Leadership, Organizing and Action: Leading Change is a 14-week Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education online program designed to help leaders of civic associations, advocacy groups, and social movements learn how to organize communities that can mobilize power to make change. The program explores how leadership is exercised through mastery of five practices, including:

  • Public Narrative
  • Building Relationships
  • Structuring Leadership Teams
  • Strategizing
  • Action

The course is organized into nine modules, each with a specific learning and/or project outcome. People learn organizing from the experience of doing it, reflecting on their experience, learning from their reflection, and trying again. In the course, this requires leading an organizing project, reading background material, participating in lecture with Faculty Chair Marshall Ganz, writing reflection papers, completing skill practice assignments, taking part in section meetings, receiving coaching from your Teaching Fellow and coaching each other.

A unique aspect of the program is that participants are broken into groups and take part in a substantial amount of collaborative, online work. This group work provides a valuable opportunity to form a network of partnerships amongst colleagues and gain unique insights from fellow organizers around the world.

February 5—May 20, 2018 | Application Deadline: DECEMBER 5, 2017

Meet The Faculty

Marshall Ganz

Marshall Ganz

Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School

Marshal Ganz is the Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School.

Marshall Ganz grew up in Bakersfield, California, where his father was a Rabbi and his mother, a teacher. He entered Harvard College in the fall of 1960. He left a year before graduating to volunteer with the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project. He found a “calling” as an organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and, in the fall of 1965, joined César Chávez in his effort to unionize California farm workers. During 16 years with the United Farm Workers he gained experience in union, political, and community organizing, became Director of Organizing, and was elected to the national executive board on which he served for 8 years.

During the 1980s, he worked with grassroots groups to develop new organizing programs and designed innovative voter mobilization strategies for local, state, and national electoral campaigns. In 1991, in order to deepen his intellectual understanding of his work, he returned to Harvard College and, after a 28-year "leave of absence," completed his undergraduate degree in history and government. He was awarded an MPA by the Kennedy School in 1993 and completed his PhD in sociology in 2000.

As senior lecturer in public policy at the Kennedy School of Government, he teaches, researches, and writes on leadership, organization, and strategy in social movements, civic associations, and politics.

He has published in the American Journal of Sociology, American Political Science Review, American Prospect, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. His newest book, Why David Sometimes Wins: leadership, organization and strategy in the California farm worker movement was published in 2009, earning the Michael J. Harrington Book Award of the American Political Science Association. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in divinity by the Episcopal Divinity School in 2010.

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