All course information is listed within this syllabus.

CEDEV 505: Leadership Development (3 credits). Exploration, understanding, and application of leadership roles, strategies, and principles in group and community settings.

Prerequisites: None


Instructor for CEDEV 505

Mary Kate Berardi
Assistant Teaching Professor

Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education
302 Armsby Building
University Park, PA 16802

E-mail: Use Canvas Inbox

Course Overview

This course focuses on understanding leadership, from its practical and theoretical applications, within the context of community. Additionally, we will explore the organizational literature to better enable us, as community and economic development practitioners, to understand emerging trends that will facilitate development in and of a community. Given the nature of community and economic development, much of our readings are drawn from applied fields and rely heavily on case studies. Through these readings, you will be able to better understand how theory is applied in "real-world" situations and gain further insight into how best to work with community leadership within your own context. Through the use of class discussion, students will share examples of working with community leaders or other leadership experiences; reflect critically on the literature, including identification of notable strengths and weaknesses; share thoughtful critiques of others' posts, and provide insightful commentary on discussion forum questions or questions asked by colleagues. Information on the class syllabus may be changed during the semester to better serve class learning needs.

The seminar includes "modules" which are the World Campus equivalent of classes for students in residence. Each module is the equivalent of a week of class content and activities. The average time for completing the reading and activities for a module is about 12-15 hours.

Course requirements include completing assigned readings, participating in asynchronous online class discussions, and compiling four reflective essays.

Course Objectives

At the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Explain how leadership applies to and fosters community and economic development.
  • Apply the leadership concepts in a holistic and applied manner.
  • Develop skills for identifying community leaders.
  • Develop a personal approach to working with community leaders to better understand how successful community and economic development can be achieved.

This is a graduate seminar and therefore we will largely rely on readings and discussion as a means to familiarize you with topics in the community and leadership bodies of literature. Your learning depends on your participation and your personal engagement in the topic. Class discussion forum postings are designed to encourage an expression of your opinions and observations, to share experiences, and to ask questions. Primary assessment will be derived from your performance on four Reflective Essays. A grading/instructional rubric, which provides guidance on successful preparation is provided.

I will be looking for evidence that you understand your own unique capabilities and the importance of bringing your own qualities to this course. There are no "right answers" in our class discussions and your degree of personal and collective insight will determine success.

It is important to develop one's own personalized sense of self; reflecting on your own values and beliefs should help you identify ways in which to apply your own strengths to community leadership situations. I have designed this class to set the stage for students to take responsibility for their own learning rather than dictating content for students to learn.

Course Outline

Module 1: Welcome to the Course

Module 2: Community, Collaboration, and Leadership

Module 3: Community Agency, Capacity, and Action

Module 4: Sustained Dialogue and Public Deliberation in Application

Module 5: Sustained Dialogue in Application

Module 6: Public Deliberation in Application

Module 7: Entrepreneurial Leadership and Economic Development

Module 8: Volunteerism

Module 9: Virtual Community Role Play

Module 10: Organizations and Nonprofits

Module 11: Future Directions for Community Leadership

Module 12 & 13 Virtual Community Role Play and Final Essay

Any/all materials needed for this module will be provided by the instructor at the beginning of the module.

Course Requirements

This course will incorporate a mixture of discussion, case study analysis, and small group work. I encourage value and expect your preparation, participation, attention, reflection, and attendance. My expectations for students include:

  1. Academic Integrity: Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. The University's Code of Conduct states that all students should act with personal integrity, respect other students' dignity, rights, and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts. Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others. University Faculty Senate Policy 49-20 concerning Academic Dishonesty, and as spelled out in the Student Guide to University Policies and Rules, applies to this course: Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarizing, fabricating of information or citations, facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others, having unauthorized possession of examinations, submitting work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor, or tampering with the academic work of other students.
  2. Come to class prepared, having done the readings and other assignments.
  3. Submit assignments on or before the due date indicated. No late assignments will be graded unless you have discussed extenuating circumstances with me before the assignment deadline.
  4. Exhibit willingness to engage with others in a respectful manner.
  5. Ask questions of the instructor and your classmates that contribute to the learning of the entire class.

Course Schedule

For due dates, refer to the Course Summary on the Syllabus page in Canvas.

