Practical Leadership

Practical Leadership

Leaders come in many forms and sometimes in unexpected places; ultimately they are advocates for those they lead.

Any search on the internet will provide you with hundreds of results on leadership, leadership styles, workshops, and much more. It can be hard to know where to begin and who to trust. 

We have developed a four-month training program that allows current leaders, emerging leaders, and aspiring leaders a place to start their leadership journey. Students will work directly with University of Dallas Faculty to:

  • Develop a personal development plan, 
  • Gain self-awareness of their leadership style,
  • Learn about their style's strengths and weaknesses, 
  • Effectively utilize their newly gained knowledge to engage effectively with their teams, and
  • Create an environment where their teams thrive and flourish. 
  • Students who complete the program can earn 32 TCOLE hours.

Don't wait! Contact Jennifer Howard today for information about joining this program and starting your own leadship journey. 

Meet the Facilitators

Ben DillaBen Dilla, Ph.D.

Affiliate Assistant Professor, Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business

Dr. Ben Dilla is an Affiliate Assistant Professor of Management in the Gupta College of Business and has taught at the University of Dallas since 2014. He earned his M.S. & Ph.D. in industrial & organizational psychology from Purdue University and a BS in behavioral sciences & leadership from the U.S. Air Force Academy. 

His career as an industrial & organizational psychologist has taken him to a diverse range of industries and organizations including the military (U.S. Air Force), financial services (Fannie Mae), transportation & customer service (American Airlines), and healthcare (UT Southwestern Medical Center & Parkland Hospital), as well as consulting to organizations in retail, high tech, transportation, manufacturing and financial services. 

Ben is a Board Certified Coach (BCC) and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and takes an appreciative inquiry approach in his consulting work.

To see Dr. Dilla's full bio click here. 

Rosemary Maellaro, PhDRosemary Maellaro, Ph.D.

Affiliate Assistant Professor, Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business

With more than 20 years of HR management experience, Dr. Rosemary Maellaro, decided to share her expertise through teaching. Dr. Maellaro moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area in 1987 working for The Southland Corporation, now 7-Eleven, Inc. She joined the faculty of the Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas as an adjunct professor in 1993, while serving as the Vice President of Human Resources for Black-eyed Pea Restaurants. She found the classroom experience exhilarating and came to the realization that she wanted to pursue a career in higher education.

After discovering her desire to teach, she began a nine year journey in obtaining her Ph.D. and became a full-time faculty member of the University in 1998. Dr. Maellaro is currently an associate professor and teaches masters level courses in organization development and leadership, as well as Agile Organizations in the DBA program.

Dr. Maellaro developed The Effective Leader course, based on her dissertation study that determined the ideal interpersonal skills local hiring managers seek in MBA graduates. The course focuses on developing the people skills leaders need to succeed in today's organizations, as well as effective team dynamics. The online version of this class received QM Certification in 2015 for meeting quality course design standards.

Dr. Maellaro also facilitates leadership development classes for the College of Business' Executive Education Center. She has served the College of Business as the Academic Program Director for the Human Resource Management concentration from 1996 to 2001 and for the Organization Development concentration from 2002 to 2010.

 Program Structure

We have developed four full-day workshops of no more than 25 students to allow for active participation between our faculty and all of the participants. Learners will take one session each month over a 4-month period.  

There will be multiple instructors blended throughout the curriculum to allow for a more dynamic learning experience. Dr. Whittington, Dr. Maellaro, and Dr. Dilla are all UD Faculty and will bring a wealth of knowledge, expertise and experience to this leadership academy. 

The workshop sessions will be supplemented with assigned readings (articles and books), threaded discussions between sessions, and a multi-phase personal development plan to be developed throughout the course. For each of the four session, learners are expected to complete pre-class work. The pre-work will prepare them for the session, as well as supplementing the materials that will be covered. The assigned readings will also be the basis for the threaded discussions we will conduct in a virtual format between each session. These threaded discussions will be conducted utilizing our Learning Management System (LMS) where students will be given a unique student identification number to access the LMS. Threaded discussions allow students to remain connected to the content and their peers between sessions. It also allows them an easy way to engage with our faculty if any questions should arise.


 What you will learn

The topics and concepts covered in each section and schedule for the pre-work and deliverables:

Assigned books/readings:

  • Strengths-Based Leadership, Tom Rath and Barry Conchie
  • Five Dysfunctions of a TeamPatrick Lencioni
  • Leadership & Self-Deception, The Arbinger Institute
  • Leader as CoachMary Dee Hicks and David B. Peterson

Multiple articles from various journals will be assigned throughout the course.  

Personal Development Plan:

  • Phase 1: Strengths & Weaknesses: Understanding Your Strengths Profile, Personal Case and Derailment Potential (Due After Session 2)
  • Phase 2: Understanding Your Leadership Style: Reflection on leadership assessments (Life-Cycle Model) (Due After Session 3)
  • Phase 3: Develop a Strategic Change Plan (Due After Session 4)

Each participant will discuss the elements of their personal development plan with their immediate supervisor as they move through the program.

Threaded Discussions:

Threaded Discussions between sessions with specific topic/question assigned from class activities, reading assignments and course content.

Program Details:

Prework for Session 1:

  • Complete Leadership Practices Inventory and Clifton Strengths assessment online
  • Reading: Strengths Based Leadership


Module 1: Transition to Leadership

Module 2: Discover Your Strengths

Students will learn about the transition from individual contributor to manager to leader. A focus on the difference between managing and leading, the pitfalls of transitioning roles, how to recognize their strengths, and how to utilize those strengths. 

Prework for Session 2:

  • Threaded discussion
  • Reading: Five Dysfunctions of a Team
  • Phase 1 of Personal Development Plan
  • Team Player Attitudes assessment


Module 3: Situational Leadership

Module 4: Leading Successful Teams

Students will gain an in-depth understanding of communication, its role in managing others, and how to have meaningful conversations. This session also provides a forum for discussion on how to to effectively coach their teams and goal-setting best practices. 

Assignments Due: Phase 1 of Personal Development Plan

Pre-work for Session 3:

  • Threaded discussion
  • Reading: Leadership & Self-Deception
  • Phase 2 of Personal Development Plan
  • Conflict Management Style and Relationship Mindset assessments


Module 5: Conflict and Collaboration

Module 6: Maximizing Relationships

  • Leaders Develop Leaders (Situational/”Life-Cycle Model” Hersey & Blanchard)
  • Using Delegation as a Developmental Tool (Situational/”Life-Cycle Model” Hersey & Blanchard)
  • Leading Teams through the Stages of Team Development (Situational/”Life-Cycle Model” Hersey & Blanchard)
  • Creating a Conflict Positive Organization Where Ideas Win/Lose but People Remain Intact
  • Collaboration process model

Assignments Due: Phase 2 of Personal Development Plan 

Pre-work for Session 4:

  • Threaded discussion
  • Reading: Leader as Coach
  • Phase 3 of Personal Development Plan
  • Coaching Skills assessment


Module 7: Coaching Skills

Module 8: Action Planning & Closing

Students will gain a deep understanding about the change process, why change is necessary, how to overcome obstacles, and be a champion of strategic change within their organization. 

Assignments Due: Phase 3 of Personal Development Plan 

Certificate and Digital Badge

Digital Badge IPD Practical LeadershipStudents who successfully come this program will earn a certificate of achievement and digital badge issued by the University of Dallas. To view badge specifics, click here.

 Students who complete the program earn 32 TCOLE Hours.




How do I enroll?

Contact Jennifer Howard for details at 972-721-5299 or