Core Activities

Core Activities

Coursework: Students are required to take one additional leadership-related three credit graduate level course. We have compiled a list of leadership courses offered at GSPIA, the Katz Graduate School of Business, Graduate School for Public Health, Carnegie Mellon University, and Duquesne University.

Sample GSPIA courses include Leadership and Teams, Managing International Organizations, Capstone: Metropolitan Studies Practicum, Capstone: Non-Profit Clinic Practicum, Managing People in the Public and Non-Profit Sector, Strategic Management, and Ethics and Public Life. In Katz, courses include Organizational Behavior: Leadership and Group Effectiveness, Negotiations, Teamwork, and Change, and Conflict Resolution.

Lectures, Workshops and Seminars:  Students are required to attend four approved lectures, workshops, or seminars. There are many opportunities to fulfill this requirement including lectures sponsored by the Johnson Institute, Ridgeway Center, Center for Metropolitan Studies, the Philanthropy Forum, the Ford Institute, Center for Disaster Management, and at other universities or organizations.

Past events include the Exemplary Leader Award Lectures, Robert Morris Speaker Series, Philanthropy Forum lectures by Jacqueline Novogratz, Leslie Crutchfield, Gara LaMarche and Margaret McKenna, and events hosted by Sustainable Pittsburgh, World Affairs Council, and Coro.

Service: Students are required to spend fifty hours gaining experience in a leadership position. This requirement is fulfilled by volunteer community service in a leadership capacity on a nonprofit board.

Reflective Journal: Students are required to maintain a journal or write a series of reflective essays, at least one per semester, relating to various aspects of the leadership program. Assignments are based on the chosen set of core values and require the individual to explore themselves as a leader or to analyze leaders they admire.  A sample of the online journal follows:

I enjoyed reading Gladwell's Outliers last week. The book made me consider the concept of success in a new way - taking into account the idea that opportunity and legacy, history and community play very important roles in helping a person to achieve … greatness. … I also tried to pay attention to the LPP's core values as they popped up throughout Gladwell's examples…

Mentoring: This is an essential aspect in the development of leadership skills. Students are partnered with a community member who will serve in a mentoring role who will help the student explore opportunities for developing their leadership skills. The mentor also serves as a role model who demonstrates leadership skills in their daily life.

Leadership Study: Students participate in a bi-monthly book club focusing on a book on leadership. Students select a book and lead the discussion of the material. In several instances, LPP students have had the opportunity to meet and interact with the author.  Some of the books read include:

The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz
Making the Impossible Possible by William Strickland
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Servant Leadership by Robert Greenleaf
Not on Our Watch by John Prendergast

Assessment: Students have the opportunity to examine their leadership skills and style using sophisticated leadership assessment instruments with experienced facilitators. The first two cohorts used Activity Vector Analysis (AVA), a tool that predicts work-related behaviors, decision-making approaches, flexibility under various environmental conditions, and other aspects of behavior. Cohort #3 has worked extensively with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

Leadership in Action and Leadership Skill Building: A variety of other experiences that enhance the students understanding of themselves and others in leadership positions fill out the LPP experience. These opportunities include conversations with local or visiting exemplary leaders, seminars on professional dress and behavior, and team building activities.

These include discussions with John Prendergast and Admiral Thad Allen, a meeting with Bill Strickland and a visit to Manchester Craftsmen Guild/Bidwell Training Center, a tour of Global Links with Kathleen Hower, etiquette courses that address networking, communication, and dress, meetings with GSPIA alumni awardees such as Ehaab Abdou and Kathleen Connell, and meetings with local directors of nonprofits including Chancellor Mark Nordenberg and Coach Agnus Berenato. 

Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership
3917 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260