Course Materials

Most World Campus courses require that students purchase materials (e.g., textbooks, specific software, etc.). To learn about how to order materials, please see the Course Materials page. You should check the World Campus Course Catalog approximately 3–4 weeks before the course begins for a list of required materials.


ISBN: 978-0231151689
Lohmann, R., & Van Til, J. (2011). Resolving Community Conflicts and Problems: Public Deliberation and Sustained Dialogue. Columbia University Press. (E-Book option available)

For pricing and ordering information, please see the Barnes & Noble College website.

Materials will be available at Barnes & Noble College approximately three weeks before the course begins. It is very important that you purchase the correct materials. If your course requires one or more textbooks, you must have exactly the correct text required (edition and year).


ISBN: 978-1250183866
Willink, J., & Babin, L. (2017). Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win (2nd ed.). St. Martin's Press, Inc.

You may purchase course materials from Barnes & Noble College (the bookstore used by Penn State's World Campus). For pricing and ordering information, please see the Barnes & Noble College website. Materials will be available at Barnes & Noble College approximately three weeks before the course begins. Alternatively, you may obtain these texts from other favorite bookstores. Be sure you purchase the edition/publication date listed.

E-Book Option

An online version of one or more of your texts is available at no cost as a Penn State Library E-Book. Some E-Books will only be available online, while others will be available to download in full or in part. You may choose to use the E-Book as an alternative to purchasing a physical copy of the text. You can access the E-Book by selecting Library Resources in the Course Navigation Menu, and then selecting the E-Reserves link. For questions or issues, you can contact the University Libraries Reserve Help (UL-RESERVESHELP@LISTS.PSU.EDU).


This course requires that you access Penn State library materials specifically reserved for this course. You can access these materials by selecting Library Resources in the Course Navigation Menu, or by accessing the Library E-Reserves Search and searching for your instructor's last name.


Four Reflective Essays: 40%

Reflective essays should demonstrate your ability to understand and synthesize the concepts presented in the course readings. You should be critical of the literature, but able to ground your views based on said literature. An acceptable reflective essay identifies key points that emerge across the weekly readings as a theme and relate it to some facet of community and economic development. Please note, whether you agree or disagree with a particular reading is immaterial; your ability to rationalize your argument through carefully selected quotes and citations will be evidence of a "good" essay. A grading rubric is provided in Canvas.

  • Reflective Essay 1, covering Modules 1-3
  • Reflective Essay 2, covering Modules 4-6
  • Reflective Essay 3, covering Modules 7-9
  • Reflective Essay 4, a cumulative essay covering content from three modules

Discussion Group Participation: 30%

A grading rubric for discussion participation and group assignment expectations is provided in Canvas. In addition to providing expectations for a thoughtful discussion, this document contains additional information that will be useful in enriching the class discussion. It is expected you provide thoughtful and timely commentary. Discussion postings are due as specified in your Canvas Syllabus under the Course Summary heading.

Virtual Community Role Play: 30%

Discussions for this assignment will focus on an applied case study scenario, drawn from real-world example(s). Here, your task is to select the role of a community leader persona (mayor, representative of a nonprofit, religious leader, postmaster, etc.) and advocate/debate the posted scenario. In completing this task, you should represent the interests of your persona, while also remembering how to apply the lessons, skills, and insights drawn from previous modules. Details concerning specific scenarios will be provided at the beginning of the module.

Grading Policy

Grading Criteria
Requirement Cumulative Point Value Weight
Reflective Essays 400 40%
Weekly Discussion Activities 300 30%
Virtual Community Activities 300 30%
TOTAL: 1000 100%
Grading Scheme
Letter Grade Percentage Points
A 100% – 93% 93–100
A- < 93% – 90% 90–92
B+ < 90% – 87% 87–89
B < 87% – 83% 83–86
B- < 83% – 80% 80–82
C+ < 80% – 77% 77–79
C < 77% – 70% 70–76
D < 70% – 60% 60–69
F < 60% < 60

Due to the effort in providing you with comments, suggestions, edits, and my evaluation of your reflective essays, you should expect my response and grade within 7 business days following the due date of the essay. Feedback and evaluation of your discussion forum posts begin at the start of the next module. For example, the review of your post(s) on Module 2 will begin at the start of Module 3. You should expect my feedback and evaluation within 7 business days from the start of the next module.

Please refer to the University Grading Policy for Graduate Courses for additional information.

