Servant Leadership Track of New Graduate Business Program a Potential National Model

COLUMBUS, Ga. - Columbus State University is set to offer a graduate program with a degree track in servant leadership that’s both rare and tailored especially for the Columbus area professional community.

The degree track is part of CSU’s new Master of Science in Organizational Leadership program, recently approved by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents.

Beginning this fall, the 36 credit-hour program will offer separate degree tracks in human resources and servant leadership — a management model based on using authority to benefit the entire organization, while encouraging individual employees to grow and achieve autonomy.

The program stands out in the USG and nationally as few traditional colleges and universities offer organizational leadership graduate programs based on servant leadership principles or that include “Servant Leadership” degrees. “With few graduate programs in the field, this degree will position CSU to not only meet a local need, but to also become a national model for graduate education in servant leadership,” said Linda Hadley, dean of CSU’s Turner College of Business and Computer Science, which will administer the program.

Hadley said Columbus State is uniquely positioned to support a graduate program in servant leadership. “Columbus, Ga., has become recognized for a large number of companies and organizations that have embraced the principles of servant leadership,” she said. “There is a pervasive commitment to servant leadership from Columbus-based corporations, non-profit organizations and educational institutions.”

Hadley also said the servant leadership track will support the leadership needs of the community while drawing on the wealth of resources situated here, ranging from the expertise of leading practitioners, proliferation of applicable case studies and opportunities for field experience including internships.

Overall, both tracks of the program include significant input from area business and organizational leaders. The curriculum collectively covers negotiations, coaching, employee development and similar topics and targets working professionals seeking to improve their leadership skills or those seeking career changes or advancement.

The human resources track also has included input from both local and national Society for Human Resource Management organizations. “The graduate curriculum, like our undergraduate human resources program, will be fully aligned with the learning outcomes of SHRM,” said Neal Thomson, chair of the Department of Management and Marketing. “We are one of 100 or so schools nationwide with HR programs recognized as fully aligned with the SHRM learning outcomes.”

The overall program also presents an alternative to the traditional Master of Business Administration program for professionals seeking a greater emphasis on the leadership aspects of for-profit and not-for-profit administration.

The Servant Leadership track also complements CSU's 11-year-old undergraduate Servant Leadership scholarship program.  That program, directed by Stuart Rayfield, also will be a source of applicants for the new program.

Core courses for both tracks are Organizational Behavior and Leadership, Negotiations and Conflict Resolution, Contemporary Economics and Finance for Leaders, Global Management, and Strategic Leadership and Change Management.

Graduates of the program will understand the theory and practice of leadership; contrast international leadership practices and recognize the necessity to tailor leadership practices to various environments; understand follower behaviors and identify leader responses; critically analyze and form action plans to address leadership issues; and be able to develop strategic alternatives, environmental analyses, and use both to determine appropriate strategies.

While beginning as a traditional evening program, the offerings will evolve to include online core courses and weekend elective courses.

In addition to citing Thomson and Rayfield for helping design the new graduate program, Hadley credited retired W.C. Bradley Co. Chairman Bill Turner. “We are deeply indebted to Mr. Bill Turner, who has been a strong advocate for servant leadership throughout this community,” she said. “Without his vision and support, this program would not have been possible.”