HLD 302, Leadership Capstone: Spring, 2019

(Previous course rubric for this course was UC 302)


Instructor: Stephanie Lindsay, PhD ([email protected])
Office Location: Reid 242 
Class Meets: Mondays, 5:10-6 PM, Jabs 305
Office Hours: T&R 1-3 PM (Note: Appointments can be made with a 2-day notice)


Course Description:
Leadership Capstone, HLD 302, is for students completing requirements for the MSU Leadership Fellows Certificate. Leadership Foundations (HLD 121US, UC 121US, or UC 202) is a prerequisite for HLD 302, and students need to have passed that course with a grade of “C” or better. Leadership Capstone combines original research, practical understandings, communication, and service learning.


What is a Capstone Project?
Final Capstone Projects (FCPs) are usually done during a student’s senior year. MSU’s Leadership Fellows capstones are student-initiated projects or experiences that occur outside of the classroom that build on and contribute to students' understandings of leadership within their particular field or discipline of study. Through the capstone project, Leadership Fellows students may also create an opportunity to work closely with a faculty member(s) in their interest area, which would allow students to reflect on and extend learning in their particular concentration.

Capstone projects can take various forms. The form your capstone project will take is entirely your choice. It can be a research project, a new app or website design, innovative curriculum design, or policy analysis. As such, a capstone project might involve the following: original, undergraduate research or observation in the field; an internship or service learning in the community; networking; or public speaking.  Subsumed into a capstone project are self-leadership skills including planning, self-sufficiency, goal setting, and critical writing—competencies that prepare students to become leader practitioners now and in the future.

Regardless of the form it takes, a capstone project will always culminate in a final presentation. For example, an FCP could be a fully fleshed out expressive arts project that explores an aspect of leader development, the presentation and explication of a new theory or model based on original research, or a film or video.  Capstone presentations explain a project’s background and motivation, its “why” and “how.” The time limit for FCPs is not less than 15 nor more than 30 minutes, depending upon the subject matter and time available.



Students will:

  • Schedule and meet in-person with the instructor twice during the semester: The first conference will be within the first two weeks of the semester. The purpose, methods (including literature review and data analysis when appropriate), timeline, and milestones will be determined during this meeting. Also during conference #1, the student and instructor will co-write a formal contract, detailing how the student’s work will be assessed what the student will do to obtain an A, B, and a C in the course. The students will also schedule and meet in-person with the instructor for conference #2, a check-in meeting, during weeks seven or eight. The total possible points for the two conferences is 50 points, at 25 points per meeting.
  • By the end of week 4, the student will submit into Brightspace a formal FCP proposal, which will be based upon decisions made during conference #1. By the end of week 5, the student will submit the contract into Brightspace detailing what the students will do to obtain an A, B, and a C in the course. Total possible points, proposal: 25; total possible points, contract: 25.
  • By end of week 9, submit an updated and/or revised timeline. Total possible points: 15
  • Practice Presentation: Present to the class a 4-slide presentation during week 10. Total possible points: 20
  • Design and deliver a professional, fully rehearsed presentation at semester’s end. Total possible points: 100.
  • Submit a portfolioof activities, which has been maintained throughout the semester (for example, in the form of a journal, weekly log of activities, and any supporting documentation). Depending upon the type of FCP and contract, this portfolio might also include a final written paper. Total possible points: 50 


So, Really, What Might Your FCP Look Like?

The interdisciplinary nature of a Leadership Fellows FCP, requires that students investigate at least two different subject areas or domains of knowledge. Your FCP’s topic, the final form it will take, and final presentation will be limited only by your interest in the topic, imagination, commitment, energy level, time, and financial constraints (FCPs that could be a financial burden to students are not encouraged). Here are some examples:

