Journal of Leadership Education - Fort Hays State University

fhsu.edu

Journal of Leadership Education - Fort Hays State University

Journal

of

Leadership Education

...is an international, refereed journal that serves scholars and professional

practitioners engaged in leadership education.

...provides a forum for the development of the knowledge base and professional

practice of leadership education world wide.

...is made available through the continued support and efforts of the

membership of the Association of Leadership Educators.

Copyright 2009 by the Association of Leadership Educators.

All rights reserved.

ISSN 1552-9045


Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Volume 7, Number 3 - Winter 2009

The Journal of Leadership Education (JOLE) is the official publication of the

Association of Leadership Educators. The purpose of JOLE is to provide a forum

for development of the knowledge base and practice of leadership education. The

journal is intended to promote a dialogue that engages both academics and

practitioners. Thus, JOLE has a particular interest in applied research and it is the

premise of JOLE that feedback between theory and practice tests both and makes

each better. The journal provides several categories for submittals to promote

diversity of discussion from a variety of authors.

The members and board of the Association of Leadership Educators became

aware of the need for a journal about leadership education in the early 1990s. The

challenge of educating people about leadership is particularly provocative,

complex, and subtle. Other journals with leadership in the title focus primarily on

defining and describing leadership, and journals concerning education seldom

address the subject of leadership. Indeed, one common argument in society is that

leadership is innate (you have it or you don’t) and teaching leadership is difficult

and often ineffective. This attitude is expressed, perhaps, in the dearth of

leadership courses on our university campuses.

In this context, JOLE provides a means to test the hypothesis that leadership

education is possible. Our journal sits at the nexus of education theory and

practice and leadership theory and practice, and from this divide, this mountain

pass there is a need to look “both ways.” Whether leadership education is a

discipline of its own is unclear, at least at present. If nothing else, by looking both

ways this journal hopes to provide a passageway between two disciplines,

enriching both in the process.

JOLE is an electronic journal open to all, both as writers and readers. The journal

has been conceived as an “on-line” journal that is available on the world-wide

web and is to be self-supporting. To this end, at some time in the future a fee may

be charged for publication. At present, all editorial, Board, and reviewer services

are provided without cost to JOLE or its members by volunteer scholars and

practitioners.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Editorial Staff

Editor

• Christine D. Townsend, Texas A & M University

Associate Editor

• Brent J. Goertzen, Fort Hays State University

Editorial Reviewers

• Tony Andenoro, Gonzaga University

• Paul Arsenault, West Chester University

• Elizabeth Bolton, University of Florida

• Chester Bowling, Ohio State University

• Barry Boyd, Texas A&M University

• Christie Brungardt, Fort Hays State University

• Curt Brungardt, Fort Hays State University

• Jackie Bruce, University of Pennsylvania

• Marilyn Corbin, Pennsylvania State University

• Chris Crawford, Fort Hays State University

• Ken Culp III, University of Kentucky

• Renee Daugherty, Oklahoma State University

• Dennis Duncan, University of Georgia

• Don DiPaolo, University of Detroit

• Garee Earnest, Ohio State University

• Chanda Elbert, Texas A&M University

• Patricia J. Fairchild, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

• Nancy Franz, University of New Hampshire

• Carrie Fritz, University of Tennessee

• Susan Fritz, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

• Brent J. Goertzen, Fort Hays State University

• Mark Grandstaff, Brigham Young University

• Tracy Hoover, Pennsylvania State University

• David Jones, North Carolina State University

• Eric Kaufman, Virginia Tech University

• Mike McCormick, Texas A&M University

• Jeffery P. Miller, Innovative Leadership Solutions

• Lori Moore, Texas A&M University

• Chris Morgan, University of Georgia

• Martha Nall, University of Kentucky

• Robin Orr, University of Illinois

• Penny Pennington-Weeks, Oklahoma State University

• Carolyn Roper, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

• John Ricketts, University of Georgia

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

• Kris Ricketts, University of Kentucky

• Manda Rosser, Texas A&M University

• Richard Rohs, University of Georgia

• Mark Russell, Purdue University

• Nicole Stedman, University of Florida

• Kelleen Stine-Cheyne, Texas A&M University

• Wanda Sykes, North Carolina State University

• Laurie Thorp, Michigan State University

• Christine Townsend, Texas A&M University

• Jim Ulrich, Antioch University

• Willis M. Watt, Methodist University

• Bill Weeks, Oklahoma State University

• Jennifer Williams, University of Georgia

• Larry Wilson, University of Illinois

• Karen Zotz, North Dakota State University

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Table of Contents

From the Editors’ Clipboard viii

Christine D. Townsend, Texas A & M University

The Renaissance Art Academies: Implications for Leadership

Education Practices and Research

Michael J. McCormick, Ph.D. Texas A&M University

When Student Leaders Don’t 10

Donald G. DiPaolo, University of Detroit Mercy

The Use of Portfolios in Leadership Education 20

Paul Olden, Saint Michael’s College

Empowering Community Members for Civic Leadership: The Institute

for Community Leadership

Willis M. Watt, Ph.D., Methodist University

Andrew H. Ziegler, Jr., Ph.D. Methodist University

Using a Case Study to Develop the Transformational Teaching Theory 50

Barry L. Boyd., Texas A&M University

Reconceptualizing Academic Advising Using The Full Range

Leadership Model

John E. Barbuto, Jr. , University of Nebraska- Lincoln

Joana S. Story, University of Nebraska- Lincoln

Susan M. Fritz, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Jack L. Schinstock, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Leadership in Intergenerational Practice: In Search of the Elusive “P”

Factor — Passion

Matthew Kaplan, Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University

Elizabeth Larkin, Ed.D., University of South Florida

Alan Hatton-Yeo, Beth Johnson Foundation

v

1

28

60

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Making a Difference: Two Case Studies Describing the Impact of a

Capstone Leadership Education Experience provided through a

National Youth Leadership Training Program

Manda Rosser, Texas A&M University

Nicole LP Stedman, University of Florida

Chanda Elbert, Texas A&M University

Tracy Rutherford, Texas A&M University

College Student Leaders: Meet the Alpha Female 100

Rose Marie Ward, Ph.D., Miami University

Donald G. DiPaolo, Ph.D., University of Detroit Mercy

Halle C. Popson, Miami University

Effective Leadership Development for Undergraduates: How

Important is Active Participation in Collegiate Organizations?

John C. Ewing, The Pennsylvania State University

Jacklyn A. Bruce, The Pennsylvania State University

Kristina G. Ricketts, University of Kentucky

Predicting the Individual Values of the Social Change Model of

Leadership Development: The Role of College Students’ Leadership

and Involvement Experiences

Paige Haber, University of San Diego

Susan R. Komives, University of Maryland

Evaluating a College Leadership Course: What do Students Learn in a

Leadership Course with Service-Learning Component and How

Deeply do They Learn it?

Valerie I. Sessa, Montclair State University

Cristina Matos, Metrus Group

Courtney A. Hopkins, Montclair State University

Casting the Net of Critical Thinking: A Look into the Collegiate

Leadership Classroom

Nicole LP Stedman, University of Florida

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83

118

133

167

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Experiential Workshop with Educational Leadership Doctoral

Students: Managing Affective Reactions to Organizational Change

Leigh Falls, Ed.S., Texas Woman’s University

Teresa Jara, Sam Houston State University

Tim Sever, Sam Houston State University

Studying Leadership within Successful Rural Communities in a

Southeastern State – A Qualitative Analysis

Kristina G. Ricketts, Ph.D, University of Kentucky

Influences of Youth Leadership within a Community-Based Context 246

Kenneth R. Jones, University of Kentucky

Kouzes and Posner's Transformational Leadership Model in Practice:

The Case of Jordanian Schools

Abdullah M. Abu-Tineh, The Hashemite University, Jordan

Samer A. Khasawneh, The Hashemite University, Jordan

Aieman A. Omary, The Hashemite University, Jordan

Submission Guidelines 284

Le Culminant 286

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230

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

From the Editor’s Clipboard

Volume 7, Number 3 - Winter 2009

There is no “F-R-A-U-D” in Leadership

Have you heard, “there is no ‘I’ in ‘Team”? Most leadership educators listen to it,

use it, and are familiar with the message found within the phrase. “No ‘I’” has

served leadership educators well for many years and might become an entry in the

proverbial “leadership dictionary.” “No ‘I’” has helped get a good leadership

message into everyday conversation.

Let’s keep “No ‘I’” but move forward with a new mantra to symbolize the

leadership education mission for the 21 st century. The year 2008 has been

wrought with crises, struggles, and change. Due to fluctuation in the economy,

environment, and energy conditions, people are thinking about leadership with

criticality and, perhaps, a lack of optimism. The meaning of leadership is debated

– and should be debated – because its definition is used and abused for a myriad

of purposes. Today is the day for leadership educators to shout

“THERE IS NO F-R-A-U-D IN LEADERSHIP.”

We cannot support leaders who misuse their power, conduct unethical practices,

or take advantage of people inside and outside of their organizations. Leadership

educators have a responsibility to develop leaders who embrace authenticity,

truth, and humility.

Authentic leaders understand the values of their organization. They embrace both

the needs of members and mission of the organization. Authentic leaders

remember that people rely on leaders for guidance, advice, and safe passage to the

future. It is imperative that leaders are trustworthy and represent the proper

activities of an entity. Don’t be fooled; people know what is right and what is

wrong. But, if the leaders spin righteousness for personal benefit and convince

others that they are well-intended, people follow with blind allegiance. Authentic

leadership becomes veiled and society retreats to a Machiavellian system where

creativity is squelched and forward progress is limited. Without authenticity,

leaders reap short term gain and society wilts under the darkness of leaders who

use their power for personal power and gain.

Truth – how hard can it be? Leaders shy from truth to shield followers. Some

may suggest that the shield is armor for protection from the sting of reality. But,

reality is just that – life is real and people can and must endure their day to day

adventure. Followers have the right to decipher the truth and make plans to adjust

to the meaning of the leader’s message. Certainly, truth is a difficult and

courageous responsibility for leaders. It takes bravery to confront reality and face

criticism for difficult decisions. However, the leader who speaks with half-truth or

masked conversation only postpones the inevitable. As with the loss of

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

authenticity, an untrue leader halts forward motion and risks the spirit of

humanity.

Humility in leadership is the critical point where authenticity and truth are joined.

A humble leader does not guide followers for the leader’s own gain; a humble

leader does not hide truth to shelter followers from the leader’s purpose. Leaders

with humility work with others to solve problems, develop ideas, and move the

group forward. Awards and accolades are accepted on behalf of and for the group.

A humble leader facilitates progress and encourages followers to succeed. The

arrogance of leadership for personal gain disappears and followers have the

opportunity to search for solutions and successful steps toward their future.

“There is no F-R-A-U-D in leadership.”

1. Test it using various theories of successful leadership.

2. Identify authentic, truthful, and humble leaders who make a difference.

3. Locate super leaders who experience reward for their effort and live “no F-R-A-

U-D.”

Leadership educators have a awesome responsibility to live the message and

develop the next generation of leaders. Your assignment is to accept the challenge

and blend authenticity, truth, and humility into the proverbial “leadership

dictionary.”

Issue Information

The Journal of Leadership Education (JOLE) continues to strive for excellence in

manuscript review and acceptance. Acceptance rates are calculated for each issue

and vary depending on the number of submissions. The JOLE acceptance rate for

this issue is 46%. The manuscripts were authored by 37 writers.

In their review of the submitted documents, representatives of the JOLE Editorial

Board provided a juried assessment of a manuscript’s scholarly significance and

relevance. The Theoretical Features, Research Features, Application and Idea

Briefs were peer reviewed and closely scrutinized to ensure selected manuscripts

advance the theory and practice of leadership education. See the journal website

for a more detailed discussion of these categories (www.fhsu.edu/JOLE/). This

issue of JOLE supports scholars in their development of new knowledge in the

quest for successful leadership education.

Respectfully submitted, Christine D. Townsend, Editor

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

EDITOR REVIEWED COMMENTARIES AND BRIEFS

Accepted Commentary

For this issue of the Journal of Leadership Education (JOLE), the editor accepted

one commentary feature. According to the JOLE Article Category guidelines,

commentary pieces allow authors to share an opinion related to leadership

education. The commentaries are not reviewed by the JOLE Board of Reviewers

and, therefore, do not contribute to the acceptance rate for this issue.

Michael McCormick poses a provocative question in his commentary, “The

Renaissance Art Academies: Implications for Education Practices and Research.”

He ponders the question, is teaching leadership similar to teaching art? His

response provides the reader with considerations in mentoring, communities of

practice, and creativity.

Accepted Idea Brief

“When Student Leaders Don’t” is an excellent partner to this issue’s commentary.

Don DiPaolo writes that the goals of leadership educators and student leaders may

not be an exact match. Readers of this Idea Brief find several examples that

explore what we do and what we yield. “When Student Leaders Don’t” is an

incubator for future research – is there a theory to explain the gap between the

education and reality of leadership?

Accepted Application Brief

Paul Olsen, “The Use of Portfolios in Leadership Education,” supplies a method

of leadership education that can be infused directly into leadership education

programs. His outline for use of student portfolios rests within a business class

and explains how accounting students blend leadership with their extremely

technical education. Olsen’s approach to portfolios can be adapted to many

contexts for leadership.

“Empowering Community Members for Civic Leadership: The Institute for

Community Leadership,” is an Application Brief that identifies genuine

contextual leadership. The leadership students are adults with a true felt need.

Watt’s article can be a model for those who deal with adult learners. It can also be

used for ideas to create situational meaning for students who have no context.

Community is a critical aspect of any leader’s circumstances and, therefore, can

be a key feature in many leadership education lessons.

PEER REVIEWED RESEARCH AND THEORY FEATURES

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Accepted Theory Features

This category is appropriate “for development of theory that is not necessarily

data based, but concerns a clear issue/hypothesis, a review of related scholarship

with synthesis of theory, and discussion and conclusion.”

(http://www.fhsu.edu/jole/categ_guidelines.html, retrieved 12/23/08) This issue

contains 3 theory articles. Each of the articles was reviewed by members of the

Editorial Board who recognize the merits of introducing new theories and

merging different ideas into one thought.

Barry Boyd poses a theory that transformational leadership is a concept that can

be merged with traditional teaching methodologies. In “Using a Case Study to

Develop the Transformational Teaching Theory,” he analyzes one teaching case

and interjects elements of transformational leadership into the case. He concludes

his theory with action-oriented steps that can be utilized by leadership – and other

– educators in a quest for transforming students into scholars.

Barbuto, Story, Fritz, and Schinstock continue the incorporation of leadership

theory into contextual application in their article, “Reconceptualizing Academic

Advising Using the Full Range Leadership Model.” At the collegiate level,

academic advising is a fairly standard expectation. But the practices of academic

advisors differ from site to site. The authors recognize the impact of

transformational leadership. Their resulting theory offers practices using the

tenants of transformational leadership to develop, reform, and create successful

academic advising models.

Kaplan, Larkin, and Hatton-Yeo address multiple users in their theory

Leadership in Intergenerational Practice: In Search of the Elusive “P” Factor –

Passion.” The authors concentrate on a critical aspect of society – working across

generational lines to lead representatives of different cohorts in an organization.

Their conclusion that passion is an elusive leadership action offers a provocative

insight that may become an important aspect of leadership education.

Accepted Research Features

This article category is an important repository for “research-based papers

containing a clear statement of an issue/hypothesis, a review of related

scholarship with synthesis of theory, a discussion and conclusion.”

(http://www.fhsu.edu/jole/categ_guidelines.html, retrieved 12/23/08) This issue

contains 10 research-based articles that focus on various leadership contexts,

educational systems, and differing teaching methods. Both quantitative and

qualitative research paradigms are represented among the 10 articles.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

High school students are the focus of “Making a Difference: Two Case Studies

Describing the Impact of a Capstone Leadership Education Experience Provided

Through a National Youth Leadership Training Program.” In their research,

Rosser, Stedman, Elbert, and Rutherford sought to answer the question

concerning the effectiveness of a capstone experience in leadership education.

The high school students related their leadership enrichment to a planned and

ccompleted an experience project.

Ward, DiPaolo, and Popson conduct their research with college-level students.

“College Student Leaders: Meet the Alpha Female” provides insight into the

development of leadership skills by a specific group. Using a qualitative research

paradigm, the researchers identified themes, including a strong family structure,

which impact the emergence of female leaders. The researchers suggest

possibilities for educational enrichment and opportunities for further research.

The collegiate environment is again connected to leadership development in the

study conducted by Ewing, Bruce, and Ricketts. “Effective Leadership

Development for Undergraduates: How Important is Active Participation in

Collegiate Organizations” looks at the co-curricular environment of postsecondary

education in the United States. The authors acknowledge the historic

use of college clubs and sought further affirmation that clubs reinforce leadership

development. Interesting results indicated that approximately ½ of the

respondents reported club participation with ¼ in leadership positions. The

findings of this study can be used to further refine leadership enrichment found

within college and university co-curricular activities.

Collegiate co-curricular involvement was the context for “Predicting the

Individual Values of the Social Change Model of Leadership Development: The

Role of college Students’ Leadership and Involvement Experiences.” Haber and

Komives studied the effect of formal leadership roles on college students’ social

responsibility. The authors analyzed data from an extensive undergraduate sample

to ascertain the impact of various activities. The results provide significant

findings to support involvement in student organizations as a part of the

undergraduate experience.

Sessa, Matos, and Hopkins move from the broad experience of a college student

to a particular college course. In their research article, “Evaluating a College

Leadership Course: What do Students Learn in a Leadership Course with a

Service-Learning Component and How Deeply do They Learn it?” their authors

studied a collegiate freshman course. As a result of their research, they conclude

that service learning is an effective learning method for student leadership

development.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Another collegiate teaching method is studied in relation to leadership education.

Nicole Stedman investigated the role of critical thinking in leadership classrooms.

“Casting the Net of Critical Thinking: A Look into the Collegiate Leadership

Classroom” documents how different variables related to critical thinking success.

No differences in dependent variables were discovered in relation to

innovativeness, cognitive maturity, and engagement. The author discusses how

these findings impact development of collegiate leadership courses.

Falls, Jara, and Sever research collegiate doctoral students to ascertain how

experiential workshops relate to leadership of organizations. “Experiential

Workshop with Educational Leadership Doctoral Students: Managing Affective

Reactions to Organizational Change” documents the use of a particular

educational method in leadership development of a particular student group. The

researchers study how students view change in relation to their cultural

background.

Kristina Ricketts moves beyond the traditional classroom to the community

classroom in her article titled, “Studying Leadership within Successful Rural

communities in a Southeastern State – A Qualitative Analysis.” The author chose

to study communities that have positive factors and investigate the impact of

leaders. Among several factors, she reports that leaders with strong service

commitment, high moral value, and a sense of community contributed to the

positive development of rural society.

An additional community-based leadership education experience was researched

by Kenneth Jones. In his study titled, “Influences of Youth Leadership Within a

Community-Based Context,” Jones documents the impact of civic engagement

and use of adult volunteers working with youth in various activities. The results

of this partnership yielded several positive results including positive relations with

adults and understanding of decision-making within the community.

The global incorporation of leadership education is viewed in the study by Abu-

Tineh, Khasawneh, and Omary. These researchers studied leadership of school

principals in Jordan with documentation found in “Kouzes and Posner’s

Transformational Leadership Model in Practice: The Case of Jordanian Schools.”

The Jordanian school principals present a moderate Kouzes and Posner leadership

practice. An interesting result displays no difference among the experience level

of teachers in their perceptions of the dimensions of the model.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

The Renaissance Art Academies: Implications for

Leadership Education Practices and Research

Michael J. McCormick, Ph.D.

Senior Lecturer

Texas A&M University

979/ 845-2954

mmccormick@aged.tamu.edu

Abstract

Taking the perspective that leadership education is similar to art education created

a bridge connecting the leadership education literature with the large and rich

body of literature on art education and art history. A survey of the more

prominent Renaissance art academies was employed to illuminate the education

practices of that extraordinary time, and then consider whether these practices had

application to modern day leadership education. Results directly challenged the

efficacy of the skills approach to leadership education, affirmed the importance of

the mentoring method, supported the communities of practice method as a

powerful tool for leadership education, argued for the idea of a talent for

leadership, proposed designing leadership games and simulations that included

positive and negative consequences, and stressed the importance of creating

college and university based leadership academies.

The Renaissance Art Academies: Implications for Leadership

Education Practices and Research

The Renaissance was that period of time in human history when Western

Civilization exhausted by famine, plagues and incessant warfare teetered on the

brink of chaos only to incredibly remake itself in a grand explosion of energy and

inventiveness (Manchester, 1993). Sandwiched between the Middle Ages and the

Reformation, it was the period that spawned artists, explorers, poets,

philosophers, and reformers. It was the age of Michelangelo and Raphael,

Columbus and Magellan, Machiavelli and Erasmus, a mafia of profane popes and

Martin Luther as well as a host of extraordinary others who collectively inspired

and shaped Western assumptions, beliefs, customs, expectations, ideas, and

values. Incredibly, all continue to resonate in the modern mind. The period also

bequeathed a treasure trove of artistic works that to this day still produce awe and

wonder.

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For many people, the Renaissance brings to mind the stunning and awe inspiring

works of art produced in that period like Michelangelo’s masterwork, the Ceiling

of the Sistine Chapel and Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Along with these timeless works

of art and the artists who produced them came the influential art academies. These

were the greenhouses where the young and the talented sought to develop their

own distinctive artistic styles and attract the attention of art patrons. Of relevance

to leadership educators is that each academy had a particular conceptual

framework that guided the academy’s approach to developing the artistic

capabilities of its students. Also, the art academy system embodied a set of

teaching methods, practices, and ideas that are instructive and thought provoking

especially for current leadership education practices and research.

Taking the perspective that the practice of leadership is much like the practice of

art, which has been proposed by other researchers and scholars (Cohen, 1990;

Nahavandi, 2006; Walters, 1987), then the Renaissance art academies may

provide some useful insights for leadership educators.

The purpose of this paper is to survey some of the more prominent Renaissance

art academies, identify their particular approaches to art education, and extend

their education insights to present day leadership education practices and

research. Furthermore, this review will explore Renaissance art academy practices

that support educational practices being presently used by leadership educators,

challenge some, and suggest potential avenues for future research.

The Academy of Fine Arts Florence: the Invention of the

Academy

The Renaissance was a particularly important period for painters, sculptors, and

architects who at the time were considered only craftsman, and thus not worthy of

the high social standing accorded to professionals (those with university degrees).

That all changed with the founding of the Florentine Academy under the

sponsorship and protection of Duke Cosimo de Medici. Because of the aura of

Medici power and the presence of famous instructors like Michelangelo, those

with artistic talent for painting, sculpting, or architecture enjoyed a substantially

enhanced social regard. Furthermore, the invention of the academy gave

legitimacy to academy members that resulted in the study and practice of art

becoming a worthy endeavor within the contemporary notion of learned societies.

The Academy of Fine Arts Florence revealed the advantage of the art academy

model. First, the interaction of artists and scholars within the rarified atmosphere

of a learned institution resulted in a collaboration of minds that otherwise would

not have happened to the extent that it did. Second, academy members helped

each other by discussing ways and means to achieve their desired effects in their

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work. Third, the Academy of Fine Arts Florence sponsored regular debates,

discussions as well as shows and lectures on art history, theory, and practice. The

final advantage of the academy model was that it enabled young artists to connect

with both wealthy patrons who could support their continued development as well

as attract the attention of artistic mentors, who were vital to a student’s continued

artistic refinement and success.

Academy of Fine Arts Florence: Modern Applications

to Leadership Education.

The foremost implication for leadership educators is the invention of the

academy. Professional leadership educators have long had to struggle to gain the

acceptance and recognition of practitioners and academic colleagues, many of

whom still question whether leadership studies is in fact an academic discipline.

Perhaps the Renaissance art academy concept offers a means for overcoming this

rankling issue.

The means to gain credibility might lie in creating leadership academies in

university settings that enjoy the support of prominent alumni and administrators.

