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Academic Classes

Leadership Rice classes help students formulate and articulate informed perspectives on leadership that draw deeply from the humanities, conform to the methodological requirements of the social sciences, and are applicable to the challenges and opportunities leaders face today. While some Leadership Rice courses emphasize the intellectual foundations of leadership, others focus on cultivating the skills required of effective leaders.    

Classes are offered in both the fall and spring semesters, are open to students of all years and majors, and may be taken independently of each other.   

LEAD 150 Leadership in a Professional Context
1 credit.  Pre-req:  Leading Edge Workshop
This course prepares students for self-selected internships by familiarizing them with essential leadership concepts and keys to success in professional contexts. Approval required by Leadership Rice. 


LEAD 250 Leadership and Professional Excellence
2 credits. Only for SME fellows.
This course prepares students to exceed expectations and lead in their Summer Mentorship Experience.  Students will develop capacities to engage others, execute goals and objectives, and make lasting impacts in professional settings.  Students will expand their personal leadership capacities and gain a clear understanding of what it takes to succeed at the highest levels of a professional organization.  Required of, and limited to, students admitted to the SME program.

LEAD 301/HUMA 312 Historical and Intellectual Foundations of Leadership
3 credits - Distribution I (Spring); Instructor - Jeremy Grace
The focus of this course is to construct a historically informed philosophy of leadership that encompasses not just what leadership is but why it is valued, when it is legitimate, what its moral purpose is, and how it both shapes and reflects societal norms.


LEAD 309 Leadership: Theory to Practice 
3 credits (Fall);  Instructor – Dr. David Nino
This course is designed to help students develop a conceptual, practical, and personal understanding of leadership.  By reviewing research and case studies, students will learn leadership skills such as building self-knowledge, dealing with ethical challenges, developing networks, and leading change. Students will also explore their own capabilities and potential.


LEAD 311 Leadership and Creativity 
1 credit (Fall);  Instructor – Judy Le
Do creative people become leaders? Does the process of leadership require creativity? We will explore these questions by reviewing research and case studies and by engaging in experiential exercises. Students will also learn about the role of leadership in fostering creativity in groups, organizations, and within their own decision making.


LEAD 313: Entrepreneurial Leadership   
Instructor - Delano Brissett 
Entrepreneurial Leadership provides students with a survey of leadership issues and practices in an entrepreneurial business and social context, along with an understanding of fundamental business elements of importance to entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs. Through discussions with established entrepreneurial leaders in the Houston community, ongoing readings, group discussions, and special presentations, students experience the challenging interplay between business demands and effective leadership. Delano Brissett is the Founder and CEO of Wynston, an online career and technical education start-up. He has worked with Teach for America, the Robinhood Foundation, and Boston Consulting Group. He holds a BA from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Standford. Delano was recently named one of 50 under 40 emerging social entrepreneurs by the Social Enterprise Alliance and American Express. 


LEAD 321Leadership Communication
3 credits (Fall & Spring);  Instructor – Dr. Deborah Barrett
Powerful communication skills are essential for effective leadership, and LEAD 321 equips students to articulate ideas with poise, confidence, and clarity. Students develop written, oral, interpersonal, and team skills while developing an understanding of leadership communication in different contexts, including specific fields of study. The Leadership Communication class gives students the opportunity to practice the types of communication that will be required of them in the workplace and that will be crucial for their success.


LEAD 325Applied Leadership 
3 credits (Spring);  Instructor – Dr. Deborah Barrett
Applied Leadership is a leadership skills development course focused on practical applications in negotiation, organizational communication, and consulting. The course explores power, influence, and persuasion in organizational contexts and allows students to practice advanced leadership skills, such as conflict management, change management, negotiation, delegation, and group facilitation, with an emphasis on supervising, persuading,and motivating others. Coursework assumes competence in fundamental communication skills, such as are developed in LEAD 321 - Leadership Communication, BUSI 296 - Business Communication, or one of the HUMA courses focused on writing and speaking. Students completing this course will be prepared to exercise strategic influence from any point in an organizational hierarchy, whether interacting with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.

LEAD 330 Leadership in Higher Education
1 credit (Fall);  Instructor – Dr. Kevin Kirby
Higher education leadership involves ambiguity, diffuse power structures, and often long time horizons. There are few 'precisely right' answers at the moment a decision must be made, although there are courses of action that are better than others. In this class we'll explore actions taken by leaders facing difficult decisions.

LEAD 335 Crisis Leadership
1 credit (Spring);  Instructor – Dr. Kevin Kirby
Change is at the heart of leadership and the most challenging leadership experiences often occur during times of crisis when change is unfolding at a breathtaking pace. Leadership strategies employed during crises can be quite different than times of routine change. In this course we'll explore courses of action, both taken and not taken, by leaders facing extraordinary decisions during major public crises such as the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, Swine Flu in 1976, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.


LEAD 545/ENGI 545 Structured Problem Solving
3 credits (Spring);  Instructor – Dr. Arnaud Chevallier
This course shows how to become a better problem solver by applying a rigorous, structured approach to the solution process. It explains how to combine innovative and critical thinking to, first, identify the right problem, to solve, and then develop proper solutions for it. Topics include problem definition cards, the use of issue trees, hypothesis-driven analysis, persuasive communication, and teamwork. Each student brings one problem - on which they work over the semester - and frequently shares their progress with the group as these problems become case studies