Interdisciplinary Global Leadership & Innovation Minor

The Challenge: Global problems and the global reach of public, private and non-profit organizations have created a need for global leaders and citizens. A Rand Corporation study (2003) predicted future shortages of global leaders in all three sectors and recommended that U.S. universities add global leadership to their curriculum. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and the Brookings' Institute's Metropolitan Policy Program urged the U.S. government to “enact bold measures to turn around America's declining innovation leadership” (ITIF, 2008). The need for global leaders and innovation is also recognized locally. There is widespread campus support for the minor from deans, associate deans and people involved in student leadership. A Fall 2010 student survey assessed interest in the minor. Of the 217 participants, primarily business majors, 66% stated that the minor was “somewhat useful” or “extremely useful” in terms of their career goals; and 27% would “very likely” or “definitely” have enrolled in the minor had it been available when they entered SJSU. Employers and donors on the College of Business Global Leadership Council have acknowledged the importance of this challenge and communicated their support for the minor.

The Solution: an Interdisciplinary Minor in Global Leadership and Innovation

The overall purpose of the minor is to:

  • Provide students with an interdisciplinary curricular opportunity to pursue an interest in global leadership and innovation while completing their major requirements
  • Enable students to see themselves as leaders and innovators, capable of visualizing future leadership roles in their profession and other spheres of life
  • Foster global citizenship in students
  • Prepare students to serve effectively in formal and informal leadership roles and make innovative contributions throughout their lives

The minor program of study specifically addresses numerous CSU, SJSU, and COB learning objectives and goals and is closelyaligned with the CSU, SJSU and COB mission.

The 15-credit minor (five 3-credit courses) will provide a comprehensive, yet flexible, curriculum that includes theory, skill development, and practical application. The minor is unique in several ways. First, no other university offers a minor that combines global leadership and innovation, despite the growing calls by employers and educators for students who possess skills and knowledge in both areas. Second, SJSU is the only university with a global leadership course that functions like the assessment centers found in industry via diagnosis and extensive personalized feedback on their global skills. Third, the minor includes a team social innovation project, based on the analysis of a complex global problem, that impacts social needs as well as an individual student-designed innovative leadership project. Finally, the minor develops both leadership and global leadership competencies in students and prepares them for the type of global work and diverse workplaces that typify the Silicon Valley. Even when organizations do not see themselves as global, their diverse work force and customers/clients make a global mindset and global leadership competencies essential.

The minor's three required courses are scaffolded and integrated so that students develop the necessary foundation and skills to carry out their capstone project. The Introduction to Leadership and Innovation course (BUS016) focuses on theory and self-evaluation, culminating in a personal leadership development plan for each student. Based on their identified strengths and weaknesses in global leadership and innovation, this plan helps students choose the appropriate electives.

The Global Leadership course (BUS165A) teaches both global leadership theory and skills. The course provides targeted guidance on analyzing a complex global problem, and visualizing and implementing its solution -- a social innovation project submitted to the Neat Idea Fair. This course also culminates with a personal global leadership development plan for each student based on a battery of diagnostic instruments and feedback from numerous simulations. The development plans in these two courses help guide students on their path through the minor, particularly with their choice of electives, and make it possible to track their goals and progress.

The capstone experience in the Global Leadership and Innovation Practicum (BUS165B) allows students to apply theory and skills in an innovative leadership project of their own design that incorporates a multicultural team component. Students will receive feedback and guidance on their projects from peers, the instructor, global business leaders, and external mentors. The minor's assessment plan will measure whether students have increased their global leadership and innovation knowledge and abilities.

The minor's two electives provide an opportunity for breadth and interdisciplinary interests from a list of approved courses outside the COB and outside the students' majors. Each college will identify their leadership and innovation courses that qualify as electives. The professors of the first two required courses will ensure that chosen electives fit with the student's developmental goals and meet the minor's requirements. Advising the minors will be part of their course load until the minor grows to a size that justifies a separate advisor. The following table lists the courses comprising the minor.

Course Course Title Current Professors
BUS 016 Introduction to Leadership & Innovation (required theory course) R. Pollard
BUS 165A Global Leadership (required skills course) J. Osland
Elective Leadership/innovation elective from any college other than COB  
Elective Leadership/Innovation elective from any college other than COB  
BUS 165B Global Leadership and Innovation Practicum (required practicum) R. Pollard


The Strategic Imperative for the Minor

  • Our students will be better equipped to solve complex global problems and demonstrate skills that, according to research, employers and educators are currently demanding.
  • Our students will be better equipped to take on leadership roles in their field, thereby increasing SJSU's visibility.
  • Global leadership and innovation are highly relevant in the diverse, globally oriented, innovative Silicon Valley.
  • No other school has a similar major although interest is rapidly growing in these two areas. The COB can leverage its existing expertise in global leadership and innovation. The minor is a strategic platform for differentiating our undergraduate programs in the Silicon Valley marketplace.
  • The minor addresses CSU, SJSU and COB learning objectives and goals, all four of the COB's core values as outlined in the College's Mission, Vision and Values statement (approved by the faculty in Fall 2008) and meets the emerging emphasis on globalization by our key accrediting bodies (AACSB, WASC).

Approved Electives

Minor Information Sheet

Minor Checklist.pdf

Interdisciplinary Global Leadership & Innovation Minor flyer.pdf