Leadership Program

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Thesis Option D — Best Practices: Applied Theory Thesis


  1. Identify the problem being addressed and discuss the context in which the project will be implemented.
  2. Provide a literature review of the pertinent best practices available in the field for the particular project and the theories that support those best practices.
  3. Design a best practice “program” that is specific to the context, drawing on the best practices literature.
  4. Create an implementation plan including outcomes and measures of success, identifying potential challenges and contingency plans.
  5. Implement the “program” or a pilot of the program and discuss its effectiveness based on identified outcomes and measures.
  6. Reflect on the design and implementation process and modifications you would make to implement the full “program” or change design or implementation strategies.
  7. This option may be submitted as a written document with a panel review by your thesis advisor, second reader and third faculty member or a formal oral presentation to your thesis advisor and second reader with a complete annotated bibliography and written abstract (minimum of 5 pages).

Thesis Template

  1. Identify a project/program/process to be implemented.
  2. Discuss the need for the project/program/process, describing the context in which it will be implemented.
  3. Identify and discuss theories that ground each best practice, provide application examples, contextualize each best practice and discuss challenges or limitations of implementing your project/program/process.

    Best Practices Applied Theory Thesis Worksheet

      Theory Identify Application Examples Discuss Application in Your Specific Context Discuss Related Challenges or Limitations
    Best Practice 1
    Best Practice 2
    Best Practice 3
    Best Practice 4
    Best Practice 5
  4. Provide a project/program/process design and timetable for implementation.
  5. Discuss how you will overcome challenges and/or limitations for each practice.
  6. Provide an assessment of the effectiveness, efficiency, innovativeness and sustainability of your project/program/process.
  7. Summary: Provide a general discussion of how concepts presented through your course of study contributed to your meeting the following learning outcomes of our Master of Science in Leadership or the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies–Leadership program.
    1. An in-depth understanding of their personal leadership portfolio of styles, patterns, strengths, and growth areas.
    2. Ability to dialogue in team contexts and collaborative networks for mutually beneficial outcomes.
    3. A clear sense of his/her continuous path of leadership development.
    4. A motivation for continuous practice of self-reflection and positive personal change.
    5. Skills in effective oral, written and electronic communication as a leader.
    6. A clear understanding of ethical issues, dilemmas, and best practices.
    7. The ability to critically analyze scholarly research for its applicability in organizational and personal contexts.

Items Required for Thesis Option D

Items Required
Thesis Proposal Y
Thesis Adviser and Second Reader Y
Literature Review (25-45 References) Y
Methodology Review (5-10 References) N
Problem Statement Y
Hypotheses/Propositions N
Written Document with Oral Review with Faculty Panel
Oral Presentation with Abstract and Annotated Bibliography
COPHS Approval
(only if human subjects are a source of data)

Questions, Comments, Suggestions?

For more information about the leadership program at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact

Dr. Sue Catana, Coordinator

  • SUNY Plattsburgh at Queensbury: (518) 792-5425 x109
  • Home Office: (518) 696-2710

Email: catanasl@plattsburgh.edu