Online Certificate in LGBTQ Leadership

The University of Redlands' Certificate in LGBTQ Leadership's online coursework equips students with an in-depth understanding of the key issues that face the LGBTQ community and reveals the benefits of an intersectional approach to leadership.

As the LGBTQ movement continues to expand across the country with advocacy and social-service organizations in schools, colleges, and community centers, the need and demand for specialized LGBTQ Leadership training have risen. This LGBTQ Leadership Certificate is designed to address this need, providing training for mission-driven individuals, aspiring leaders, teachers, and activists to be more informed and experienced allies for the LGBTQ community. 

Certificate Learning Outcomes

The Certificate program increases awareness of what is essential for providing effective LGBTQ leadership. Through the curriculum, LGBTQ Certificate students will:

  • Discover the key challenges and benefits of an intersectional approach to leadership
  • Discuss what it means to create safe spaces in particular contexts
  • Learn about the shifts in understanding and respecting gender variance
  • Hear affirming faith leaders explore the place of religion and spirituality in equality work
  • Analyze social change work through community-based activism
  • Acquire an understanding of the global landscape for LGBTQ human rights
  • Secure insights into fundraising and nonprofit development

LGBTQ Leadership Certificate and Curriculum Structure

The Certificate in LGBTQ Leadership is an accelerated program that can be completed in eight months and includes six online seminar courses costing $400 each. The online structure of the certificate seminars is ideal for working professionals, fitting seamlessly within busy schedules. The courses are delivered synchronously, fostering engagement, and connection with the seminar leaders. Each seminar is facilitated by Dr. Donovan Ackley III and complemented by two or three guest speakers, ensuring students have access to in-demand knowledge of LGBTQ Leadership concepts.

Students seeking the certificate in LGBTQ+ Leadership need to complete all three required courses and then select three additional elective courses; options outlined below. Seminars are four weeks long with one live session per week, each lasting up to an hour and a half. 

Required Certificate Courses

  • LEADWI-400 Intersectional Diversity: Facing Racism, Sexism, and Heterosexism
  • LEADWI-401 Trans-Affirming: Gender Identity and Expression
  • LEADWI-402 Creating Safe Spaces

Elective Certificate Courses - Select Three

  • LEADWI-403 Community-Based Activism Political Advocacy and Social Change
  • LEADWI-404 Fundraising and Development
  • LEADWI-405 Structures of Acceptance: Family, Community
  • LEADWI-406 Building Bridges: Religion and Spirituality
  • LEADWI-407 Human Rights and Global Advocacy

In-Demand Skill Development

The certificate program aims to train and increase the number of LGBTQ community leaders through leading theory, hands-on learning, and collaboration with peers, instructors, and LGBTQ organizations. Students are encouraged to engage with members of their cohort to work on a community project that puts seminar knowledge into action, expanding their professional skill set and networks. Specifically, as students progress through the program, Dr. Ackley helps each to build a portfolio of resources to share or implement at any LGBTQI+ organization they are developing, volunteering with, or working with currently in some way or to expand LGBTQ2SI+ advocacy in their current work. Through collaborative learning and course materials, the national LGBTQ2SI+ leaders who are our guest speakers, Dr. Ackley, and other students will also provide many resources to build or expand students' networks, tools, and resources for resilience-building work in the community


Become a Skilled, Compassionate Community Leader

The online Certificate in LGBTQ Leadership empowers students to apply specialized training in effective methodologies for leadership in their communities in order to make an impact that changes the world. 



Required Courses 

LEADWI-400 Intersectional Diversity: Facing Racism, Sexism, & Heterosexism

Address the individual’s experience– their socio-cultural contexts, biases, and causes/ effects of discrimination and oppression.  Learn action-oriented, ethical and inclusive leadership skills for diverse communities that uncovers common roots and builds from and works with instead of solving for. 


Facing Racism, Sexism, Homophobia -- Cedric Harmon, Many Voices; Denise Davis, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Redlands 

LEADWI-401 Trans-Affirming: Gender Identity & Expression

Explore the historic influence of patriarchy, the contributions of science and medicine to the understanding of gender, and the targeting of transgender people with policies and laws. Analyze social organizing forces and develop trans-affirming leadership competencies.


Non Binary Gender Identity & Expression -- Dr. Erin Swenson, Marriage & Family Therapist;  Sean Saxton, Founder Of Brothers Rising, City Of Refuge UCC, Oakland, CA


LEADWI-402 Creating Safe Spaces

Gain insights and competencies to effectively manage the first task of any LGBTQ/LGBTQ-allied organization– the creation of safe space.  Address language; community-based boundary creation; respect of beliefs, values, and spiritual backgrounds; and legal parameters.


Ted Lewis, Side by Side;  Annanda Barclay, Fund for Theological Education Fellow

Elective Courses - Choose 3 

LEADWI-403 Community-Based Activism Political Advocacy & Social Change

Community-Based Activism Political Advocacy & Social Change

Learn to engage stakeholders, increase buy-in, accelerate collaboration, organize and mobilize resources, and network for global change. Competencies for bottom-up leadership for grassroots, social-change, and/or community-based activism organizations will be acquired. 



Tonyia Rawls, Founder and Executive Director, The Freedom Center for Social Justice; Sam Brinton, The Trevor Project


LEADWI-404 Fundraising & Development

Fundraising & Development

Contribute to the mission of an LGBTQ organization by critical analysis of the ties between organizational growth and health to fundraising, communications, and the relationships between internal stakeholders.  Gain competencies in the fundamentals of communications, fundraising, programming, and growth management.


Randall Miller, Faculty Associate of Ethics and Leadership, Pacific School of Religion and Executive Director, San Francisco/Bay Area Physicians for Social Responsibility; Selisse Berry, Out & Equal Founder


LEADWI-405 Structures of Acceptance: Family, Community

Structures of Acceptance: Family, Community

Develop comprehensive understanding of the impact of family acceptance and family rejection upon LGBTQ youth and adults. Analyze of the impact on physical and mental health. Gain competencies and develop best practice strategies to strengthen organizations that support LGBTQ persons and families. 


Caitlin Ryan Marian Edmonds-Allen, Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA 

LEADWI-406 Building Bridges: Religion & Spirituality

Building Bridges: Religion & Spirituality

Examine spirituality and religion as the sense of connection to something larger; as resources to enable activists to maintain perspective, to combat fatigue and sustain hope in the midst of work; and recognize their roles and their impact as a bridge and/or barrier when doing equality work.


Lisbeth M Melendez Rivera, Founder of Our Witness; Donovan Ackley, Peer Support Specialist, Religious Studies Scholar

LEADWI-407 Human Rights & Global Advocacy

Human Rights & Global Advocacy

Focus on the global perspective of LGBTQ rights as human rights and as a foundation for equality like the UN’s work in 70+ countries where being LGBTQ+ is illegal. Do advocacy that recognizes the effects of growing global migration; and leading with frameworks that are rooted locally, reaching globally.


Urooj Arshad, Director, International LGBTQ Youth Health and Rights Program, Advocates for Youth, Washington, DC; Ryan Thoreson, Researcher in the LGBT rights program at Human Rights Watch and Cover-Lowenstein Fellow, Yale Law School

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