Course Syllabus

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Division of Online and  Continuing Education

Wisconsin Emergency Services Academy

Chief Officer Program


Course: Leadership

Dates and Location: On-line offering

Instructor: Mitchell R. Waite, Ph.D.                      

Phone: 715-213-2166




Course Description:

This module will be an introduction to the science and art of leadership through an understanding of organizational design, effective communication, leadership theory, leadership styles, leadership traits, team building, mentoring, human resources, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, safety and training. Included in the course will be individual exercises.


Upon successful completion of this course participants will be able to:


  1. Differentiate between the various organizational designs and identify key components of each type of design.
  2. Identify and differentiate between the various leadership theories, styles, and traits.
  3. Understand the differences between leadership and management.
  4. Compare and contrast various concepts related to effective communication.
  5. Comprehend the base concepts related to decision making, emotional intelligence, and conflict resolution.
  6. Differentiate between groups and teams.
  7. Address the multitude of challenges related to personnel management, including hiring and promotional processes.
  8. Be able to explain organizational climate and its relationship to culture and change.
  9. Understand the concept of mentorship and its relationship to effective leadership.
  10. Identify the variables related to professional development.
  11. Be able to explain the relationship safety and training has to leadership.
  12. Comprehend the importance of customer service.
  13. Explain the components of strategic planning.
  14. Know the importance of systems and processes to organizational success.




Course Learning Objectives:

This Chief Officer Program is designed to further the professional development of fire service leaders through enhanced knowledge relative to the science and art of leadership and organizational effectiveness. This class will focus upon the many variables necessary for effective leadership in today’s fire service environment. Upon successful completion of this course participants will be able to:


  1. Demonstrate leadership and enhanced decision making ability through the development of a personal leadership philosophy.
  2. Create a personal career blueprint.
  3. Identify their dominant leadership style.
  4. Develop a 360 degree evaluation.
  5. Develop an organizational climate survey.


Required Materials:

Reading assignments from other sources will be required. Reading assignments will be made available through the Canvas learning site.


Course Expectations:

Class will meet on-line for 4 weeks. A different session will be opened at 6:00 am each Sunday, beginning April 12th, 2020. Each session will have a learning plan consisting of a narrative powerpoint presentation, reading assignment, research, and discussion question. There will also be some individual exercises and an individual project due at the end of the course. Students must complete all assignments and the final project in order to receive credit for the course. Except in cases of emergency, or unless prior arrangements are made with the instructor, all class assignments are due 30 days after the final day of the last session.


Course Requirements:

Reading Assignments (in Canvas folder).


Individual exercises.


Discussion questions.


Course Activities:

Leadership quiz (individual exercise), identification of dominant personality traits (individual exercise/4 colors), identification of key leadership attributes in comparison to GLOBE study (individual exercise), decision making scenario-based exercise (individual exercise), generation gap exercise (individual exercise), identification of various leadership styles (video presentations).





Students must receive a “satisfactory” grade on all assignments in order to pass the course. Upon successful completion of the course students will be awarded a grade of “Pass” and will receive course credit toward the program certificate. Students who do not successfully complete one or more of the course requirements will receive a grade of “Fail” and will not receive the credit.


Academic Integrity:

Students are expected to participate in this class with respect for each other, the university and the fire service, and conduct themselves responsibly and ethically. Students are responsible for the honest completion of their work. Use of outside sources in submitted assignments must include appropriate citations. Failure to do so may result in academic penalties, including failure of the course.


Course Evaluation:

Students successfully completing the course will receive an e-mailed link to an electronic course survey. We encourage you to complete the survey in order to help us improve our courses and programs.


Quick Reference Guides:

Developed for each module of instruction, as well as a recommended list of resources for further inquiry into the topic.


Related Resources and Recommended Reading:


Gonzales, Laurence. Deep Survival, PennWell Publishers, 2010, Chapter 6


International Association of Fire Chiefs and National Fire Protection Association, Chief Officer: Principles & Practice, Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2012, Chapter 2.


Waite, Mitchell, R. EMS Leadership Challenge – A Call to Action, Booklocker, Inc., 2010.


Waite, Mitchell, R. Fire Service Leadership; Theories and Practices, Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2007.


Waite, Mitchell, R. It’s All About Leadership, BookLocker, Inc., 2016.











Wisconsin Emergency Services Academy

Chief Officer Program

Module One

Quick Reference Guide



Organizational Designs





Leadership Theory

            Great man






Leadership Styles








Leadership Traits:

            Universally accepted traits

            Cultural specific

            Business and educational perspectives

            Military perspectives


Leadership vs Managers

            Traits of leaders and managers

            How each relates to organizational effectiveness


Leadership Philosophy


            Personal philosophy

Expectation management


Effective Communication

            Sender and receiver

            Modes of transmission

            Technology vs old school



Decision Making

            How stress affects decision making

            Importance of emotional intelligence

            Conflict resolution

            Decision point leadership


Committee Action Teams (CATs)

            Groups vs teams

            Value of diversification


Personnel Management

            Hiring the best and brightest

            Promoting your most capable

            Correlation to effective leadership

            Professional development

            Performance evaluations



Organizational Design

            Organizational climate

            Changing a culture


Customer Service

            The value

            The need

            The future



            Relationship to leadership

            Creating a safety culture



            Relationship to leadership

            Value of training

            Creating instinct

            Cost effective training


Strategic Planning

            Collective vision

            Mission statement


            Action officers



Systems and Processes

            SOPs, SOGs, rules and regulations

Course Summary:

Date Details