Just like the Florentine Academy that had the backing of Medici power and

prestige, it legitimized the art academy institution and gave to its students a

degree of social status. Perhaps leadership educators should re-direct their efforts

from engaging in the eternal debates over what is leadership and whether

leadership studies is a legitimate academic discipline to concerning themselves

with creating leadership academies. Perhaps the time has come for institution

building.

The manner in which the academies were organized and operated fits well with

the modern concepts of communities of practice and mentoring as strategies for

improving individual capabilities. Communities of practice represent a refinement

of the situated learning model advanced by Lave and Wenger (1991). It is,

“groups of people who share a common concern or a passion for something they

do and who interact regularly to learn how to do it better” (Wenger, McDermott,

& Snyder, 2002, p.1). And that is what the academy structure did. It brought

together highly talented individuals with a common passion for artistic expression

that fostered learning in an environment (the studio) that was functionally similar

to where the learning was applied. And all practice was performed under the ever

watchful eye of a master, since all students began as apprentices.

In a modern sense, the masters acted like coaches or mentors. For instance, in

Rembrandt’s studio, Rembrandt himself, would correct and make comments on

his students’ drawings, usually in a few sure pen lines empathically altering the

relations of figures to one another. Later, art historians who actually examined the

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students’ corrected works found that the students’ revised drawings showed they

had indeed learned the lesson (Goldstein, 1996).

Roman Accademia di San Luca: Theory Building

and Talent Identification

The Accademia di San Luca was another of the important Renaissance art

academies. It rivaled the Florentine Academy in terms of faculty, being comprised

of some of the most influential artists in Europe, and powerful patrons that

included the Papacy. It was founded by Federico Zuccaro with the expressed

intention of elevating the institution of the art academy to the high regard

accorded to the university.

Zuccaro introduced noteworthy educational ideas that distinguish the Roman

Accademia di San Luca from other Renaissance academies. The first was that

practical instruction was only one part of art education. Another was theorybuilding,

the creation of some kind of coherent mental framework or theory that

would capture what art was and the elements that comprised the creation pf art.

He argued that art students needed to have a conceptual foundation of how art was

created and that it must come before even the development of the manual

dexterity of drawing (Elkins, 2001).

A second educational idea he proposed was the need to regularly challenge

students with competitions to reward the talented and select out the less capable.

He based this proposition on his belief that artistic inspiration entered the mind of

man as a spark of the divine mind. To put it into a more secular expression,

artistic inspiration was a talent and no amount of training and practice could make

up for the lack thereof. It was a gift of Nature; it was innate.

A third distinguishing feature of the Roman Accademia di San Luca was the

drawing “alphabet.” Novices would begin their training by mastering the ABCs of

drawing heads, feet, hands, and facial expressions. It was assumed that by

assembling the parts art would be created.

In the end Zuccaro’s insistence on theory building and abstract esthetics regarding

the nature of art was rejected by working artists because they perceived his

obsession with theory-building as having no practical use. To most artists,

“theory” was nothing but a description of their manual activity. From their

perspective it was simply no theory at all. As Hoover (1992) has noted, “a theory

is a set of related propositions that suggest why events occur in the manner that

they do” (p.34). Simply put, Zaccaro never put forth a theory of why art occurred

the way that it did.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Roman Accademia di San Luca: Modern Applications

to Leadership Education

An interesting technique employed by this academy was requiring students to first

master the skills for drawing heads, feet, hands, and facial expression before

beginning to create larger drawings with multiple objects, people, and scenes.

Similarly, the Skills Approach to leadership education proposes that mastery of

the discrete skills of leadership will result in better and more effective leadership.

From a leadership education perspective, it seems to make intuitive sense to

assign effective leadership to a list of skills to be mastered. Yet, the outcomes of

this technique based on the experience of this Renaissance academy and others

suggest otherwise. While teaching discrete leadership skills may be necessary, it

is not sufficient to nurture the leadership development process. It is the integration

of discrete leadership skills in response to the leadership demands of the moment

that produces the art of leadership.

Another sensitive, but necessary, issue addressed by the Accademia di San Luca

and its director, Zuccaro, was the issue of talent. Zuccaro frequently conducted

competitions to separate the gifted from the technically capable. He asserted that,

“art is a God given gift for the lack of which no amount of study will compensate”

(cited in Goldstein, 1996, p.46). Recent work by Hogan and Kaiser (2005) cite

substantial research to support the idea that (a) there is a talent for leadership, (b)

it can be measured, and (c) given the right developmental experiences, it can be

highly refined.

The Accademia de Carracci: Imitation and the Copy

The Accademia de Carracci was a private academy that was inspired by the

Florentine Academy. Its purpose was promoting the professional advancement of

its students. It stressed drawing practice of the anatomical units of the body: eyes,

ears, legs, feet, head, and so on. Also, it stressed careful and constant repetition

until drawing the basic anatomical parts became automatic. Like Zuccaro’s

academy, drawing practice was coupled with theory however problematic this

must have been at the time.

The typical Carracci artist drew from the antique; that is, the sculptures, figures,

paintings, and architecture of antiquity. For instance the artist might draw from

the marble figure of Jupiter, which had been discovered during an excavation of

an ancient site. The idea was that by copying these great works the young artist

would learn from the masters.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Students studied anatomy, systems of proportion and rules of perspective.

Importantly, they were expected to discern and integrate the knowledge, rules,

and style of the artistic masters of antiquity into artistic strategies that culminated

in some kind of well crafted painting or sculpture. It appears that the Carracci art

students were expected to use what we now refer to as inductive reasoning to

derive rules, styles, and techniques that they would then incorporate into their

own works (Moore, 1998). However, like the absence of artistic talent, without

inductive reasoning capacity, the pupil would not be able to learn from their hard

work of imitating the masters. The student would be unable to reduce the whole

into a set of cogent insights or observations. The Carracci Academy proposed that

the “true” learning method was imitation, copying the works of highly successful

artists and deriving their methods using inductive reasoning rather than deductive

reasoning (Goldstein, 1996).

Accademia de Carracci: Modern Applications

to Leadership Education

The instructional methods employed by the Carracci Academy essentially implied

that the capacity for inductive reasoning was a prerequisite for learning from the

great artists of antiquity. Here again, though indirectly, the notion of leadership

talent presents itself especially since thinking abilities like critical thinking and

inductive reasoning vary in the population (Moore, 1998).

Research is needed to verify whether those who have inductive reasoning capacity

are able to derive important leadership insights from biographies, movies, or case

studies of significant leadership success as compared to those with lesser

inductive reasoning capacities. An example of such a case study would be the

leadership lessons displayed by Chief Flight Director, Gene Kranz, during the

spectacular rescue of the three astronauts aboard Apollo 13. It may well be that

inductive reasoning is an individual difference variable that must be present in

some measure for someone to derive useful meaning from case studies, movies, or

biographies. Furthermore, if differences in inductive reasoning capacity do

influence the recognition of important leadership lessons, can tools, techniques

and strategies be designed to help those with lower inductive reasoning capacity

to more effectively learn from case studies and other vicarious experiences?

The French Academy in Rome: Trial by Fire

Though technically not a Renaissance art academy, the French Academy in Rome

was inspired by the Renaissance period and founded in the waning days of the

Renaissance. It was intended to be an outpost of the Royal Academy of Painting

and Sculpture in Paris (Galitz, 2000).

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Students at this academy were recipients of the Prix de Rome, a prize awarded

annually to the top students of the Royal Academy in Paris. The winners were the

survivors of a long series of competitions in which students had their artistic

works rigorously evaluated by academy instructors. Prize recipients received three

year scholarships to the French Academy in Rome courtesy of the French

government (Goldstein, 1996). While in Rome students were expected to copy the

great artistic works that were scattered all about Rome in museums, public areas,

churches, and at St. Peter’s Basilica.

In this academy competition became a large part of the student’s life.

Advancement through the curriculum of the Royal Academy depended upon

whether a student’s artistic projects were deemed meritorious and indicative of

the student’s mastery of the subject. Mere technical competence was insufficient.

The student had to display talent. Thus, those of lesser talent or motivation were

held back. Although this was an intensely competitive system, it did select out the

more motivated and naturally gifted.

French Academy: Modern Applications to

Leadership Education

What the French Academy in Rome has to say to leadership educators of today is

that leadership learning activities with real consequences must be a part of the

leadership education process. However, implementing experienced-based

leadership development interventions with real consequences may be problematic.

Nevertheless, since it was a mainstay learning tool in most of the Renaissance art

academies, designing and implementing leadership experiences with real

consequences is worthy of a serious consideration.

Summary and Conclusions

The turbulent Renaissance, the years of poisoning princes, warring popes, the all

powerful Medici family, and religious conflicts seemed to be pushing Europe and

Western Civilization to the point of social collapse. Yet, remarkably, out of this

chaotic period appeared a group of artistic giants who left a legacy of artistic

works so beautiful and profoundly moving that they have become icons of the

age. The period also inspired the creation of art academies to promote the arts and

train young artists.

As this survey revealed, by adopting the perspective that leadership education is

somewhat similar to art education, a number of interesting and thought provoking

ideas emerged that have relevance to current leadership education practices and

research. Inferences drawn from this survey challenged the effectiveness of the

Skills Approach to leadership education, affirmed the importance of the

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

mentoring method, supported the communities of practice method as a powerful

tool for leadership education, argued for the idea of there being a talent for

leadership, proposed designing leadership games and simulations that included

positive and negative consequences, and stressed the importance of creating

college and university based leadership academies.

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References

Cohen, W. A. (1990). The art of the leader. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Elkins, J. (2001). Why art cannot be taught. Urbana, IL: University of Chicago

Press.

Galitz, K. (2000). The French Academy in Rome: Timeline of art history retrieved

December 19, 2006 from

http://www.metmuseumorg/toah/hd/frac/hd_frac.htm

Goldstein, C. (1996). Teaching art: Academies and schools from Vasari to Albers.

New York: Cambridge University Press.

Hogan, R., & Kaiser, R. (2004). What we know about leadership retrieved August

13, 2008 from http://www.hoganassessments.com/-

HoganWeb/documents/whatweknow%23HoganKaiser%29.pdf

Hoover, K. (1992). The elements of social science thinking (5 th ed.). New York:

St. Martin Press.

Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral

participation. Oxford, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Manchester, W. (1993). A world lit only by fire. Boston: Little, Brown and

Company.

Moore, K. (1998). Patterns of inductive reasoning (3 rd ed.). Dubuque, IA: Kendall

Hunt Publishing.

Nahavandi, A. (2006). The art and science of leadership (4 th ed.). Upper Saddle

River, NJ: Pearson-Prentice Hall.

Walters, J. D. (1987). The art of leadership. New York: Barnes & Noble Books.

Wenger, E., McDermott, R., & Snyder, W. M. (2002). Cultivating communities of

practice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Biography

Michael J. McCormick is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Agricultural

Leadership Education, and Communications at Texas A&M University. His

research focuses on how individuals learn leadership. He can be reached at

mmccormick@aged.tamu.edu.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

When Student Leaders Don’t

Donald G. DiPaolo

Assistant Professor

University of Detroit Mercy

Detroit, Michigan

dipaoldo@udmercy.edu

Summary

This introspective and reflective idea brief explores the nature of the gap between

what leadership educators hope to accomplish in the lives of students and what

actually happens. The author draws upon 30 years of leadership education and a

wealth of interactions with leadership educators and student leaders across North

America. Five latent barriers to successful leadership education are presented for

further discussion, debate, and application. These include hidden narratives,

limitations of past leadership styles, student leader collapse, the attached

umbilical cord, and the price of being a student leader. The reader is encouraged

to engage in supportive dialogue with colleagues to address difficult questions

and cultural obstacles to our work.

Introduction

I have been in the fortunate position of working with tens of thousands of student

leaders across North America. They have taught me a great deal. I have also

learned from hundreds of student life professionals, extension coordinators,

coaches, deans, and faculty members who are committed to leadership education

and who spend their lives in an attempt to serve students.

There are inspiring stories from the field that involve such events as challenges

overcome, moments of enlightenment, organizations and campus cultures

improved, exemplary service to others, and an issue of social justice advanced.

Underneath these examples of success, in which justified pride should be felt,

there are often scores of examples where, despite the best efforts of leadership

educators, a student disappoints, fails, flounders. Oftentimes, leadership educators

with great intentions become disheartened and have their effectiveness questioned

and programs challenged because students in leadership positions…don’t. I have

commiserated with them.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

What follows are five broad notions from the field on why student leaders fail. I

offer this idea brief in an effort to spark discussion and reflective dialogue among

leadership educators and in the hopes that we continue to come together and ask

tough questions. At the most recent ALE conference in Spokane, there were calls

for more qualitative methods and honest dialogue in an attempt to uncover what is

really going on in campus leadership development (Boyd, 2008). Leadership

educators from across the country have also called into question the efficacy of

our attempts to teach leadership (Brungardt, 1997; DiPaolo, 2008a; Townsend,

2002; Williams, Townsend, & Linder, 2005). Perhaps these efforts can be aided

by a consideration of the more hidden and difficult impediments to students

leading on campus.

This idea brief might appear, on the surface, as being singular in perspective. I

would offer that this perspective is really a synthesis of thousands of personal

case studies and represents a personal ethnography. This reflective brief is meant

to offer safe space for others in the field to dialogue about the difficulties we face

as leadership educators.

Barrier One: The Hidden Narrative

Students come to us with powerful mind maps of how humans relate in the world.

As research has shown, family dynamics and socialization have a great deal to do

with shaping the leaders that arrive on campus (Hartman & Harris, 1992). When

our students experience a crisis or crucible of leadership, I have found that an

unresolved personal or characterlogical struggle is often at play (Bennis &

Thomas, 2002). Student leaders that struggle often display symptoms of personal

dysfunction. They are not usually able to see on their own that these have

underlying causes that, unless resolved, will continue to be problematic

throughout their lives. We tell students to lead from their core, but student leaders

that stumble often have unresolved conflicts in their core (DiPaolo, 2008b). In

essence, many of them need healing in their core.

Our students come to us as full, complex human beings. The realities of human

personality and characterlogical make-up are invited and uninvited guests at every

leadership class and retreat (Kets de Vries, 1993). Every leadership educator has

experienced moments when the overwhelming deeper needs of a student dominate

and even negate our best efforts.

• Would we be more effective referring some of our student leaders to

campus counseling rather than leadership activities?

• Are schools prepared to handle the onslaught of students seeking their

assistance?

• How do we treat the ethical dilemma inherent in this dynamic?

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• Beyond leadership development, how far do we go with personal

development?

• Are we trained to make this call? If we do not make the call, who will do

so and after how much damage to the life of the student and the

community?

Barrier Two: Time For A Different Style

I have found that many student leaders have been rewarded with positions of

leadership in college based on a style that worked for them in junior high and high

school. However, this style is not necessarily effective once they are in college

(Endress, 2000; Fleishman, Zaccaro, & Mumford, 1991; Yammarino & Bass,

1991). Quite often this involves an alpha female or alpha male discovering that

they really cannot do it alone in college – that their personal charisma, particular

area of talent, or strong will is no longer enough. People assume that a president

or captain in high school is just going to carry on in college. I once had an

Olympic medalist tell me, “Just because I have an Olympic medal, people think I

know how to lead. I have no idea how to lead!”

Many of our student leaders have been wearing the label of “leader” without any

real understanding of what that means. This may work for a while, but the

enormity or added complexity of the organization at the college level becomes

problematic. The cracks in the armor begin to show. Student leaders find out they

are on teams or in student organizations that have many other successful leaders

and they do not know how to really share leadership or adapt to a different or

more collaborative style. For others, it may be time to not lead and learn what it

means to be a successful follower (Vecchio, 2002).

• Should leadership educators, coaches, orientation leaders, and other

campus personnel build leadership style assessment into the first

experiences students have on campus?

• How do we let student leaders know that what they bring as leaders might

not work anymore, or even more difficult, that perhaps it is time to just

follow first and learn?

• What mental models and paradigms of leadership education can be

refocused to highlight this need?

• How can we challenge students to evaluate, and maybe even change, their

current leadership paradigm when they feel they have already been

strongly rewarded?

• What is the compelling case for change prior to experienced failure?

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Barrier Three: Student Leader Collapse

Another dynamic that leadership educators face is the utter burnout of our student

leaders. Many of our student leaders as well as their educators are exhausted

physically, intellectually, and emotionally. We keep telling students to “get

involved” and they follow our advice. Perhaps our first advice should be to

encourage them to discover what matters most to them and then be very selective

in their involvement. Is this an opportunity to introduce the concept of “less is

more” rather than “more is better?”

I have seen so many student leaders turning to any number of ways to cope with

the competing demands on their time and the enormous expectations that they feel

– whether these demands originate internally or externally. Once we pull back the

veil – if students allow us to see their vulnerability – it can be a bit shocking to the

student and to the leadership educator.

We talk about mind-body-spirit balance, yet we often do not model this as

leadership educators and we lavish awards on students who do not maintain this

balance either. I have been frequently surprised at the number of complex coping

mechanisms students employ, just to get through the school year. Students often

“self-medicate” through the use of common stimulants, binge drinking episodes,

or the growing prescription drug network. Sometimes, they simply break down.

• How do we help student leaders learn healthier lifestyles when campus

culture seems to reward those who do not live them?

• What are we, as leadership educators, modeling for students?

• What theoretical or practical models of student leadership can we

highlight in our programs to prevent the toll on stressed students?

• Is there a place for an intentional “less is more” message in our leadership

curricula?

Barrier Four: The Attached Umbilical Cord

A common chorus I hear from those in the field is the growing presence of

domineering parents. Gone are the early days of higher education in the United

States where the parental role was limited after the bus or train or stagecoach left

the station. The modern parent, of helicopter fame, is much more involved in

campus life. This presents all kinds of psychological, social and legal challenges

to leadership educators (McEwan, 2005; Wong Briggs, 2007). This dynamic can

be an unexpected source of exasperation and frustration for colleagues and

students alike.

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I recently had a leadership educator report to me that he sat with a new student

who was stunned and saddened by the sudden realization that nothing he had done

in his life, up to that point, was his own decision. This student was Class

President, Captain of the Track Team, a Merit Scholar, and led a host of other

organizations. He saw that he had ended up at the college of his parent’s choice in

a major in which he had no interest.

If student leadership education has self-efficacy and personal empowerment as

core psychological underpinnings, are we facing a crisis in the power of students

to evolve as thinking, emoting, and separate beings (Bandura, 1997)?

• Are we getting a generation of student leaders who are performing for

authority rather than leading from a place of purpose and strength?

• How do we help students claim the intellectual and interpersonal freedom

that is necessary to be an authentic leader – an author of one’s life?

• How do we encourage a type of separation from parents while respecting

their contributions?

• Is there a familial trend that requires us to first exhort our student leaders

to “know thyself” before we ask them to lead anything?

Barrier Five: The Price of Leadership

The most common complaint I hear from university presidents, deans of students,

campus life professional, and faculty members is the lack of accountability and

responsibility exemplified by student leaders. Many campus professionals feel a

sense of personal betrayal when students, in whom much has been invested, do

not come through.

Despite our best efforts, many of our prized student leaders are just unable to pay

the price of leadership. When it comes down to drawing a line in the sand on any

number of social or ethical issues, our exemplars are often unable to hold their

peers accountable. The price is very high, of course, because students who

demonstrate this kind of courage are often quickly rebuked and risk harmony in

relationships. College students are vulnerable in their status with peers and it

takes courage and strength of character to be a principled leader, especially

regarding the need to belong and the risk involved in not complying with peergroup

dynamics.

The difficult truth is that we feel good about the students who have gone through

our classes, retreats, and programs, yet too many are willing to accept the perks of

a leadership status without really earning them. The whole point and purpose of

our educational efforts is lost if, during a moment of truth, our students repeatedly

back down from the challenge.

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A related dynamic is the expectation of other students that the leaders are

supposed to do all the work. Students will often grant other students the title and

position of leadership, but then place unrealistic demands on what that means for

an organization. Somehow, being a student leader has come to mean that the

leader is supposed to do all the work.

• What can we do to embolden student leaders to do the right thing during

crucible moments?

• How can we best create early networks on campus that may serve as

supports of principled student leadership?

• As leadership educators, are we modeling accountability for our students?

• How do we help students see the value of principled leadership in a

culture where there are so many examples of failed leadership?

• How do we help student leaders promote a sense of shared responsibility

in organizations?

Conclusion

I offer these broad notions humbly and introspectively in an attempt to promote

courageous dialogue and honest discussion among those of us who care about

student leadership development. It is critical that we create the space in our

professional lives to come together and ponder these phenomena. This effort

could unlock some of the mysteries in the lives of the students we serve and

reveal a hidden curriculum on campus that we might want to take into account

when we design our programs and create our courses.

It seems critical that we dedicate time at national conferences for this open

sharing of common struggles. The data that is stored in the personal memories and

experiences of every leadership educator is an untapped treasure. Interpersonal

efforts among colleagues are highly appropriate augmentations to the more

common approach of shared knowledge through written scholarship. In scholarly

endeavors, the notion of frank discourse in a special edition of this publication

would be a welcome step.

In the end, this paper calls all of us to the same level of critical reflection, mutual

support, and courageous sharing that we promote among our student leaders.

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References

Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: W. H.

Freeman.

Bennis, W. G., & Thomas, R. J. (2002). Geeks and geezers: How era, values and

defining moments shape leaders. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Boyd, B. (2008). Research themes, authors, and methodologies in the Journal of

Leadership Education: A five year look. Paper presented at the

Association of Leadership Educators Annual Conference, Spokane, WA.

Brungardt, C. L. (1997). Evaluation of the outcomes of an academic collegiate

leadership program. Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.

DiPaolo, D. G. (2008a). Echoes of Leadership Education: Reflections on failure,

forgetting, and our future. Unpublished submission.

DiPaolo, D. G. (2008b). Leadership education at American universities: A

longitudinal study of six cases. New York: The Edwin Mellen Press.

Endress, W. L. (2000). An exploratory study of college student self-efficacy for

relational leadership: The influence of leadership education, cocurricular

involvement, and on-campus employment. University of Maryland,

College Park.

Fleishman, E. A., Zaccaro, S. J., & Mumford, M. D. (1991). Individual

differences and leadership: An overview. Leadership Quarterly, 2 (4),

237-243.

Hartman, S. J., & Harris, O. J. (1992). The role of parental influence on

leadership. Journal of Social Psychology, 132 (2), 153-167.

Kets de Vries, M. F. R. (1993). Leaders, fools, and imposters: Essays on the

psychology of leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

McEwan, E. (2005). How to deal with parents who are angry, troubled, afraid, or

just plain crazy. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Townsend, C. D. (2002). Leadership education: Fantasy or reality? Journal of

Leadership Education, 1 (1), 1-5.

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Vecchio, R. P. (2002). Leadership and gender advantage. The Leadership

Quarterly, 13 (6), 643-671.

Williams, J., Townsend, C., & Linder, J. (2005). Teaching leadership: Do students

remember and utilize the concepts we teach? Journal of Leadership

Education, 4 (1), 62-74.

Wong Briggs, T. (2007). Helicopter parents' role up in the air. USA Today.

Yammarino, F. J., & Bass, B. M. (1991). Person and situation views of

leadership: A multiple levels of analysis approach. Leadership Quarterly,

2 (2), 121-139.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Biography

Dr. Donald G. DiPaolo is Assistant Professor in the Education Department at the

University of Detroit Mercy in Detroit, Michigan. He is a leading, national voice

in the area of leadership education and has presented to tens of thousands of

college student leaders across the United States and Canada. Dr. DiPaolo is the

author of Leadership Education at American Universities: A Longitudinal Study

of Six Cases (Mellen Press). He also serves on the Editorial Review Board of the

Journal of Leadership Education and has received numerous honors for his

contribution to the lives of college students.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

The Use of Portfolios in Leadership Education

Paul E. Olsen, Ed.D.

Department of Business Administration and Accounting

Saint Michael’s College

Colchester, Vermont

polsen@smcvt.edu

Abstract

This paper discusses the benefits of using student portfolios in undergraduate

leadership education at Saint Michael’s College. There appears to be a natural

link between the use of portfolios as a tool to facilitate and document leadership

growth and development. The Business Administration and Accounting

Department at Saint Michael’s College adopted the portfolio concept to provide

students with a vehicle for introspection, self-reflection, and to learn from

successes and failures as they provide evidence of satisfying the business

department’s goals for graduating students and document their growth and

development as leaders.

Introduction

In 2006 the Business Administration and Accounting Department at Saint

Michael’s College made a major curriculum change by adding the new capstone

course Experiential Portfolio (BU 495) for undergraduate business administration

majors. Central to this course is the portfolio, an innovative tool in management

and leadership education.

Experiential Portfolio (BU 495) is designed to provide students with the

knowledge and skills required to assess their learning experiences and document

mastery of the outcomes required of each student. These outcomes include the

technical, conceptual, and interpersonal skills needed to lead in an organizational

environment. BU 495 is taken primarily by seniors at the end of their

undergraduate degree program and is designed to help students integrate the

knowledge and skills acquired throughout their four-year degree. The portfolio is

the vehicle by which the student documents their learning, professional growth,

and development as leaders.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Knowing Oneself

Self-awareness is often seen as key to leadership development. Hughes and Beatty

(2005) describe this self-awareness as knowing who you are and where you want

to go. Haas and Tamarkin (1992) stress the importance of introspection as a form

of self-discovery. Lipman-Blumen (1996) characterizes the search for personal

meaning as a time when “we introspect about who we are, what we have done,

and the nature and limits of our own worth…we dig into issues of personal

authenticity and integrity” (p. 329-330).

After interviews with 125 leaders, George, Sims, McLean, and Mayer (2007)

found that leadership emerged from life stories. They note that “the journey of

authentic leadership begins with understanding the story of your life” (p. 132).

Authentic leaders reframe life events “to discover their passion to lead” (p. 132).

Learning from life experiences is central to knowing who you are and your

development as a leader. “If people are capable of learning from their

experiences, they can acquire leadership,” Northouse (2007, p. 43) concludes.

Kouzes and Posner (2007) suggest that this learning can also come from reflecting

on failures. “Life is the leader’s laboratory, and exemplary leaders use it to

conduct as many experiments as possible. Try, fail, learn. Try fail, learn. Try, fail,

learn. That’s the leader’s mantra” (p. 20). Dreher (1996) agrees concluding:

“Remember that any successful political leader, artist, scientist, or Olympic

athlete has had many failures. What separates the leaders from the losers is that

they learn from their difficulties, make adjustments, and go on. Like bamboo, they

bend, but do not break. Persevering, they stay the course to reach the finish line”

(p. 25). So how can leadership educators concerned with leadership development

provide a vehicle for introspection, self-reflection, and learning from successes

and failures? Portfolios may be one answer.

Portfolios

Student portfolios have long been used in teacher education to document learning

and assess performance (Wolf, 1996). In addition to education majors, other

academic areas including writing and art have used portfolios to “assess and

display skills and growth” (Green & Smyser, 1995, p. 44). Portfolios have also

been found to be useful in the job search process. “In a sea of résumés and cover

letters, a portfolio emphasizes individuality, and the visual nature of a portfolio

can make a lasting impression on a prospective employer” (Giuliano, 1997, p. 43).

In addition to these practical uses, Giuliano (1997) asserts that the most

significant value of portfolios is “as an aid in the self-reflection process” (p. 42).

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Portfolios document accomplishments over a period of time (Wolf, 1996) and

“allow students to tell the stories of their growth” (Guillaume & Yopp, 1995, p.

94). Portfolio contents generally include a résumé, certificates and awards, course

papers, and transcripts (Giuliano, 1997). Student portfolios for BU 495 also

provide evidence of satisfying the business department’s goals for graduating

seniors. These goals generally deal with ethics, service to others, group dynamics,

lifelong learning as well as other technical, conceptual, and interpersonal skills

required of leaders (Appendix I h). Each outcome is documented using a

reflective paper, which describes the experience, identifies the learning that

occurred, and indicates how the information was applied and how it fits into the

student’s course of study and development as a leader. Wolf (1996) suggests that

finished portfolios contents including artifacts, should be carefully selected “so

that it is manageable, both for the person who constructs it and for those who will

review it” (p. 35). As such, students in BU 495 include major papers, course

projects, presentation videos, and other artifacts to serve as evidence of mastery of

each goal.

Results

The structure of the Portfolio was largely outlined by me (Appendix I).

Completed portfolios in BU 495 were generally well written and organized.

Response papers documenting attainment of the business department’s learning

outcomes were thoughtful. Many reflected on or reframed experiences in required

courses like Management and Organizational Behavior, Business Policy and

Strategic Management, Financial Policies of Corporations, Marketing

Management, Foundations of Business, and minor courses (i.e., Managerial

Leadership, Ethical Issues in Business, Labor Relations, Principles of

Advertising, Essentials of Investments, and Information and Knowledge

Management) when discussing what theories and skills they learned and how they

applied them. Not surprisingly, evidence and artifacts included in portfolios came

from many of these courses (i.e., leadership case studies, presentation slides,

shareholder reports, business plans, memos, and finance assignments) and from

activities BU 495 (i.e., Myers Briggs). Where applicable, students also drew

heavily from internships, study abroad, athletic, and work experiences.

Students ended their Portfolios with a paper describing their experience creating

the portfolio and how it contributed to their development. Selected comments

follow:

• The process of completing this portfolio resulted in a better understanding

of my growth. It also serves as a guide for future employers. All in all, this

business portfolio tells the story of my growth.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

• The steps necessary to assemble such an exhaustive account of my

accomplishments were as worthwhile as the results they produced.

• This portfolio has given me the means to give a potential employer a more

in depth story than simply what is on my resume or transcript.

• Creating the portfolio was a positive experience. Prior to this course I did

not think in depth about the goals of the department and did not realize

that I had in fact accomplished them.

• The experience of creating the portfolio helped me bring closure to my

education at Saint Michael’s College and look forward to the future.

• This portfolio exemplifies the work and knowledge I have acquired

throughout my four years as a student. Through reflecting on the goals of

the business department, I have described the vast amount of knowledge I

have gained through both in-class and outside experiences.

• This portfolio does not serve to exhibit all of the work I have done, nor

does it show the most important work either. It shows the progression of

steps I have taken in achieving my business degree from a liberal arts

college.

• This portfolio is a combination of different core competencies

demonstrated through my years at Saint Michael’s College and in the

work world. I hope it gives you a taste of my commitment to lifelong

learning and what I was competent in pursuing during my education.

Implications for Leadership Educators

In addition to the successful use of Portfolios at Saint Michael’s College, the

increasing emphasis on outcomes assessment in education also makes the case for

the application of the portfolio concept in leadership education. Portfolios may be

easily implemented in leadership training at colleges and universities, in the

workplace, or at Assessment Centers after identifying desired learning outcomes.

The use of portfolios in undergraduate leadership education at Saint Michael’s

College has been successful. As “an aid in the self-reflection process” (Giuliano,

1997, p. 42), portfolios provide a vehicle that facilitates introspection and helps

students document and grow from their experiences. Knowing oneself is

consistent with Northouse’s (2007) assertion that “if people are capable of

learning from their experiences, they can acquire leadership” (p. 43). As a result

of completing the portfolio, students leave BU 495 with a better understanding of

who they are as leaders.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

References

Dreher, D. (1996). The tao of personal leadership. New York: HarperCollins.

George, B., Sims, P., McLean, A. N., & Mayer, D. (2007). Discovering your

authentic leadership. Harvard Business Review, February 2007, 129-138.

Giuliano, F. J. (1997). Practical professional portfolios. Science Teacher, 64, 42-

45.

Green, J. E., & Smyser, S. O. (1995). Changing conceptions about teaching: The

use of portfolios with pre-service teachers. Teacher Education Quarterly,

22, 43-53.

Guillaume, A. M., & Yopp, H. K. (1995). Professional portfolios for student

teachers. Teacher Education Quarterly, 22, 93-101.

Haas, H. G., & Tamarkin, B. (1992). The leaders within: an empowering path of

self-discovery. New York: HarperBusiness.

Hughes, R. L., & Beatty, K.C. (2005). Becoming a strategic leader. San

Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2007). The leadership challenge: fourth edition.

San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons.

Lipman-Blumen, J. (1996). The connective edge: leading in an interdependent

world. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Northouse, P. G. (2007). Leadership theory and practice (4 th ed.). Thousand Oaks,

CA: Sage Publications.

Wolf, K. (1996). Developing an effective teaching portfolio. Educational

Leadership. 53, 34-37.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Appendix I

Portfolio Contents

a. Title Page: Include name, major, and date.

b. Table of Contents: List and enable readers to easily find contents.

c. Introduction to the Portfolio: Preview the contents of the portfolio for

the reader.

d. Transcript or List of Courses: List of all of the courses taken and are

currently enrolled with credit hours. Grades do not need to be listed.

e. Résumé: A one or two-page summary of your educational and

professional background.

f. Certificates, awards, professional licenses, and trainings (if

applicable).

g. Letters of Recommendation: Employment and/or graduate school

recommendation letters from faculty and/or employers.

h. Business Department Goals Accomplishment and Application:

Evidence demonstrating the achievement of the goals of the Business

Administration major should be discussed. State in what courses or

through which experiences you achieved the goal and secondly, what was

learned from the courses and/or experiences. Evidence of accomplishment

of the goals, which includes research papers, reports, examinations, video

presentations and/or slides, and case analyses, should be included in

appendices. Address the following goals in this section:

1. Conduct themselves and their businesses in a way that is informed by

the central themes of the mission of the College. This includes an

understanding of what it means to lead a moral/ethical life and an

ongoing commitment to the service of others.

2. Possess basic competencies necessary to operate and lead in an

organizational environment. This includes the areas of group dynamics

and operations, financial and quantitative applications and analysis,

technology, and problem solving.

3. Develop an in-depth understanding of at least one of the core areas of

business.

4. Be able to effectively research, write, present and defend concepts and

proposals related to business and administration issues.

5. Develop a sensitivity for how external factors, such as the global

economy, international politics, social, technological, and ecological

trends can impact a business’ or nonprofit organization’s plans and

operations.

6. Develop a commitment to “lifelong learning” and pursue opportunities

that contribute to that objective including employment, graduate or

professional school and other post-baccalaureate learning opportunities.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

i. Portfolio Summary: Present a summary statement of the contents of the

portfolio. Include in what ways it reflects experiences in the major and

comments about the process of developing the portfolio and how it

contributed to your growth and development as a leader.

j. References.

k. Appendices: Evidence and artifacts supporting goal response papers.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Biography

Dr. Paul E. Olsen is an instructor of Business Administration and the Associate

Director of the Master of Science in Administration at Saint Michael’s College.

He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in leadership, human resource

management, and business writing. Dr. Olsen has degrees from the University of

Vermont (B.A., Ed.D.) and Saint Michael’s College (M.S.A.).

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Empowering Community Members for Civic Leadership:

The Institute for Community Leadership

Willis M. Watt, Ph.D.

Director, Organizational Communication & Leadership

Methodist University

5400 Ramsey Street

Fayetteville NC 28311-1498

910-630-7191

wmwatt@methodist.edu

Andrew H. Ziegler, Jr., Ph.D.

Executive Director, Institute for Community Leadership

Director, Lura S. Tally Center for Leadership Development

Chair, Department of Government Studies

Methodist University

5400 Ramsey Street

Fayetteville NC 28311-1498

910-630-7488

aziegler@methodist.edu

Abstract

Leaders emerge from some very unlikely situations. They come in all ages, sizes,

shapes, and from both genders. In this paper we discuss the relationship between

the theoretic and practical applications evidenced by the Institute for Community

Leadership’s (ICL) efforts to prepare people for civic leadership. We present

background information about ICL including the Institute’s purposes and goals,

an examination of its past achievements, current activities, and future projections,

and we conclude with a discussion of “conditions for success in collaborative

public ventures” (Hackman & Johnson, 2009, p. 293) as it relates to the Institute’s

efforts to prepare people for community leadership.

Rationale and Background: Institute for Community Leadership

“The ICL program opened my eyes to the idea of community leadership. I

was unsure at the beginning of the program what it meant to be a

‘community leader’ and how I was able to take part in my community by

serving on a board. One interesting thing that I learned from the program

is that it does not matter what your life experiences are or how old you

are. You can take an active role in your community and join a board. Due

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

to the things that I have learned in this program I would love to join a

community board in order to better my community.”

Mr. Chris Coats, Institute for Community Leadership, Class 4 (2007-

2008)

Leaders emerge from some very unlikely situations, and they often need help

honing their skills and encouragement to identify service opportunities. Leaders

come in all ages, sizes, shapes, and from both genders.

It is true that you can identify a leader by how well the followers perform;

however, a truly superior leader is one who recognizes the responsibility of

empowering others to lead. According to Maxwell (1993), “The one who

influences others to follow only is a leader with certain limitations. The one who

influences others to lead others is a leader without limitations” (p. 113). Covey

(1991) points out that “real leadership power comes from an honorable character

and from the exercise of certain power tools and principles” (p. 101).

It was out of an awareness of the importance of empowering others to assume

leadership roles within the community that the Institute for Community

Leadership (ICL) was created and established in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

“Informed citizens are a valuable resource for a community. They also make the

local government’s job easier. To inform citizens and to attract and train future

community leaders, communities throughout the country are establishing citizen

academies” (IQ Report, 2001).

In this paper we provide background information concerning ICL including the

Institute’s purposes and goals, an examination of its past achievements, current

activities, and future projections. We conclude with a discussion of Hackman and

Johnson’s (2009) “conditions for success in collaborative public ventures” (p.

293) as they relate to the Institute’s efforts to prepare people for community

leadership.

Relationship between Theoretic and Practical Applications

The authors and concepts of leadership examined in this section provide the

theoretical rationale for the development of the Institute for Community

Leadership.

Leadership is a topic of historical and contemporary interest. “Over the last

century, there has been a plethora of research and scholarship devoted to the

leader agency in the leadership process” (Bratton, Grint, & Nelson, 2005, p. 87).

Some argue the importance of leadership is overstated. “Yet, we remain

convinced that leaders do make a difference” (Hackman & Johnson, 2009, p. 2).

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Northhouse (2007) indicates that leadership is a subject with universal appeal. A

considerable amount has been said and written about leadership “in the popular

press and academic research literature” (p. 12). To that end, “academic

institutions throughout the country are creating programs in leadership studies”

(p. 1).

People from all walks in life have sought to clarify what leadership is and identify

the skill sets that allow an individual to lead effectively. Woyach (1993) confirms

this attempt noting some “350 different definitions of leadership” (p. 3) exist.

In addition to defining leadership, it is important to consider issues concerning the

nature and dynamics of leadership. Bennis (1959) noted that “probably more has

been written and less known about leadership than any other topic in the

behavioral sciences” (pp. 259-260). Yet, most of us can agree on what we want

from our leaders. Woyach (1993) states “our ideas of leadership usually reflect

our experience. Leadership is what the ‘good leaders’ in our lives have done, or

the opposite of what the ‘bad leaders’ have done” (p. 2).

According to Woyach (1993), the concept of a leader comes from a Middle

English word meaning to guide. This conceptual position is consistent with the

view that “we want them to be credible, and we want them to have a sense of

direction...and we must be able to believe that they have the ability to take us

there” (Kouzes & Posner, 1995, p. 29).

Still, connecting theory to practice is complicated. This is so because of the many

varied traditions, experiences, and ways of thinking about leadership. Scholars,

educators, and practitioners sometimes do not see eye-to-eye on this subject. We

come to our understanding of leadership from diverse perspectives, disciplines,

and cultures. So, it is a challenge.

Conger (1992) has concluded “that the development of leadership ability is a very

complex process” (p. 33). He suggests leadership actually starts before birth with

certain genes favoring intelligence, physical stamina, and other qualities. Then

one’s family members, peers, education, sports, and other childhood experiences

influence the person’s need for achievement, power, risk taking, and so on. Add

to the mix various work experiences and mentors who shape the potential leader

through early adulthood by providing essential knowledge and behavioral skills

and with an opportunity and some luck the result is a leader.

It has been argued that “the appropriate type of leadership depends upon the

circumstances” (Goldhaber, 1993, p. 91). Manz and Neck (1999) indicate that

“leadership (the process of influence) can originate from a number of sources” (p.

2).

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Of course, “without followers there would be no need for leaders” (Pierce &

Newstrom, 2008, p. 257). In recent years “an important new thrust in

understanding leadership is to regard it as a long-term relationship, or partnership,

between leaders and group members” (DuBrin, 1995, p. 2).

Kouzes and Posner (1995) note that “strategies, tactics, skills, and practices are

empty unless we understand the fundamental human aspirations that connect

leaders and constituents” (p. 1). They point out that leadership is a relationship

between those who choose to lead and those who choose to follow – a reciprocal

process. Leaders need to connect with and communicate to followers “with a

range of expertise from the layperson or nonexpert to the technical or highly

specialized individual” (Barrett, 2008, p. 37).

Due to this reciprocal relationship it is essential that leaders “get everyone pointed

in the same direction. If we don’t know where we are going, then we will all be

headed in different directions. We will never be successful” (Warner & Evans,

2006, p. 107). This is one of the biggest challenges of leadership – to identify and

stimulate individual’s unique “pulse points” (p. 37) which will move the

individual to action.

Being successful in achieving goals is not the only matter of importance in

determining effective leadership. We contend that there is an ethical dimension to

effective, successful leadership. Johnson (2005) describes a common dilemma

facing leaders of all types – the ethical arena. He suggests that “when we function

as leaders, we take on a unique set of ethical challenges in addition to a set of

expectations and tasks” (p. 10). This dilemma “involves issues of power,

privilege, deceit, consistency, loyalty, and responsibility” (p. 10). How leaders

handle the challenges of such issues is a major determinant of the quality of

leadership they provide to their followers.

Throughout the 20 th century there was an evolution in our understanding of group

leadership. By the 1990s many organizational development specialists focused on

team-based leadership. This leadership could be performed by the designated

leader or shared with team members. Given the pervasive use of teams in our

culture today, it is “essential to understand the role of leadership within teams to

ensure team success and to avoid team failure” (Northhouse, 2007, p. 208). He

contends that leaders have a “special responsibility” (p. 209) to function in such a

manner as to help the group achieve effectiveness.

Given the fact there are so many definitions of leadership, it is often tied to a

specific situation and a particular individual, and the existence of so many varying

theories of what a leader is, the ultimate big question for us is, “Can a person

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

learn to be a leader.” It is our contention that the answer to this question is a

resounding, “Yes.”

The fact leadership research is so broad and diverse does not mean that leadership

cannot be learned. Woyach (1993) claims that “exercising leadership effectively

means using appropriate skills…to meet the specific needs of your group” (p. 9).

His point is that leadership involves skills. And, as he states, “People learn skills.

They learn them through study – including the observation of others who have

those skills. Ultimately they learn through practice – by trying to apply what they

know about the skills in real leadership situations” (pp. 9-10).

In their discussion of the background of the Leadership Studies program at

Kansas State University, Shoop and Scott (1999) point out that the program is

based on four beliefs. First, they note that people are not leaders if they can only

“do” leadership with people just like themselves. Second, they indicate that

leadership is a collaborative activity. Third, they contend that leadership is not a

matter of position or title, but it is a process. Finally, they make the claim that

“leadership can be taught and learned [emphasis added]” (p. xxiii).

Hackman and Johnson (2009) have identified 10 conditions necessary for

collaborative public ventures. Their list includes “(1) good timing and a clear

need; (2) strong stakeholder groups; (3) broad-based involvement; (4) a credible

and open process; (5) committed, high-level, visible community leaders; (6)

formal support; (7) an ability to overcome mistrust and skepticism; (8) strong

leadership of the process; (9) celebration of ongoing achievement; and (10) shift

to broader concerns” (p. 293).

The Institute for Community Leadership

What we have done with the ICL program is to make a sincere effort to educate

the participants while giving them opportunities to pick the brains of some of the

most effective leaders in our community. “Some people catch a vision for

leadership just from the enthusiasm of others” (Samples, 1999, p. 4). We have

sought to empower them so they may “give more of themselves to the people

around them, more to their organization, and more to the project at hand” (Warner

& Evans, p. 2006, p. 1).

Then we have taken it one more step by connecting them with actual

opportunities to practice what they have learned. Hackman and Johnson (2000)

indicate that “the most useful experiences…are those that put you in the leader

role. Since leadership experience is so vital, seek out chances to act as a leader.

Volunteer” (p. 362). The ICL staff works diligently to ensure that participants are

given the opportunity to serve on private and public boards and commissions.

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As a grassroots effort, ICL provides clear evidence that civic leadership is not the

sole prerogative of the rich and famous, or the powerful in our communities. The

Institute’s goal to reach out to those who have not held leadership positions not

only benefits these new found leaders, but “when local leaders take initiative, they

encourage higher-level leaders to do the same” (Hackman & Johnson, 2000, p.

266).

Social change leadership “focuses on the concepts of change, collaboration, and

civic responsibility” (Crawford, Brungardt, & Maughan, 2005, p. 111). A

foundational point supporting the thinking behind ICL and its efforts is the

conviction concerning the importance of these elements, especially the concept of

civic responsibility. ICL identifies, educates, trains, and then encourages its

participants to be good citizen leaders who work to effect needed changes in the

community through their efforts with public and private agencies and

organizations.

ICL attempts to ensure that its graduates are practicing and participating in

leadership for the good of the community. According to Crawford et al. (2005),

“social change leadership argues that individuals must ask themselves and others

to believe in something larger than personal self-interest as they become active

players in the leadership process” (p. 113). Such a civic-minded theme is exactly

what is sought by those who sponsor and staff the Institute for Community

Leadership.

Historical Background

For many years former city manager, Roger Stancil, and, a local civic activist, Dr.

Loleta Foster, had held numerous discussions about the need for a mechanism to

identify and train community volunteers for civic leadership.

During efforts in 2001 to achieve recognition as an “All America City” there were

troubling rumblings coming from some areas of our community. It was suggested

by some citizens that the city did not deserve such a designation. One reason cited

for opposition to the city’s efforts was that many, especially minority groups, in

our city felt disenfranchised. They believed they had little opportunity to assume

leadership roles, let alone have any voice in local government. As an aside, in the

fall of 2001 the city of Fayetteville was designated as an “All America City.”

As a response to this perceived lack of leadership opportunities, an initial effort

was made to create and develop a citizens’ leadership academy. Discussions were

held with a variety of leaders in higher education, the city manager’s office, and

with the Chamber of Commerce. The assistant to the city manager wrote, “Your

suggestion of a substantive, joint City-County Leadership Development Academy

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

sounds very encouraging and I would like to be involved in whatever capacity I

could best be used” (letter, July 11, 2001). These initial efforts to establish a

community leadership academy failed to gain a consensus from community

leaders and the effort died.

But, City Manager Stancil and Dr. Foster continued to explore the concept for the

next couple of years. With the arrival of Dr. T. J. Bryan, Chancellor, Fayetteville

State University, in 2003, discussions broadened to include the city along with the

institutions of higher education to develop a community leadership program. The

county and the county school system later joined with the others in this initiative.

Their intent was to identify people for the “development of community

leaders….leaders may be candidates for appointment to our boards and

commissions, community organization leaders or those who fill other vital

leadership roles in our churches and civic organizations” (memorandum, May 19,

2004). Underscoring this intent was the desire to prepare “authentic leaders…who

constantly try to balance personal, group, and community interests so that all three

are better off” (Woyach, 1993, p. 11).

Initially this effort was undertaken as a result of the interest of the Greater

Fayetteville Futures and Fayetteville United. These grassroots programs identified

a desire to have a leadership program that reached “out to those who have not

previously been involved” (memorandum, May 19, 2004). Their work resulted in

the formation of the Institute for Community Leadership.

ICL Vision and Mission

The Institute is a joint community effort designed to provide local citizens the

opportunity to participate in activities leading to community leadership and

membership on boards and commissions as well as work with civic and religious

entities. This is clear in ICL’s Vision Statement. It states that the purpose and goal

is “To identify, develop, and empower community members, especially those not

previously identified, who are able and willing to commit to leadership roles in

addressing the issues of the Fayetteville/Cumberland County area” (ICL, 2004).

ICL seeks to empower community members for civic leadership. According to

Ziegler, “The intent is to reach…people who are not currently involved in the

community, but who sincerely desire to serve in some way” (speech to the City

Council, May 24, 2004).

