Leading with Heart

Leading with Heart is a program option within the Master of Education (MEd), Interdisciplinary route. Visit the MEd, Interdisciplinary Route page for complete MEd details including fees

"For any approach to school leadership to work in the long run it has to connect with a person's heart, head, and hands. That is, a person's leadership stance, the basic position one operates from, needs to feel right, make sense, and enable complex issues to be handled with skill, and even, at times, artistry" (Novak, 2009, p. 53).

The Leading with Heart four-course topic is an opportunity for those interested in leadership to connect this grand topic with the personal vision and wellness held by both self and other. Leadership theory will be explored from a lens of personal understanding that acknowledges the importance of place and of wellness while challenging preconceived notions of leadership and followership. This four-course graduate topic examines the relational aspects of leadership while giving voice to the importance of ethics and personal vision in the implementation of leadership mission and mandate. Students will examine their personal understandings of leadership and, through mindful leadership, will examine the effects of relationships and professional culture on teachers, students and community. The Leading with Heart four-course topic is rooted theoretically in the work of authors examining wellness, vision and authenticity in leadership.

Target Audience:

  • Educators with an interest in leadership
  • Educators and consultants who work in the intersections of wellness, authenticity, vision and leadership
  • Professionals in the areas of leadership design and development

Program Goals

  • To increase awareness of the role of personal vision and wellness in educational leadership.
  • To assist educational leaders in furthering discussion and learning about authenticity, vision and wellness as key aspects of leadership and staff development.
  • To assist current and future educational leaders to envision and enact a personal theory of leadership that enhances the personal wellness of staff and students while remaining cognizant of current educational realities.

Program Schedule

Term 1 - Summer

Summer 2020
EDER 619.38 L13 (50113)
Leading with Heart:  Theoretical Foundations

Term 1 - Summer

Summer 2020
EDER 619.40 L14 (50141)
Mindful Leadership: Understanding Personal Vision

Term 2 - Fall

Fall 2020
EDER 619.36 L06 (73641)
Beyond Self: Leading Education with Heart

Term 3 - Winter

Winter 2021
EDER 619.47 L09 (14267)
Sustainable Leadership: Enacting Leadership with Heart

Notice re: Summer Residency 2021

All MEd Summer 2021 classes will be moving fully online with the exception of off-campus courses in the Transformative Learning Environments Topic. There will be no on-campus Summer Residency. Please do not make any travel plans such as booking flights or accommodations. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

The Werklund School is a leader in online learning, offering robust programs and supports for students seeking alternate program delivery.  Staff and faculty are committed to ensuring the quality of this learning experience will meet the needs of our students and maintain the high standards we have become known for.

Course Descriptions

Outlines are normally available 1-2 weeks prior to the start of term in D2L.

Course Delivery

The Summer blended course(s) begin with face-to-face classes at the University of Calgary, during the first part of July, with online follow up.Fall and Winter courses are offered fully online using Desire2Learn and Zoom. For additional information regarding online delivery, please refer to the Online Delivery eLearn website.


3 units per course

EDER 619.38 Leading with Heart: Theoretical Foundations

This course introduces students to key leadership theorists with a focus on the importance of knowing oneself and one's personal views and educational purpose. Students will come to understand the importance and power of theory in the development of a personal vision for leadership. This theory will be employed to challenge the preconceived notions of students around the purposes for and effects of leadership in educational institutions. Students will be required to examine those theorists that both support and challenge their currently held beliefs about leadership.

EDER 619.40 Mindful Leadership: Understanding Personal Vision

In conjunction with the previously described course, this course asks students to examine the role of wellness and mindfulness in their leadership practices. Fundamentally, mindfulness asks us to be wholly present in and aware of each moment as it occurs and to respond to that moment in a non-judgemental and open manner. Through the practice of mindfulness, students will be invited to examine the reactive tendencies of self and others and to consider how mindfulness practices could impact their current and future leadership development.

EDER 619.36 Beyond Self: Leading Education with Heart

Ideas regarding leadership and followership imbue all educational institutions in different ways and are a reflection of various components including school culture, school diversity and the relationships that exist between the various power structures at play. Students will be asked to assess their role in the leadership of their particular professional context, with particular attention being given to their ability to enact a personal vision of leadership that enhances the culture and promotes positive change in their educational context.

EDER 619.47 Sustaining Leadership: Enacting Leadership with Heart

This course asks students to bring together the key concepts in the previous three courses in the development of a leadership framework and action plan that includes understandings of leadership theory, wellness and personal vision. The development and implementation of this framework will then act as the basis for examination and challenging of leadership theories that prioritize the relational. Students will ultimately critique the development and implementation of their leadership framework and will provide evidence-based recommendations for those who wish to lead with heart.

Have Questions?

Graduate Program Administrator (GPA)

Brenda Tschanz

Academic Program Coordinator

Dr. Amy Burns

Ready to Apply?

Applications are open November 1 - March 1. All students apply for admission through the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Please note that topics are offered yearly and subject to change.

Learn more about applying