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Leadership and Organizational Performance (M.Ed.)

Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations

Program Overview

Explore the contexts in which human and organizational performance intersect. The master’s degree in Leadership and Organizational Performance combines contemporary research and practice from relevant fields to prepare you to lead for-profit, non-profit, government, and educational organizations.

You’ll acquire a sophisticated understanding of organizational development, leadership theory, talent management, evidence-based practice, and program evaluation — all while developing your own critical thinking, collaboration, interpersonal, research, and leadership skills.

You’ll leave Vanderbilt with the necessary skillset to become a thought leader and take on principal roles as managers, consultants, military officers, policymakers, nonprofit and for-profit executives, educators, and entrepreneurs across various fields of expertise.

Through the program, you’ll learn how to cultivate evidence-based approaches to decisionmaking and solution-finding. Our courses emphasize applying course content to real-world problems and projects, allowing students to go a step beyond simply understanding a theory.

Core Competencies

Specifically, you will build competencies in leadership and organizational performance that allow you to:

  • Build effective teams that share wins and successes
  • Manage conflict to find common ground and gain cooperation with minimum noise
  • Generate creative, new ideas that add value to an organization
  • Navigate ambiguity in a confident manner when facing risk and uncertainty
  • Make quality decisions based on analysis, experience, and judgment
  • Manage innovation by bringing creative ideas to market
  • Relate well to all kinds of people inside and outside an organization
  • Learn on the fly when facing new problems
  • Communicate a compelling and inspired vision or sense of purpose
  • Motivate others to do their best
  • Build comprehensive plans that set clear goals and objectives
  • Solve problems to find effective solutions that go beyond the obvious
  • Manage processes to efficiently accomplish the tasks at hand
  • Anticipate future consequences and trends accurately
  • Write clearly and succinctly in a variety of communication settings and styles
  • Develop the business acumen needed to be an effective contributor and leader of an organization

Program at a Glance

Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Leadership and Organizational Performance

Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations

Program Director: Kim Davenport, Ph.D.
Admissions Coordinator: Rosie Moody
Admission Term: Fall
Credit Hours: 36
Priority Application Deadline: December 31*

*We will continue to accept applications after this date, but applications will be evaluated for admission and scholarships as space and funds are available.

Our Commitment

Our Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Leadership and Organizational Performance is designed to develop future leaders, and those who may be responsible for developing those leaders, across institutional contexts. Several LOP courses inherently address issues of justice, equity, and inclusion. Courses include topics such as the sources of organizational inequality, biases in leadership development programs, and researching and designing strategies that can alleviate sources of injustice and inequity.

Selected Courses Related to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

LOP 6270: Leading Globally Diverse Organizations - The goal of this course is to enable students to improve an organization's ability to work effectively across potential barriers imposed by culture, race, gender, and other dimensions of diversity. Students will explore the political, financial, and organization-specific issues with a focus on developing strategies to enhance inclusivity.

LOP 6110: Organizational Theory and Behavior – This course explores both traditional and contemporary theories of organizations. It links organizational theory and behavior to leadership and requires an analysis of the major issues (e.g., change, gender, race, ethics, effectiveness) that modern complex organizations face.

Selected Faculty Research Related to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion:

Corbette Doyle, senior lecturer in organizational leadership
Professor Doyle's particular areas of expertise are diversity in the workplace, women's leadership, risk financing and the healthcare industry. She consults with Fortune 500 companies and is an external member of Nissan America's Executive Diversity Council.

93% of job-seeking Peabody College graduates were employed or attending graduate school within four months of graduation.

Click here to see a list of recent career placements:

Recent graduates with an M.Ed. in Leadership and Organizational Performance have gone on to the following positions, among others:
  • Analyst, Global Data Services, Willis Towers Watson, Bejing, China
  • Business Consultant, InfoWorks, Nashville, TN
  • Human Capital Analyst, Deloitte Consulting, Washington, D.C.
  • Human Resources Association, People Analytics, New York, NY
  • Instructional Designer, Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco, CA
  • Leadership Development and Performance, Scotia Bank, Lima, Peru
  • Learning and Leadership Development Associate, Total Wine & More, Baltimore, MD
  • Minor League Player Development Assistant, Texas Rangers, Hickory, North Carolina
  • Recruiting Coordinator, Google, Austin, TX
  • Succession Planning Analyst, Nissan, Franklin, TN

Peabody Career Services is your strategic career partner from the very beginning. Learn more about Peabody Career Services.

Internship Experience

As a Leadership and Organizational Performance student, you’ll apply what you learn in the classroom to field-based placements, engaging in hands-on professional placements across a variety of industries. The internship occurs during the summer between your first and second year. You’ll build on this experience through coursework in the fall semester of your second year.

Recently, students in the Leadership and Organizational Performance professional program participated in internships that involved:

  • Refining information flows and defining how to use information to identify threats and opportunities for Intel in Portland, Oregon.
  • Assisting with developing an organizational transformation strategy and producing workshop materials and deliverables for PwC clients in San Jose, California.
  • Managing the creation and filming of an intern recruitment video and building a business case for restructuring the HR Data Analytics Network at Boeing in Seattle, Washington.
  • Developing plans for digital content creation, distribution, and long-term sustainability at The Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee, the oldest, continuously operating boarding school in the South.
  • Redesigning corporate competency models and designing a system to measure the effectiveness of talent review meetings for Brookdale Senior Living Solutions in Nashville, Tennessee.

