Spiritually-Centered Leadership

Introduction: More and more people, despite thriving academically and professionally, find themselves teetering on the edge of mental and psychological ruin because they have not learned how to create life/work or life/school balance. Did you know that no matter what discipline you choose to study (Engineering, Business, Science, etc.), you will need to develop your spiritual-self in order to be successful? What does your spiritual-self look like? How does your spiritual-self enhance your leadership? What is spiritually-centered leadership?

This course has been designed to explore the intertwining of personal spirituality, our life work, and leadership. It is designed to be inclusive of all religions, faiths, beliefs, and the lack thereof. Class content will be based in part on the experiences and suggestions of students in the class and will include practical ideas for using spirituality as a way to lead consciously. Particular emphasis will be placed on two aspects of spiritually-centered leadership: our personal beliefs and practices, as well as our spiritual influences with those around us. During the first class session, we will spend considerable time getting to know one another, the related experiences and knowledge you bring to the class, and what you wish to take from the course.  


    • Create a personal definition of spiritually-centered leadership
    • Understand the significance and various aspects of spiritually-centered leadership
    • Recognize the role that spiritually-centered leadership has on personal maturity and growth in self and others
    • Link personal spiritual beliefs and practices to personal life and leadership styles

Course Schedule:

Day One

  • Morning: Journaling and Icebreakers

We will spend the morning getting to know each other and what we intend to get out of the course. A formal journaling exercise will be introduced in today’s session. 

  • Afternoon: Introduction to Ownwork Exercises 

Each of us will create “ownwork” which will be tailored to meet our personal needs. This will be your own self-designed plan of what you will engage in during your time on campus. Be as creative as you wish and engage in something that is of meaning to you such as learning more about and practicing:

  • meditation 
  • yoga 
  • prayer 
  • contemplation 
  • disciplined reading of a spiritual source 
  • meeting with a spiritual mentor (and keeping a journal of these experiences) 
  • setting aside time to have spiritual time with your family or a family member which could include prayer, meditation, contemplation, or time in nature
  • setting aside time in nature
  • writing a short story
  • engaging in or creating artwork
  • investigating a new spiritual practice
  • designing leadership practices to be more spiritual

Your ownwork should include engaging in a regular spiritual practice, or for those who are atheist or agnostic, a spiritual non-practice. In the fast pace of a rushing world, even leaders who consider themselves spiritual often do not make time for regular spiritual practice. They struggle with making this time available, even though they believe such time to be critically important. Please use the structure of the course time to continue, start, or re-initiate a regular spiritual practice or non-practice of your choice. This can be done alone or with other people. You may define spiritual in your own terms. In other words, what one person considers spiritual may not be viewed the same by another individual; in this class, each of us gets to decide for ourselves the definition that personally fits. 

Day Two

  • Morning: Ownwork Journaling and Discussion – What does Spirituality Really Mean?

The morning session will be spent discussing our own personal experiences concerning spirituality. What does spirituality mean to you on a personal level? How has spirituality affected your life in a personal and/or professional way? Is spirituality important to you? Has spirituality affected you in a negative way?

  • Afternoon: Library Hunt Game

Students will be divided into teams and will be challenged to follow clues that are presented in the form of riddles. All riddles lead toward the grand prize, and the team that finds all of their riddles before the time expires wins! Riddles are designed to make participants think more critically about the importance of spirituality in life. 

Day Three

  • Ownwork Journaling and Field Trip

Students will journey down to Lake Hartwell and enjoy a ride on a pontoon boat. While on the boat, students will journal and explore how changing environments affect their mood, outlook, and spirituality. 

On the way back to Clemson, students will visit one of the local YMCA out-of-school summer programs and volunteer to play games with the elementary students. 

Day Four

  • Morning: Ownwork Journaling and Discussion – What is Spiritually-Centered Leadership?

After completing ownwork journaling that recaptures the essence of day three activities, students will discuss and define what spiritually-centered leadership is and how it impacts their life, their goals, and their relationships. 

  • Students will spend the afternoon creating a powerpoint presentation (individual or group) that expresses their personal definition of spiritually-centered leadership. This project is a culmination of what students have gleaned from the course and from each other, and students are encouraged to be as creative in their presentations as possible. 

Day Five

  • Morning: Ownwork Journaling and Power point Presentations

Students will have 5-10 minutes to present their presentations on what spirituality means to them on a personal level. The exact length of time will depend on class size.

  • Afternoon: Course Wrap-Up

Students will complete presentations and end the course with a group competitive game of Taboo.


This course will be offered during Session One (May 31-June 6, 2020).

Course Leader: William McCoy, Ph.D.