The Institute sponsors include the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County,

Cumberland County Public Schools, Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville

Technical Community College, Methodist University, and an at-large community

Volunteer Representative. Each of the six sponsoring agencies pays an annual

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

membership fee to fund the Institute’s budget. To generate steam to move the

project forward, in its first year ICL received a grant from the Cumberland

Community Foundation. Although it is not a sponsor agency, the Arts Council

participates in the ICL project by hosting one of the training sessions.

The Institute is a unique partnership between community members, government,

and educational institutions in our community. According to the former

Chancellor of Fayetteville State University, Dr. T. J. Bryan, ICL “reflects our

community’s steadfast commitment to improving the quality of life for residents

of Fayetteville and Cumberland County” (April 2006).

Past Achievements

ICL has been recognized for its contributions to the community. It has been noted

that the organization has been doing a commendable job developing and

empowering community leaders to serve “on government and volunteer boards”

(The Weekly Wrap, May 29, 2004). The hope is that the program will encourage

people living in Cumberland County, North Carolina, who have been shy about

getting involved in local leadership situations to gain confidence to use their skills

to the benefit of all in the community. “The program defines itself as a

‘recruitment and training program for grassroots leaders’” (Garden of Leadin’,

June 28, 2004).

The six sponsoring entities provide invaluable resources and assist in the

achievement of the vision of ICL. In turn they host the Institute’s events as well as

provide trainers and panelists. In addition, they oversee the participant nomination

and selection process. Essentially what they do is provide leadership oversight

and ensure legitimacy to sustain the ICL program.

Citizen led efforts serve as spark plugs for growth and development. Recognizing

the centrality of such efforts to the quality of life in Cumberland County, the

sponsors have been willing to step forward and show responsibility for leadership

development. As such they have been able to identify and involve numerous

individuals who otherwise may not have become active in community leadership

positions.

For the past four years the Institute has provided programming designed to reach

the grassroots leaders in our community. Of Class 2 former Chancellor Bryan

(2006) wrote, “A class of leaders armed with the skills and tools to serve this

great community that many of us call home” graduated on April 16 from the ICL

program. Evidence of her claim concerning the effectiveness of ICL is reflected in

the following examples taken from the success stories of its graduates.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

For example, Debra Patillo, Class 3 (2006-2007), has been appointed to the

Fayetteville Planning Commission. Her classmate, Nancy Shakir, is a member of

the Fayetteville Observer Community Advisory Board and works as a volunteer

with Habitat for Humanity as well as the Peace with Justice Project.

Several members of Class 2 (2005-2006) have involved themselves in a variety of

community activities. Lyn Green is serving on the Fayetteville Urban Ministry.

She also is the vice chair of the Cumberland County Department of Social

Services Board. James Ingram finds himself serving on the Council of Aging

(Adult Care) and the County Board of Adjustment while volunteering as a

Guardian ad Litem with the County Court system. Jaunita Heyward serves on the

Board of Directors for the Fascinate U Children’s Museum. Not to be outdone,

Angela Vann has established a local Oprah Book Club and volunteers with the

Cape Fear High School Alumni Association. Kim Sublett was elected to the Hope

Mills Youth Association Board. She also serves as secretary for the Fayetteville

Observer Credit Union Board. And, George Matthews is practicing his leadership

skills as he serves on the Board of Advisors of the Fayetteville Area Habitat for

Humanity.

From Class 1 (2004-2005) we find several graduates involving themselves in

numerous leadership roles in the community. For example, Floyd Johnson has

been appointed to the North Carolina Council of Community Programs. He also

serves on the Cumberland County Area Mental Health Board and is a past

member of the Fayetteville Observer Community Advisory Board. From July

2006 through June 2007, Leonard Covington was the chair of the Board of

Directors for the Highlands Chapter of the American Red Cross. Lotonya Hankins

is a board member with the Cumberland County Communicare, Inc., and she

chairs the Board for Magby and Associates, Inc. Another member of the first

class, Loletha Porter, serves as the chair of the Administrative Council of Harry

Hosier United Methodist Church. Wendy Vonnegut serves on the boards of the

Child Advocacy Center of Cumberland County, the Cumberland County Legal

Aid, and the Small Business Center of Fayetteville Technical Community

College. A major civic leader helping to “green up” the community is Dan Geiger

who serves as the chair of Fayetteville’s Recycling Task Force program.

While many past members of the ICL classes are obviously involved leaders who

are positively affecting the community, a tragic automobile collision took the life

of one of the community’s promising leaders, Mr. Tom Parent. He was a member

of the Charter Class (2004-2005). Monica F. Smith said of him, “Monday’s

accident…took a great man…from this community.…he cared about the

Fayetteville, Cumberland County, and Fort Bragg community….he was made out

of the stuff that only great leaders are made of.” According to the Rev. Dr. Floyd

W. Johnson, Jr., “I remember him as quite a pleasant and dynamic individual and

someone I thought would benefit our society in whatever roll he decided to

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

pursue. His tragic and sudden death is not only a loss to his family and friends but

to the Fayetteville community at large. He will certainly be missed by many.”

People like those mentioned above and others to follow from future ICL classes

will rise to the challenge laid down by Mr. Parent. They will excel in their

leadership activities because they are committed to the well being of their

community. They will do the best they can for the people of Fayetteville and

Cumberland County.

The results have been an ever expanding pool of citizen leaders who are willing

and qualified to serve in a variety of leadership positions in our community.

Current Activities

ICL hosts training sessions focusing on leadership enhancement activities and

discussions with some of Fayetteville’s and Cumberland County’s most effective

and dynamic leaders. Topics covered include, but are not limited to, skills

training, community issues, and service opportunities on a variety of commissions

and voluntary boards. Each session focuses on one area for community

involvement including such aspects as arts and culture, city and county

government, education, and not-for-profit human services.

The ICL schedule includes seven monthly training sessions. As previously noted,

each session features leadership enhancement activities and panel discussions

with local leaders. The monthly sessions run from September to April, excluding

December.

Each monthly session is conducted at the location of the sponsor agency

providing the training. These locations include City Hall, the county Courthouse,

campuses of the three institutions of higher education, and the Arts Council. This

feature of ICL brings citizens into places and facilities they may have no

experience with, thus broadening their exposure to community life.

Sessions include an introductory meeting, discussion about community issues,

and opportunities for service on boards serving various not-for-profit service

agencies, city and county government, arts and culture boards, and schools,

colleges, and universities. Because participants learn about opportunities for

volunteer service, they are better able to decide where their abilities and interests

fit best.

Session six includes an “Opportunity Fair” at which over 30 local organizations

and agencies participate. Each one has a table with materials and displays to

inform and encourage ICL participants to sign up on the spot for volunteer

service.

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The current programming consists of the aforementioned seven sessions (see

Table 1). A graduation dinner honoring participants completes the program in

April. Following graduation participants receive mentoring by the staff of the

partner agencies. Mentors assist graduates in the application process for

membership on various boards and commissions.

Table 1

ICL Programs

__________________________________________________________________

Session Number Training Topic Panel Topic

1 Getting to Know You Not-for-Profit

Services and

Organizations

2 Leadership Style County Boards and

Issues

3 Communication City Boards and

Issues

4 Teamwork Higher Education

Boards and Issues

5 Board Member Toolbox Public Education &

Issues Making the

Connection

6 Arts and Cultural Opportunity Fair

Organizations

7 Graduation Dinner None

__________________________________________________________________

ICL is supported not only philosophically, but also monetarily by the sponsoring

agencies. As noted earlier, in the initial year ICL received a significant

operational grant from the Cumberland Community Foundation.

Persons who are interested in completing the program must complete an

application form. Applicants are then evaluated and selected by a committee of

ICL staffers. Participants must be registered to vote in Cumberland County. Each

candidate must demonstrate in a written essay a sincere commitment to serve the

community and agree to attend each session of the Institute. Additionally, they

must indicate a willingness to pursue an appointment to a governmental or

community board or commission, or to some other community leadership role.

There is no charge to the participants for the ICL program.

Participants receive many benefits. First, they develop opportunities to participate

in key community decisions. Second, they participate in discussions concerning

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

local issues and solutions with community leaders. Third, they find volunteer

leadership positions that best fit their skills, talents, and interests. Fourth, they

build relationships with others who are committed to self- and communitybetterment.

And, finally, they are able to polish their leadership skills and

abilities.

Future Projections

It is the vision of ICL to continue to offer grassroots leadership development to

educate and train civic leaders for membership on private and public boards and

commissions. In order to accomplish that vision, the sponsors have committed to

continued funding and the provision of an executive director to coordinate the

work of the Institute.

In its initial year the sponsors of ICL hired an executive director. This was

necessary to ensure that the program was well established including development

of the curriculum, identification of trainers and panelists, identification and

selection of participants, advertising, public relations, creation of a brochure, and

a website (www.leadership4us.org). ICL sponsors were able to make the hire

based in part on a significant grant from the Cumberland Community Foundation.

In the second and third years, one of the sponsoring agencies agreed to house and

to provide an executive director. During the third year many discussions were

held among the six sponsors about the continued viability of ICL without a

permanent solution for housing and providing for an executive director.

Given the commitment level of all the sponsors, eventually they determined that

each of the sponsoring agencies would house and provide the executive director

for a two-year period. This responsibility would rotate among the sponsors so that

the need could be met without putting undue strain on any one of the sponsors.

Each sponsor was given the freedom to determine how and who would serve as

executive director when its shift comes around.

This rotational directorship has the added benefit of ensuring ICL does not

become overly identified with one sponsor. By sharing in the leadership, the

sponsors continued their collaborative vision.

At this time we have graduated four cohorts (N=119). Class 5 (2008-2009) starts

in September with 30 participants. With curriculum, funding, and leadership

issues set, it appears ICL is ready to continue providing development for civic

leadership in our community.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Table 2

Participation

__________________________________________________________________

Class # Year Number of

Participants

__________________________________________________________________

1 2004-2005 41

2 2005-2006 28

3 2006-2007 26

4 2007-2008 24

5 2008-2009 30

__________________________________________________________________

As ICL matures over the next several years, it is possible the program will

develop more expansive mentoring for its participants. Maxwell suggests that “at

some point we need to end the lecture and send them out to try what they have

learned” (p. 1163).

Further, it is even possible that this collaboration among private and public

entities may evolve to include a “community think tank” to create opportunities

for those involved in community leadership to come together to learn about and

discuss common interests.

At this time ICL has a bright future. It appears the Institute will be able to

continue to empower community members for civic leadership positions, thus

improving the quality of life in our community.

Observations

As we noted earlier, Hackman and Johnson (2009) identified 10 necessary

conditions for success in collaborative public ventures. At this time we will

explore these conditions as an assessment of the ICL project.

First, let us consider “good timing and a clear need” (p. 293). The initial concept

of the Institute grew out of talks among various community and university

leaders. The community’s desire to achieve national recognition as an All

America City further heightened interest in the project, but the timing was not

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

right until a local state university hired a new chancellor. Eventually, when the

time was right, the Greater Fayetteville Futures and Fayetteville United provided

supplied early grassroots support for a leadership program. It was at this point the

time that efforts were made to develop a community-wide leadership development

program.

“Strong stakeholder groups” (p. 293) provide the foundation for ICL. Local

entities including government, not-for-profit groups, and schools are engaged in

the project.

“Broad-based involvement” (p. 293) in the project can be clearly seen in that the

City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County, Cumberland County School System,

Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville Technical Community College, and

Methodist University are sponsor agencies. And, the local Arts Council is also

actively engaged in the training program.

“Involvement” is not limited to those who provide the programming. The fact is

that a number of individuals have completed the program, are currently involved

in this year’s cohort, or are on a waiting list for Class 6 (2009-2010).

In Table 3 we offer a breakdown of the participants based on gender. Benchmark

data comparing the cohorts to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau (2000)

and the Fayetteville Planning Department is provided.

Table 3

Class Comparisons by Gender

__________________________________________________________________

Characteristic Countywide Class 1 Class 2 Class 3 Class 4 Class 5

Data % (’04-05) (’05-06) (’06-07) (’07-08) (’08-09)

__________________________________________________________________

SEX______________________________________________________________

Males 50.6 42.5 35.7 42.3 21.8 30

Females 49.4 57.5 64.3 57.3 78.2 70

__________________________________________________________________

Class 1 N = 41

Class 2 N = 28

Class 3 N = 26

Class 4 N = 24

Class 5 N = 30

The difference in the size of classes is based on the intentional decisions of the

ICL Board. The first year participation was set for 40, although the final count

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

was 41 because there was a total of 41 applicants. It did not seem necessary to

exclude one viable candidate. During that year it seemed difficult to meet the

goals of ICL with 40 plus participants, therefore the Board limited enrollment to a

maximum of 30 participants during the next two years, and subsequently dropping

to 25 in the fourth year. Based on the first four years experience, the Board

consequently decided to set the class limit at 30 participants.

The following table offers a comparative demographic comparison of the first

class (2004-2005), most recently completed class (2007-2008), and the current

class (2008-2009). In addition to the comparison of the classes, we have also

included benchmark data comparing the three cohorts to U.S. Census Bureau

(2000) and the Fayetteville Planning Department data (2000).

Table 4

Selected Class Demographic Comparisons

__________________________________________________________________

Characteristic Countywide Class 1 Class 4 Class 5

Data % (’04-05) (’07-08) (’08-09)

__________________________________________________________________

RACE____________________________________________________________

Asian 1.9 -0- -0- -0-

Black 34.9 45 56.5 56.5

Indian 1.5 2.5 -0- -0-

White 55.2 50 43.5 43.5

__________________________________________________________________

EDUCATION______________________________________________________

High School/GED 28.4 -0- 21.7 17.2

Associate Degree 27.7 13.5 26.1 27.6

Bachelor Degree 13.1 35.1 30.4 27.6

Masters + 5.9 51.4 21.7 27.6

__________________________________________________________________

AGE_____________________________________________________________

Retired 9.5 5 13 -0-

__________________________________________________________________

Class 1 N = 41

Class 4 N = 24

Class 5 N = 30

As evidenced in the above statements concerning ICL, it is clear the Institute is a

“credible and open process” (p. 293). Its early history involved a wide ranging

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

grassroots effort to establish a leadership program to reach those who have not

previously been involved in local activities. The Institute has received recognition

for its contributions to the community because of the commendable job it does in

developing and empowering community leaders to serve on government and

volunteer boards. The program is open and offered free of charge to any

registered voter living in Cumberland County, North Carolina. This offer has been

extended to those shy or reluctant about getting involved in local leadership

situations. It is hoped that participants will gain confidence in their abilities and

use their skills to the benefit the community. ICL seeks to empower community

members for civic leadership.

“Committed, high-level, visible community leaders” (p. 293) sit on the ICL Board

of Directors. They include the presidents and chancellor of our three local

institutions of higher education, county school superintendent, city and county

managers, and the director of the Arts Council. In addition, the Board staff

consists of various local government, school, and civic leaders. The training

session leaders and panelists are among some of the best trained and effective

leaders in our community.

“Formal support” (p. 293) for ICL is substantiated by the fact that the sponsoring

groups have made a long term commitment to support ICL with an executive

director, office, funding, staffing, and training spaces for the seminars.

ICL has enjoyed from its very beginning a high degree of credibility. We have

been able to avoid or “overcome mistrust and skepticism” (p. 293) because of the

broad-based foundations of ICL. It began and continues to be a collaborative civic

project that is open in its interactions and communications with the community.

We believe this is a major reason we have not experienced mistrust or skepticism

about the program.

Evidence of “strong leadership of the process” (p. 293) can be found through its

Board of Directors and its staff; however, perhaps a major example of the strength

of ICL’s leadership can be seen in the individuals who have served as the

Executive Director. In its first year the Institute hired a retired university

professor and former member of the City Council to serve as its director. Since

then the executive director has been designated from one of the sponsoring units

(years two and three from Fayetteville State University; years four and five from

Methodist University). The current agreement is that on a rotating basis each

sponsoring agency will designate a person to serve as the executive director for a

two-year term.

The efforts and successes of ICL are openly shared throughout the community.

“Celebration of ongoing achievement” (p. 293) is marked in a number of ways

starting with the graduation and awards banquet held each year. In addition, plans

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

have been made to expand the “celebration” through more alumni events. The

Institute and its graduates have been recognized before the City Council. There

have been numerous newspaper editorials written about the activities and

successes of ICL. Staff members have appeared on local television and spoken on

radio about who we are and what we are doing to better our community. And, we

have an excellent website (www.leadership4us.org).

Even as we celebrate our past, we are looking at various ways to “shift to broader

concerns” (p. 293). ICL has done an outstanding job reaching out to minority

populations in the community such as women in general, but African-American

women, specifically. It is a goal of the Institute to reach an even more diverse

population of potential leaders, including Hispanic and Native American groups

in our community. Another possibility for broadening the impact of the ICL

project involves the possibility that a collaboration now exists among private and

public entities to develop a “community think tank” to bring community

leadership together to learn about and discuss common interests.

Conclusion

In closing, we would like to point out that while the ICL program is still quite

young, the benefits of the programming are many. As more and more emergent,

civic-minded leaders graduate from the program, the community will achieve

positive tangible results. The institutions and organizations, both public and

private, that the ICL graduates serve will see improvement in solving the issues

and problems they face. These empowered leaders are likely to motivate others to

achieve great successes. And, with ICL training the participants will be able to

change the way traditional leaders and their followers solve public and private

problems.

Our optimism for the ICL program is embodied in the following statement by Mr.

Michael Murray who was a member of Class 2 (2005-2006):

“Concerning the Institute for Community Leadership, I would have to say

that it was very enlightening. Going into it, I had the mindset that I wanted

to put every social and scholarly interaction under my belt to prepare me

to be the world changer I was meant to be. This course opened my eyes to

the inner workings of committee and city board service. There was so

much I did not know that went into this much needed community service.

The most important lesson I learned from ICL was that a successful

community does not just happen; it is birthed from the ideas and

dedication of individuals who are willing to give of themselves and their

time. Finally, ICL did wonders in educating me as to the financial and

legal workings of city board service.”

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At this time it appears that indeed the ICL program has a bright future in

Fayetteville, Cumberland County, North Carolina. It appears the Institute will be

able to provide programming that empowers community members for civic

leadership positions, thus improving the quality of life in our community.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

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Bryan, T. J. (2006, April). Another first-class group of future leaders is produced.

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Bryan, T. J. (2004, May 24). Institute for Community Leadership. A speech

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Conger, J. A. (1992). Learning to lead: The art of transforming managers into

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Covey, S. R. (1991). Principle-centered leadership. New York: Simon &

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Crawford, C. B., Brungardt, C. L., & Maughan, M. R. C. (2005). Understanding

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DuBrin, A. J. (1995). Leadership: Research findings, practice, and skills. Boston:

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Garden of Leadin’ (2004, June 28). Editorial in the Fayetteville Observer,

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Goldhaber, G. M. (1993). Organizational Communication (6 th ed.). Boston:

McGraw-Hill.

Hackman, M. Z., & Johnson, C. E. (2009). Leadership: A communication

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Hackman, M. Z., & Johnson, C. E. (2000). Leadership: A communication

perspective (3 rd ed.). Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland.

ICL (2004). Institute for Community Leadership brochure, 5400 Ramsey Street,

Fayetteville, NC 28304.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

IQ Report (2001, August). Citizen academies. International City/County

Management Association, 307, 8, 1-15.

Johnson, C. E. (2005). Meeting the ethical challenges of leadership (2 nd ed.).

Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

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getting extraordinary things done in organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-

Bass.

Leader-makers: Developing the next generation of leaders (1999, April 18). In

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Manz, C. C., & Neck, C. P. (1999). Mastering self-leadership: Empowering

yourself for personal excellence (2 nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ:

Prentice Hall.

Maxwell, J. C. (Ed.) (2002). The Maxwell leadership bible (NKJV). Nashville,

TN: Thomas Nelson.

Maxwell, J. C. (1993). Developing the leader within you. Nashville, TN: Thomas

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Northhouse, P. G. (2007). Leadership: Theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA:

Sage.

Pierce, J. L., & Newstrom, J. W. (2008). (5 th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

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Stancil, R. (2004, May 19). Institute for Community Leadership memorandum.

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Thompson, F. M. (2001, July 11). City-County Leadership Development Academy

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Woyach, R. B. (1993). Preparing for leadership: A young adult’s guide to

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Biographies

Andrew Ziegler has taught Political Science and Leadership at Methodist

University in Fayetteville, North Carolina, since 1998. Drew chairs the

Department of Government Studies and directs the Lura S. Tally Center for

Leadership Development. He is currently serving a two-year term as Executive

Director of the Institute for Community Leadership. Previously, Dr. Ziegler

served in the United States Army, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1996. He has

published several articles and co-edited one book. He is a graduate of Florida

University.

Willis M. Watt has taught at Methodist University since August 2000. Bill has

served as the Director of the Division of Professional Studies and Dean of the

School of Information and Technology at the university. He is a Professor of

Speech and Program Director of Organizational Communication and Leadership.

Dr. Watt has published numerous articles and delivered presentations on a wide

range of areas including religion, theatre, communication studies, and leadership.

He received his doctorate from Kansas State University.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Using a Case Study to Develop the Transformational

Teaching Theory

Barry L. Boyd

Associate Professor

130 Scoates Hall

Texas A&M University

College Station, TX 77845-2116

b-boyd@tamu.edu

Abstract

Leadership educators teach Transformational Leadership Theory in their

classrooms, but could transformational theory be used as a pedagogical model to

deepen students’ understanding of leadership? This article presents Erin Gruwell,

a first-year teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach and subject

of the 2006 movie The Freedom Writers, as a case study where an educator

practiced the components of transformational leadership in the classroom to

transform students’ lives. Gruwell used idealized influence, inspirational

motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individual consideration to transform a

classroom of gang members into a community of scholars and authors. Following

the case examples, leadership educators are provided examples of how to

incorporate the four components of transformational leadership in their

instructional methods. The purpose is to not only demonstrate the theory in action,

but to deepen students’ learning of leadership theory.

Introduction

Leadership educators continually seek the most effective means to enhance

student learning. Tom Gallagher (2002), founding editor of The Journal of

Leadership Education, advocated that leadership education “is not a singular

focus,” but instead “sits at the nexus of two disciplines, the art and science of

leadership and the art and science of education” (pp. 3-4). Gallagher implies that

these two disciplines can be combined in a symbiotic relationship to impact

leadership students on a deeper level. One path for engaging leadership students

in the classroom is to examine the use of transformational leadership as a

pedagogical theory. James McGreagor Burns first proposed the idea of a

transformational leader as one who connects with the needs and motives of his or

her followers and raises both the follower and leader to a higher level of

motivation and morality (Bass, 1990). Transformational leaders help their

followers reach their fullest potential, and in the process, transform their little

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

corner of society. In contrast, a transactional leader is one who exchanges rewards

or recognition for performance. Transactional leadership results in the expected

outcomes, but transformational leadership results in outcomes that exceed

expectations.

Leadership theories can be difficult for students to grasp until they are seen in

action. Williams and Rosser (2008) note that when students can make connections

between content and something in their lives, they are able to better integrate that

knowledge. The use of popular media helps operationalize leadership theories that

can appear abstract to students. Another way to operationalize leadership theories

is to model them in the classroom. The author suggests using transformational

leadership theory as a pedagogical method and teaching philosophy will not only

help students operationalize the theory, but will also lead to deeper understanding

for students - a transformation of their understanding of themselves as leaders and

leadership itself.

How can this theory be applied to teaching? Let us examine the case of Erin

Gruwell, a first-year high school English teacher at Woodrow Wilson High

School in Long Beach, and the subject of the 2006 movie The Freedom Writers

(DeVito, Shamberg, Sher, & Lagravense, 2006). Gruwell and her students are

used to illustrate the application of transformational leadership as pedagogy.

When Erin Gruwell stepped into her freshman English classroom on the first day

of the semester, her idyllic view of teaching came crashing down around her. The

students were ushered into the classroom by a hall monitor. Their body language

screamed that they did not want to be there and a fight almost broke out during

roll call. Not exactly what Gruwell expected on her first day as a teacher. Despite

her inexperience as a teacher and the challenges posed by her students, on whom

the educational system had given up, Gruwell transformed her class into a haven

where teens felt safe to be themselves and developed a love for learning.