Recent Internships

Examples of summer professional internships and field placements at publicly traded, for-profit, non-profit, government, and education entities include:

  • Accenture (Human Capital)
  • Amazon (HR Diversity)
  • American Red Cross (Program County Management)
  • Assisi Foundation (Development)
  • Athlon Sports (Marketing)
  • Beryl Institute (Patient Experience Policy)
  • Boeing Industries (Strategic Human Resource Management)
  • Bridgestone (Human Resources)
  • Brookdale Senior Living Solutions (HR Performance Consulting, Strategy, and Innovation)
  • Brookdale Senior Living Solutions (Organizational Effectiveness, Strategy, and Innovation)
  • Citi (HR Analysis)
  • Coca-Cola (Business Transformation)
  • Compass Records (Marketing)
  • Conexion Americas (Program Administration)
  • Conoco Phillips (Marketing)
  • Corrections Corporation of America (Marketing)
  • Crump Insurance (Strategy and Leadership Development)
  • Country Music Association (Development and Marketing)
  • Country Music Television (Strategic Marketing)
  • Deloitte Consulting (Human Capital)
  • Democracy Prep Public Schools, New York (Human Resources)
  • Discovery Channel (Talent Management)
  • Dollar General (Training and Development)
  • Enterprise Rent-a-Car (Management Development Program)
  • Entrepreneurship Center (Leadership Development)
  • Emdeon (HR Recovery)
  • Family Faith Medical Clinic (Grant Writing)
  • FedEx (Strategic Workforce Planning)
  • Floricane (Leadership Development Consulting)
  • HCA (IT&S Recruitment / Project Management / Business Risk Solutions)
  • Healthspring (Human Resources)
  • Infoworks (Business Consulting)
  • Intel (Strategy)
  • Jackson Life Insurance (Human Resources)
  • Korn-Ferry (Recruitment)
  • Los Angeles Rams (NFL Operations and Scouting)
  • Lowe’s Corporation (Human Resources)
  • Martha O’Bryan Center (Data Collection)
  • Martha Stewart Living (Retail Marketing and Social Media)
  • MissionPoint Health Partners (Business Analytics)
  • Nashville Symphony (Human Resources)
  • NBC Sports (Business Development and Marketing)
  • Nissan North America (Office of Diversity and Office of Talent Management)
  • Northwestern Mutual (Advising)
  • Oasis Center (Grant Writing)
  • Paradigm Group (Total Rewards)
  • PwC (People and Strategy)
  • Proctor & Gamble (Human Capital in Global Business Unit)
  • RANDA Solutions (Online/Blended Learning Research)
  • Second Harvest Food Bank and Community Food Advocates (Analysis of Food Deserts)
  • Sony Music (Artist Management)
  • Sharecare, formerly known as Healthways (Consulting, Human Resources)
  • Spaulding Entertainment (Artist Management)
  • Southwest Airlines (People Department)
  • State of Tennessee – Dept. of Education (Training and Support)
  • Tatum (Talent Management)
  • Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (Governor’s Top Down Review)
  • TN Realtors Association (Learning Performance)
  • Tractor Supply Company (Talent and Organizational Development)
  • The Work Institute (Surveys and Research)
  • University School (Administrative Rotation)
  • Vail Resorts (Project Management)

Program Curriculum

The Leadership and Organizational Performance curriculum draws widely from the social sciences and emphasizes leadership, organizational theory, learning theory, behavioral theory, social psychology, and action research.

The program requires 36 credit hours and takes about two years to complete for those who attend full time. Most courses meet in the evening, or on weekends, allowing you to pursue part-time employment while completing the program. Schedules are flexible, allowing you to maintain employment while completing program requirements.

Course Requirements

You will complete 36 credit hours consisting of a variety of required courses, elective courses, and a summer internship.

Core and Analytics Courses: 15 hours

  • LOP 6110 Leading Organizations
  • LOP 6120 Learning Organizations
  • LOP 6130 Strategy and Analytics I
  • LOP 6140 Strategy and Analytics II
  • LOP 6150 Evaluation of Org. Performance

Elective Courses: 18 hours
Students may enroll in relevant electives across the university. Sample electives include:

  • EDP 6120: Education Policy and School Reform
  • EDP 6130: American Education History & Policy
  • EDP 6140: Economics of Education
  • LOP 6210: Design of Human Performance Interventions
  • LOP 6220: Consultation Skills
  • LOP 6230: Organizational Development
  • LOP 6240: Leading and Facilitating Groups
  • LOP 6260: Executive Coaching
  • LOP 6270: Leading Globally Diverse Organizations
  • LOP 6290: Talent Management
  • LOP 6310: Strategic Workforce Planning
  • LPO 7100: Leadership in the Professions
  • LPO 7200: Grants, Policy, and Administration
  • LOP 7500: Leadership and Action
  • LPO 7860: Research Design and Data Analysis I
  • LPO 8130: Social Context of Education

Internship and Applied Experience Course: 3 hours

  • LOP 7980 Internship (All summer experiences must be registered for 0 hours credit.)
  • LOP 7990 Applied Experience
Program Curriculum


Many of the faculty in the Leadership and Organizational Performance program are practice faculty, meaning they actively use research to inform practice and practice to inform their research.

Faculty members bring these perspectives from many fields, including business, education, government, sociology, and psychology — and from disciplines such as coaching, organizational development, human resources, leadership development, and consultation.

Mark Cannon
  • Professor of the Practice, Department of Human and Organizational Development
  • Professor of the Practice and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
Kim Davenport
  • Lecturer, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
  • Program Director, Leadership and Organizational Performance
  • Program Director, Leading Organizations
Susan Douglas
  • Associate Professor of the Practice of Human Development, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
Christine Quinn Trank
  • Professor of the Practice of Organization Leadership, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations