With a focus on forward-looking organizational practices, MCAD’s Masters in Creative Leadership program cultivates empathic and adaptive leaders who ask bold questions, take educated risks, act with courage, embrace diverse ideas, and collaborate with others around a shared purpose. In 2023, Kiley Arroyo of the CSC will be teaching a master’s course focused on leading transformational change.

Leading Transformational Change invites students to look to Nature, of which we are an inherent part, for a compelling alternative for understanding and practicing justice-led change. By exploring the critical characteristics of vibrant ecosystems, students will understand the essential role of diverse collaboration in ensuring the equitable circulation of myriad forms of power, wealth, and well-being. In doing so, we will honor the wisdom embodied by many Indigenous groups and spiritual traditions and begin decolonizing the practice of ‘systems change.’

To facilitate deep social and ecological healing, forward-facing leaders must develop the wisdom and capacities to collaborate across differences, see from and with other perspectives, and create space for more expansive cultural logics to shape the future. 

Efforts to advance transformational change must embrace what Kichwa lawyer Nina Percari refers to as “epistemic decolonization”. This act involves the reaffirmation of ancestral knowledges and assurance of their inclusion in the dynamic exercise of public life. Kenyan novelist Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o asserts that by controlling culture (how we perceive ourselves and our relationship to the world), colonialism dominates the mental universe of the colonized. And since our perceptions shape our sense of what’s possible, the deliberate undervaluing of people’s cultural logics restricts our collective access to other imaginaries, ways of being, doing, and knowing.

Deep diversity (in identity, positionality, and lived experience) broadens the parameters of change, offering limitless ways to frame, understand, and learn how to respond to complex challenges. Nature, of which we are an inherent part, exhibits these qualities elegantly, providing a compelling alternative for understanding change. During this course, students will explore the essential role of diverse collaboration in healthy ecosystems and how cooperation ensures the equitable circulation of vital resources. They will then identify creative ways to apply these principles to their personal and professional development and a progressive community change project.