Gruwell’s application of transformation leadership theory as pedagogy changed

not only the students’ lives, but changed Gruwell as well.

Transformational Leadership Defined

Bass (1990) describes four factors that make up transformational leadership: (a)

idealized influence, (b) inspirational motivation, (c) intellectual stimulation, and

(d) individual consideration. Leaders who use idealized influence provide their

followers with a compelling vision. They are strong role models that followers

can trust to do the right thing. Leaders using inspirational motivation have high

expectations of their followers and build commitment to achieving the

organization’s shared vision. They motivate followers to go beyond their own

self-interest for the advancement of the group. Leaders using intellectual

stimulation inspire followers to challenge their own assumptions as well as those

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

of the leader and the organization. Followers are encouraged to find innovative

ways to solve problems. The final factor is individualized consideration. Leaders

using this factor create a supportive climate by listening to the individual needs of

their followers and help them become fully actualized. Can this theory be applied

to the classroom to improve student learning?

Transformational Teaching Defined

Transformational teaching is a term rarely used in pedagogical discussions.

Robert E. Quinn provides a broad definition, describing transformational teachers

as those who “turn ordinary students into extraordinary students” (cited in

Anding, 2005, p. 488). A more common term, found mostly in adult education

literature, is transformative learning. Tennant (2002) defines transformative

education as “promoting awareness and fundamental change at the personal,

relational, institutional, and global levels” (p. 102). Meziro & Associates (2000)

define transformative learning as “the process by which we transform our takenfor-granted

frames of reference to make them more inclusive, discriminating,

open, emotionally capable of change and reflective so that they may generate

beliefs and opinions that will prove more true or justified to guide action” (p. 7).

Meziro goes on to state that transformative learning occurs in one of four ways:

by elaborating on existing frames of reference, by learning new frames of

reference, by transforming points of view, or by transforming habits of mind.

When transformative learning occurs, students’ prior beliefs, values, and

assumptions are tested and substantial changes in the way they make sense of

their world occurs (King, 2005). Cranton (2006) notes transformative learning

depends upon the instructor establishing genuine, meaningful relationships with

students. Instructors and students get to know each other as people, both inside

and outside the classroom. Such relationships are one component of authentic

teaching. According to Cranton and Carusetta (2004), authentic teachers have

high self-awareness, develop deep relationships with learners, and engage in

critical reflection of educational practice as well as critical self-reflection.

Authentic teaching is crucial to transformative learning.

A Case for Transformational Teaching

There are several similarities between transformational leadership theory and

transformational teaching. Both set high expectations for followers or students,

both depend upon deep relationships between leader or teacher and follower or

student, and both lead to a transformation. Applying the four factors of

transformational leadership to the classroom provides a clear and familiar model

to leadership educators for understanding transformational teaching. Gruwell

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demonstrated all four transformational leadership components in transforming her

students at Woodrow Wilson High School.

In 1994 Gruwell became a first-year teacher of freshman English literature. Her

students were primarily African-American, Hispanic, and Asian students who

were bussed to Woodrow Wilson High School. Most of them were in gangs (both

male and female) and had criminal records. Her students were considered

“unteachable” by the other teachers and the administrators of Woodrow Wilson

High School. Most of the students did not expect to graduate from high school,

and because of their gang affiliation, many did not expect to live to see their

senior year. Through the use of transformational leadership, Gruwell transformed

these teens from “unteachable thugs” to high achieving students who, in turn,

began transforming their school and their communities (The Freedom Writers &

Gruwell, 1999).

Transformational Leadership Theory as a Teaching Model

Transformational teachers help their students see the larger view of education by

practicing idealized influence. Transformational teachers communicate to students

the difference that an education can make in their lives, thus providing students

with a compelling vision of their future. Gruwell began helping her students build

a vision by asking them what they would leave behind when they die. Many of

her students had previously stated that they were “respected” by their peers

because they were not afraid to die. She challenged them to leave behind

something more than a reputation as a “gansta.” Gruwell built on this vision by

showing her students the world outside of their school and neighborhood. She

took students on fieldtrips to museums, plays, and movies, all at her own expense.

She organized dinners at the hotel restaurant where she moonlighted as a

concierge. Such exposure to a different lifestyle helped the students see that there

were other opportunities for them beyond their small neighborhood and the gang

lifestyle. Gruwell helped her students develop a vision of a positive future.

Leadership educators can use idealized influence by expanding students’

worldview and guiding them through reflective thought about their desired future.

Many leadership educators lead students on industry tours or study abroad to

expand their worldview, but this reaches a limited number of students. Most

universities have a resident population of international students and faculty that

could serve as guest speakers in classrooms, exposing students to leadership

issues in other countries. Technology now allows students to take virtual trips to

other countries and solve real problems affecting their citizens (Boyd, Felton, &

Dooley, 2004). With some ingenuity, leadership educators can help their students

envision themselves in roles that are beyond their current view.

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Gruwell used inspirational motivation by setting high expectations for her

students. Gruwell’s department head would not give the students grade-level

textbooks, believing that the students were incapable of reading them. Instead, she

gave Gruwell elementary-level books. Gruwell refused to have her students read

elementary material and she purchased books for the students at her own expense.

Building her curriculum around the theme of intolerance, Gruwell purchased

copies of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s

Life in Sarajevo. By their sophomore year, the students were reading Romeo and

Juliet, relating the story of the star-crossed lovers and their feuding families to

their own lives. When students wanted to invite Miep Gies, the woman who hid

Anne Frank’s family, to speak at their school, Gruwell told them they would have

to raise the money to pay Gies’s travel expenses. They not only met, but exceeded

her challenge.

Higher education has been criticized for grade inflation (Kolevzon, 1981; Eislzer,

2002) and low student expectations, yet students complain about the workload in

their classes. Leadership educators can set high expectations for their students by

assigning challenging readings and requiring critical reflection of those readings

through writing, projects, and class discussion. Such critical reflection helps

learners become more aware of and critical of their own and others’ assumptions

(Cranton, 1994), and deepens their understanding and application of leadership

theory.

Gruwell’s use of intellectual stimulation forced her students to challenge their

own assumptions about themselves and their community. Gruwell’s students were

raised to hate other races and protect people of their own race. This often meant

lying to authorities and indiscriminately retaliating against students of other races

when one of their own had been attacked. Students voiced their hatred of each

other, but could not explain why; it had just always been that way. Gruwell

challenged their views about other races by continually asking them to defend

their thoughts with reason and logic. She used stories about the holocaust and the

ethnic war in Bosnia to illustrate the senselessness of hatred and intolerance. By

connecting the characters in the stories with the students’ lives, she transformed

the students’ points of view.

Gruwell also challenged the assumptions of a school system that said that these

students were “unteachable,” and that she, as an untenured teacher, could not

teach junior and senior students. The students not only published The Freedom

Writers Diary, but most went on to higher education, serving as role models for

children in their communities. Gruwell convinced school administrators that her

teaching methods were effective and she was allowed to continue with her

students through their senior year, despite having only two years of teaching

experience.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Leadership educators use intellectual stimulation in the classroom to help students

challenge assumptions that limit their thinking. They do so by asking students to

think critically about their beliefs and examine their biases. Leadership educators

should expose students to opposing viewpoints and provide them with examples

of others, such as Gruwell, who challenged a system and changed it for the better.

Providing students with a diverse curriculum broadens their horizons and helps

them develop a world-view.

Transformational teachers use individual consideration by listening to students’

needs and helping them become self-actualized. Gruwell recognized that even

school hallways were dangerous places for students. She met students’ needs by

creating a safe community in room 203. Students were able to share their thoughts

and concerns in a safe environment. She developed close relationships with her

students by creating a trusting atmosphere in the classroom where students were

not ridiculed. She got to know her students on a personal level by listening to

them and through reading their diaries (with their permission). One student’s life

was threatened when she testified in court, identifying one of her own “people” as

the shooter in a drive-by shooting. To keep her safe, Gruwell allowed the student

to stay in the classroom after school until it was time to catch the bus to her aunt’s

house across town.

In order to meet students’ individual needs, transformational teachers must first

establish relationships with their students (Cranton, 2006). Educators begin

building relationships by arriving to the classroom early and staying after class to

visit with students. Several faculty members from a leadership department at a

major land-grant university invite students for informal office visits at the

beginning of each semester. The purpose of these five-minute visits is simply to

get to know the students on a personal level. These informal visits help students

feel more comfortable approaching the faculty member later when personal issues

arise that might interfere with their class work. By knowing students on a more

personal level, leadership educators can direct students to needed services or point

them to resources or mentors that can help them achieve their personal goals.

Such relationships often extend beyond the student’s graduation.

Bass (1990) notes transformational leaders transcend their own interests for the

interests of their followers. When school administrators would not provide current

textbooks to Gruwell because of their fear that the students would destroy the

books, Gruwell worked additional jobs as a hotel concierge and a department

store salesperson to earn enough money to buy new, grade-level books for her

students. On weekends Gruwell took the students to museums, plays, movies, and

to dinners at a local hotel to expose them to the world beyond their neighborhood.

Such dedication to her students contributed to the breakup of Gruwell’s marriage.

While the breakup of her marriage was an unintended consequence of her actions,

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Gruwell was herself transformed. She developed the courage to challenge the

system for her students’ sake, and in the process, changed that system.

Summary

Gruwell’s experience at Woodrow Wilson High School serves as a successful

case for applying transformational leadership theory as pedagogy.

Transformational leadership theory provides the classroom instructor with a

familiar model for approaching transformational teaching. As leadership

educators, we must practice what we teach. By modeling transformational

leadership in the classroom, educators can both transform the lives of their

students and deepen their understanding of leadership.

However, transformational leadership theory as pedagogy remains untested.

Taylor (2000) examined the state of research on transformative learning. His

recommendations for future research included examining how transformative

learning is fostered in the classroom. Recommendations for further research

include determining if the use of transformational leadership theory as a teaching

model consistently leads to transformative learning and determining how

leadership educators can measure transformational learning. Since most research

is currently focused on adult learners, how does transformational learning theory

impact college-age students who are at the nexus of pedagogy and andragogy?

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References

Anding, J. M. (2005). An Interview with Robert E. Quinn: Entering the

fundamental state of leadership: Reflections on the path to

transformational teaching. Academy of Management Learning &

Education, 4 (4), 487-495.

Bass, B. M. (1990). Bass & Stogdill’s handbook of leadership: Theory, research,

and managerial applications (3 rd ed.). New York: The Free Press.

Boyd, B. L., Felton, S. R., & Dooley, K. E. (2004). Providing virtual international

experiences for undergraduates. Journal of International Agricultural

and Extension Education, 11 (3), 63-68.

Cranton, P. (2006). Fostering authentic relationships in the transformative

classroom. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, (109), 5-

13.

Cranton, P. (2002). Teaching for Transformation. New Directions for Adult and

Continuing Education, (93), 63-71.

Cranton, P. (1994). Understanding and promoting transformational learning. San

Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Cranton, P., & Carusetta, E. (2004). Perspectives on authenticity. Adult Education

Quarterly, 55 (1), 5-22.

DeVito, D., Shamberg, M., Sher, S. (Producers), & Lagravense, R. (Director).

(2006). Freedom Writers [Film]. United States: Paramount Pictures.

Eislzer, C. F. (2002). College students’ evaluation of teaching and grade inflation.

Research in Higher Education, 43 (4), 483-501.

The Freedom Writers & Gruwell, E. (1999). The freedom writers’ diary: How a

teacher and 150 teens used writing to change themselves and the world

around them. New York: Broadway Books.

Gallagher, T. (2002, Summer). The founding of a new conversation. Journal of

Leadership Education, 1 (1), 3-10.

King, K. P. (2005). Bringing transformative learning to life. Malabar, FL:

Krieger Publishing Company.

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Kolevzon, M. S. (1981). Grade inflation in higher education: A comparative

study. Research in Higher Education, 15 (3), 195-212.

Meziro, J. and Associates (2000). Learning as transformation: Critical

perspectives on theory in progress. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Taylor, E. (2000). Fostering transformative learning in the adult education

classroom: A review of the empirical studies. In C.A. Wiessner, S. Meyer,

and D. Fuller (Eds.). Challenges of practice: Transformative learning in

action. Proceedings of the Third International Conference on

Transformative Learning, Teachers College, Columbia University.

Tennant, M. (2005). Transforming selves. Journal of Transformative Education, 3

(2), 102-116.

Williams, J., & Rosser, M. (2008). Teaching leadership using popular media:

Alternative formats to reach the millennial generation. Journal of

Leadership Education, 7 (2), vii-viii.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Biography

Barry L. Boyd is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural

Leadership, Education, & Communications at Texas A&M University. He teaches

courses in personal and organizational leadership development, as well as

leadership in volunteer programs. Dr. Boyd’s research interests include teaching

effectiveness in leadership education and teaching for transformation in the

classroom.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Reconceptualizing Academic Advising Using The

Full Range Leadership Model

John E. Barbuto, Jr.

Associate Professor of Leadership

300 Agricultural Hall

University of Nebraska- Lincoln

Lincoln, NE 68583-0709

jbarbuto@unl.edu

Joana S. Story

Ph.D. Candidate in Leadership Studies

300 Agricultural Hall

University of Nebraska- Lincoln

Lincoln, NE 68583-0709

jstory3@unlnotes.unl.edu

Susan M. Fritz

Associate Vice Chancellor

202 Agricultural Hall

University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Lincoln, NE 68583-0708

sfritz1@unl.edu

Jack L. Schinstock

Professor of Biological Systems Engineer

University of Nebraska – Lincoln

201 Chase Hall

Lincoln, NE 68583-0726

jschinstock1@unl.edu

Abstract

Developmental and prescriptive advising styles have been the focus of the

academic advising literature for the past 35 years. Academic advising scholars

have called for a new paradigm in the field. Drawing from leadership theory, a

new model for academic advising is proposed. Full range advising encompasses

laissez-faire, management-by-exception, contingent rewards, and transformational

behaviors. The long-term impact of transformational advising is one that will

likely take years to fully realize, however measures of transformational leadership

are both reliable and valid. These measures can be used to determine whether

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advisors’ use of transformational advising behaviors is related to positive student

outcomes.

Introduction

The academic advising field started to grow increasingly since Beal and Noel’s

(1980) report on the importance of academic advising in promoting student

satisfaction and retention across 947 institutions of higher education. Two

advising styles have been the focus of the field for the past 35 years: prescriptive

and developmental (Smith, 2002). Prescriptive advising is reported as being more

authoritarian, where the advisors are expected to take control of students’

programs. The advisor is primarily responsible for decision-making, which allows

for the possibility that decisions may not be in the students’ best interests.

Developmental advising encompasses a more holistic approach; all efforts are

focused on student achievement of educational, personal, and career goals (Weir,

Dickman, & Fuqua, 2005).

Since the introduction of developmental advising by O’Banion (1972), scholars of

the field reported consistently that developmental advising was rated as the most

effective advising approach by students (Gordon, 1994). Thus, the notion of

faculty members as role models, mentors, and friends to students became the

mode of thinking (Grites & Stockton, 1994; Pardee, 1994). Studies reported that

strong, positive relationships between advisors and students correlated

significantly with retention and proved to positively influence the development of

students (Ender, 1994).

Consensus that developmental advising was the best strategy was not supported

by Fielstein’s (1989) earlier research that reported that some prescriptive

strategies were valued over developmental strategies. Scholars started to

investigate whether the preference for prescriptive or developmental was

dependent on some student characteristics. Andrews, Andrews, Long, and Henton

(1987) reported that students with lower grades wanted more personal contact

with their advisors. Crockett and Crawford (1989) in comparing MBTI and

advising style preferences reported that intuitive students preferred developmental

over prescriptive advising and that thinking students preferred prescriptive over

developmental advising. Fielstein (1994) argued that with the excitement over

developmental advising, scholars overlooked the benefits of prescriptive advising.

Furthermore, Saving and Keim (1998) reported that advisors thought they were

using developmental advising, but students disagreed. Pardee (1994) argued that

there are many difficulties imposed by universities that explain the lack of

adoption of developmental advising: advisee load is too large, lack of training for

advisors, and among others a lack of incentives. This suggests that developmental

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advising has not been practiced at the same rate that is prescribed in the literature

(Grites & Stockton, 1994).

Furthermore, scholars critique the advising field for its two dimensional approach

(Fielstein, 1994; Laff, 1994; Hemwall & Trachte, 1999). Strommer (1994)

proposed that instead of continuing to use the developmental model as the

standard of advising maybe a new paradigm needed to be adopted. This challenge

presented the need for a new model of academic advising.

The purpose of this paper is to develop a new mode of thinking about academic

advising based on the leadership literature. The model proposed considers

advisors as leaders of students in their academic programs. Despite this natural

application, to the knowledge of the authors no work has been done in this area

that applies leadership theory in an academic advising context. Although advisors

are considered the leaders of programs, effective leadership behaviors can be

adopted to empower students to take control of their programs. The model

provides a new paradigm of advising where advisors’ behaviors are placed in a

continuum varying from least effective to most effective (transactional to

transformational behaviors).

Full Range Leadership

Contrasting the advisor-student relationship with the leader-follower relationship,

it makes sense to consider ways of capitalizing on what is known in the leadership

field in order to enhance advising. The full range leadership model has been

studied extensively with both organizational and educational samples (Crawford,

Gould, & Scott, 2003; Crawford & Strohkirch, 2004; Rosenbusch & Townsend,

2004) across a diverse sample population (Smith, Matkin, & Fritz, 2004). The

model is comprised of two groups of behaviors – transactional and

transformational. Leaders operate across the two groups, but operate decidedly

more in one of the groups, and consequently, exhibit the associated behaviors.

Transactional behaviors include: laissez-faire (hands-off leadership);

management-by-exception-passive (leader deals with problems after they occur);

management by exception-active (leader allows followers little latitude); and,

contingent reward (leader makes deals). Transformational behaviors include:

individualized consideration (considerate leader); intellectual stimulation (leader

encourages independent thought); inspirational motivation (leader excites

followers about the future); and, idealized influence (leader as role model) (Bass,

1985). Followers of transformational leaders feel trust, admiration, respect, and

loyalty towards the leader. They are motivated to perform extra-role behaviors,

are highly satisfied, and think that the organization they work for is highly

effective (Lowe, Kroeck, & Sivasubramaniam, 1996). Considering that leadership

theorists have proven that transformational leadership is perceived by followers as

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the most effective means of leading, similarly, transformational advising could be

an equally effective means of advising students. Full range leadership behaviors

will be linked to academic advising approaches and activities to propose a

conceptual model for advising.

Transactional Behaviors

Full Range Advising Behaviors

Laissez-faire is characterized by avoiding decisions and refraining from

intervening (Bass, 1985). Conceptualizing laissez-faire advising would be similar

to an advisor being unavailable to students and sending the message that students

are on their own. Students of a laissez-faire advisor would likely become

frustrated with the apathetic responses and general unavailability.

Management by exception passive is characterized by setting standards but

waiting for problems to arise, and then reacting to mistakes (Bass, 1985).

Conceptualizing management by exception passive advising would be similar to

an advisor that would only take action after a student makes a mistake. Students

of a management by exception passive advisor would become frustrated by the

lack of guidance and information shared by the advisor.

Management by exception active is characterized by enforcing rules, searching for

errors to then correct, and monitoring for deviations to occur to then correct

(Bass, 1985). Conceptualizing management by exception active advising would

be similar to an advisor searching for mistakes, enforcing university rules, and

then correcting the problems. Students of a management by exception active

advisor would likely become frustrated by the insistence of the advisor in

checking rules, regulations, and mistakes.

Contingent reward is characterized by clarifying desired outcomes and

exchanging rewards and recognitions for meeting these expectations (Bass, 1985).

Conceptualizing contingent rewards advising would be highlighted by an advisor

giving recognition (i.e., good grade, good feedback) to students that achieved

desired outcomes. Students of a contingent rewards advisor would likely achieve

the expected outcomes, but would not likely achieve at greater levels than was

expected.

Transformational Behaviors

Individualized consideration is characterized by giving personal attention to

subordinates. Each subordinate is treated differently according to the needs and

abilities of the individual (Bass, 1985). Conceptualizing individualized

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consideration advising would be highlighted by an advisor helping to develop a

customized program around each student’s needs and professional aspirations.

Furthermore, the advisor would value individual needs, would be empathetic, and

encourage continuous improvement. Students of an individualized consideration

advisor would likely exhibit a willingness to develop.

Intellectual stimulation is characterized by valuing the intellect, encouraging the

imagination, and challenging the old ways of doing things (Bass, 1985).

Conceptualizing intellectual stimulation advising would be exhibited by an

advisor helping students question assumptions and consider new and innovative

ways to solve problems. Students of an intellectual stimulation advisor would

likely show a willingness to think for themselves.

Inspirational motivation is characterized by envisioning an attractive attainable

future and aligning individual and organizational needs (Bass, 1985).

Conceptualizing inspirational motivation advising would be highlighted by an

advisor communicating an appealing future state or vision to the student and

actively using this vision as the backdrop for rationale in advising matters.

Students of an inspirational motivation advisor would likely show a willingness to

excel.

Idealized influence is characterized by exhibiting persistence in pursuing

objectives, being confident in the vision, and having a strong sense of purpose and

trust (Bass, 1985). Conceptualizing idealized influence advising would be similar

to an advisor demonstrating a passion for student development and a true

commitment to making positive differences in the lives of the students. Students

of an idealized influence advisor would more likely trust the advisor and emulate

positive behaviors. Taken together, these four dimensions comprise

transformational advising.

Conclusion

Those that have examined the field of academic advising have expressed

important concerns about the lack of scholarship in this area (Saving & Keim,

1998). However, the role and importance of academic advising has received

increased attention in higher education literature over the past years (Light, 2004).

Furthermore, inconsistent reports of the two-dimensional model of advising have

resulted in calls for a new mode of thinking about academic advising.

The goal of this article was to reconceptualize the academic advising field using

the full range leadership model as the basis for a new model of advising. The

model proposed described a continuum of advising behaviors from the most

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effective to least effective and is intended to close the gap in the advising

literature.

The literature on leadership consistently predicts transformational behaviors to be

more effective than transactional behaviors (Lowe et al., 1996). Thus, advisors

that display more transformational behaviors should be considered more effective

by their students.

Furthermore, transformational behaviors can be taught and universities should

invest in programs to enrich advising experiences for both students and faculty. It

is our hope that this article will stimulate further research in academic advising.

Future research should test the relationships between advising behaviors and

student outcomes.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

References

Andrews, M., Andrews, D., Long, E., & Henton, J. (1987). Student characteristics

as predictors of perceived advising needs. Journal of College Student

Personnel, 28, 60-65.

Bass, B. M. (1985). Leadership and performance beyond expectations. New

York: Free Press.

Beal, P. E., & Noel, L. (1980). What works on student retention. Iowa City, IA:

American College Testing Program; Boulder City, CO: National Systems

for Higher Education Management Systems.

Crawford, C. B., Gould, L. V., & Scott, R. F. (2003). Transformational leader as

champion and techie: Implications for leadership education. Journal of

Leadership Education, 2 (1), 57-73.

Crawford, C. B., & Strohkirch, C. S. (2004). Transformational leader as person-

centered communicator: Empirical findings and observations for

leadership educators. Journal of Leadership Education, 3 (1), 40-60.

Crockett, J. B., & Crawford, R. L. (1989). The relationship between Myers-Briggs

type indicator scale scores and advising style preferences of college

freshmen. Journal of College Student Development, 30, 154-161.

Fielstein, L. L. (1994). Developmental versus prescriptive advising: Must is be

one or the others? NACADA Journal, 14 (2), 76-79.

Fielstein, L. L. (1989). Student priorities for academic advising: Do they want a

personal relationship? NACADA Journal, 9 (1), 33-38.

Gordon, V. N. (1994). Developmental advising: The elusive ideal. NACADA

Journal, 14 (2), 71-75.

Grites, T. J., & Stockton, R. (1994). From principle to practice: Pain or gain?

NACADA Journal, 14 (2), 80-84.

Hemwall, M. K., & Tratchte, K. C. (1999). Learning at the core: Toward a new

understanding of academic advising. NACADA Journal, 19 (1), 5-11.

