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HUMAN 3LM3 Foundations of Leadership (C01)

Academic Year: Winter 2019

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Alpha Abebe



Phone: 905-525-9140 x

Office Hours: By Appointment

Course Objectives:

Effective leaders possess strong ethical values, emotional and social intelligence, excellent communication skills, and creativity; they have empathy, and are able to influence and inspire through informed, reasoned arguments. Students will explore how these elements fit together in various leadership models and how they apply cross-culturally. They will also take several assessments that measure their developing skills, as well as engage in reflective practice to increase self-awareness. Students apply these leadership skills through the peer-to peer mentoring of first year international students in the McMaster English Language Development (MELD) program. Student learning is documented through reflection papers and a structured portfolio.

By the end of the course students will have learned:

  • the five practices for exemplary leadership
  • the key principles of excellence in leadership
  • the best practices and principles for effective mentorship
  • how to connect the experiential component of mentorship to aspects of the professional world
  • how to connect leadership theory with practice through reflection and discussion
  • insights into personal strengths and weaknesses as related to the development of leadership skills

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

1.  Kouzes, J. M. and B. Z. Posner. The Student Leadership Challenge. Third Edition. Wiley. 2018. [E-book also available]

2. Additional articles will be posted on A2L.

3. HDMI adapter to connect laptop to active learning classroom technology for in-class activities and presentations.

Method of Assessment:

Mentorship Reflections (2 x 15% each = 30%)

  • You will be provided with a set of questions that will ask you to reflect on your mentorship experience until that point. These questions will direct you to set goals and evaluate progress. There will be 2 reflections over the course.

Quizzes (4 x 5% each = 20%)

  • Throughout the course you will be given a quiz on the associated reading or lecture content from that week. If you have attended classes and done the readings, these should be fairly easy, straightforward quizzes. Quizzes will be announced in class or on A2L the week they are due.

Group presentation (15%)

  • You will be assigned to a group and provided with one of the Student Leadership Challenge practices. As a group, you will identify reputable articles and real-life examples that demonstrate this commitment in action. You will get 10 minutes to share what you learned in class. The primary purpose of this assignment is to navigate the process of working as a group and learn about the leadership practices in more depth.

Final Portfolio (30%)

  • At the end of the course, you will submit a portfolio based on a review of your reflections and what you have learned, about yourself, about leadership and about mentorship. You will put this together into a presentation (a website such as Wix, Weebly, WordPress, etc. or video is suggested– but a PowerPoint or even a Word document is acceptable). You will describe who you are, what you’ve learned and where you are going. More details to follow.

Attendance (5%)

  • Your attendance in class will be recorded via Mentimeter. Your attendance grade will be the equivalent the percentage of classes you attend. Should the instructor become aware of attendance issues in your mentoring sessions, attendance marks will be deducted at the discretion of the instructor.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late assignments will be subject to a 5% per day late penalty (includes weekends and holidays) for up to seven (7) days. After this date, no assignments will be accepted and a grade of zero (0) will be applied. Extensions for course work that will not incur a late penalty must be approved by the instructor before the due date. Extensions are generally only granted for illness, emergencies, and extenuating circumstances. Note that this is distinct from the McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF) submission process.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Classes will be a mixture of lectures, group discussions and activities, guest speakers, group working sessions, and class presentations. Weekly reading schedule will be posted on A2L.

*Schedule subject to change. 

Week 1

January 10

Introduction to course structure and content; Syllabus overview and course expectations


Week 2

January 17

Definitions of leadership; Leadership Challenge Model;

Preparing for the first mentorship session


Week 3

January 24

Definitions and principles of mentorship

Weekly mentoring sessions begins this week (between Jan 21-25)

Week 4

January 31

Effective interpersonal and cross-cultural communication


Week 5

February 7

Model the Way


Week 6

February 14

Inspire a Shared Vision

Mentorship reflection paper #2 due February 15.

Week 7

Midterm Recess (Feb 18-24)

Week 8

February 28

Challenge the Process


Week 9

March 7

Enable Others to Act


Mentorship Check In

Week 10

March 14

Encourage the Heart

Mentorship reflection paper #3 due March 15.

Week 11

March 21

Class presentations


Week 12

March 28

Class presentations


Week 13

April 4

Final course overview and reflections

Final portfolio due April 8.

Other Course Information:

Course materials, instructions, announcements, answers to most questions, contact information, etc. will be posted on Avenue. If it is posted on Avenue, you are responsible for knowing it. You should aim to log in to Avenue and check announcements once a day, and are encouraged to subscribe to email notifications from A2L.