ITM 705: Leading the IT Function

Tiffany Stronghart November 21, 2023
hands on a keyboard typing

Course Inside Look with Amber Leibundgut-Peterson, Instructor

Students in the Master of Science in Information Technology Management program learn skills they can immediately apply on the job–including communication, business analysis, project management, and finance. They also learn how to be leaders in the workplace, through courses like ITM 705: Leading the IT Function.

In ITM 705, students learn the difference between and the application of management and leadership theories in an IT environment. They’ll identify and understand their own personal assets and liabilities to become effective leaders and agents of change in a complex system. 

If you’re wondering what a typical class format looks like, how the course material is organized, and what learning strategies are used to help you achieve your learning goals, check out this Q&A with the course instructor, Amber Leibundgut-Peterson, to learn more. (Note: This is a companion piece to Learning How to Lead in IT: A Deeper Dive into Information Technology Management 705 with Amber Leibundgut-Peterson.)

How does this course meet the needs of students who have worked in management for many years, versus those who recently moved into a management role?

I have people who have been in management for 20-25 years, and still say they have things to learn about leadership. For people who have been in management for a long time – I’ve been told that it’s a reminder of things that they’ve gotten away from and would like to return to so they can be a more inspiring manager. 

Students in management without prior experience learn how to work with people by leading them rather than just managing them.

How is the course material organized and through what formats will I expect to learn?

Students will have practical applications for leadership in the workplace they’re currently in through discussion forums, short video lectures (all videos are no longer than 12 minutes), and reflective discussions. Readings and essays will be assigned. 

The lectures are a more informal way of explaining the textbook: How can you apply these theories that you may not find that you relate to this one, but, have you seen it in other leadership? How is it effective? How is it ineffective? And trying to find how people can look within themselves to say, “Well, this works for me and the people that I work with.” 


screenshot of a student discussion board inside of an online course at UW Extended Campus

How does this course facilitate student interaction in an online environment?

Students are asked to post weekly about their thoughts on an assigned topic, and are required to comment on posts from their peers. 

There are times when students share their struggles on the job. People who are more seasoned managers say, “Hey, this is how I’ve dealt with it.” People who aren’t in management may say they wouldn’t like it if one of their managers handled a situation in a certain way. So, you get that spectrum of experiences and viewpoints.

screen shot of a student discussion board inside of an online course

How does ITM 705 offer a flexible approach to learning?

There are no tests. This is an applied learning course in which students have to reflect upon a scenario from the instructor or an observation in the workplace to improve the interaction or what they would see themselves doing in that situation. 

What project-based assignments will I complete?

Students are required to complete a leadership portfolio piece where they will reflect on how they’ve applied coursework on the job.

graphic illustration with five steps to put together a portfolio project

Is there an example of an assignment in which you were able to directly impact a student and change the trajectory of their career?

During one discussion post assignment, students had to look at job ads to see what skills were being advertised, and assess how they fit these roles either for a “reach” job or a job they could move into right away. 

I’ve had people say, “I changed my job because of that week.” And they applied and got a new job. And they’ve emailed me and said, “Remember that discussion where we talked about jobs? Well, I couldn’t stop thinking about that one job. And I thought it was a reach for me, but I applied. And I just found out that I got it this week.” I’ve had three people tell me that because it just has them realizing that they’re further along than they think they are or things that they need to work on.

How many hours per week should I dedicate to this course?

Between the readings, the discussion, and the reflections every week, I would say three hours. It’s a nice balance with more technical courses.

Note: This course is part of the IT Leadership Graduate Certificate, which can be taken on its own or stacked with the Enterprise Infrastructure and IT Operations Graduate Certificates, along with a capstone project, to receive the master’s degree. 

What else should potential students know?

[This course is about] learning from each other. It’s not one where you’re like, OK, well, I’m never going to use that again, or I’ll rarely use it. If you are going into IT management, you are going to use this course.

If you’re an IT professional looking to upskill or get the degree you need to move into a management role, this program might be a great fit for you. Ready to learn more? Call 1-877-895-3278 or email to speak with someone about how you can use this program to further your career.

Programs: IT Management