  • An elementary education student might write a book, Leadership Lessons I Learned from My Dog, Lucky. The student would write original text, draw original illustrations, and print a limited number of books. The student might then arrange to visit some classrooms to read the book to and discuss leadership with the children. The student might then write a brief paper summarizing lessons learned from the project and the children;
  • An environmental studies student with an interest in video (or photography) might write, direct, and produce a video showing how “everyday leaders” can positively affect the environment—by tackling the issue of plastic pollution in the Bozeman area;
  • A computer science students could design and build a product, computer program, or app to address leader self-care and wellness;
  • A business major could engage in action research by interviewing key staff in a nonprofit organization that is preparing to revise its five-year strategic plan; the student’s conclusions might then be delivered in person to the organization’s Board of Trustees;
  • A psychology student doing service learning in a manufacturing organization that wishes to change and improve its customer service processes can teach the organization how a specific change theory will help them to navigate the some of the challenges that change brings;
  • An entrepreneurship student could research, through in-person interviews, the impact of authentic leadership and followership on organization effectiveness in a newly formed organization;
  • A business major might create a viable business plan for his or her yet-to-be-born small business and then pitch it to several local business leaders for feedback.


Who Might Your Audience Be?

Students can choose to give final presentations to:

  • Students in HLD 302: Presented in Jabs 103 during Week 15 and Final Exams Week
  • Students in HLD 302 with invited special guests: Same weeks as above
  • Special groups: For example, presentations could be made to a local architectural firm, the Bozeman Film Society, middle school language teachers, MSU faculty and/or students, or the Montana Stockgrowers Association. It’s up to you.

Note: If you wish to present to an audience other than the Leadership Capstone class, you will need to arrange the presentation date, time, and place in advance to ensure that the organization can make time and space for your presentation.  Also, you will need to confirm (preferably not less than six (6) weeks in advance) that your instructor (and possibly any other interested leadership capstone students) will be able to attend.


There is no required textbook to be purchased for this course. During the first class meeting, students will choose three to four leadership topics they wish to learn more about and discuss in class. Readings/videos will be weighted commensurate with a 1-credit course; that is, they will not be burdensome for students.


Course Learning Outcomes:

  • Depending upon the type of project engaged in, students will gain deeper understandings of the connection between leadership and vision, leadership and communication, leadership and service learning, and leadership and systems.
  • Depending upon the type of project engaged in, students will plan and communicate a vision of the future based on knowledge gained from their particular project.
  • Students will model leadership best practices through design, implementation, and presentation of a FCP.
  • Students will assess self-growth; develop effective time and energy management skills; consider ways in which they can be positive change agents within their particular field of study.
  • Depending upon the kind of FCP chosen, the student may engage in foundational processes of social sciences research.



Total Possible Points

Weeks 1 & 2:Conference #1 with instructor to discuss firm project ideas.

25 points


By end of Week 4: Submit FCP proposal to Brightspace.

25 points

By end of Week 5: Submit contract

25 points

Weeks 7 & 8: Conference #2, check-in

25 points

By end of Week 9: Submit timeline update

15 points

March 11: Practice Presentation: 4 slides


Week 15 and Final Exams Week: Final Capstone Project Presentations


After Each Presentation: Submit portfolio (as outlined in your contract)


Attendance: We are scheduled meet as a group in Jabs 103 on the following Mondays: January 14, 28; February 4, 11, 25; March 4, 11, 25; April 1, 8, 15, 29

120 total possible points at 10 points per class.

Total Possible Points



How You Will Be Graded:
Grading for this course will be based on the contract you submit and MSU policies.  The class will not be graded on a curve. Contact the instructor if you have questions about any aspect of course grading.


  1. Attendance & Participation:
    Attendance is mandatory. Missed classes result in reduction of attendance points and count toward cumulative absences.  Students with two or more absences will not qualify for any attendance points.
  1. A late arrival or early departure of more than 10 minutes will be considered a missed class.
  1. Since class discussion draws its strength from active and engaged participants, all students are expected to be prepared, present, engaged, and to actively participate during each class meeting.


Cell Phones, Electronic Devices, and Other Devices: 
As a matter of courtesy, turn off cell phones, pagers, and any other communication and entertainment devices prior to entering the classroom.  Keep them off during class.  Notify the instructor in advance if you are monitoring an emergency or urgent situation (for which your electronic devices should be switched to vibrate mode). Any texting, emailing, or monitoring of email is a serious breach of classroom etiquette; it will result in a reduction of attendance points. In other words, if the instructor perceives that usage of electronic devices not associated with the subject matter is occurring during a class meeting, all attendance points for that day will be deducted. The device may be taken away from you and/or you may be asked to leave for the remainder of the class.


