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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Echo

TU introduces Master of Arts in Leadership

Capitalizes on student leadership skills

The new master of arts in leadership program will continue the University’s efforts to expand its graduate opportunities, enrolling its first students in fall 2024.

The program will enhance leadership skills that students learned in their undergraduate experience, aligning with the school’s mission statement and its strategic plan “Taylor Thrives,”, Jody Hirschy, executive director of leadership programs, said.

“The strategic plan provides a five-year plan,” Hirschy said. “And through that data collection, it affirmed that Taylor does such a phenomenal job of preparing servant leaders. So it was a natural next step to take us from excellence to eminence [and] to really be a premier leadership [and] academic program — to take it to that next level.”

Of the six pillars listed in Taylor Thrives, one aims to “widen the circle of learners,” the plan states. An increase in graduate programs seeks to accomplish just that, Skip Trudeau, vice president of Student Development & Intercollegiate Athletics and program chair of master of arts in higher education, said.

Two surveys of Taylor students showed a desire for a one-year masters in leadership program. Additionally, several individuals had asked if Taylor could launch such a plan, Provost Jewerl Maxwell said.

The content in the leadership program will prepare students to learn how to lead well in whatever discipline or profession they choose to pursue, Hirschy said. 

“Dr. Lindsay has come in, and he really has been captured by the number of student leadership experiences we have,” Trudeau said. “So he added the hyphen between ‘servant-leader’ in the mission statement to really highlight that. We're graduating servant-leaders who are marked with that passion to do those things.”

Because the graduate program is specifically geared toward leadership, students will develop those skills in a more concentrated experience compared to the University’s undergraduate experience, Kelly Yordy, assistant professor of higher education and director of graduate program development and leadership, said. 

The master of arts in leadership is designed to be a 30-credit, one-year residential program. Holly Whitby, vice president for enrollment & marketing, said that the university’s goal is to enroll at least 12 students in the program’s first cohort and can accept a maximum of 20 this fall.

Courses are spread out so that participants take four courses on-campus in the fall, a practicum during January term, four on-campus courses in the spring and one additional summer course online.

Students will study leadership theories, engage in conversations about the difference between leadership and management, understand the applications to their profession, learn the meaning of leadership in their calling and explore the inner and external organizational dimensions of the craft, Yordy said.

“One of the questions that we've been thinking about a lot this year is, ‘How can we design and develop the curriculum to really serve along that entire spectrum of circumstances that students are in?’” she said. “Not just [for] preparing them for where they're at currently, but preparing them for projecting into the future roles they would have.”

Classes will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays, allowing students to work Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and apply their skills where appropriate. 

The university does not intend to hire additional faculty for the program. Existing faculty within Taylor will be teaching students, providing various perspectives from their professional experiences, Hirschy said. 

“Taylor faculty will equip you to lead others by teaching and exhibiting biblical principles of leadership as you develop and live into your calling as a servant-leader,” Maxwell said.

The university is exploring additional graduate program opportunities including a plan to launch a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies.

“I really believe that the world needs more excellent Christian leaders,” Hirschy said. “So I'm really excited to build on the good work that's happening at the undergraduate level and [to] increasingly prepare a generation of excellent Christian leaders to enter the marketplace, to enter their families and their communities and their churches and impact that for Christ.”

Students interested in the master of arts in leadership should apply by May 1 and can contact  maleadership@taylor.edu for more details.