GS 294 Decision-Making and Disciple Leadership


  1. Students will apply the I-PLAN framework to analyze challenges, problems and differing viewpoints in historical and hypothetical situations.
  2. Students will apply the I-PLAN framework to develop solutions for ill-defined historical and hypothetical problems.
  3. Students will persuasively articulate solutions to ill-defined historical and hypothetical problems.
  4. Students will identify misconceptions in their understanding as they gain new knowledge.
  5. Students will develop empathy and charity for those with differing opinions by engaging in face-to-face and online discussions.
  6. Students will practice disciple leadership and decision making by designing and carrying out a semester-long project.
  7. Students will develop characteristics of Christlike leadership.


Welcome to GS 294 Decision-Making and Disciple Leadership. As indicated by its title, the purpose of this course is to help each of us develop better decision-making and disciple leadership skills.

The goal at BYU-Idaho is to qualify for service in the kingdom of God on earth as described in Jacob 5:61.

"Wherefore, go to, and call servants, that we may labor diligently with our might in the vineyard, that we may prepare the way, that I may bring forth again the natural fruit, which natural fruit is good and the most precious above all other fruit."

Preparing the way for the gathering of Israel is both a spiritual and a temporal work. It requires unusual character and competence. The scriptures show that these qualities can be found in the relatively young and inexperienced. Mormon, for instance, was entrusted to solve difficult spiritual and temporal problems even as a boy (see Mormon 1:2 1516 and Mormon 2:12). As BYU-Idaho graduates, you will be recognized by the world for having such an unusual capacity. Knowing that you can be relied on, people will turn to you over others who are older and more experienced. Your service will not always be high-profile, but your ability to perform it well will be a blessing to those who rely on you to prepare the way. This course will help you qualify for that kind of service.

Required Materials

There is no textbook for the course. Instead of using a textbook, we will work from three types of customized texts which you will access from inside the course.

Hypothetical Case Studies:

These are short stories about people dealing with the kinds of challenges you may face as a decision maker and disciple leader. For example, we’ll study cases of dysfunctional apartments, family dilemmas, and difficulties at work. The hypothetical cases will require you to create and role-play a solution that you develop using the I-PLAN framework.


These are explorations of disciple leadership and decision-making topics. Each essay focuses on one topic and explores it through historical and hypothetical stories, gospel teachings, and the findings of secular researchers. Each lecture is about the length of a devotional talk.

Historical Case Studies:

These are like the hypothetical cases. Each historical case describes a real situation that called for good decision-making and disciple leadership. Among the cases are stories of failure as well as success. For example, we’ll explore both President John F. Kennedy’s wise response to the Cuban Missile Crisis and the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion.

Each historical case is designed to build on the hypothetical case and the essay that precedes it. Like the hypothetical cases, the historical cases require you apply the I-PLAN framework. They also challenge you to role-play your responses to difficult decision-making and disciple leadership situations.

Schedule and Learning Model Architecture


Following a two-week introduction to the course, you will follow a regular weekly schedule. Please see the Calendar and the Modules tab for specific information on due dates.

The Learning Model is an essential characteristic of this course. You will be expected to prepare, teach one another, ponder, and prove each week by completing a variety of activities.


Following the two-week introduction to the course, you will be expected to prepare each week by reading a hypothetical case study, a historical case study, and an essay. These readings are the core of the class. In order to be successful in this course, you will need to spend a significant amount of time each week reading, annotating, and analyzing these documents.

Teach One Another

Teaching one another will be the primary method of learning in this course. By the end of the course, you will be an expert at teaching and learning from your peers. The primary way that you will teach one another will be through a tool called Perusall. You will learn more about Perusall later. Each week, you will log in to Perusall and study, annotate, and discuss the historical case study with your peers. There will also be a class discussion each week in which you will ask each other questions and challenge each other's thinking.

