Sample Schedule & Course Descriptions

All courses are blended with online and one-week summer intensives and one weekend face-to-face per course during fall and spring semesters. Complete in just three years with 61 credits.

Summer Year 1 : Big Rapids
1 credit dissertation
Fall Year 1 : Grand Rapids
1 credit dissertation
Spring Year 1 : Grand Rapids
1 credit dissertation

IDSL 805 Prospectus
This course provides a comprehensive overview of community colleges and the challenges students' leaders encounter. Major themes include understanding your personal leadership profile and analyzing its alignment with complex and evolving expectations. Aspects of the community college are explored to include its history and evolution; mission and purpose; structures and organizational direction; and characteristics and demographics. Students are exposed to topics studied throughout the program providing insights into the community college as a multifaceted organization.

IDSL 810 Critical Issues in the Comprehensive Community College
Issues confronting community colleges will be the central focus of this course. In addition to identifying and analyzing contemporary issues, learners will examine the contexts within which leaders must operate, consider ways to approach issue prioritization, and discuss proactive strategies to address these issues. A major element of this course will be to develop an analysis of a current community college issue by compiling a literature review and research paper on the topic.

IDSL 825 The New Leader - Foundations
Recognizing the relationship of professional values to leadership, students will explore leadership styles, the use of power, elements of organizational culture, and conflict resolution. In the context of the community college, leadership and organizational behavior theories will provide the foundation for critical applications. As participants explore their own capabilities, they will embark upon a personal journey toward leadership excellence as demonstrated by the development of their unique Professional Leadership Philosophy statement.

IDSL 835 Strategic Planning for the Comprehensive Community College
Students will engage in an in-depth exploration of strategic planning for the comprehensive community college as driven by its mission and core values. By focusing on the specific element of the mission, students will integrate the elements into a strategic plan and, by using a systems approach, analyze their interrelationships. A complete planning cycle—from creation, to implementation, to measuring effectiveness, to ultimately seeking continuous improvement—will be analyzed and applied.

IDSL 885 Creating a Culture of Student Learning and Success
This course presents effective strategies in student success and retention. From intake processes through faculty and student interactions, students examine the attributes of a culture that maximizes student learning and student success in community colleges. Emphasis is placed on exploring best practices, assessing their impact, and engaging in continuous improvement strategies. Renowned theorists are studied and their findings are applied to real-world situations.

IDSL 840 Scholarly Inquiry - Qualitative Research
This course addresses foundation principles, skills, and methods of qualitative inquiry. Students examine the importance of defining research questions, designing a study, collecting data, ensuring ethical standards, analyzing and interpreting data, and establishing assumptions and limitations for a study. Research practices, with applications to relevant community college issues, are used as illustrative examples throughout the course.

Summer Year 2 : Big Rapids
2 credits dissertation
Fall Year 2 : Grand Rapids
1 credit dissertation
Spring Year 2 : Grand Rapids
1 credit dissertation

IDSL 845 Scholarly Inquiry - Quantitative Research
This course addresses foundation principles, skills, and methods of quantitative inquiry. Students examine the importance of defining research questions, designing a study, collecting data, ensuring ethical standards, analyzing and interpreting data, and establishing assumptions and limitations for a study. Statistical applications are introduced and the use of SPSS software is required. Research practices, with applications to relevant community college issues, are used as illustrative examples throughout the course.

IDSL 870 Marketing and Community Engagement
The theory and concepts of marketing and community relations are examined particularly as they apply to the community college and the key elements of community outreach. Exploring the theory and practice of external engagement, identifying external publics and stakeholders, and developing effective communication strategies are studied. This course culminates by synthesizing these concepts through the development of a community relations plan.

IDSL 855 Managing Physical and Financial Resources
The community college leader's responsibilities as they relate to financial concepts and processes are analyzed. Students examine decision-making frameworks to ensure that relevant considerations are knowledgeably and appropriately incorporated. Case studies are reviewed as a means to analyze the effectiveness of resource allocation. Major capital acquisitions in the form of facilities and technology are also addressed.

IDSL 894 Practicum
This independently designed learning format gives students first-hand experience at a selected community college, professional organization, or related environment. Chosen specifically to meet the learner's professional goals, the course activities must provide an enriching experience. The practicum plan is determined jointly by the individual student and faculty member who collaborate to develop a work plan detailing specific learning outcomes. A culminating project is required.

IDSL 860 Resource Development
This course covers the role, rationale, and basic principles of public and private resource development in community colleges from millage and bond campaigns to grants and philanthropic fundraising. The connections between strategic planning, community relations, and resource development are explored. Based on current research and best practices, this course emphasizes the leader's role in guiding resource development as key to the success and vibrancy of the institutional mission.

Summer Year 3 : Big Rapids
3 credits dissertation
Fall Year 3 : Grand Rapids
1 credit dissertation
Spring Year 3 : Grand Rapids
4 credits dissertation

IDSL 895 Policy and Governance
Understanding policy and governance strategies within state and local arenas is critical to community college effectiveness. This course addresses external and internal models of governance, their various constituents, and unique perspectives. It also focuses on leadership attributes that provide the agility needed to bring these groups together and develop a shared vision. Policy development at the federal, state, and local levels and its impact on operations are key elements of this course.

IDSL 865 Leveraging Human Resources
This course will examine critical issues surrounding the human resources — the core of the community college. Students will gain the expertise needed to provide leadership in developing effective organizational structures, fostering a vibrant culture, and designing effective models of employee development within the context of labor laws and agreements. Collaborative strategies in motivational theory, succession planning, and collective bargaining will be analyzed. Students will demonstrate application of these skills through case-based exercises.

IDSL 880 Transformative Teaching
This course is designed to research, apply, and assess advanced concepts of teaching and learning in community college settings. Emphasis is placed on designing curriculum with contemporary pedagogical approaches, adapting instruction to meet individual needs of diverse student populations, integrating technology in the learning environment, and creating activities that motivate students and enable learners to retain information and transfer learning. Connections between learning theories and classroom practice are reinforced.

IDSL 830 Leading Organizational Transformation and Cultural Change
This course will focus on the transformational changes needed to position community colleges for future challenges. Learners will study change theories, organizational strategies, and future directions that will enable them to articulate a vision, develop a strategic framework, and establish a plan. Drawing upon their body of study, students will be challenged to higher levels of thinking by exploring new models, developing processes for change implementation, and monitoring their impact for improvement and sustainability.

Comprehensive Interviews and Presentations (CIPs)

IDSL 898 Dissertation
Each semester, students demonstrate appropriate dissertation progress in accord with direction, guidance, and assessment guided by the student's dissertation committee. Students demonstrate progress through submission of deliverables evidencing problem discovery and definition; literature review; methodology design, limitations, and implementation; data analysis and interpretation; and corresponding dissertation narrative. Deliverables and expectations are based on the 3-year completion plan.