At North Park’s School of Professional Studies (SPS), we practice what we teach—especially when it comes to preparing leaders to readily adapt to a changing business landscape.
Leadership classes focus on adaptability as a key take-away skill that will be applied right away in the workforce and is now the norm of hiring expectations. To survive, and thrive, businesses require resilient and rapid responses to an ever-changing environment along with highly-functioning, well-prepared teams by their side. Acquiring these leadership skills starts with learning in an environment modeling adaptability.
“SPS has taught me that we can no longer just do as we have always done in the past, we must learn to adapt and change as quickly as the environment around us is changing,” says SPS student Melissa Feltner.
Covering relevant topics such as managing change and conflict; understanding group and organizational behavior; and leadership and management, SPS courses teach students how to be adaptive leaders.
“My professors emphasize how necessary preparation is as a leader, and my approach to problem solving has evolved. I am empowered to go after more opportunities and not let anything limit me from reaching for the stars,” says SPS student Mika Lenorr.
Online learning for SPS students is the culmination of over 12 years of online teaching experience with ongoing real-time conversations. “My professors regularly engage with us in discussion boards and other forums, which add more depth and perspective to the conversations,” says SPS student Ryan Canfield.
Engaging in a multi-media online model, students participate in a weekly structure of discussion forums, group work, videos, and lectures. “The professors all provide tutorials in the beginning of each course ensuring that we are all comfortable with the required software and technology requirements,” says Lenorr.
While nurturing diverse learners in a supportive environment, classmates delve deep into material, conversing and connecting with one another developing their critical thinking and communication skills. “Each course is structured in a way that gives students the opportunity to collaborate and the independence and confidence to complete their tasks,” says Lenorr.
With specific courses geared towards understanding what it means to be a leader, students learn more about themselves and the type of leader they aspire to be. For Canfield, the courses he took in Leadership & Management, Understanding Group & Organizational Behavior, Servant Leadership, and Business Ethics strengthened his understanding of how to function as a leader in his career. “One of the greatest impacts on developing as a leader was learning about servant leadership and how this style allows me to align my approach with my core values of helping others,” says Canfield.
“My Strategic Management and Servant Leadership course have both been the biggest influence for how I have reshaped my approach in the way that I engage with people within my personal life and in my career,” adds Lenorr.
An attentive learning environment, with a shared goal to develop personally and professionally, fosters close relationships between faculty and peers for an all-around valuable experience. “Being part of such a supportive environment has allowed me to truly absorb the content of my courses and use that information in my everyday life,” says Feltner.