In the 1980s, while other schools offered graduate programs to develop managers, Augsburg created a program to develop leaders.
The result was the distinctive Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL) degree and the leadership development model that drives the program. The year 2012 marked MAL’s 25th anniversary. The program’s hundreds of graduates can attest to the difference it’s made in their careers and in their lives.
The MAL program is a cross-disciplinary program of liberal arts that — like Augsburg’s undergraduate program — builds skills in communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking, as well as increasing students’ self-confidence and risk-taking. For companies, this means employees with vision and the ability to work across company divisions to make thoughtful decisions.
The goal of the program is not only the study of leadership, but also the development of leaders, which transforms the individual during the process.
Students enter the MAL program for many of the same reasons adult students enter other graduate programs — enhancement of current job or career skills, improved opportunities for promotion, change of careers, or personal growth. What students experience in the program is often much less tangible — increased self-confidence, greater willingness to take risks and the ability to communicate more easily in the workplace.
The MAL program promotes leadership as a process which:
1) inspires cooperation among people who must compete for limited resources,
2) promotes productivity within and beyond the organization, and
3) works toward progress for the individual and the organization.
To accomplish this, individuals aspiring to positions of leadership must possess three key attributes: a sense of vision, the ability to persuade, and the ability to direct action. Underlying these attributes is a broad range of abilities and awareness, outlined in the Augsburg Leadership Development Model, that serve as specific outcomes for the MAL Program. Augsburg’s model of leadership development is designed to assess, promote, enhance and refine these capabilities within the individual.