SPPD Launches New Degree Program

The changing nature of executive leadership in public, private and nonprofit sectors will be addressed by seven courses to begin this fall.
By Darren Schenck
Most of the goals we would like to accomplish as a society require inter-organizational cooperation, said Dean Jack H. Knott.

Photo/Bill Youngblood
The USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development has announced the launch of its new Executive Master of Leadership degree program, which will convene its first class this fall.

With this program, the school will address society’s evolving need for executive leadership that can work across the public, private and nonprofit sectors and that faces the loss of thousands of managers when the baby boomer generation begins to retire.

“Our new program was created to help seasoned executives take on greater leadership roles within their organizations and institutions,” said Jack H. Knott, SPPD’s C. Erwin and Ione L. Piper Dean and Professor. “Not only does it address the leadership gap created by the pending baby boomer retirement, but it also serves professionals who increasingly are pursuing multiple careers particularly those who will move between the public and private sectors over the course of their careers.”

Knott also said that the program addresses the changing nature of executive leadership.

“Leadership today requires that leaders know how to achieve goals through collaboration across the public, private and nonprofit sectors,” Knott said. “Leadership also is becoming more important relative to management because today, most of the goals we would like to accomplish as a society require inter-organizational cooperation, working with the community and the application of new technologies.

“With the establishment of this degree, the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development plans to play a significant role in developing this new wave of leaders.”

SPPD professor Robert Myrtle and Rich Callahan, SPPD associate dean for state capital and leadership programs, lead the program.

“Although there are a large number of executive management degrees, there are very few that focus exclusively on leadership,” Myrtle said. “This degree program is unique both in its design, which makes it possible for managers and executives to complete it in one year while continuing to head their organization, and in its capacity to draw on faculty from schools and departments throughout USC.”

According to Myrtle and Callahan, success in the 21st century workplace requires that a manager knows how to create high-performing teams, design empowering workplaces, and develop and manage effective partnerships, alliances and networks.

“The program’s cohort model will enable students to develop lasting connections with their classmates, so that each student develops a network of professional colleagues,” Callahan said. “Another particularly important aspect of the program is developing your capacity to lead from your core values and to profoundly contribute to your organization and your communities.”

Applicants to the program must be working professionals who have at least five years of experience in an executive or managerial position. Classes are offered at times that accommodate an executive’s schedule, and students may continue working full time while completing the seven courses.

The Executive Master of Leadership program will host its first information session on March 20 at 6 p.m. in the Davidson Conference Center. Other information sessions will follow April 10 and April 14.

For more information, go to http://www.usc.edu/sppd/eml