Christopher Bryan, Program Graduate


Master of Arts in Leadership Adds Value

The Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL) graduate degree at Ohio Christian University prepares professionals to lead organizations effectively. The program emphasizes acquiring proficiency and skill in critical and strategic thinking, ethics, and the application of leadership philosophy all while integrating Christian principles in management planning and leadership execution.

Students apply leadership in teams and learn processes to benefit for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, and discover how to evaluate enterprises, understand group dynamics, and improve performance. Jobs in leadership are projected to increase by 6% through 2024. PayScale reports salaries of $83,750 with ten years of experience. (US News and World Report, 2018)

OCU tailored the Master of Arts in Leadership for individuals working in technical fields with scientific training who will benefit from exercising leadership in their departments and enterprise. Professors encourage students to bring their experience to the class discussion. They use real situations to support and enhance the learning of theory and best practice. Collaboration among student peers is encouraged, helping students learn to manage and resolve conflict. Critical thinking and problem-solving are core skills acquired in the program.

Dr. Jon Tomlinson, AGS Business Director, underscores the value of the degree: “After returning from WWII, my grandfather began a trucking business. He had been forced to drop out of high school to help on the family farm during the Great Depression. Without a high school education, he built a company that exists today. My father graduated from high school, went to work in a factory and successfully provided for his wife and three sons. Today, individuals without specialized skills often work for minimum wage. Attaining appropriate education is important to success. Over 33% of the population have college degrees today. The advantage of having a specialized advanced degree is more important than ever.”

This program offers onsite and online classes. Students may earn a degree in 18 months. The program explores leadership trends and covers current research, employing innovative approaches to leadership studies. Working students share experiential insights.  Graduates may join the International Leadership Association to continue advancing their knowledge and practices. The faculty has leadership experience, and students benefit from sharing their experiences with professors and fellow students.

MAL Program faculty and staff help students succeed. Each student has an academic counselor throughout enrollment and communicates with professors during and after courses. AGS encourages continuing contact, so students remain engaged and have support to succeed. Students have flexibility in learning through online, hybrid, or classroom engagement. The program offers variety to give students options best suited to their schedule and learning style.

Students engage in group learning and experiences in each class setting. They have topical discussions that benefit the learning experience and enhance communication skills. They use various communication techniques in classes that transition into their workplace. Students examine real-life, open-ended scenarios creating opportunity for critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, and practicing effective communication skills. Students write papers demonstrating critical thinking and problem-solving.

OCU Associate Professor of Leadership Randy Savage explains the MLA program’s design: “While used interchangeably, the terms management and leadership are distinct concepts. Most business degrees focus on management skills. Leadership goes above and beyond. It provides inspiration and motivation and comes with honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness. Consider any famous speech. It is likely a great expression of leadership. Good leaders continually learn and seek role models. They pursue the best practices and processes.”

For program graduate Christopher Bryan, Assistant Field Manager at the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management in Kingman, AZ which manages over 2.4 million acres of public land, “The decision to pursue a Master’s degree at OCU was one of our family’s best. The organizational leadership concentration fits perfectly with my career aspirations. The courses are excellent. On a daily basis, I use the leadership skills, principles, and approaches I learned in the program. I purchased some of the textbooks and kept them in the office for reference and to share with our current and emerging leaders.

“My favorite and most enjoyable aspects of the program,” continues Bryan, “is the engagement with professors and student peers. The online discussions provided an outstanding opportunity to share past and present work-related leadership experiences: the advice, tips, and insight they shared provided commonsense solutions to complex leadership challenges I face. Our organization is undergoing structural change. What I learned from the Leadership Concentration enabled me to be someone others look to for help navigating transition and turning changes into opportunities. 

“I highly recommend OCU’s leadership program to students considering careers in leadership roles in any field. OCU’s Christian approach sets it apart from other programs. It helped define and refine my understanding of what it means to be a Christian leader: ‘Servant leader’ who puts the needs of the people and communities they serve above their own.”

For more information about the Master of Arts in Leadership program, please visit, email, or call us at 844-726-7937.

About OCU

Ohio Christian University is committed to offering a complete education that develops students intellectually, professionally and spiritually. OCU offers degree programs for residential undergraduate students, graduate students, and adult and online students. Every program is designed to equip students to become leaders in their careers, communities, families, and the world.