Governance (GOVN) 500

Governance and Leadership (Revision 4)

GOVN 500 Course Cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized-Study

Credits: 3

Prerequisite: Here are no formal prerequisites for this course, however, a previous course in political science, sociology or public administration is recommended.

Precluded Course: GOVN 500 cannot be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for Athabasca University's GOVN 400, POLI400 or HSRV400.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Program: Master of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies

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**Note: Students in group study courses are advised that this syllabus may vary in key details in each instance of the course. Always refer to the Moodle site for the most up-to-date details on texts, assignment structure, and grading.


Governance 500: Governance and Leadership is a graduate course in leadership and governance in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. The course provides an experiential overview and  theoretical introduction to the elements that shape and define leadership in the twenty-first century.  This course deals with a paradigm shift in our knowledge and thinking about leadership, approaching it from the perspective of the individual, defining core values, competencies, behaviours, and methods of leadership development.

Key themes and topics include:

  • leadership in the twenty-first century; the commonality of roles, vision, and values
  • different types and styles of leadership
  • personal leadership development
  • governance structures and how they shape the role and expectations of leadership
  • how to lead the change from the old control based model of leadership to ones that are values and influence-based
  • the new and emerging challenges of leadership
  • the intersectionality of leadership across the various sectors
  • the forces that shape leaders
  • the preparation of leaders to anticipate and lead change
  • the role of leadership in shaping public policy and the implications across all sectors

Course Objectives

When they have completed this course students should be able to:

  • understand and critically analyze the new and emerging paradigm of leadership and practice
  • discuss the role of key external forces, sectors and institutions that shape the development of leaders and leadership in the twenty-first century
  • reflect and articulate your own personal leadership development
  • understand the concept of governance and analyze the shifting paradigm
  • analyze the influence of individuals and groups of citizens as leaders across the various sectors through interest groups and social movements
  • analyze and evaluate how leadership across the various governance models influence and inform relationships, communications, and interactions
  • analyze the implications, challenges, and opportunities for leadership in view of the changing external factors

Student Evaluation

To receive credit for this course, students must participate in the online activities, successfully complete the assignments, and achieve a final mark of at least 60 per cent. Students should be familiar with the Master of Arts—Interdisciplinary Studies grading system. Please note that it is the student's responsibility to maintain their program status. Any student who receives a grade of "F" in one course, or a grade of "C" in more than one course, may be required to withdraw from the program.

The following table summarizes the evaluation activities and the credit weights associated with them:

Course Activity Weighting
Assignment 1: Forum Posts 20%
Assignment 2, Part 1: Values and Competency Inventory 10%
Assignment 2, Part 2: Critical Analysis of Sectoral Competencies 20%
Assignment 2, Part 3: Personal Philosophy of Leadership 10%
Assignment 3: Research Paper 40%
Total 100%

Course Materials

The course is taught with a combination of online resources and academic support. All material is found online or in the course itself.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 4, May 1, 2017.

View previous syllabus