NOTE: If you are planning to graduate this semester, please communicate your intent to graduate to your instructor. This will alert your instructor to the need to submit your final grade in time to meet the published graduation deadlines. For more information about graduation policies and deadlines, please see "Graduation" under World Campus Student Resources.

Online Students Use of the Library

As Penn State World Campus students, you have access to many of the materials that the library offers to students. The library website has a lot to offer, but can be overwhelming. A guide has been created to serve as your introduction to important library resources, services, and important pages within the library. The Online Student Library Guide is updated regularly by the online librarian and is intended to provide a level of comfort through an introduction to help you feel comfortable navigating the library website to find valuable information for your coursework.

Technical Requirements

This course is offered online and it is assumed you possess the minimum system requirements and computing skills to participate effectively. A list of technical requirements is listed on World Campus' Penn State Technical Requirements page.

Minimum Skills

  • You should have an understanding of basic computer usage (creating folders/directories, switching between programs, formatting and backing up media, accessing the internet).
  • You must be able to conduct word processing tasks such as creating, editing, saving, and retrieving documents.
  • You must be able to use a web browser to open web pages, download files, and search the internet.
  • You must be able to use an e-mail program to send and receive messages and to attach and download documents/files.
  • You must be able to download and install programs or plug-ins from the internet.

Getting Help With Canvas Courses

Canvas support is available 24/7 via chat or phone.

It is in your own best interest to be as specific as you possibly can. Try to include information such as the specific course page, quiz question, etc. you were on; what you attempted to do when that failed; the exact language of any error message displayed on your screen; the date and time when your problem occurred; and any other pertinent information (does the problem happen consistently and always in the same way, etc.).

Support Services

As a student, you have access to a variety of services and resources, including advising, tutoring, library services, career services, and more. Please visit the following resources for more information:

Accessibility Information


The term "Netiquette" refers to the etiquette guidelines for electronic communications, such as e-mail and discussion postings. Netiquette covers not only rules to maintain civility in discussions but also special guidelines unique to the electronic nature of messages. Please review Virginia Shea's "The Core Rules of Netiquette" for general guidelines that should be followed when communicating in this course.

Penn State Policies

Login Policy

Students are expected to log in regularly to keep up to date with announcements, discussions, etc. The class will progress at a regular pace throughout the semester and there are specific due dates and times for assignments, etc.

Course Availability

Your course will be available to you beginning the first day of class and will remain open for one year. After one year the course will close.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest, and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at The Pennsylvania State University, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. Consistent with this expectation, students should act with personal integrity, respect other students' dignity, rights, and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts. Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation, or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others (see Faculty Senate Policy 49-20, G-9 Procedures, and the Code of Conduct).

Please read the academic integrity guidelines for the College of Agricultural Sciences.

A lack of knowledge or understanding of the University's academic integrity policy and the types of actions it prohibits and/or requires does not excuse one from complying with the policy. Penn State and the College of Agricultural Sciences take violations of academic integrity very seriously. Faculty, alumni, staff, and fellow students expect each student to uphold the University's standards of academic integrity both inside and outside of the classroom.

Educational Equity Statement

Penn State takes great pride in fostering a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated and can be reported through Educational Equity on the Bias Response page.

Privacy Policies

For information about Penn State's privacy statement and what it encompasses, please read their Web Privacy Statement. Visit Penn State's FERPA Guidelines for Faculty and Staff page for information regarding its rules governing the privacy of student educational records.

Copyright Notice

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor's express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD40, Recording of Classroom Activities and Note-Taking Services, addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University's Code of Conduct, and/or liable under federal and state laws.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional well-being. The University offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, consultations, online chats, and mental health screenings. These services are provided by staff who welcome all students and embrace a philosophy respectful of clients' cultural and religious backgrounds, and sensitive to differences in race, ability, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

Accommodations for Persons With Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Student Disability Resources website provides contact information for every Penn State campus. For further information, please visit the Student Disability Resources page.

In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus' disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Accommodations for Military Personnel

Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.

Use of Trade Names

Where trade names are used, no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by World Campus, Outreach and Cooperative Extension, the College of Agricultural Sciences, or The Pennsylvania State University is implied.

Subject to Change Statement

Please note that this Course Syllabus is subject to change. Students are responsible for abiding by such changes.

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search to start planning ahead.