Laff, N. S. (1994). Reconsidering the developmental view of advising: Have we

come a long way? NACADA Journal, 14 (2), 46-49.

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Light, R. J. (2004). Changing advising through assessment. NACADA Journal, 24

(1&2), 7-16.

Lowe, K. B., Kroeck, K. G., & Sivasubramaniam, N. (1996). Effectiveness

correlates of transformational and transactional leadership: A meta-

analytic review of the MLQ literature. Leadership Quarterly, 7, 385-425.

O’Banion, T. (1972). An academic advising model. NACADA Journal, 14 (2), 10-

16.

Pardee, C. F. (1994). We profess developmental advising, but do we practice it?

NACADA Journal, 14 (2), 59-61.

Rosenbusch, K., & Townsend, C. (2004). The relationship of gender and

organizational setting to transformational and transactional leadership

skills of selected college student leaders. Journal of Leadership

Education, 3 (3), 4-20.

Saving, K. A., & Keim, M. C. (1998). Student and advisor perceptions of

academic advising in two Midwestern colleges of business. College

Student Journal, 32 (4), 511-522.

Smith, J. S. (2002). First-year student perceptions of academic advisement: A

qualitative study and reality check. NACADA Journal, 22 (2), 39-49.

Smith, K. K., Matkin, G. S., & Fritz, S. M. (2004). A review of gender and full-

range leadership research and suggestions for future research. Journal of

Leadership Education, 3 (2), 52-68.

Strommer, D. W. (1994). Constructing a new paradigm for academic advising.

NACADA Journal, 14 (2), 92-95.

Weir, S. B., Dickman, M. M., & Fuqua, D. R. (2005). Preferences for academic

advising styles. NACADA Journal, 25 (1), 74-80.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Biography

John E. Barbuto, Jr. (Jay) is an Associate Professor of Leadership in the

Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication. His

current research projects include transformational advising, dramaturgical

teaching, servant leadership, work motivation, emotional intelligence, crosscultural

and diversity issues, and antecedents of leadership. He has published over

65 journal articles and 140 conference proceedings in the leadership,

organizational behavior, and social psychology field, which have included:

Journal of Leadership Education, Leadership Quarterly, Sex Roles, Journal of

Leadership and Organizational Studies, Group & Organization Management,

Journal of Agricultural Education, Journal of Social Psychology, and the Journal

of Leadership Education.

Joana S. Story is a Ph.D. candidate in Leadership Studies at the University of

Nebraska-Lincoln. She graduated with a B.S. in Communication Studies from the

Pontificia Universidade Catolica de Minas Gerais, Brazil. Her research global

interests include leadership, cross-cultural leadership, and global mindset. She has

published in Psychological Reports, Perceptual and Motor Skills, Leadership and

Organizational Management Journal, as well as the Journal of Leadership

Education.

Dr. Susan M. Fritz is the Associate Vice Chancellor of the Institute of Agriculture

and Natural Resources and Professor in the Department of Agricultural

Leadership, Education and Communication at the University of Nebraska-

Lincoln. Her research interests are in gender and leadership, community

leadership, antecedents of leaders’ behaviors and the impact of leadership

development programs. She has published in the Journal of Agricultural

Education, the Journal of Extension Education, the NACTA Journal,

Psychological Reports, as well as the Journal of Leadership Education

Dr. Jack L. Schinstock is an Associate Dean in the College of Agricultural

Sciences and Natural Resources and Professor in the Department of Biological

Systems Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has published in

the Agricultural Engineering International: The CIGR Journal of Scientific

Research and Development and the Applied Engineering in Agriculture Journal.

He has received the North America Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture

(NACTA) John Deere Award for outstanding post-secondary teaching, and the L.

K. Crowe Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Student Advising.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Leadership in Intergenerational Practice:

In Search of the Elusive

“P” Factor — Passion

Matthew Kaplan, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Intergenerational Programs and Aging

Department of Agricultural and Extension Education

Pennsylvania State University

7A Ferguson Building

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: (814) 863-7871

E-Mail: msk15@psu.edu

http://intergenerational.cas.psu.edu

Elizabeth Larkin, Ed.D.

Associate Professor

College of Education

University of South Florida

Sarasota/Manatee

Alan Hatton-Yeo

Chief Executive Officer

Beth Johnson Foundation

Abstract

Intergenerational programs and practices refer to a wide range of initiatives which

aim to bring people of different generations together to interact, educate, support,

and provide care for one another. Insofar as there is such rapid growth in

intergenerational program activity taking place at the national and international

levels, it is pertinent to wonder how we can cultivate innovative, effective leaders

in a variety of professional roles and settings. This article explores various

conceptions about how to prepare and inspire intergenerational professionals.

Beyond focusing on the set of skills and knowledge that practitioners need to

function effectively, we argue that there are certain personal dispositions that are

integral to leadership in this field. To illustrate how passion, what the authors call

the p-factor, contributes to exemplary intergenerational practice, several examples

are provided of intergenerational professionals who emanate this quality.

Implications for preparing future intergenerational leaders are considered.

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Introduction

Overview of Intergenerational Program Practice

The International Consortium of Intergenerational Programs defines

intergenerational programs as “social vehicles that create purposeful and ongoing

exchange of resources and learning among older and younger generations”

(Kaplan, Henkin, & Kusano, 2002, xi). Intergenerational programs bring together

people of different generations in mutually beneficial, planned activities that are

designed to achieve specified program objectives including, for example, enhanced

literacy skills, arts and recreation interests, and desired states of health and

welfare. Through intergenerational programs people of all ages share their talents and

resources, supporting each other in relationships that benefit both individuals and the

community.

In many countries the growing interest in intergenerational programs and

practices is evolving beyond the implementation of innovative, but disconnected

demonstration projects. We see government agencies establishing policies that

call for intergenerational approaches for structuring and delivering services for

children, youth, older adults, families, and communities. In the United States, for

example, a recent addition to the Older Americans Act (in 2007) is a provision

that authorizes demonstration grants to non-profit organizations to carry out

multigenerational and civic engagement activities such as those that connect older

and younger people in child care, youth day care, after-school programs, and

library and education assistance programs. The Act also authorizes funding for

innovative programs that engage older volunteers providing support to families

whose children have special needs, and supports to grandparents and other older

relatives and the children in their care. To qualify for funding an organization

must have a multigenerational coordinator.

In the United Kingdom intergenerational practice is being framed in the context of

government policies and practices tied to several areas including youth

volunteerism, community organizing and advocacy, environmental preservation,

school-community partnerships, community development, and efforts to promote

community cohesion (Hatton-Yeo, 2007). In their report Our Shared Future

(2007), the Commission on Integration and Cohesion makes specific reference to

the importance of programs for building intergenerational understanding and

respect in developing social cohesion and inclusiveness in communities. Recent

policies in Japan by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and

Technology such as the Period of Integrated Study introduced in 2002 have

created new opportunities for older adults to contribute to school-based

curriculum and take part in afterschool activities (Kuraoka, 2007).

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

The underlying reason for this impressive growth in intergenerational

programming is that the strategy is seen as meeting a need in many communities

through inclusive activities that promote satisfying interpersonal relationships

across age groups. However, it can still be challenging to do intergenerational

work. For the most part, social services, education systems, and community

planning mechanisms are still structured to operate in an age-segregated manner.

As Henkin and Butts (2002) note, there are many barriers to the systematic

growth and development of intergenerational programs, including public and

private funding streams that target only one age group, lack of systematic

collaboration among funding sources at the local, state, and national levels, lack

of integration of programs into existing service systems, and limited mechanisms

for identifying and sharing best practices.

In a world where young people and older people are provided educational,

recreational, and social services in a segregated manner, we need targeted policies

and specialized programs to connect the generations. It takes vision and

leadership to surmount the barriers to collaboration and bring different age groups

together for their mutual benefit. Who are the leaders in this effort and what

enables them to be successful? In this article, we will explore what we consider to

be an essential, albeit elusive, component of leadership in the field of

intergenerational practice: passion.

Questions of Training and Leadership in the Intergenerational Field

Anyone in an organization could be a leader. Espinosa (1997) defines leadership

as “the ability to influence, inspire, motivate, or affect the thoughts, feelings, and

actions of others” (p. 97). He notes that “leaders are those who provoke or nudge

or elevate others into thinking, feeling, or behaving in ways they would not

otherwise have demonstrated. Leadership is sustained influence over others,

shaping the course of events and bending the will of others by word or personal

example” (p. 97).

Leaders are also forces for organizational change (Fullan 1993). In an

intergenerational program leaders influence others to embrace a vision for

beneficial relationships between older and younger people. Fullan outlines four

core capacities of the change agent – personal vision-building, inquiry, mastery,

and collaboration. Leaders who are able to sustain the change effort are guided by

their focus on making a difference, by persistent questioning about their purpose,

by always searching for deeper understanding, and by collaborating with others to

accomplish their goals. They are passionate about improving society for others

and finding solutions to the challenges that arise in bringing different generations

together.

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In the world of intergenerational practice, there is no specific formal credential

that recognizes a person as a qualified leader. In part, this reality is a result of the

interdisciplinary nature of the work which creates a broad, undefined realm of

possibilities. Leaders tend to be self-made advocates who are passionate about

achieving positive outcomes for both younger and older people. For them, as

Bolman and Deal (1995) suggest, “The heart of leadership is in the hearts of

leaders. You have to lead from something deep in your heart” (p. 21). Their

energy is focused on a vision of satisfying interdependencies that unite, rather

than divide, people across ages. They not only want program participants to be

safe and comfortable, but they also want them to be excited, engaged, and

emotionally satisfied. These are the kinds of experiences that touch the

participants’ hearts and simultaneously fuel a leader’s commitment.

Passionate leaders, regardless of the formal role they play in an organization, are

able to initiate innovative programs and to inspire others to join them. These are

leaders who build enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal

humility and professional will as characterized by Collins (2001) as Level V

executive leaders. Typically, in the intergenerational field these characteristics

come not from rigorous academic preparation in leadership, but from the person’s

inherent abilities and personal beliefs. Because intergenerational practice is such a

rapidly growing yet still new area in the world of work, it is pertinent to wonder

how we can cultivate innovative, passionate leaders in a variety of roles ranging

from direct service staff to administrators and policy makers.

Progress has been made in establishing standards and guidelines for effective

practice with the articulation of required knowledge, skills, and dispositions

needed by intergenerational practitioners to perform their professional

responsibilities effectively (Larkin & Rosebrook, 2002; Rosebrook & Larkin,

2003; Newman & Olson, 1996). “Dispositions” is another elusive dimension of

professional practice that invites closer examination because qualities such as

attitudes and beliefs are hard to measure.

Here are some consistently noted competencies for intergenerational practitioners

that would be essential for leaders in the field:

• The ability to work with individuals at many points along the age

spectrum.

• The ability to plan age-integrated activities that are developmentally and

functionally appropriate for the participants.

• The ability to coordinate programs with other community agencies.

• The ability to articulate clear, achievable intergenerational program goals.

• The ability to facilitate interpersonal relationships between younger and

older participants.

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Most of these skills focus on the facilitation of relationships among various stakeholders.

Partnerships are common in intergenerational work, often combining resources and

participants from agencies that serve young people and older people separately. In

collaborative ventures leadership is spread across institutional boundaries and the vision

must be a shared one (Mays, 2007). Thus, in a partnership, relationships have to be

negotiated and leadership will entail sustained influence over others, shaping the course

of events (Espinosa, 1997).

Standards are goals for effective professional practice; they provide the basis for

evaluating quality according to specific indicators. Rosebrook and Larkin (2003)

outline six standards that have been influential, at least in United States, in framing

the discussion about what is considered exemplary performance. They note that

effective intergenerational specialists:

• Draw upon knowledge of human development across the life span to plan

and implement effective programs that bring young people and older adults

together for mutual benefits.

• Recognize the need for and employ effective communication to support the

development of IG relationships.

• Understand and demonstrate a commitment to collaboration and partnership.

• Integrate knowledge from a variety of relevant fields including psychology,

sociology, history, literature, and the arts to develop programs.

• Employ appropriate evaluation techniques adapted from the fields of

education and social sciences to inform program development for diverse

age groups and settings.

• Conduct themselves as reflective, caring professionals who aim to bring

young people and older adults together for their mutual benefit.

To read more about these standards, and sample indicators for each, go to:

http://intergenerational.cas.psu.edu/Docs/IGStandards2.pdf.

Note that the sixth standard addresses the disposition of being “a reflective, caring

professional.” Anyone working in the intergenerational field, whether in a

leadership role or not, is responsible for the well-being of others, and this

responsibility demands both integrity and kindness. The intergenerational field has

yet to develop a code of ethics or guidelines for reflective practice which might

include, for example, principles such as the capacity for “compassionate

confrontation” (Covey, 1991) in the face of problems, a willingness to be open and

to engage in self-assessment, a tendency to be accepting and to respect the

autonomy of others, and a commitment to cultural awareness. Leaders who possess

such qualities are able to influence and inspire as well as motivate others (Espinosa,

1997).

Sáez (2007) argues that the professionalization of the intergenerational field will

depend less on identifying a new and separate knowledge base for

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intergenerational practitioners, but more on helping them access existing

knowledge across various disciplines in the social professions including in the

fields of education, psychology, social work, economics, demography,

gerontology, and political science.

In this article, we go one step further in suggesting that there is more to attaining

excellence in intergenerational practice than gaining mastery over any set body of

knowledge, no matter how extensive or inclusive the content area. Our main

argument is that it is important to pay attention to more than what

intergenerational practitioners need to “know” and “be able to do.” We maintain

that dispositions (values, attitudes, and beliefs that influence behaviors) must also

be considered essential in the intergenerational enterprise.

Program development is a creative process requiring imagination, the capacity to

care about participants of all ages, and the ability to inspire all who play a part in

converting the program vision into a reality. Passion also plays a big role in the

efforts of intergenerational professionals who exude excellence and take

innovative approaches to their practice. To illustrate how passion, what we call

the p-factor, contributes to exemplary intergenerational practice, we provide

several vignettes describing the exploits of intergenerational professionals whom

we feel reflect this quality. Each of the three examples is based on interactions

with people whom we have recognized as innovative leaders. Their stories serve

as models that can inspire new initiatives in intergenerational practice and provide

some specific examples of how the element of passion plays a part in success.

After presenting these examples, we proceed to examine the question of whether

such an orientation can be taught or at least nurtured, and then introduce some

concluding observations. The discussion in the next section aims to provide more

clarity about the elusive p-factor and its role in intergenerational practice.

The Need to Pay Attention to Matters of the Heart

There are many conceptions about how best to prepare intergenerational

practitioners. “What we need is the ‘McDonaldization’ of intergenerational work”

exemplifies this notion. This statement was made by Johannes Meier, member of

the board of directors for Bertelsmann Stiftung, a German foundation that funds

programs that support families, during a question and answer period following his

presentation on intergenerational solidarity at the Generations-Summit North

Rhine-Westphalia conference in Dussuldorf, Germany, December 14, 2007. Dr.

Meier was alluding to how McDonalds has staff training manuals on policies and

everything else local workers need to know. His point was that intergenerational

practitioners too would benefit from a routinized training scheme.

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If all of the elements of intergenerational practice can be broken down into a

distinct set of tasks, all that would be necessary would be to teach people the

skills they need to do their tasks. However, there is more involved than just the

acquisition of technical skills. There is a dispositional element, perhaps even an

intuitive component, such as being sensitive to and caring about those with whom

intergenerational practitioners work. There is also an element of passion, of

commitment that transforms the knowledgeable person into an inspirational

leader, facilitator, and team member. The passionate practitioner is one who is

quick to seize upon opportunities to create synergy and cultivate interpersonal

connections.

Intergenerational Practitioners who Exhibit the “P-Factor”

The examples of intergenerational practice noted in this section have several

things in common. First, all of the noted practitioners are knowledgeable and

skilled in intergenerational work as well as being quite passionate about their

intergenerational mission. Second, they are all highly self-motivated. None of the

intergenerational efforts described below were done in the context of fulfilling

formal job requirements; in fact, none of this work was done for pay. In all cases,

the individuals do what they do for the sheer joy of facilitating meaningful

intergenerational engagement within the context of program participants’ lives.

The first example describes the evolution of a young professional in Germany

who, through her proactive approach to constructing graduate studies experiences,

internships, and work opportunities, was able to convert her passionate interest in

intergenerational work into a successful career as a leader in Germany’s

intergenerational movement. The second example highlights how an instructor of

a college program for older adults in Japan inspired graduates to organize

volunteer activities with local children and youth. The third example describes the

plight of a social worker who saved a portion of a prestigious travel and study

grant she received to help start an organization for supporting grandparents

raising grandchildren when she returned home.

Example 1

Intergenerational specialist Tabea Schlimbach became interested in the field in

2000 in her home country of Germany. Her entrée into the field was rather

coincidental at first. As a student in the educational sciences department at the

University of Halle, she was asked by a professor to moderate a seminar session

on intergenerational programs called “dialogue of generations.” She credits that

seminar as being the seminal point in her career decision. The seminar, which

included facilitated discussions among the multi-generational audience, gave her a

chance to experience first hand the power of intergenerational exchange and at the

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same time to become aware not only of how sensitive and vulnerable to

misunderstandings the newly built intergenerational connections were, but also

how challenging it can be to structure such exchange opportunities. She

proceeded to explore intergenerational practice in Germany and learned that

although there was a large amount of intergenerational work taking place, such

practices were disconnected and often short term. Thus, she decided to stay active

in the field, deepen her understanding of intergenerational relations, and try to

make a contribution to the professionalization and sustainability of the

intergenerational field as it was unfolding in her country. With no tried-and-true

career path for people who wish to get involved in this new area of practice, she

set out to create her own path. After graduation with a thesis on intergenerational

programming, she negotiated a position as a trainee and volunteer at the

Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations (FRFG) where she co-edited a

magazine on the “dialogue of generations.”

To further deepen her understanding and involvement with the intergenerational

field, Tabea reached out to the Beth Johnson Foundation in the United Kingdom

and negotiated a tailor-made research associate role that would simultaneously

contribute to the work of the foundation while adding to her knowledge, skills,

and potential to contribute to the intergenerational field in Germany. After

returning to Germany, Tabea proceeded to expand her engagement with key

organizations that are helping to build infrastructure for the intergenerational field

in Germany including the national service agency “Dialogue of Generations,” the

research group “Generations” which is an arm of the parliamentary group of the

green party, and research centers at several universities. She was instrumental in

helping these organizations to craft research, policy documents, training systems

for practitioners, and new intergenerational program strategies.

In contrast to other young professionals who prefer the security of steady

employment in traditional fields, Tabea shaped the course of her own career path.

She bravely faced the unknown, often having to raise her own funds and either

create or define the positions she took in various organizational settings.

Example 2

Yoshie Kato is a Social Welfare Lecturer at the Setagaya College for Senior

Citizens (“Setagaya Rojin Daigaku”) which is administered by the Setagaya Ward

Welfare for the Senior Citizens Department of Tokyo, Japan. As of 1995, when

Professor Kato was interviewed for a book on intergenerational programs in Japan

(Kaplan et al., 1998), there were 300 students 60 years of age and older who

attended classes once a week at the College. The primary mission of the College,

which is consistent with various other lifelong learning schemes in Japan that

target older adults (Wilson, 2001), is to provide older adults with “lifelong

learning” opportunities.

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Professor Kato was not satisfied with merely offering an educational program for

older adults. Beyond providing a set curriculum of instruction, she actively

encouraged her students to have direct contact with local children and youth and

to share their skills and knowledge wherever and whenever possible. She

provided encouragement and support for a group of senior adult graduates who

eventually formed a volunteer program. They introduced school children to

traditional games such as “otedama” (juggling), “ohajiki” (playing with marbles)

and “ayatori” (a string game also known in the West as “cat’s cradle”), ate lunch

with them, and exchanged letters about topics of mutual interest.

Professor Kato continued to meet with graduates from her college and helped

them to recognize that their enhanced interpersonal communication skills and

awareness of community needs were not endpoints in their lives, but rather the

beginning of new chapters in their lives. Her efforts to help older adult college

graduates to find or create intergenerational volunteering opportunities went far

beyond the requirements of her position at the senior college. She was determined

to make a difference in the lives of her students and the children they mentored.

She inspired others to volunteer and become role models for a younger

generation.

Example 3

For the past seven years Jean Stogdon has been chair of Grandparents Plus,

a United Kingdom charity which promotes the vital role of grandparents and the

extended family in children’s lives, particularly where parents are no longer able

to care for their children. Grandparents Plus works with various organizations and

partnerships to educate the public about the issues that families with grandparents

raising grandchildren face.

Jean was originally trained as a social worker. For years she has worked in

various social services management positions for Camden Social Services before

focusing on her interest in grandparents. In 1999 she applied for and received a

Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship that enabled her to study the role of

grandparents within kinship care in the United States.

Because she stayed with relatives or colleagues, she was able to save some of her

grant funds which she was allowed to keep and give to Grandparents Plus, a

charity that she co-founded with the late Lord Young of Dartington. Under her

stewardship, Grandparents Plus has evolved into a significant resource for

supporting families with grandparents and other relatives raising children. The

organization conducts evidence-based projects, offers training programs to

support practitioners, and produces newsletters to give grandparents, extended

families and grandchildren a stronger voice in public policy. In her role, she has

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been able to sustain her influence and collaborate successfully because she cares

deeply about this cause.

Implications for Preparing Intergenerational Leaders

Whereas the existing literature on preparing intergenerational practitioners helps

to define roles, responsibilities, and a baseline of skills required for effective

intergenerational practice, we contend that the preparation of intergenerational

practitioners needs to be broadened to include “matters of the heart” as well as of

the intellect. The whole question of “dispositions” needs to be fleshed out more

thoroughly so that anyone engaged in intergenerational work will have some

benchmarks for measuring their suitability for leadership. Vision and passion are

not things that can be readily taught, but at least knowing that certain attitudes or

values can be identified as guidelines for exemplary professional practice allows

evaluators to note their presence or absence.

It is hard to imagine a cadre of intergenerational professionals who embrace their

roles without connecting emotionally with the people for whom they are seeking

to make a difference. Another even more elusive characteristic than “caring” is

the extent to which the practitioners exhibit “passion” in the way they go about

facilitating intergenerational engagement. Nevertheless, we can identify some

attitudes and behaviors that we consider to be important for exemplary

professional practice. For example, the following characteristics which were

selected from various lists of leadership traits (Collins, 2001; Espinosa, 1997;

Fullan, 1993) are descriptors of transformative leaders: innovative, influential,

collaborative, compassionate, consistent, inquiring, flexible, reflective,

democratic, and optimistic. These characteristics are “dispositions” rather than

skills and are demonstrated through behaviors as well as through facial

expressions and tone of voice - that is, they are not just what intergenerational

practitioners do, but how they do it. Practical skills are also necessary, such as the

ability to solve problems, to be articulate, and to manage organizational details

which are the focus of most formal leadership preparation programs. In addition

to these skills, intergenerational leaders need to demonstrate how they value

others, that they will listen and be open to change, and that they continue to

search for deeper understandings. Such dispositions do not lend themselves to

quantitative documentation strategies, and so hiring standards and evaluation

efforts would need to use descriptive measures (qualitative).

Discussion

The intergenerational practitioners highlighted here exhibit leadership with great

energy, commitment, and passion. Their stories help to illustrate a dimension of

practice that goes beyond knowledge acquisition and skill development.

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Certainly, skills are needed, and yes, there is a knowledge base that leaders need

to have if we are to speak about “professionalizing” the intergenerational field.

However, we need to look beyond developing well-informed and technically

competent professionals who can function efficiently, but do so without inspiring

others. Otherwise, we will be left with a call for the mechanical standardization of

practice, akin to what Meier is calls the McDonaldization of intergenerational

work.

This conclusion is consistent with what was revealed in a Beth Johnson

Foundation study of intergenerational programs across the United Kingdom in

which over 60 projects was identified and analyzed (Granville, 2002). One of the

key principles that were identified as underpinning successful intergenerational

projects was capturing the commitment of champions. The most successful and

sustainable programs had a passionate champion behind them. We must consider

how we can prepare intergenerational practitioners in a manner that elicits in them

a sense of passion for making a difference in the lives of others. As change

agents, leaders of intergenerational initiatives need both moral purpose and

unwavering commitment to make a difference. These case studies serve as models

for the kinds of leadership qualities that are needed in the intergenerational field.

