"Enriching and inspiring," MA in Leadership program
Lang MA in Leadership Alumni Q&A
Tiffany Castell, MA (Leadership) '21
Position prior to Leadership degree: Detective, Toronto Police Service 51 Division Youth and Family Violence Unit
Current position: Detective at the Toronto Police Service Homicide Squad
How did Lang's MA in Leadership degree help prepare you to be a more effective leader?
"Completing my Master's of Arts in Leadership has allowed me to layer my professional experience on top of an academic foundation to broaden and deepen my leadership capacity. My degree has not only provided me with the tools to lead more effectively within my organization but also supports me in providing quality mentorship to develop leadership capacity in others in my organization, and in the community more broadly.
My key accomplishment in the program was the completion of my Major Research Project, for which I authored an academic teaching case study based on the development of a new promotion process within my organization. The case study has graduate students explore the development and creation of an equitable promotion process, and design elements that can be included to enhance transparency, legitimacy, credibility, and fairness.
The Lang faculty are second to none. They truly personalize the learning experience, and challenge you intellectually, helping you to draw out the very best version of yourself as a leader, an academic, and a global citizen. For example, Dr. John Walsh was my MRP advisor and he provided excellent support and guidance throughout the process. He opened my mind to pursuing a doctorate and even connected me with another student who had recently completed one. This gave me the encouragement that I needed to embark upon the next leg of my academic journey. I applied for and was accepted to a doctoral program which I will be starting in September 2021. Without Dr. Walsh helping me to believe in my own academic and professional capabilities, as well as my ability to play a pivotal role in my organization’s transformation, I would have never taken this step."
Describe your experience during the Lang residential periods.
"I was lucky enough to experience an in-person residential period during my studies. This was by far my favourite part of the program. I have been in policing for over fourteen years, so it is really the only field that I have known for much of my adult working life. It was amazing to have the opportunity to connect with professionals from other industries from the very beginning of the program. This really enriched my online learning experience.
I also forged friendships during my first residential period that have lasted to this day. I leaned on these friends and vice versa for support throughout the program."
How did you find the online learning component of the program?
"The program being online is one of the best parts of the program. The ability to complete my degree while continuing to work was invaluable. This allowed me to easily fund my studies. It also allowed me to apply an academic lens in navigating practical leadership challenges as I was completing my studies which concretized the learning."
Can you offer one piece of advice for a student that is about to start their MA in Leadership at Lang?
"When you first embark upon the program, it can feel daunting. In fact, it can be downright terrifying! Everyone is in the same boat. So be kind to yourself. With each paper, each discussion post, each presentation you do, you will get better and better. Allow yourself to be transformed through the academic process. You CAN do this!"