Educating Graduate Leadership Students to Become Active Participants in Their Discourse Communities

Leadership Studies courses often face challenges of educating students for a focused area of specialization. We challenged this by offering an innovative leadership course whose aim was to socialize graduate students into their discourse communities. In this paper, we describe a course and the study we conducted to learn from the process and reflect on the implications. During and after the course, we gathered data through interviews and document analysis. The findings indicate that students can benefit from experiential courses that expose them to their discourse communities where they explore career opportunities and engage in higher-level conversations that address contemporary leadership issues. In general, such courses present authentic opportunities where theory and practice converge.