Preparing Leaders: A Cornerstone of CCU Curriculum

Part of Colorado Christian University’s mission is to prepare graduates to think critically and creatively and to lead others by setting high ethical and professional standards. Preparing tomorrow’s leaders is a huge responsibility that faculty, staff and students share and must work together in order to achieve. Educating leaders to manage and inspire others while impacting the world is no simple task. Preparing leaders takes a great deal of commitment, creativity, enthusiasm, knowledge and passion for teaching (and learning). Regardless of what degree program a student is enrolled in, and regardless what subject our instructors teach, educating leaders and preparing them for the many privileges and challenges that come with a leadership position is a cornerstone of the CCU curriculum.

What is a Leader?

Recently, CAGS posted a blog about what defines a spiritual leader; this blog explored the various characteristics that spiritual leaders have and how one can illustrate spiritual leadership in the workplace. Today, let’s take a look at leadership in general and how CCU incorporates educating and preparing leaders for the numerous challenges they will face as they venture up the “corporate ladder” to a position of leadership. While people may define “leadership” differently, there are several qualities that most good leaders share. First and foremost, a leader should have a clear vision of where to go (goals) and how to get there (achievement). According to Jack Welch, the former chairman and CEO of General Electric, “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion.”

A good leader must be able to communicate his/her vision in a way his/her subordinates and colleagues can understand. No leader should want blind followers. Effective leaders are disciplined and are able to work independently and collaboratively–whatever will produce the best result. A good leader is always acting, always doing something to achieve his mission and should always inspire others to do the same. Let’s look at some more leadership qualities (see how many of these you possess):

  • Integrity
  • Dedication
  • Humility
  • Open-mindedness
  • Assertive
  • Creative
  • Approachable

CCU hopes that by the time our students graduate, they will possess many of the qualities that make a good leader and gain a self-awareness of their own strengths and weaknesses or limitations. We hope our students understand the importance of “lifelong learning” and keeping the dialogue between faith and reason ongoing. CCU hopes that our students have been imbued with a strength of character and with a spiritual evolution that will lead them to make the right decisions in their personal and professional lives. According to Dr. Robert Ivany, President of the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, a leader has “to do the right thing, making the decision to choose the harder right and not the easier wrong.”

If you want an education that integrates faith and academics, and if you want to an education that has as its cornerstone leadership preparation, you should learn more about Colorado Christian University’s College of Adult & Graduate Studies admissions requirements. Read about CCU CAGS online or contact the University by phone.

7 Comments

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  1. Tim says:

    This post hits it on the head by starting off by saying that leaders need to be able to prepare themselves for a great deal of commitment, creativity, enthusiasm, knowledge and passion for teaching (and learning). Learning is the part that stands out most to me. As a leader and Christian based leader, self-improvement and learning are vital to becoming and maintaining success as a leader. Individuals are unique and not everyone will react the same or similar to every situation. A leader must be able to grow, adapt, learn, and evolve to be successful.
    No matter what degree program students are enrolled in at CCU, all of us are or will become leaders at some point in our lives. It could be in a professional setting or in a personal setting such as a family. Either way, being a leader is something that cannot be avoid. CCU is knowledgeable of this and the curriculum reflects the beliefs. The curriculum is designed to set obtainable goals and encourages achievement. These are key factors of a leader. Discipline, vision, and clear communication are also important in leadership. Leaders have to be confident in their abilities, assertive, and able to maintain an open mind.
    CCU focuses on these key characteristics and traits in every student that is enrolled regardless of the degree program. This creates a strong and confident character within all their graduates and allows each one of us to become successful leaders by giving us the courage and strength to choose the harder right than taking the easier wrong.

  2. Kelly says:

    This article states that teaching leadership skills and theories is a cornerstone in a student’s education at CCU. This is the absolute truth. The MBA curriculum starts off with two courses on business leadership, confirming to all students that being a great Christian leader in the community is vital. By teaching students leadership theories, ways to improve in leadership, and the differences between being a good manager and a good leader students are able to gain a better picture of their leadership style. Starting off the MBA curriculum with these classes allows students to go into every MBA class with a leadership mindset.

  3. Alice says:

    When one rules over people in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like
    the light of the morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like brightness after rain that brings grass from the earth (2 Samuel 23: 3-4). These were the last words of King David as noted in this passage. God’s instruction was not about obtaining wealth, meeting goals and expectations or how to climb the corporate ladder. It was about leading people and the impact it would have on those being lead. God shows us that when righteousness and fear of God are part of leadership, people who are under us, will operate in clarity and the fruit of that will bring a harvest of success in our company and lives.
    I believe this describes what CCU teaches about leadership.

  4. Craig says:

    As an alumnus of CCU, I can validate that the faculty and staff at CCU have taught me the core values and functions to serve in all areas of my life. I’ve been in the corporate sector for 12 years and have learned much from being in the for-profit business environment. The core values that I developed while at CCU have given me confidence when dealing with various business departments and how to collaborate across teams.

