technology on the learning function. Prerequisite: 242 or concurrent enrollment with 242 (ALOP Substitution, 247 Adult & Organizational Learning)

MSLD 272: Human Resource Management (3 hours)

This course provides a historical and comprehensive overview of the many elements comprising the Human Resources discipline. Specific emphasis will be placed on the strategic nature of human resources practices in combination with building an HR strategy linked to organizational imperatives. Other course topics include: Global HR, HR metrics, HR planning, risk and change management, technology, and communications as well as policies, procedures & best practices including HR audits. Discussion will also center on the consulting role of HR professionals and leaders along with competencies necessary for success.  Prerequisite: 242 (ALOP Equivalent, 272, Human Resource Management)

MSLD 273: Total Rewards, Staffing, and Performance Management (3 hours)

This course will explore three prevalent and critical practices of the Human Resources Function. The first focus, Total Rewards, will explore the five elements (compensation, benefits, work-life balance, performance & recognition, development & career opportunities) that make up total rewards, its fundamental elements and strategic prevalence in attracting, motivating and retaining valued employees.  Students will discuss a total rewards strategy and participate in strategic goal and program development, examining how a total rewards approach impacts individual/organization performance and contributes to defining organization culture. The second focus, Staffing, will focus on strategies and key practices related to: job analysis, critical success factors, recruitment, interviewing, evaluation, selection, and onboarding using effective tools, approaches, and considerations that meet organizational needs and objectives while addressing legislative requirements. The third focus, Performance Management will explore the psychology and purpose behind performance management systems along with key elements and phases. Students will participate in different methods and approaches used to develop goals, monitor and communicate performance expectations and feedback, evaluate performance using identified criteria, address performance issues, and recognize performance achievement. Prerequisite: 272 (ALOP Equivalent, 273 Compensation, Benefits, and Total Rewards)

MSLD 274: Employee Relations, Labor Relations, and Employment Law (3 hours)

This course provides an overview of employee and labor relations and workplace practices. The course will entail discussion and exploration of key theories, laws, programs, policies and procedures.  Topics include legal compliance and employment law; employee relations (including progressive discipline, harassment prevention and remediation, and documentation); labor relations (union related labor laws, collective bargaining process and issues, negotiation skills and best practices, union certification/decertification and de-authorization, union related performance management and disciplinary actions) and practices involving risk management and creating a safe work environment. Prerequisite: 272 (ALOP Equivalent, 274 Contemporary Workplace Issues)


The Higher Education emphasis includes three courses covering the content recommended by the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS, 2012). The fourth course is an elective, and may specific to Higher Education (Student Services) or be chosen from other emphasis areas (i.e., HRM, HRD) or from other MSLD or Drake University graduate electives. 

MSLD 282: Foundations of American Higher Education (3 hours)

This course addresses major themes, organizational structures and historical developments in American higher education. This will include the ideologies, people, and movements that have particularly influenced those developments.  Topics include history of American higher education, organizational structures, law in higher education, and contemporary higher education issues. Prerequisite: 242 or concurrent enrollment with 242 (ALOP Substitution, 284 History & Philosophy of American Higher Education)

MSLD 283: The College Student (3 hours)

The purpose of this course is to examine the American college student from a socio-cultural and psychological developmental perspective. Philosophy, theory, and research related to the development of students during their college years will be emphasized. Programmatic application of theory and research findings will also be addressed. Other topics include college student demographics, generational attribute trends and current issues; developmental theories of traditional age college students; and the impact of diversity on the college environment and on college student development.  (ALOP Substitution, 282 The College Student)

MSLD 284: Seminar in Student Personnel Services (3 hours)

This course includes a study of student life program administration and services in community, private and public colleges and universities.  Topics include the current structure of student services in American higher education; competencies of student service professionals; contemporary issues and developments in emerging student services; and future trends for student personnel professionals. (ALOP Substitution, 283 Seminar in Student Services)


Electives provide additional information on topics not covered in the regular MSLD offerings. Electives are offered on an ad hoc basis and will not be offered each year. Check with your advisor to learn the elective offerings for upcoming semesters.

  • MSLD 269: Internship (variable credit from 1-3 hours)
  • MSLD 298: Special Topics (variable credit from 1-3 hours)
  • MSLD 230: Independent Study (variable credit from 1-3 hours)