Leadership for Dummies: A Capstone Project for Leadership Students

Capstone courses in leadership provide students opportunities to synthesize prior knowledge about various aspects of leadership. This article describes the Leadership for Dummies project, which could be used as a capstone experience for leadership majors. Based on his experiences as a psychological researcher, Gardner (2008) identified five minds individuals should develop: the disciplined mind (being an expert in one area), the synthesizing mind (gathering information from multiple sources and combining the information in a meaningful way), creating mind (building new boxes and thinking outside the old ones), the respectful mind (valuing the differences of others), and the ethical mind (doing what is right). The Leadership for Dummies assignment requires students to use their disciplined, synthesizing, and creating minds to develop new ways of thinking needed by tomorrow’s leaders. Anecdotal evidence suggests the assignment is helping students make meaning out of their undergraduate experience while taking ownership of their own learning.