BSc Psychology

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Leadership in Action Online Unit

Unit code UCIL20031
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by University College for Interdisciplinary Learning
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Leadership in Action (LIA) units aim to help you understand what it means to be a leader in the 21st century. The units explore complex current problems and ask: How does change happen? Who makes it happen? What does that tell us about leadership and how we do it?

This unit will equip you with the tools to critically evaluate models and approaches to leadership and to apply these to a range of complex 21st century problems such as poverty, inequality and climate change. The unit will also help you to develop a toolkit of transferable skills that will boost your employability.

You will hear from leaders who are influencing change in the world around us, including some of the university's leading academics and leaders from the public, private and voluntary sectors

The LIA unit is delivered entirely via Blackboard. You will work through 10 online learning modules, released at intervals through the semester. Each uses a range of bespoke audio/video inputs, case studies, and interactive elearning activities designed to enhance your learning and understanding.

You will discuss the topics covered in the learning modules in online discussion boards, as part of an interdisciplinary group of 25 students, supported throughout by a dedicated eTutor.

Students who successfully complete an LIA unit and 20, 40 or 60 hours of approved volunteering will be awarded the prestigious Manchester Leadership Programme Certificate (Bronze, Silver or Gold).



Year 1 students (with the exception of Study Abroad and Exchange students) are not eligible to take this unit.


The course unit aims to:

  • Encourage an understanding of the importance of leadership of self and others
  • Broaden intellectual and cultural interests
  • Challenge and equip students to confront personal values and make ethical judgements
  • Prepare graduates for citizenship and leadership in diverse, global environments
  • Enhance employability



Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit you will be able to:


  • Evaluate different models and theories of leadership, within a 21st century global context
  • Analyse the ways in which leaders influence change and how leadership skills may be applied in both learning and occupational contexts
  • Employ reflective learning skills in order to relate models of leadership to personal practice
  • Analyse complex, ‘wicked’, problems and leadership in response to them




  • Introduction to Leadership in Action
  • Theories and Practice of Leadership
  • Understanding and Identifying Problems and Leaders
  • Leadership and Change
  • Leadership and Ethics
  • The Challenge of Environmental Sustainability
  • Climate Change in Focus
  • Global Poverty The Challenge for Society
  • Global Poverty Leadership in Action
  • Leadership & Responsibility


Teaching and learning methods

The unit is delivered entirely via Blackboard. It is a highly interactive and innovative unit that adopts a blended approach with a range of audio and video inputs, and case studies from world-class internal and external contributors.

The unit content is supported by elearning activities designed to enhance learning and understanding including:

  • Tutor-facilitated online discussion forums examining issues raised by related weekly module content
  • Questionnaires and quizzes


Knowledge and understanding

Students should be able to:

  • understand and critically evaluate a range of different models and theories of leadership
  • relate models and theories of leadership to personal practice and context
  • identify ways in which leaders influence change in a range of contexts
  • appreciate different styles of leadership within a cultural context

Intellectual skills

Students should be able to:

  • develop critical evaluation skills through the analysis of models and theories of leadership
  • develop reflective learning skills through the application of models and theories to personal context
  • critically evaluate different leadership approaches to social, economic and environmental sustainability

Practical skills

Students should be able to:

  • understand, reflect on and evaluate their own leadership style using a variety of tools
  • appreciate how to apply leadership skills in an academic and occupational context
  • appreciate the importance of teamwork and cultural diversity
  • contribute effectively to electronically-mediated discussions and debates

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Students should be able to:

  • understand themselves and their leadership styles
  • understand the styles, preferences and tendencies of others and how these impact upon management and employability
  • demonstrating skills that contribute to effective leadership, including influencing, critical thinking and communication skills

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Written communication

Assessment methods

1. Summative Assessment (50%). Choice of tasks with common question focused on leadership requiring a 1,500 words max text of a presentation (i.e. a script) to a given audience. Stimulus reading is provided.
2. Assessed Discussions (40%). Individual contributions to x2 online discussion boards, each 600 words max (preceded by x2 formative discussions with feedback). Each discussion is open for 2 weeks.
3. Online Multiple Choice Test (10%). Tests examine knowledge and understanding of unit content. (preceded by formative/practice test with feedback).


Feedback methods

1. Summative Assessment: Students can submit 10% of total word limit to tutors for comment. Tutors are also available to answer queries about the tasks.
2. Assessed Discussions: Preceded by x2 formative discussions in tutor groups. Tutors provide ongoing support & feed back to their groups via the discussion boards and provide individual feedback and guidance in week 6, before the assessed discussions begin.
3. Online Multiple Choice Test: Preceded by a practice test, available for 1 week from Week 5 of the semester.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
eAssessment 50
Lectures 2
Independent study hours
Independent study 48

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Samantha Hemsley Unit coordinator
Sian Yeowell Unit coordinator
Mark Batey Unit coordinator

Additional notes

The Leadership in Action Units are part of the Manchester Leadership Programme (MLP). Students who successfully complete a LIA unit and 20, 40 or 60 hours of approved volunteering will be awarded the prestigious Manchester Leadership Programme Certificate (Bronze, Silver or Gold level).
The Manchester Leadership Programme, combining learning about leadership with accredited volunteering, is unique to The University of Manchester.


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