I went out to my car this morning and the -20 degree wind chill took my breath away! I came back upstairs and decided to stay put today and to get the work done that I needed to do to finish setting up my new course in servant-leadership that I will begin teaching for Gonzaga University on Monday. This is an online course in their Doctoral Program for Leadership Studies (Servant-Leadership, DPLS 778). I also continue to teach every eight weeks another servant-leadership course in their Masters program for Organizational Leadership (Servant-Leadership, MA ORGL 530). Last summer, my colleague Shann Ferch and I also co-taught an on-campus doctoral course that was based upon an earlier Servant-Leadership Writer’s Retreat that I had designed and facilitated. I find that I enjoy teaching, and especially online teaching, a great deal.

I thought that I would include below a little bit of the Syllabus that I have put together for this course—


The servant leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. The best test and the most difficult to administer is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And what is the effect on the least privileged in society; will they benefit or, at least, not be further deprived?

--Robert K. Greenleaf, from The Servant as Leader

• 3 semester credits
• Online, Spring 2010
• January 11 – March 5, 2010 (8 weeks)

How do servant-leaders understand the meaning and applications of servant-leadership? What is the meaning of servant-leadership for individuals, and for organizations with whom they come into contact? These and other questions are at the heart of student mastery for this course.

Students will begin to clarify their own understanding of servant-leadership, and their own actions and practices as servant-leaders. All of this is grounded in knowledge (literature), reflection and inquiry (discussion board), and practices (papers and dialogue).

Student mastery will also involve understanding the applications of servant-leadership in organizations and in other emerging applications (Council of Equals, Myers-Briggs, Service-Learning, and Forgiveness). Students will emerge with a better understanding of themselves as servant-leaders, and better able to influence organizations through their own practices of servant-leadership.

Module One: Understanding Servant-Leadership
In this introductory Module we examine fundamental aspects of servant-leadership (definition, purpose, characteristics) in order to lay the foundation for our subsequent applications: personal development, organizational applications, and new-and-emerging applications.

Module Two: Personal Applications of Servant-Leadership
In Module Two we focus on the understanding and personal practices associated with being a servant-leader. Special emphasis is given to the cultivation of servant-leadership characteristics, and to the fundamental aspect of servant-first, then leading.

Module Three: Organizational Applications of Servant-Leadership
In Module Three we focus on understanding servant-leadership as it is practiced within organizations. Students will be comparing and contrasting these organizational practices of servant-leadership with an organization with which they are familiar.

Module Four: Emerging Applications of Servant-Leadership
In Module Four, we will examine some of the other emerging applications of servant-leadership. This Module is designed to demonstrate other significant implications for servant-leadership in society.

Boyd, J. (2008). A Servant Leader’s Journey: Lessons From Life. Mahwah: Paulist Press. ISBN #0809145685.

Ferch, S. and Spears, L. (2009). The International Journal of Servant-Leadership: Spokane: Gonzaga University.

McGee-Cooper, A., Looper, G, and Trammell, D. Being the Change: Profiles from Our Servant Leadership Learning Community. Dallas: Ann McGee-Cooper & Associates. ISBN#9780979514906.

Greenleaf, R. (2002). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. Mahwah: Paulist Press. ISBN# 0809105543.

Spears, L. C. (1998). Insights on Leadership: Service, Stewardship, Spirit, and Servant-Leadership. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN# 0471176346

Spears, L.C. & Lawrence, M. (2004). Practicing Servant Leadership. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass. ISBN# 0787974552

The following films are required:
• Babette’s Feast (MGM World Films; Gabriel Axel, Director), 1989
• Hoosiers (MGM; David Anspaugh, Director), 1986
• To Kill a Mockingbird (Universal; Robert Mulligan, Director), 1962/2005

--Larry Spears [Saturday, Jan. 10, 2010]