Back to top

Undergraduate Leadership Courses - Higher Education and Student Affairs

The interdisciplinary leadership studies minor provides you knowledge in leadership theories, principles and concepts. Courses in the Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) program contribute to, and are sequenced to meet, all minor requirements. HESA courses are structured to include theories and principles of intercultural leadership, team and organizational leadership, community leadership and personal leadership development. Completion of these classes will prepare you for future leadership and professional roles. 


HESA Leadership Courses

Team and Organizational Leadership (ESHESA 2570):
Provides an overview of the theory related to, and skills necessary for, the practice of effective leadership in team and organizational settings. Leadership is explored as an integral component of a student's career and life plan, focusing on the theory of relational leadership along with the importance of interpersonal skills and group dynamics.  At the conclusion of this course, students will demonstrate understanding of leadership theory and research, increased awareness of the personal qualities and skills they bring to leadership settings, and an increased confidence and skill in practicing leadership in the collegiate, workplace and/or community setting.  This course allows students to develop a Personal Leadership Philosophy.

Leadership in Community Service (ESHESA 2571):
An introduction to the knowledge, skills and competencies for responsible service and leadership in diverse communities. This course prepares students for engaged, responsible and active community involvement and leadership. In addition to a weekly class meeting, students engage in a required, off-campus field experience for a minimum of two hours a week. Additionally, students will: 

  1. gain an understanding of service and leadership; 
  2. analyze the settings in which service takes place; 
  3. gain hands on knowledge, skills, and experience about a specific community service organization; and 
  4. develop their own leadership styles and skills in a community setting. 

The purpose of this course is to prepare students for a lifetime of engaged, responsible and ac-tive community involvement and leadership. 

Note: This course satisfies a General Education (GE) requirement in the Open Option category: Service Learning.

Introduction to Leadership Development in Learning Organizations (ESHESA 2572):
Studying leadership requires a parallel process of internal reflection and learning about others. This course outlines concepts and strategies necessary to be an effective leader. Through a variety of leadership assessments, students learn about their leadership styles and preferences. The course defines leadership and followership, while providing students the opportunity to learn about human motivation, communication and feedback. Students enhance their skills through reading, discussion, case analyses, in-class exercises, student presentations and an in-novative consulting project.

Student Organization Leadership Training (ESHESA 2575):
Leadership for social change is the focus of this course. It is designed especially for cohorts of student leaders who are working together within the context of a student organization. Courses are specifically designed for the needs of particular student organizations around the social change model of leadership. Opportunities exist within the course for student organizations to set a vision, develop goals and create theory-based plan for developing future leaders. Student organizations that wish to offer courses to members can contact Dr. Amy Barnes and Antonio Duran to discuss the process of registering a section of the course.

Diversity and Social Justice in Leadership (ESHESA 2577):
This course is built on intellectual and experiential engagement with issues of difference, diversity, social justice and alliance building. In a multicultural society that is culturally diverse yet socially stratified, discussions about difference, community and conflict are important to facilitate understanding among different social and cultural groups. Acquiring knowledge and skills for cultural understanding is essential for today’s leaders. In this course, students learn the pluralistic nature of institutions, society and culture in the United States and across the world in order to become educated, productive and principled global leaders. Note: This course satisfies a General Education (GE) requirement for Social Diversity in the United States.

Leadership and Innovation (ESHESA 3221/BUSMRH 3221):
Co-taught between the College of Education and Human Ecology and the Fisher College of Business, this leadership class is designed to challenge you to think innovatively, creatively solve problems, and receive feedback on your leadership approaches. This is a great three-credit course for students interested in applying their talents in innovative ways.

Leadership for Social Change (ESHESA 4239):
ESHESA 4239 will help students consider leadership through a lens of equity and will frame ways to reconstruct our collective understanding of leadership and leadership practice to be more inclusive and justice-oriented. In this course, students will have the opportunity to reflect on contemporary social movements and to analyze power dynamics in various leadership contexts. This class will be of particular interest to individuals who are interested in deconstructing dominant ideologies around leadership and who view themselves as future leaders of social change. As an upper-level course, it is recommended that students take ESHESA 2571S, ESHESA 2577, or a related course discussing concepts of power, privilege, and oppression prior to enrolling in ESHESA 4239.

Instructor Feature

Matt Van Jura
Assistant Director, Leadership and Community Engagement
Office of Student Life, Student Activities

What do you enjoy most about teaching?
Teaching is my favorite part about my job. I love having a semester to see a class come together, work with students, and see their ideas take shape over the course of a term. Establishing that level of rapport with the class, you get into some very deep, very thought-provoking conversations – and I always leave class each week wrestling with new ideas myself. These courses have a profound impact on my learning, and every semester I see students experience transformational growth as well. It’s cool to think that one comment from a good discussion, or one article, or a lesson learned from a class assignment can help students make a radical leap in their thinking that influences their future trajectory.

Why would you recommend students take leadership classes?
Taking a leadership class will be unlike almost any other class you take at Ohio State. The instructor will know each of you by name by week two. By week three, you'll know the names of each of your classmates. And by the end of the semester, you'll feel like you are truly part of a learning community - knowing the strengths, weaknesses, hopes and dreams of your classmates - and discovering a great deal about yourself too. Leadership courses are a fantastic way to build upon the content you're learning in your major, and prepare yourself for whatever life throws at you in the years ahead.

What is your favorite leadership book/content and why?
I like to read books that at face-value may not appear to be focused on leadership, but find a connection to some of the values or principles associated with socially responsible leadership. So I don’t have a consistent favorite – my answer changes all the time. I was a Political Science major in college and lately I’ve been doing a deep dive back into the world of government and politics. One book that I recently pulled off my shelf is “All the President’s Men.” It’s written by the two reporters who covered the Watergate scandal from start to finish. Great book – highly recommend for summer reading. For me, the story has been a great reminder about con-cepts of integrity, ethical decision-making, and the corrosive influence of power when leaders think they won’t be held accountable for their decisions. All components of leadership that we emphasize through the minor. There's also lessons about leaders who took enormous risks and put their careers on the line in order to stand up for what they believed to be right.


Amy Barnes, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor

Erin Satterwhite, Graduate Administrative Associate
HESA Student Leadership Curricular Initiatives