Online Course

Leadership in Difficult Times











Welcome to Leadership in Difficult Times!
Course designed and developed by Susan Smith Nash, Ph.D.

Course Description:

This course examines leadership challenges and opportunities in a rapidly changing, often stressful and unpredictable world. In addition to identifying and providing definitions and case studies that illustrate the challenges and the leadership responses, this course provides the student with the opportunity to make connections to real-life situations.

Specific topics addressed include an in-depth examination of the impact of stress due to war and traumatic events on the workplace (including military operations), home, family, and the community; the current state of affairs in the workplace, the military, and communities with respect to women, ethnically-defined groups, and race; and challenges of effective team-building when there are shortages of resources, equipment, time, and experienced personnel.

Scott Mutter: Untitled (Escalator)

I'm a pilgrim on the edge,
on the edge of my perception
We are travelers at the edge,
we are always at the edge of our perceptions.

Required Work: 

Unit I:  Readings from texts and online
             1,200-word paper -- 20%
            Discussion board
Unit II:  Readings from texts and online
              1,200-word paper -- 20%
            Discussion board
               (or you may substitute an optional additional discussion board assignment -- see D2L for details

Unit III:  Readings from texts and online
              1,200-word paper -- 20%
             Discussion board 

Unit IV:  Final Paper
              Discussion board
                1,500 words -- 20%
                (or you may substitute an optional additional discussion board assignment -- see D2L for details)

Discussion Board Participation -- 20%
Please use D2L for access to the discussion board. 
Please follow the recommended timeline.

Please check D2L for deadlines and due dates.

Course Objectives:

Students will gain an understanding of the theories used to explain sociological and psychological phenomena, the methods used to detect and describe situations and problems, and strategies used to seek productive resolutions.

With the goal of mitigating human suffering as well as developing productive individuals, healthy communities, and transformative workplaces, this course provides the students with an interdisciplinary, multi-pronged approach. The course instructional strategy and course materials are designed to be applicable today yet robust enough to be utilized in the future as well.

The units are as follows:

Unit I:   People Under Stress

Unit II:   Changing Perceptions, Changing Realities: Gender and Ethnicity

Unit III:  Team-Building Under Duress

Unit IV:  Final Project

NOTE: Discussion Board for Paper: Substitute discussion board entries for Paper 2.
Please make
10 entries (50 - 75 words) in the discussion thread entitled "PAPER 2 - DISCUSSION THREAD"

If you choose this option, you will do this INSTEAD OF the paper.
Discussion Board for Paper: Substitute discussion board entries for
Paper 4. Please make 10 entries (50 - 75 words) in the discussion thread entitled "PAPER 4 - DISCUSSION THREAD"

Course Success Tip:  Try Academic Library Databases!  You're paying a library fee -- you might as well use it! Click here.


1---Asynchronous and Interactive. You do not have to be online at any set time. You may access your course website and course documents at any time. You can communicate through e-mail and discussion board postings (in D2L).   Please submit your work through D2L, using the digital dropbox.  This is VERY important.  E-mail is spectacularly unreliable.

2---Discussion Boards. The Discussion Board is accessible through this link:
Please use your OU 4x4 account to access it. I will be using D2L to send e-mails to the entire class, so please be sure to use your OU e-mail account.
You will be required to make at least two postings for each Discussion Board Topic (2 per unit). You do not have to do them at any particular time or date. I think you'll really enjoy being able to share thoughts and insights with each other, since many of you will be going through the same experiences, and may have useful ideas to exchange with each other.

3---Direct contact through e-mail. Please use your OU e-mail account. My OU e-mail address is and/or my personal e-mail at
You may access your OU e-mail through the pop server

About me: 

4---Flexible // Deployment- and TDY-Friendly: I completely understand today's situations, and for that reason, I've tried to make the courses as flexible as possible. They do not require a lot of time online. In fact, I would recommend that you print a set of documents and/or burn a CD of the journal articles downloaded from online reserve so that you can access them anywhere and at any time.

5---Course Papers: Submit via D2L. Please be sure to save your paper in a Microsoft Word document. Put it on a flash drive so that you can upload whenever you have the chance to have access. Name each version in such a way that includes the date so that you always know which one is your latest version. Example: difftimes1-hr5110-name-2008-08-07.

6---Relevant to Today's Issues. My goal is to encourage you to make connections between the course content and the real-life issues you are facing now. Please feel free to use the journals and papers as an opportunity to explore in depth something that is relevant and important to you. I will ALWAYS provide personalized feedback.