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References

Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (1995). Leading with soul. San Francisco: Jossey-

Bass.

Collins, J. (2001). Good to great. New York: Harper Collins.

Commission on Integration and Cohesion (2007). Our shared future. Wetherby,

Communities and Local Government Publications.

Covey, S. (1991). Principle-centered leadership. New York: Fireside.

Espinosa, L. M. (1997). Personal dimensions of leadership. In S. L. Kagan & B.

T. Bowman (Eds.). Leadership in early care and education (p. 97-102).

Washington, DC: NAEYC.

Fullan, M. (1993). Change forces: Probing the depths of educational reform.

London: The Falmer Press.

Granville, G. (2002) A review of intergenerational practice in the UK. Stoke-on-

Trent. The Beth Johnson Foundation.

Hatton-Yeo, A. (2007). Intergenerational programmes, intergenerational solidarity

and social cohesion. In M. Sanchez Martinez (Ed.), Intergenerational

Programs: Towards a Society for All Ages (p.109-124). Barcelona, Spain:

Obra Social Fundacion La Caixa.

Henkin, N., & Butts, D. (2002). Advancing an intergenerational agenda in the

United States. In M. Kaplan, N. Henkin, & A. Kusano (Eds.), Linking

lifetimes: A global view of intergenerational exchange, 65-82. Lanham,

Maryland: University Press of America.

Kaplan, M., Henkin, N., & Kusano, A. (Eds.) (2002). Linking lifetimes: A global

view of intergenerational exchange. Lanham, MD: University Press of

America.

Kuraoka, M. (2007). Intergenerational exchange in the child’s education. In S.

Yajima, A. Kusano, M. Kuraoka, Y. Saito, & M. Kaplan (Eds.).

Proceedings of the Uniting the Generations: Japan Conference to

Promote Intergenerational Programs and Practices, 37-38. Matsuko

City, Japan: Seitoku University Lifelong Learning Center.

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Larkin, E., & Rosebrook, V. (2002). Standards for intergenerational practice: A

proposal. Early Childhood Teacher Education, 23, 137-142.

Mays, C. K. (Nov./Dec. 2007). Leadership matters: Recognizing the need for

collaboration. Techniques, 10. [Available: www.acteonline.org.]

Newman, S., & Olson, S. (1996). Competency development: Professionalizing the

intergenerational field. The Southwest Journal on Aging, 12 (1/2), 91-94.

Rosebrook, V., & Larkin, E. (2003). Introducing standards and guidelines: A

rationale for defining the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of

intergenerational practice. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships,

1(1), 133-144.

Sáez, J. (2007). The professionalization of intergenerational work. In M. Sanchez

Martínez (Ed.), Intergenerational programs: Towards a society for all

ages, 167-183. [English version]. Barcelona, Spain: Obra Social

Fundacion La Caixa.

Wilson, J. D. (2001). Lifelong learning in Japan--A lifeline for a “maturing”

society? International Journal of Lifelong Education, 20 (4), 297-313.

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Biographies

Matthew S. Kaplan is an Associate Professor of Intergenerational Programs and

Aging in the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education at Pennsylvania

State University. In this position he develops educational resources, provides

training support, and provides statewide leadership in the development and

evaluation of intergenerational programs. He specializes in intergenerational

community development and more recently has focused on exploring the

international dimension of intergenerational work.

Elizabeth Larkin received her Ed.D. from Harvard University Graduate School of

Education and is currently an Associate Professor in the College of Education at

the University of South Florida - Sarasota/Manatee. She teaches courses in early

childhood and elementary teacher certification programs. Her research interests

include looking at the professional development of educators as well as studying

intergenerational initiatives in a variety of settings.

Alan Hatton-Yeo is Chief Executive Officer of the Beth Johnson Foundation, one

of the leading United Kingdom’s pioneering organizations new approaches to

aging through action research. In recent years his roles have included: Director of

the United Kingdom Center for Intergenerational Practice, Secretary of the United

Kingdom Older People’s Advocacy Alliance, Member of the United Kingdom

Mentoring Strategy Group, and Secretary of the Management Committee of the

International Consortium for Intergenerational Programmes.

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Making a Difference: Two Case Studies Describing the

Impact of a Capstone Leadership Education

Experience provided through a National

Youth Leadership Training Program

Manda Rosser

Assistant Professor

Texas A&M University

TAMU 2116 – 119A Scoates Hall

College Station, TX 77843-2116

979-862-3015

mrosser@aged.tamu.edu

Nicole LP Stedman

Assistant Professor

University of Florida

Agricultural Education & Communication

217B Rolfs Hall – P.O. Box 110540

Gainesville, FL 32611-0540

352-392-0502 (ext. 247)

nstedman@ufl.edu

Chanda Elbert

Associate Professor

Texas A&M University

TAMU 2116 – 119B Scoates Hall

College Station, TX 77843-2116

979-458-2699

celbert@aged.tamu.edu

Tracy Rutherford

Associate Professor

Texas A&M University

TAMU 2116 – 125 Scoates Hall

College Station, TX 77843-2116

979-458-2744

TRutherford@aged.tamu.edu

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Abstract

Many youth leadership organizations exist today and provide a variety of

leadership experiences. One such organization provides a week long leadership

experience to high school students with its primary purpose being to guide

students through a process of identifying a community need and developing a plan

to address that need. This article reports on two qualitative case studies which

investigate this leadership education tool and its impacts on the students’

involved, as well as the participating communities. The Living to Serve plans

(LTS), the capstone leadership education experience, which the students develop

are used to help students understand the process of identifying problems and

solving those problems through identified steps.

Introduction

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can

change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Meade

There are numerous organizations and activities in which youth can be exposed to

leadership such as Outward Bound, 4-H, Junior Achievement, and Boy Scouts

and Girls Scouts of America. It is important to develop an understanding of the

impact contributed by these programs (Foster, 2000). The Boy and Girl Scouts of

America are focused on leadership and character education. Similarly, 4-H has a

broad mission of providing education to youth in leadership, life skills, and

citizenship. Outward Bound is specifically focused on character development

while Junior Achievement is leadership and economics education. Each

organization is successful in educating the youth of today in its unique way.

In an effort to continue the leadership development of youth across the nation, one

national youth leadership organization has provided a week long in-depth

opportunity to travel to Washington, DC to attend the Washington Leadership

Conference (WLC). This national program offers youth the opportunity to

enhance their leadership capabilities through a series of workshops throughout the

summer (The National FFA Organization, 2005). During this week long initiative

the students begin their work on Living to Serve Plans (LTS). This plan is used to

help the students create, design, and implement a program to help their

communities (The National FFA Organization, 2006).

The National FFA Organization provides a series of programs that coordinate

with state and local efforts to provide a rich and meaningful understanding of the

three components of their mission statement – leadership, personal growth, and

career success. Programs in this continuum begin in middle school and are built

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on best practices in youth development and defensible learning theory. WLC is

designed as the capstone experience of programs offered to high school members

of this organization. The overall program objective for the WLC conference is for

students to design LTS plans which address a specific need (e.g., economic

development, human welfare, healthy lifestyles, etc.) within their home

community (The National FFA Organization, 2004).

With that, the initial step in determining the impact of the youth’s LTS plan on a

community must be grounded in the proper theoretical framework supporting

positive youth development coupled with leadership education.

Historical and Theoretical Framework

Today’s youth have the potential to understand leadership and develop their

leadership potential (Fertman & van Linden, 1999). Through leadership education

and programs focused on leadership development this potential can be

recognized. In addition, youth have the ability to recognize situational factors

which create an opportunity to build character. “Educators can help youth develop

leadership and build character at the same time” (Fertman & van Linden, 1999, p.

9).

Van Linden and Fertman (1998) posit that youth leadership combines

transactional and transformational leadership and understanding this, builds a

bridge between leadership education and character education. “Think of the

difference between transactional and transformational leadership as doing

leadership tasks versus being a leader” (p. 78). Leadership educators can identify

these theories and create opportunities for which students can complete tasks that

will transform them into leaders.

In 2005 a report on Positive Youth Development sought to develop a common

vocabulary for those trying to provide youth with leadership education. This was

based on positive opportunities versus that of correcting negative ways (Lerner, et

al., 2005). The five Cs as they described include: Competence; Confidence;

Connection; Character; and, Caring/Compassion. The authors later address a sixth

C, contribution, as a critical component where the students apply their knowledge

of the 5Cs by contributing to their selves, their family, and community.

In order to accomplish this, personal experiences must be drawn upon. These

personal experiences are a critical component of leadership education. This key

component of leadership education provides application of leadership knowledge

learned in the classroom. Programs of this nature should seek to provide youth

with not only knowledge, but also the hands-on application of participation and

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practice. Experiences through FFA activities have been shown to enhance the

leadership traits of youth (Townsend & Carter, 1983).

After conducting a meta-analysis of youth leadership development literature,

Ricketts and Rudd (2002) developed a model which describes a framework for

teaching leadership to students. The five dimensions of the conceptual model are

(a) Leadership Knowledge and Information, (b) Leadership Attitude, Will, and

Desire, (c) Decision Making, Reasoning, and Critical Thinking, (d) Oral and

Written Communication Skills, and (e) Intra and Interpersonal Relations. These

dimensions overlap with three learning objectives from WLC – define character;

describe the role of problem solving in leadership; and, evaluate ethical decision

that impact a community.

This discussion supports the collective information related to (a) the development

of youth leadership, (b) positive youth development, and (c) dimensions of

leadership education incorporating components of the LTC plan. The key

emphasis of the study is on how a student driven service learning plan focused on

ethical decisions impacts a community. By incorporating the aforementioned

leadership theory and practice a better understanding of teaching leadership and

character/ethical education can be accomplished.

Purpose

Many youth organizations provide a variety of leadership experience, both formal

and informal. Little is known about the impact of these experiences through the

voice of the student’s or their communities. The purpose of the study is to

investigate a leadership education tool and it impacts on the students’ involved as

well as its impact on the participating communities. In addition, a discussion of

how a leadership learning experience, specifically the LTS plan, acts as tool for

leadership education will be provided.

Methods and Procedures

Researchers conducted two case studies to understand how the Living to Serve

plans (LTS) can be successful. As Merriam (2004) states, “A qualitative case

study is an intensive, holistic description and analysis of a single instance,

phenomenon, or social unit” (p. 27). The use of case studies helps the researcher

to sort through a phenomenon within a bounded context. The case studies within

this article represent a social unit and will provide an in-depth description of

different aspects of the LTS plan provided by the students, teachers, and

communities which were impacted by the plans.

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These two case studies were focused on a particular program, the LTS plan. “The

case itself is important for what it reveals about the phenomenon and for what it

represents” (Merriam, 2004). Rich, thick descriptions were achieved through indepth

interviews and observations. The case studies presented will suggest to the

reader what to do in a similar situation or what to do if a similar leadership

education tool is used.

The researchers ensured validity of the data by not interpreting the data. The

authors have a bias as two of them participated in the youth leadership program

discussed in the article; however, little interpretation of the data is made because

the reporting method is straight from the participants’ experiences. In addition,

the names and identities of the schools and participants have been changed. Each

participant signed a consent form and understood what their contribution to the

study and how the information provided would be used.

Participants were purposively selected based on the online reporting system put in

place by the national organization to monitor progress. Criteria included:

completion of LTS plan, availability, and willingness to participate. Digital

cameras were used as incentives for the youth organizations to participate in the

study.

Members of the research team traveled to a small town in the mid-west and

conducted interviews and observations with students, advisors, and administrators

who were involved in executing the LTS plan. Initially the research team met with

the WLC participants who developed the plan, followed by a variety of

participants who played an integral part in helping the plan come to fruition. A

discussion with the chapter advisor provided insight into the success and failures

of the plan. To understand the impact of the plan, interviews were conducted with

those whom the plan was intended to benefit. Learning the various aspects of how

the plans were developed and executed provides a holistic understanding of the

leadership experience.

A second team of researchers went to a small southern community and followed

the same research methodology. This information provides a holistic look to

various aspects of the plans and how the development and implementation was

successful or not. Understanding the impact made on the community is important,

so interviews were conducted with those who were affected by the plan. Many

times participants will not take the time to evaluate their plans; however, this

process provides a time of reflection for the WLC participants and others involved

in helping them plan ahead for the future of the leadership programs and how to

continue its successes.

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The two LTS plans were considered successful by the researchers because they

were encouraged by the maturity of the students and the stories told about the

impact the programs have made.

Description of Case Study

In-depth interviews and small focus groups were conducted at two schools to

gather qualitative data related to the development and implementation of LTS

plans designed at WLC. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed for data

reflective of community impact. Background on the schools is provided.

Findings

The idea that high school students can identify a community wide problem and

develop an action plan to impact that problem seems overwhelming. Many of the

students participating in this week long leadership experience have not left their

state, much less traveled alone across country to our nation’s capitol. The idea of

meeting new people, having some fun, and experiencing the sights of

Washington, DC attract students to the program as well as the commonality

shared by the organization in which they are involved.

The week is busy, loaded with early morning tours of the museums and

monuments. Speeches provided by national leaders and, of course, the eating and

traveling between sights take time. Among this fun-filled, educational craziness

lies a task. The task to remember back to that community from which you just

traveled and think about what is there and how you can impact that far away

place. Now, do not get me wrong, the task is clearly laid out and steps are

provided to help you determine what you can do. Time is set aside for you to

reflect and jot down an action plan to get you started.

The hard part is that you only get through half of the steps before heading back to

your community to make a difference. Oh, you want to. You are inspired by a

week-long experience of discovery showing you just what you can do. You have

been encouraged by other students, inspired by leaders impacting our country, and

moved to tears by the monuments of those honoring the many who have made a

difference in the past, but now the work begins.

Living to Serve – A Mentoring Program for FFA Members

The first LTS plan studied occurred in a small rural town, population 1,269, about

one hour north of a major city in the mid-west. The high school is one of two high

schools in the county and services a 60-mile radius. There were 454 students in

grades 9-12 with 80 students enrolled in the Agricultural Sciences Program. All

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80 students are involved in the youth leadership organization discussed in this

study, but only one student got to attend WLC.

The area is rural and participants have a strong understanding of agriculture

because are directly involved in small family dairy operations. A majority of the

participants have first-hand experience with production agriculture and plan to

continue to work in this area after graduating from high school. Half of the

participants plan to attend college and most of those will attend a community

college relatively close to home so they can continue to support the family dairy.

The leadership organization is led by one adult advisor, five female student

officers in the primary leadership positions and four male students with secondary

leadership positions. The chapter is active and is moving to a renovated

classroom/shop area. There is one agricultural science teacher and the participants

enjoy working with her. The participants find her to be supportive of their ideas.

She encourages them to try new things.

Tina, the one student attended WLC, is outgoing and smart. She is dressed like

your normal high school senior – jeans and a t-shirt. She rises early to help with

chores on her family’s dairy and faces a busy day ahead with school and other

activities. Tina went to Washington, DC in the summer 2005 and she just lights

up at the mention of the experience. She is a senior and was the 2005-2006

student president of her local leadership organization. Tina was the first attendee

to WLC from the school in several years. Tina’s overall impression was positive,

“it was a bit scary going that far away, but once I got there it was just GREAT!”

The actual leadership education tool, the LTS plan had its up and downs.

Living to Serve Plan

Tina’s original LTS plan was to “brighten” up the local nursing home.

“I focused on what we needed in our community, and a big thing was our nursing

home is very inactive, and boring, and the people don’t do much. The nursing

home is kind of boring, and the colors are kind of plain, and I don’t believe they

have any activities for the people actually living there, so I thought about doing

something with them. This idea came from two of the girls in my group [at WLC]

who had planned to do nursing homes, and I decided to do something about ours

by helping to spruce it up a little and by coloring the walls and getting programs

started, and then I filled out my plan, and it was all good, and then I got home,

and I worked with the nursing home’s attendants a lot, and it seemed like they

didn’t care about it and wouldn’t benefit from it.” (Tina)

Tina was influenced by the other students at WLC and thought their idea was

great so she considered doing the same for her community. She came home

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excited and even went to meet the nursing home coordinator, only to be

disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm and support she received. Besides the

organizational adult adivisor there is no face-to-face support for the students’ LTS

plan; however, an online interactive website has been set up for students to

interact with each other and the leaders of WLC.

This tool provided Tina just what she needed to keep going.

A New Focus

Tina decided to think about a new plan.

“Some of the kids that I talked to online from WLC were like, “Well, what else do

you need help with? How can you help the kids in your community, because that

is a big part of it?” So…my new plan is the mentorship program. A lot of our kids

in our community, they either relate to drugs or alcohol or just do bad things, and

we have a high teen pregnancy rate. We don’t have much to do around here,

because the nearest thing to go to is forty five minutes away. So, I took that back

way into where it all begin, and looked for things we have in common - we are in

high school, and we learn what crowds to be with, and I believe that as a

freshman, you do what is so called “cool.” If you hang out with the seniors or

someone drinking, you are going to walk out of there as “cool.” So, I decided to

develop a mentorship program where the upperclassmen that have good morals

and good standing in high school would adopt the younger students, the first year

members, and just basically mentor them throughout this year. They would help

them with organizational activities and school stuff. They would encourage them

to be involved and go even as far as helping them outside of school, like if they

have family problems, or if they need help with school homework, or they will

basically be a good friend to them, like a big sister.” (Tina)

“We have the upperclassman and officers of our organization and they are the

mentors to the first year members. The mentors are the upperclassman, and then

the first year students are all of the people that we mentor. They are all first- year

members whether they are junior, senior or freshman, and basically we just set

them up as girls mentoring girls and guys mentoring guys, so there is not a

conflict of interest. That was my advisor’s advice. I hope this mentorship program

is expanded to the whole school some day. And basically, we just help them out if

they have problems in school, if they have problems in our organization or at

home. It is not just necessarily for our organization; if they are mentored, they are

helped out with anything they need in school. So, it helps them along their way.”

(Tina)

This may not sound like an overwhelming experience, but Tina reflected on what

she could do to help others and put into action each step of the LTC plan. The

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students in this school have a negative attitude (as described by the student’s

interviewed) and need help staying involved and out of trouble. Tina realizes this

was not a project she did by herself and is eager to share the credit.

Support for the Plan

“My biggest support, I guess it is not really one person; when I first started it I got

help at home, and my parents told me what they would like to do and we shared

the ideas. Then my teacher gave some good suggestions like, girls mentoring girls

and boys mentoring boys, because of the relationship issues, you don’t want to get

that involved with your partners, and then have them break up or have a big

ordeal. Once I got started my chapter got in with it, the officers, they really liked

the idea, and they were like, “Yeah! We are going to help you push it.” And our

advisor has been great and super nice helping us get it going. So, it is almost like

it has been a big team effort to get it going, everyone has contributed.” (Tina)

Strengths of the program

The other students involved in the program recognize the benefits and share in its

success [success being self reported].

“The participants who mentored felt they provided some encouragement to other

students as well as support throughout life. The participants enjoyed learning

about those people whom they might not have otherwise interacted.” (Margaret,

Organization Vice President)

“I really like the mentorship because we get to interact with people throughout the

school. They are in our organization, but we can interact with them in other

school activities, too, and it lets you know a lot more people.” (Shelley)

“Our organization is not always the “popular” thing at this school and the

mentorship program helps others get involved. I think mentorship is a really good

idea, because a lot of the kids without an older person helping them would not get

involved, because they would be too scared to try anything. And with having

people help you, they can tell you about their experience and how fun it was and

push them to do it.” (Sue, Freshmen Mentee)

“One thing that is great is actually getting active and not being too afraid to get

active, because I know my freshmen year I wish I would have had a mentor,

because I know that I didn’t really get active until this year, because I wasn’t

driving, and my parents work, and I couldn’t get to a lot of activities, and I know

that if I would have had somebody that would have pushed me to get more

involved I would have earlier.” (John, Junior Mentor)

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Challenges

Being able to reflect and evaluate the successes and failures is critical the growth

of any program. Tina and her team have done just that. They have provided some

insight into the challenges of implementing their LTS plan.

“It has been yes and no successful if that makes sense. We have had a few

members who really push it and really work with the kids, and we have had some

who don’t really know how to be mentors, and they kind of just are friendly to

their mentees. The really don’t know what to do. So, for that it hasn’t been

successful.” (Tina)

“There needs to be more structure and communication. The idea is good, but now

that we have done it one year we need to focus the program more. We have

learned so much this year that next we can organize it better and hopefully

continue the programs growth.” (Margaret, Chapter Vice President)

“It is hard to make people do what they don’t want to, and I never realized how

bad it could be until this year. If somebody doesn’t want to do anything, you can’t

make them do it, and that is the hardest part. It is hard to get all the members on

the same page.” (Michelle, YOUTH Officer)

Implications on Local Chapters

Based on the information provided during the visit, the program will definitely

continue. Four of the officers are juniors who plan to run for office again next

year. Their goal is to continue the mentorship program within the chapter. It will

take several years, but the retention rate of the members should increase over time

and the involvement levels will improve. Another goal is to see youth behavior

becoming more positive. Tina provides a specific story that will have lasting

effects on the chapter and on one individual.

“I believe the biggest success story would be one of our freshman girls, Kayla,

she seemed like a really shy person that didn’t want to do much, and after us

mentoring her, she is really joining lots of things. She joined the judging team,

and she didn’t even know how to judge. She learned the week before how to

judge and went to a contest, and I think she got sixty something out of a hundred.

She did pretty well, and then she went on to do another state contest, and she is

going to keep doing it, and she has just been really involved. Her goal is to get the

star Greenhand award, and she wants to try out for an office, and I think that is all

a result of us pushing her and showing her what she can accomplish.” (Tina)

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Minors in Charge – Drug and Alcohol Responsibility Week

The second study occurred in rural community of 11, 963 people in the southern

central United States. This county reported nearly 13% of its population living

below the poverty level. One high school serves the area and is reflective of the

local demographics. There are 871 students enrolled in grades 9-12. School data

show that one-half of the student population qualifies for federal subsidies, so the

school is considered a low Socio-Economic Status (SES) school. The school is

attempting to build its Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum and access for

participants in the district.

The youth organization lists 100 active members and three full-time two men and

a woman severing as advisors/teachers. The chapter is well-known throughout the

school for its commitment to community service and its achievements within the

state and national organization. The current leadership team is five female student

officers. An issue facing the chapter is retention of junior and senior members.

Over one-half of the membership is freshman and sophomores.

“Minors in Control” was the first Living to Serve Plan carried to fruition by this

organization even though the advisors are strong supporters of the WLC program

and every year send participants to Washington, DC. Marcia was one of six

participants to attend WLC in 2005. She developed “Minors in Control” at WLC

and expanded the program with support from her advisors, principal, school

resource officer, and chapter officer team.

Living to Serve Plan

Marcia was aware of many issues facing her community, but knew that drugs and

alcohol awareness are often some of the most dangerous things facing her peers

today. Here is how Marcia implemented her plan.

“I attended WLC in 2005 and my living to serve plan was Minors in Control – it

was just something to make our town aware of the drugs and alcohol that we

have, it is a situation in our town that needs to be looked at. We did several

different things throughout the week: posters hung throughout the halls and on the

lockers, two speakers came in to talk about drinking and driving and being

impaired on drugs while driving, we also had a car out front that had been

involved in an accident and pledges for the participants to sign so they would not

drink and drive or do drugs and drive. When they signed their pledges they also

received a bracelet that said ‘EMPOWER’.” (Marcia)

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Support for the Plan

The entire school community realized the benefits of such a program and really

supported Marcia and her team, but it must be recognized that the work was done

by the students.

“The most help would be from my advisors, student officers, principals, and

resource officers. The student officers and advisors helped us get our pledges

printed up and the bracelets ordered. They helped us put them up in the hallways

and on the lockers. The principal helped me find days the speakers could come

and talk to the school. The student officers helped me get the car here. The school

covered the costs of the copies and the organization covered the cost of the

bracelets. It was a team effort.” (Marcia)

Strengths of the Program

To measure the impact this program has had on the school and community would

be very beneficial. Just hearing the stories told by the students provides a glance

into the success of this leadership experience.