MSU expects all students to conduct themselves as honest, responsible and law-abiding members of the academic community and to respect the rights of other students, members of the faculty and staff and the public to use, enjoy and participate in the University programs and facilities.


This course requires personal mastery and self-leadership, cooperative teamwork, critical and creative thinking, oral and written communication skills, and decision-making. Competence in these areas is an expectation. All assignments are graded accordingly. Due to the nature of meeting only once per week and the nature of a capstone course, late assignments cannot be accepted.  This will require you to be proactive and to plan ahead.  Discuss any areas of concern regarding this policy at least two weeks before any issue arises with the instructor. Non-attendance does not defer a due date.


Academic Expectations/Student Responsibilities:

  1. Be prompt and regular in attending classes
  2. Turn off your cell phone and all electronic devices before and during class meetings
  3. Come prepared for class
  4. Submit any required assignments in a timely manner
  5. Act respectfully toward other students and the instructor and in a way that does not detract from the learning experience
  6. Make and keep appointments when necessary to meet with the instructor
  7. In addition to the above items, students are expected to meet any additional course and behavioral standards as defined by the instructor, listed in this syllabus, and published by MSU.


NOTE:  A student officially representing MSU in athletic events, government, performance, or in similar official capacities, is entitled to the rescheduling of exams or important assignments due to required absences, only if a student has met the academic expectations outlined in section 310.00 of the Student Conduct Code. Students who do not meet the academic expectations, however, may not be entitled to special accommodations. Students are expected to provide course instructors with official notification of scheduled activity(ies) as early as possible, preferably at least ten (10) days in advance of the event.


Weekly Schedule of Activities:
Class meets in Jabs 305, 5:10-6 PM, on Mondays.


Week 1

Jan 7

Classes begin on Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Week 2

Jan 14

In Class: Introductions; discuss & make changes/additions to syllabus; answer questions

Exploring ideas for FCPs

Don’t forget: Schedule Conference #1 with instructor

Week 3


Martin Luther King Day: No classes, MSU offices closed

Week 4

Jan 28

In Class:  Be prepared to discuss in class why your proposal would be significant and what you hope to contribute to the conversation  is important and what you hope to accomplish.  Include the backstory—your own reasons—for pursuing this topic. In what ways does your area of study and leadership intersect in this proposed project? Why does this topic excite your imagination? Solicit ideas, comments, suggestions from peers.

Don’t forget: Capstone proposals due by end of this week

Week 5

Feb 4

In Class: Betsy Johnston & Conflict: Debate vs. Dialogue

OR The Compassion Project

Update Personal Philosophy & Action Plan

Don’t forget: Contracts due by end of this week

Week 6

Feb 11

In Class: Betsy Johnston & Conflict: Active Listening, Conflict Styles

OR The Compassion Project

Week 7

Feb 18

Presidents Day: No classes, MSU offices closed;  Individual meetings this week!!!

Week 8

Feb 25

In Class: Betsy Johnston & Conflict: Shortened version of Crucial Conversations

OR The Compassion Project

Individual meetings with students this week! Don’t forget!

Week 9

Mar 4

In Class: Lorca Smetana & Resilience

Timeline Update due at end of this week: Are you behind? Ahead? On schedule?



SRING BREAK: March 18-22

Week 10



Class Meeting: 4-Slide Practice Presentations

How can I help you move forward? Any problems? Special needs?

Week 11

Mar 25

In Class: Josh & Adaptive Leadership, Confirmed

Week 12

Apr 1

In Class: Josh & Adaptive Leadership, Confirmed

Week 13

Apr 8

In Class: Ash Schoep

at would you do differently? If you taught this course, what would you do differently?

Week 14

Apr 15

Class at the Emerson:  Compassion Project & Interchange at the Emerson 6 PM

Please refer to “Compassion -v- Practicality” Document in Contents in Brightspace

Week 15

Apr 22

FCP Presentations

Week 16

Apr 29


FCP Presentations

If time allows, discuss: What was your biggest learning this semester? What surprised you? What worked? What didn’t work? What went well for your FCP? If you taught this course, how would you change it?