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Leadership, Organizing and Action: Leading Change

Program Session(s):
February 5, 2018 - May 20, 2018

Application Deadline(s):
December 5, 2017

Program Fee: $2,100

Program Type: Online Course

This program qualifies for an Executive Certificate.

Faculty Chair: Marshall Ganz

Program Director: James Brockman


Leadership, Organizing and Action: Leading Change is a 14-week online program. The course is organized into nine modules, each with a specific learning and/or project outcome. The curriculum focuses heavily on the dimensions of leadership and learning.

Download a sample syllabus


We define leadership as accepting responsibility to enable others to achieve purpose in the face of uncertainty. This program will explore how leadership is exercised through mastery of five practices, including:

  • Public Narrative
  • Building Relationships
  • Structuring Leadership Teams
  • Strategizing
  • Action

LEARNING: Organizing Projects

Hear from participants in this past year's program discuss their organizing projects - a key aspect of the online program's curriculum.

As reflective practitioners, participants in this program will learn from critical analysis of their leadership of an organizing project for which they are responsible. An organizing project requires (a) mobilizing a constituency to (b) collaborate with each other, to (c) achieve a real change. Students learn why this approach is most effective in addressing problems of power: enabling people to mobilize the power/resources they need to solve their problems by working together or by challenging others who hold power over them. A successful organizing project solves a community problem, creates new community capacity, and develops new community leadership.

LOA 2012 Sample Case Study



People learn organizing from the experience of doing it, reflecting on their experience, learning from their reflection, and trying again.

This requires leading an organizing project, reading background material, participating in lecture, writing reflection papers, completing skill practice assignments, taking part in section meetings, receiving coaching from your Teaching Fellow and coaching each other. Students are expected to invest an average of 10 hours per week doing all of the above.

The course is organized in nine modules. Each module focuses on specific “Learning Objectives.” Each module also specifies an “Action Objective,” a particular skill to be practiced with your peer-learning partner. Each module builds on the previous learning and action objectives.


We expect an appropriately high level of commitment from participants. To earn a course certificate, students must complete all of the following on time:

  • Attend and participate in 9 course lectures and 9 section meetings
  • Submit 9 reflection papers and 5 practice assignments
  • Hold an introductory and mid term 1:1 with their TF.
  • Submit course evaluations.

Make Up Policy. In case of a work or family emergency that cannot be rescheduled without putting jobs/health in jeopardy, students may miss up to two scheduled sessions (lecture or sections). There are three requirements to make up the missed session:
  • Explain your absence to your TF in advance and in writing if possible.
  • Watch the video (available on the course website under "section debrief").
  • Within 2 weeks after a missed session submit a ½ page written evaluation of the video (takeaways, pluses, and deltas) to your TF.
Papers will also be due by the set deadline. If an emergency occurs and the paper may not be submitted on time, students have a maximum of two weeks to submit it. Any paper submitted two weeks late will be an equivalent to missing a session.


Copyright © 2016 The President and Fellows of Harvard College