Ponder and Prove

In addition to preparing and teaching one another, you will have several opportunities each week to ponder what you have learned and prove your understanding. Each week, you will do the following:

Course Topics

In this course, you will work to develop a set of thinking abilities and leadership character traits. These are the core topics of the course, and your goal will be to practice and develop in each area. See the topics below.

Thinking Abilities:
Leadership Traits:

We will spend an entire week on each of the eleven topics as follows:


As you work through the course topics and learn from the case studies, you will use a planning process called I-PLAN to help develop solutions for the problems presented. I-PLAN is a way to help you slow down and think through a problem in an intentional and systematic way. The goal is that, by the end of the semester, each of you will be able to effective apply I-PLAN to any decision-making or leadership situation that you might face. I-PLAN stands for the following:

Course Activities

Grading in this class is weighted and will be based on your performance in the following five categories:

Perusall (25%):

Throughout this course, you will be using an online tool called Perusall to read, annotate, and discuss the historical case studies. Perusall is a social annotation tool that will allow you to read a text, share annotations, and answer each other's questions. These activities will help you to have richer discussions and better understand the case studies.

Case Studies (15%):

During each week, you will write an analysis outlining your solutions and recommendations for the problem(s) presented in the hypothetical case study.

  1. You will post your analysis in a discussion board.
  2. At the end of the week, you will write a final post revising your original solutions and recommendations to include new insights and knowledge gained from your peers and other weekly activities.
Historical Case Analysis (15%):

During each week, you will write an analysis outlining your solutions and recommendations for the problems presented in the historical case studies.

Topic Discussion (25%):

Each week, your instructor will facilitate a class discussion to help you dig deeper into the weeks' topics and case studies. Your instructor will start the discussion by posting a video podcast and 23 thought-provoking questions for the class to review and answer. We will learn by asking each other challenging questions and engaging in honest dialogue.

Disciple Leadership Project (DLP) (20%):

At the beginning of the semester, you will design a semester-long project. You will choose an area in your personal life to which you want to apply the decision-making and disciple leadership skills you are learning. The project will be called the Disciple Leadership Project. You can choose any area of leadership to focus on. You might want to consider some of the following leadership roles:

Throughout the semester, you will practice applying the principles you learn to your chosen leadership role. Each week, you will write a reflection journal entry to report the progress of your project. At the end of the semester, you will submit your completed reflection journal and summarize your experience.

Grading Policies

Your grade in the course will be based on your performance in the activities listed above. Below are the grading policies for this course.

Late Work:

No late work in this course will be accepted. All assignments are due on the day and time listed in the course calendar. You will be responsible for keeping track of when your assignments are due. Assignments submitted after the posted due date will be given a zero. Please contact your instructor if you have an emergency or extenuating circumstance that you feel deserves consideration. These situations will be handled on a case-by-case basis as determined by your instructor. Remember, it never hurts to turn in your assignments early.

Grade Scale:

In this course, we will be using the standard BYU-Idaho grading scale outlined below.

Letter Grade Percentage Range
A 100%–93%
 A- 92%–90%
  B+ 89%–87%
B 86%–83%
 B- 82%–80%
  C+ 79%–77%
C 76%–73%
 C- 72%–70%
  D+ 69%–67%
D 66%–63%
 D- 62%–60%
F 59%–00%

University Policies

Student Honor:

Student Honor is following the path of discipleship and learning to think, feel, and act more as Christ does.

Living a life of honor begins as we learn and live the baseline standards of the Honor Code, understand their purposes, and remain true to the promises we have made. It continues as we heed the promptings of the Spirit to raise our personal bars of righteousness and foster a spirit of integrity, sacrifice, consecration, love, service, and willing obedience as students and throughout our lives. Honorable living prepares our hearts for devoted discipleship in the family, the church, our work, and the community.

Student Life | Academic Honesty


The instructor reserves the right to change any part of this syllabus at any time during the semester in order to adapt to changing course needs. You will be notified prior to any changes that may take place.