Schedule & Courses

The UMD-Smith Leadership Academy curriculum consists of a full-day orientation, six full-day courses, two half-day courses, and a final half-day session for action learning presentations, delivered across an eight-month period, from Sept. 2016 – April 2017. Specific course dates coming soon.

Creativity and Innovation

Organizational revitalization and innovation are the keys to create and maintain a healthy and engaged workforce. One of the key questions this session will answer is why certain organizations are better at innovating and venturing and what people, resources and culture it takes to create and maintain an entrepreneurial spirit in an established organization.  The second major goal of the session is to build awareness and skills in becoming better “Intrapreneurs.”  This kind of internal entrepreneur is a key players for breakthrough ideas and game-changing innovations. Whether Intrapreneurs are successful is a function of both organizational conditions (leadership, culture, strategy) and individual motivation (risk taking, drive, challenging of the status quo).

Customer Service Excellence

How marketing in service organizations, and specifically higher education, differs from marketing in goods producing organizations. Strategies and tactics for addressing these challenging differences are discussed and exercises are employed to reinforce the concepts of service marketing. How to use the “GAPS” model to identify and analyze service problems, ascertain alternative solutions, and choose and implement the best solution. Marketing research techniques and tools unique to service marketing are covered.

Financial Acumen

This course provides an overview of key concepts and performance measures used in accounting and finance. Students will learn about the various responsibilities of financial managers, and the role of finance in managing a business, specifically an academic institution. Topics covered include understanding the budget process, constructing an income statement, evaluating proposed initiatives/programs, and more. By the end of the course, participants should be able to:

  • Appreciate how an institution finances its operations and funds growth
  • Understand how financial techniques are used to improve decision making
  • Communicate with the finance office using the concepts and terminology of finance

Impactful Communications

This session will help participants prepare for their final presentations as they learn communications skills that are essential in business. Participants will learn how to tailor each communication to the person or people with whom they are speaking and how to position themselves and their message in a consistently positive manner. Participants will take part in hands-on exercises to illustrate the teaching. The goal is to help participants present a message with professionalism, grace and style and capture and keep the attention of the listener.

Leadership: The Art of Influencing Others

The focus of this full-day session is on providing participants with an understanding of the critical skills needed of leaders today (e.g., transformational leadership, emotional intelligence, utilizing power and influence tactics). Participants will examine the key elements of effective leadership, and how different sources of power can best be utilized to influence positive organizational change and outcomes. The session will also include brief self-assessments, and video-based exercises to better understand and exercise various leadership concepts and principles.


This highly experiential workshop will improve participants’ negotiation skills. By using assessment tools, skill-building exercises, and exercise debriefings, the workshop will increase participants’ negotiating self-confidence and improve their capacity to achieve win-win solutions to individual, team, and organizational problems. As a result of taking this course, participants will be able to (1) diagnose their own negotiation and conflict style tendencies (e.g., their strengths and development needs in various negotiation areas), (2) better understand the negotiation process, bargaining strategies, tactics, and their effects; (3) analyze conflict situations and effectively prepare for a variety of individual and team negotiations; (4) develop and implement a plan for improving their negotiation skills; and (5) improve their ability to negotiate desired outcomes in work situations while developing partnering relationships.

Project Management

This course will examine the fundamentals of project management. We will learn the full life-cycle of project management from coalescing around a project definition, staffing the project team, identifying success metrics, developing an action plan, anticipating issues and risks, and successfully concluding a project. We will learn this material in an interactive way by using mini-cases within the class as well as a daylong project plan.

Strategic Thinking

To be a successful manager, you need to master the skills that characterize strategic thinking--from examining situations to interpreting information--and know how to apply those skills on the job. This course will highlight the importance of utilizing strategic thinking and methods within a holistic, collaborative perspective, one that recognizes a balance between efficiency, and effectiveness; between planning and action; between problem solving and problem dissolving; the voice of the process and the voice of the customer; and between short-term and long-term implications for the organization. This approach is not only relevant; it is essential to organizations and individuals in seeking to create a viable future.