    The spiritual values that I’ve learned have been immersed throughout my whole life. Whether I’m at home with the family, volunteering with non-profit groups, or for-profit business, the education that I received from CCU taught me how to be non-compartmentalized in all areas. I look for ways to incorporate my faith in the workplace. Competence in my job is the number one tool that I leverage so I’m respected by my peers. If I start with competence, I’m able to share Jesus easier.

    The leadership attributes listed above are all important. Some are easier than others. I would say I’m decent at 4 or 5 of them. I’m still growing in the others. You never “arrive” at learning. I look forward to CCU sharpening me even more as I pursue an MBA in the next phase of my career.

  5. Mark Hurst says:

    I am taking a graduate leadership class and the focus is obviously on leadership. One discussion we talking about is:

    “As we have seen, technology in many ways can assist organizational leaders in developing a collaborative culture for co-creating innovation and ROI. However, there are two sides to technology, light and dark. Consider social networking sites such as My Space and Facebook. In many ways they serve to connect people and allow them share pictures and stories; it’s really nice. But, at the same time these social networking sites are also used to promote pornography and other scams. The developers at AOL and Microsoft even provide a forum for alternative or “adult” content.”

    Leadership involves filtering information and I believe this is another critical quality to be a successful leader. Below are a few questions we were asked to address.

    Consider what role leaders must play in selecting and filtering information. In other words, how can we filter online “babble” from values-aligned, research-based knowledge?

    Social media is here and it is not going anywhere. Living in the information age we have to accept it. I believe the way to filter all the gibberish starts at early development. Manners taught early to impressionable minds and we might be saved.

    I live in a student dorm with many undergraduate students ranging from ages 18-24 years old. I am SHOCKED by the social manners when they use their cell phones. They are texting, facebooking, or tweeting right in the middle of conversations (sometimes all three). Do parents or schools teach children these basic courtesies? I remember a session in grade school teaching us phone manners that was very helpful. And it really is not just young adults. I’ve seen working professionals texting and working on their laptops during training session with little regard or respect to the presenter. It is incredibly rude and disrespectful. Two months ago I was interviewing with Frontier Airlines and one of the interviewers in the meeting spent the whole time on his Blackberry and did not engage me whatsoever. I was incredibly disappointed with him and the company. Also, my younger sister and I call my older sister “Hollywood” because of the amount of texting and tweeting she does on her phone. It is ridiculous and childish…

    The real filter is our decision to make a personal filter. We need to make the choice to narrow down the huge amount of information and let in the good values-aligned knowledge in. Teach youth, adults, and even our leaders not to always be connected. Some of my best times away from the world are on annual hut trips in the Colorado High Country. I am disconnected from society, away from the Internet & cell phones, and spending some quality time with close friends and God. :)

    2. While organizations have a clear right to control Intellectual Property (IP), how can open and collaborative social-network environs be used to promote value-aligned principles, common vision, goals and provide ROI for an organization’s stakeholders?

    That is a tough call. America is based on entrepreneurship and innovation, but it is still important to control IP and the law. For example, Apple just had a legal victory in its patent battle with Samsung, ordering the South Korean to pay more than $1 billion in damages for copying the iPhone and iPad. I agree with this settlement if they indeed did copy the technology. Social network environments should promote activities like “apps” and other programs in a legal manner. It is like anything – you should be rewarded for accomplishments and punished for cheating.

  6. Craig says:

    As an alumnus of CCU, I can validate that the faculty and staff at CCU have taught me the core values and functions to serve in all areas of my life. I’ve been in the corporate sector for 12 years and have learned much from being in the for-profit business environment. The core values that I developed while at CCU have given me confidence when dealing with various business departments and how to collaborate across teams.

    The spiritual values that I’ve learned have been immersed throughout my whole life. Whether I’m at home with the family, volunteering with non-profit groups, or for-profit business, the education that I received from CCU taught me how to be non-compartmentalized in all areas. I look for ways to incorporate my faith in the workplace. Competence in my job is the number one tool that I leverage so I’m respected by my peers. If I start with competence, I’m able to share Jesus easier.

    The leadership attributes listed above are all important. Some are easier than others. I would say I’m decent at 4 or 5 of them. I’m still growing in the others. You never “arrive” at learning. I look forward to CCU sharpening me even more as I pursue an MBA in the next phase of my career.

  7. Jeffrey Kistler says:

    This post hits the nail on the head, in regards to leadership. We’ve seen so many “leaders” who lead companies down the wrong path, due to inaccurate and misconceived goals. For instance, take a look at Enron, where the leaders succumbed to corporate greed, and led their company into one of the biggest corporate scandals in history.
    Northouse defines leadership as process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal (Northouse, 2013). Being able to influence employees is critical for successful leaders, and CCU understands this philosophy. CCU offers leadership and management courses that give students the tools needed in order to be an effective and ethical leader.

    Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership theory and practice (6th ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Productions.

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