March 28, 2012


Students Learn Leadership

Truman state graduate students prepare for their future by earning a Masters in Leadership

By Alex Carlson
Truman Index Staff Reporter
     Alumna and assistant softball coach, Cathy Monroe is learning skills that go beyond the classroom in graduate school — she is learning how to be a leader.
     Designed during Spring 2011, the Master of Arts in Leadership program is for graduate students looking to work in administrative or directorial positions. Completing the program requires enlisted students to complete 39 credit hours. Fifteen of those credits are completed through core classes all participating students take, while 15 more come from the specialization component, which lets the students take leadership courses specifically designed for his or her field of interest.
     The remaining nine credit hours can be completed with an applied project like an internship, or around a student's career aspirations. The program generally lasts a minimum of three semesters.
     Monroe participates in the program to achieve her goal of becoming a head coach. Along with about 12 other students, Monroe learns about skills specialized to her goals and agenda, while also practically applying skills to her profession of choice.
     A head coach position usually requires a master's degree, and Monroe is working to complete her core requirement courses for the program. Monroe is taking classes designed for her interest in sports management. Monroe said she selected the Master of Arts in Leadership program to learn and refine teaching skills necessary for a head coaching position. Classes selected for her field of interest include sports psychology and social problems in sports.
     "The entire program caters toward your profession," Monroe said. "In my sports psychology class, I get to learn about coach-player communicate and athlete feedback. These subjects use examples that apply to my field of interest."
     Other participants have specific leadership goals.
     Jill Graves, Associate Director of Recruitment, has lived and worked in Kirksville since her graduation from Truman during 2000, but stays in Kirksville to learn through the program about the leadership skills she needs at the Truman Admissions Office.
     Graves said the program's benefit is the connections between the classroom and her job at the Admissions Office. Graves can draw on skills she's learned through her recruitment director position and implement them into her projects in the program. Graves said it also works the other way, when theories learned in the program are applicable to her job at Truman.
     "It's really a two-way street," Graves said. "I can enrich classroom discussion with my experiences in the field, while also applying what I learn immediately. The program is very practical, not just theoretical."
Political Science professor Candy Young, who directs the program said the current job market is a reason for students to increase their leadership skills because many positions like management and administrative roles demand increased proficiency in direction and leadership.
     "It's a very difficult time to be in the job market," Young said. "I think this is something that, if someone has a strong view of what they want to do, this program is a good possibility to advance their potential. Students can jump in and make good progress towards a good job."
     Young said the program is in the implementation stage, but she has gathered great feedback from students and professors alike.
     A program application includes a resume, three letters of recommendation, GRE test scores, transcripts, a list of career goals and a $40 application fee. When selected, students take classes ranging from typical lecture courses to more applied scenarios. Graduate students already involved with a managerial position can continue to work while taking classes, which usually are evening courses during the beginning of the week.
     More information on the program can be found at

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