Understanding That You Can Make a Difference

“You have to have the faith that you can do something great. You have to have

the willpower and really want to make a difference. If no one is supporting your

idea you will probably give up on it, the main thing you need is support. You are

going to fizzle out. They had accountability partners.” (Susan, Kelly, and Mike)

“It showed me that you can give to your community and you don’t have to get

anything from it. You can be a good leader – you can just become a better

person.” (Marcia)

Making a Difference

“The participants could sign a sheet saying they wouldn’t drink and drive. They

didn’t sign it alone; they signed with a friend so the friend could help them and

hold the accountable for what they said they would do. Help your friends not

drink and drive. If I was in a group that made this decision I would help stop

them.” (Carl)

“I heard a couple of participants talking about it and they were talking about how

they didn’t know that you could get addicted to certain drugs and they were

wearing their bracelets and truly not drinking and driving.” (Marcia)

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“My favorite part was sitting out during lunch and having the participants sign the

pledges and receive their bracelets. Because you got to see so many participants

come up and find partners and say,” hey, would you get my back and make sure I

don’t drink and drive? If I chose to drink – it was neat to see how many people

actually took part in it all.” (Marcia)

“High school participants don’t think about things until they see the real thing.

The majority of people who saw this car must have had their stomachs shift – we

are not promoting drinking, but if you do drink you must be responsible. You

aren’t just affecting yourself you are affecting others around you.” (Ericka)

“I didn’t know some of the things that actually happen when you drink and drive;

I didn’t know how many people died. I learned how people are impaired and what

happens to them when they drink and drive.” (Marcia)

“There was great feedback from the participants, they were intrigued by it and

they wanted to be involved. They put statistics on the lockers and really learned

from it.” (Ericka)

“The bracelet EMPOWER are everywhere, a lot of kids keep wearing them. They

took it seriously and they want to be a part of the group that is responsible and

want to move forward and help each other out.” (Kelly and Ericka)

Challenges

Again, the students involved in this plan have reflected on the experience and

realize the challenges and changes that could made for future programs to

continue.

“The hardest part was deciding how to actually put it into action. I wasn’t sure

how people would actually take it and admit that we do have a drug and drinking

problem in this town. People do drink and drive and get killed in our town – I

wasn’t sure how people would actually take it and what they would do about it.”

(Marcia)

“The hardest part was finding something that affects our town and be able to

actually come back to our town and do it. I probably wouldn’t have done it, but

the advisor really pushed me, because they said it was something that really

needed to be done and they knew it would make an impact on the participants of

our school.” (Marcia)

“No matter how much I wanted it to work, I still wasn’t sure. Participants who are

in high school usually have their minds made up about how they will handle

things and I wasn’t sure this project and six girls would make a difference, but the

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response was wonderful and I believe it really increased their maturity level.”

(Jennifer)

Future Implications on Local Chapters

As described by those involved and the administrators of the school, this project

did make a huge impact on the school, which in turn will impact the community.

The participants who plan to run for office next year will continue the “Minors in

Control” project and hope to improve the program to make a bigger impact.

“I thought at the beginning it was a school project, but then on Friday they put a

car at the school that had been in a drinking driving accident and it became more

of a community project. The car was there and people could see the car from the

front of building and the whole community could see the impact that drinking and

driving has on the community. I want to do this again next year and maybe even

bring in bigger and better speakers so this project will grow.” (Sarah)

Conclusions and Recommendations

Overall the experiences of the students and the impact made on the communities

are very positive. Creating a leadership education tool that provides students the

opportunity to truly delve into their community and try to make a difference in a

real situation should be a wonderful learning experience. But, these are two case

studies of students who completed their LTS plan, many students do not. Before

starting such a program or using this tool certain measures need to be in place to

guarantee a higher rate of success. Several factors play into account as to why the

students are not completing their plans. As mentioned by the students, time is the

biggest factor in not completing the project. Many of the students return from

WLC to complete their senior year in high school. It is easy for other things to

take priority such as college applications, other youth projects, and sporting

events.

The second factor contributing to the failed efforts was that the projects were just

“too big.” Students get caught up in the idea of helping their community and want

to save the world, especially when being compared to their friends each one wants

to do better than the one before. Using a reward system, such as scholarship

money or other incentives may provide the motivation students need to create and

complete a successful project.

Much of what is seen with the WLC and the LTS plans completed by the

participants is a reinforcement of the importance of the specific leadership

characteristics identified by Ricketts and Rudd (2002) and by the objectives set by

the WLC. This reaffirms the importance of leadership programs like Outward

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Bound, 4-H, Junior Achievement, and Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts of America

supporting the leadership development of youth.

Townsend and Carter (1983) posited that these types of programs were central to

leadership development and through the WLC it is further evidenced that youth

require additional programmatic experiences to enhance this development. Lerner

et al. (2005) focused Positive Youth Development on the five C’s. It is

extraordinary that providing youth with an outlet to become involved in their

communities encourages youth to develop Competence; Confidence; Connection;

Character; and Caring and Compassion.

The role of adults in the implementation of the LTS plans was evaluated by WLC

participants. Consistently they agreed having the support of the home youth

advisors and local chapters was instrumental in the implementation of their LTS

plans. The participants agreed that their parents and family support proved to be

instrumental in the implementation of their LTS plans. This further supports the

notion that parents should be active participants in their children’s character and

leadership education. In addition, training for involved adults may provide a

clearer direction for what the students may need as they develop their plans.

The primary recommendation of this study is to use a LTS type project for

students to develop leadership. In order to truly provide the education needed it is

best to create a curriculum around the plan to ensure the students have ample time

and accountability to complete the project. If the plan was incorporated into a

classroom environment, more resources and support would be available to the

students. The encouragement from teachers and fellow students would help just as

it did in the second case study reported. It is seen through these two experiences

that students need ongoing support and direction in completing the LTS plan. The

implementation stage is very in-depth and could be used as a group project in a

class to allow the work load to be broadly distributed.

Leadership education can be accomplished in many ways; however, the more

“real” the projects are and the more impact a student makes, the deeper the

student understands may be. The students in these case studies reported having

learned lessons that will guide them in future endeavors.

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References

Fertman, C. I., & van Linden, J. A. (1999). Character education: An essential

ingredient in youth leadership development. Leadership, 28 (4), 18-22.

Lerner, R. M., Lerner, J. V., Almerigie, J. B., Theokas, C., Phelps, E., Gestsdottir,

S., Naudeau, S., Jelicic, H., Alberts, A., Ma, L., Smith, L. M., Bobek, D.

L., Richman-Raphael, D., Simpson, I., Christianse, E. D., von Eye, A.

(2005). Positive youth development, participation in community youth

development programs, and community contributions of fifth-grade

adolescents: Findings from the first wave of 4-h study of positive youth

development. Journal of Early Adolescents, 25 (1), 17-71.

Merriam, S. B. (2004). Qualitative research and case study application in

education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Ricketts, J. C., & Rudd, R. D. (2002 ). A comprehensive leadership education

model to train, teach, and develop leadership in youth. Journal of Career

and Technical Education, 19 (1). Retrieved June 12, 2007 from

http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JCTE/v19n1/ricketts.html

The National YOUTH Organization. (2004). Washington leadership conference:

Conference objectives. WLC Content Models, 4.

The National YOUTH Organization. (2005). Request for proposals: Washington

leadership conference impact study. Message posted to the ALE Yahoo!

Groups Listserv, archived at

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/alemembers/message/195.

The National YOUTH Organization. (2006). Welcome National YOUTH

Organization. Retrieved November 21, 2006 from

http://www.youth.org/about_youth/index.html.

Townsend, C., & Carter, R. I. (1983). The relationship of participation in YOUTH

activities and leadership, citizenship, and cooperation. Journal of the

American Association of Teacher Educators in Agriculture, 24 (1), 20-25.

van Linden, J. A., & Fertman, C. I. (1998). Youth leadership: A guide to

understanding leadership development in adolescents. San Francisco:

Jossey-Bass.

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Biographies

Manda H. Rosser received a Ph.D. in Human Resource Development at Texas

A&M University. She currently works at Texas A&M University as an assistant

professor in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and

Communications. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in leadership

theory. Her current research interest includes mentoring and the use of popular

media as a tool in leadership education.

Nicole Stedman is an Assistant Professor and coordinates the university wide

leadership minor at the University of Florida. She teaches courses at the

undergraduate and graduate levels with an emphasis on leadership development.

Her current research interests are how educators can create experiences to

increase capacity for critical thinking in the leadership classroom including the

use of artwork and other creative mediums.

Chanda Elbert is an Associate Professor in the Agricultural, Leadership, and

Education Department at Texas A&M University. She teaches both undergraduate

and graduate levels courses in Women’s Leadership, Multicultural Leadership,

Diversity Issues in Higher Education and Program Evaluation and Organizational

Accountability. Her current research interests are an extension of the courses she

teaches.

Dr. Tracy Rutherford is an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural

Leadership, Education, and Communications at Texas A&M University. Her

research interests include visual communication, agricultural communication, and

students’ attitudes and beliefs. Dr. Rutherford teaches undergraduate and graduate

courses in agricultural communications including agricultural publication

production, digital photography, electronic media, and research writing.

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College Student Leaders: Meet the Alpha Female

Rose Marie Ward, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Miami University

Oxford, OH

wardrm1@muohio.edu

Donald G. DiPaolo, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

University of Detroit Mercy

Detroit, MI

dipaoldo@udmercy.edu

Halle C. Popson

Graduate Student

Miami University

Oxford, OH

popsonhc@muohio.edu

Abstract

With the emergence of a new generation of strong and empowered female student

leaders on college campuses, a special type of female leader, the Alpha Female,

has developed. This study examines the essence of having an Alpha Female

identity for 13 undergraduate women at a Midwestern university. Extensive

interviews were conducted; transcripts were generated; emergent themes were

derived; horizonalization and cross-case analysis was conducted; and, constant

comparative method among the researches was employed. Findings reveal that

strong positive antecedent family variables are present. Each participant perceives

strong advantages and a positive impact from being an Alpha Female in the

collegiate environment. Suggestions for further rich, qualitative investigations and

Possible educational interventions and institutional support are offered.

College Student Leaders: Meet the Alpha Female

The combination of and increase in a number of personality traits has led to the

recent development of the alpha personality. While the leadership literature

explores many types of leaders (e.g. transformational, charismatic, situational), it

has yet to develop the concept of the Alpha personality or the dominant leader

who has extreme confidence, is extroverted, and feels driven to succeed. In the

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current generation, research is reporting an increase in these behaviors and beliefs

(Jean M. Twenge, 1997a, 1997b, 2001a; J. M. Twenge & Campbell, 2002),

therefore leading to the development of the Alpha personality (Kindlon, 2006;

Ludeman & Erlandson, 2006). The current study explores the phenomenon of the

alpha personality in college women.

Across the research literature a number of definitions arise for the term

“leadership.” Early schools of thought believed that it came from “great men”

who demonstrated certain traits (Carlyle, 1841). Corresponding to the American

behavioral movement, it was later believed that leadership results in the use of

certain behaviors that could be measured (Stogdill, 1948). By the 1960s the work

of Fiedler (1967) and others examined leadership with respect to the situational

and contextual dynamics at play between the leaders and the follower. More

recently leadership has been defined in a variety of related ways including

visionary, charismatic, and servant leadership (Bass, 1990).

Much of the current leadership literature has focused on variations of the

transformational leader (Bass, 1990; Carey, 1992; Zacharatos, Barling, &

Kelloway, 2000). The transformational leader builds a sense of purpose and a

focus on a mission in the followers. These leaders inspire a passion in others and

encourage them to transcend their barriers. While the transformational leader

inspires followers, the Alpha personality aims to be a leader through the use of

dominance.

The primary area in which the concept of the Alpha personality has been studied

has been in the primate literature. Research has examined Alpha Male behavior in

baboons (Wittig, et al., 2008), monkeys (Teichroeb & Sicotte, 2008), and

chimpanzees (Gilby, Eberly, & Wrangham, 2008). Across this literature the Alpha

Male is dominant to the point of being aggressive, is deferred to by lower rank

animals, and is sexually in control of the females. Current Alpha Male literature

builds on the primate literature and extends it to human males. In this literature

the definition of the Alpha Male is altered to reflect “a person tending to assume a

dominant role in social or professional situations, or thought to possess the

qualities and confidence for leadership” in a given context (Ludeman &

Erlandson, 2006, p. 3). Additional traits used to define the Alpha Male are

aggressive, results-driven, self-confident, command attention, and belligerent.

The popular press and many websites provide insights and “tests” to determine

one’s level of alpha in males. While these resources are interesting, they fail to

account for the rise of female leaders and the differences between male and

female leaders (Eagly, 1987; Eagly & Johannesen-Schmidt, 2001). Research on

women leaders has shown a prejudice against female leaders and explains the

prejudice with respect to role-incongruity theory (Eagly & Karau, 2002). In short,

the characteristics expected for a woman and for a leader are in conflict. Women

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leaders who act in ways that are not typically consistent with male leadership

styles (e.g., more communal traits) are rated as more positive than women who

embrace characteristics of male leaders (Helgesen, 1990; Rhode, 2003).

Due to these differences between male and female leadership styles, the alpha

personality expresses itself differently in males and females. In contrast to the

aforementioned definition of the Alpha Male provided above, the current project

defined alpha in females as a women who reports being a leader, having others

seek her guidance, feeling a sense of superiority or dominance over other females,

believing that males and females are equal, feeling driven, and feeling extroverted

in social situations. Being an Alpha Female is related to high self-confidence.

The field of the alpha personality as it is applied to females is relatively

unexplored except for the popular press book, Alpha Girls (Kindlon, 2006). This

dynamic is critical for those who prepare women to lead on college campuses and

beyond. The current study seeks to examine the phenomenon of the Alpha Female

college student and to encourage new understandings of what it means to be a

woman and a leader.

Conceptual Framework and Methodology

Participants and Recruitment

The research team met to clarify its understanding of the term Alpha Female.

Once there was agreement, names of female students who fit the aforementioned

definition were elicited from students currently enrolled at the university. Each of

the women was well known on campus and was a leader in a student organization

such as a sorority, an athletic team, or some other unit in student life. A

purposeful sampling strategy appropriate for qualitative studies was used (Miles

& Huberman, 1994) and engaged in an appropriate number of interviews for a

phenomenological study (McCracken, 1988; Polkinghorne, 1989). While up to 10

participants is generally suggested for a phenomenological study, the current

study included 13.

The 13 female participants had an average age of 20.92 (sd=.95) and an average

grade point average of 3.75 (sd=.25). They were almost equally spread across

academic years (sophomore n=4; junior n=4; senior n=5). Over 84% of the

participants were Caucasian (n=11) and 92.3% were not married. They reported

that their mothers had a college or advanced degree (69.3%); their fathers had a

college or advanced degree (46.2%); and, that their family income was above

$100,000 (69.3%). A majority of the participants also indicated that their parents

were married (61.5%).

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Phenomenology and the Alpha Female

This study employed the basic features of a phenomenological approach. As a

phenomenologist an a priori decision is made that he or she will examine the

meaning of experiences for individuals. There is an attempt to describe the

significance of the lived experiences for several individuals about being an Alpha

Female student on a college campus. This approach attempts to find the essence

of meaning across human experiences, in keeping with the foundational works of

Husserl (1931) in philosophical approach and Polkinghorne (1989) from the field

of psychology. This examination honors the individual meaning of the

experiences of the participants while looking for possible essential constructs.

The core framework of our research follows the methodological standard of

Moustakas (1994) in that our attempt was “to determine what an experience

means for the persons who have had the experience and are able to provide a

comprehensive description of it. From the individual descriptions, general or

universal meanings are derived, in other words, the essence…of the experience”

(p. 13).

Using this approach, we engaged 13 participants in describing their lived

experiences as Alpha Females. We collected data using long interviews from

individuals who had practical knowledge of the phenomenon of being an Alpha

Female. We then followed standard phenomenological data analysis steps

(Moustakas, 1994; Polkinghorne, 1989). The interviews were transcribed and

organized into statements using horizonalization. Then the statements were

transformed into clusters of meaning or themes. These themes were compared

across all participants looking for textural and structural similarities. The intention

of this process was to better understand the essential, invariant essence of the

experience, recognizing that unifying meanings of the experience exists.

Interviews

Each participant was informed of the nature of the study, signed a consent form,

and filled out a short demographic form. Confidentiality was guaranteed and

labeling each interview with a number protected the identity of the participants.

The names of the participants are known only to the researchers involved and

individual identities are not revealed in this report or in any transcription.

One-on-one interviews were conducted by the primary author on campus in the

office of the primary author. Each interview was recorded on a digital device.

Interviews lasted between 24 and 56 minutes. Interview questions were all openended.

The questions focused on characteristics and life experiences that the

interviewee felt were important. The final aspect of the interview presented the

female leaders with the definition of an Alpha Female and they were asked if they

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

identified with the definition. The electronic audio files were sent to a

transcription service and returned as word documents. These documents were

presented in numerical order and readied for analysis.

Data Analysis and Emergent Themes

The research team generally employed the data analysis procedure as

recommended by methodologist Cresswell (1998) which includes (a) create and

organize transcript files, (b) read through text, make margin notes and form initial

thematic codes, (c) list the statements of significant meaning for individuals, (d)

groups statements into meaning units, (e) developed textural and structural and

overall descriptions of the experience, and (f) present the essence of the

experience using tables.

The three researchers engaged in this process individually so that there would be

no bias in our initial analysis. We then came together to compare themes and

searched for common experiences and understandings across all participants. This

process added to a type of validity present in phenomenological study in that the

aim was getting to the truth of things, discovering core and well-grounded facets,

and presenting findings that are well-supported (Creswell, 1998; Giorgi, 1985;

Guba & Lincoln, 1989; Moustakas, 1994; Polkinghorne, 1989).

Results

There were three broad themes discovered in our analysis. First, the current study

found consistent antecedent variables present in the families and early

socialization of Alpha Females. The relationship with parents was strong,

especially with their mothers. There were also gender neutral or pro-feminist

messages in the socialization. Secondly, there were a number of perceived

advantages and strengths in identification as an Alpha Female including a sense of

efficacy and relative strength in relation to other females. Thirdly, these perceived

strengths and advantages were balanced by reported negative aspects of being in

the role including negative stereotypes and labels and an almost universal struggle

with intimate relationships.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Table 1

Statements Relating to Support from Parents

• My parents have supported me in

whatever I want.

• My parents are amazing.

• I have a really good relationship

with my parents.

• My parents, I rely on them for

advice and everything.

• (Relationship with parents)

Phenomenal. They’re awesome.

They’re more…my peers but they

don’t control my life.

• I’m equally close to both, but in a

different way.

• My parents always encouraged me

to be my own person

• I’m close to both of them

• I had parents who encouraged me

to strike out on my own.

Antecedent Variables

105

• They are very much unconditional love

sort of people.

• I can count on either of them.

• (My relationship with them is)

Extremely close now. My parents are

extremely, extremely supportive. I

think I’m really lucky because a lot of

girls can’t talk with their dads. I talk to

both (parents) every single day.

• I’m close to them, absolutely.

• The best thing about my parents,

though, I really like their parental style

because they were incredibly involved

in our lives, but not to the point where

they were hovering parents at all. They

let us make our own decisions.

• I have a very, very strong family that’s

just, “you can do anything, anything

you want.”

Parental support. Virtually all of the participants reported having great support

from their parents. A list of related comments is presented in Table 1. It is clear

from these statements that these Alpha Females felt empowered by their

relationship with their parents. This is consistent with the findings of Hartman and

Harris and others (Hartman & Harris, 1992). This sense of personal efficacy

(Bandura, 1997) was learned at an early age and could be seen in the way they

spoke about what was possible. It appears that the home environment was

conducive to personal growth and development in virtually every case.

Relationship with mother. In addition to reporting general support from their

parents, eight of the participants spoke about a particularly close relationship with

their mothers, many of whom still speak with their mothers on a daily basis. The

strong bond between mother and daughter is clear and resonates in the sample


Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

remarks included in Table 2.

Table 2

Statements Regarding Relationship with Mother

• I talk to my mom daily.

• I’m closer to my mother but I’m

daddy’s girl.

• She (mom) is the most important

person I know.

• I try to be more like my mother. I

think I can see myself becoming

my mother.

• (My mom) is by far one of my best

friends. I try to talk to her at least

once, if not twice a day.

106

• Mom is the one I talk to about all close

things or personal issues.

• We talk every single day.

• (I’m) closer to mom. I can count on

either of them.

• (I’m closer to) my mother, but I have

all the traits of my father, I think.

• My nickname in my apartment is

“Mom Two.”

Gender neutral or pro-Feminist socialization. Twelve of the 13 participants

directly or indirectly referred to receiving gender neutral or pro-feminist messages

growing up. The one woman who received a strong anti-feminist message from

her father reported using this as a motivation to achieve. The messages about

gender, efficacy, and personal possibility that Alpha Females received growing up

at home appear to be paramount. These comments are found in Table 3. These

comments make it clear that gender roles and expectations are, indeed, changing.

This is in line with the findings of Twenge, Helgesen and others (Helgesen, 1990;

Twenge, 1997b, 2001a).


Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Table 3

Gender Neutral or Pro-Feminist Statements

• I was raised that women had the

upper hand. In my family the

women make the decisions. It’s

definitely like a matriarchy.

• I never had any gender-focused

comments that I can even

remember in my life, and I had two

brothers.

• (My parent’s relationship) It’s

always been very equal.

• I’ve always gotten positive input

that women can do anything.

• There was never any, “Because

you’re a girl…” It was, “It

shouldn’t matter that you’re a girl.”

• I think it was more “you”

empowerment than it was about

my gender.

• They (my parents) always had me

aspire to do the best.

• (Gender-specific messages

growing up?) Not really, to be

honest, at all.

• All of the women on that side of

the family were like teachers or

nurses. I thought that was really

weird.

Perceived Positive Aspects of Being an Alpha Female

107

• Both of my parents work full-time, and

I think that had a big impact on me.

• I think women should be involved

outside the home and they should do

big things.

• I have a very, very strong family that’s

just, “You can do anything…anything

you want.”

• I come from a family of completely

strong women. Like, it’s matriarchs. I

mean it’s just from the very beginning,

“You can do anything.” I think it was

that there’s no limit.

• Well, my mom’s like a blazing

feminist. I guess my dad’s the same.

So, I mean, I was always in math

classes and science classes.

• My older sister is an engineer.

• When I was like young, my dad would

tell me that like women were inferior in

multiple ways. My dad really wanted a

boy.

• (My mom) didn’t take my dad’s last

name when she got married.

For these women, the experience of being an Alpha Female in college has many

positive features as noted in the comments below. The findings support

quantitative research by Ward, Popson, and DiPaolo (2008) in that Alpha Females

report being extroverted, eager to identify and perform as a leader, and believed


Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

they were “stronger” than other females.

Advantage and efficacy. Each of the women describes a level of comfort and

relative advantage in the role of Alpha Female. The self-descriptors indicate many

of the features reported by alpha girls in the work of Kindlon (2006) and suggest a

cohort of young women who are capable and confident in their environment.

Sample statements appear in Table 4.

Table 4

Sample Statements About Positive Impact of being an Alpha Female

• I act like a role model.

• I go after what I want. I’m very

confident. I like things my way. I

consider myself rather aggressive.

• When I’m trying to get a point

across, I’m really aggressive.

• I’m the more dominant one. I am

confident. I like being myself.

• I like to be very loud. I’m a pretty

big extrovert. I am pretty assertive.

• On a scale of one to ten, (my

confidence level is) like eleven.

• In organizational roles in group

settings, I’m very confident

• (I am) ambitious, confident, and

outspoken. I’m good at most things

I try to do.

• (My friends and I) We’re all very

opinionated people.

• (Confidence level) is high, to the

point of too high sometimes.

• In class, normally, I am kind of a

dominant person.

108

• (I am) very driven. I was always the

one that worked out the hardest.

• (I am) Independent…outgoing, strongwilled.

• A lot of my friends I guess are alphas,

and (I would) say we challenge guys

every day.

• If there is something I want to

accomplish, I’m pretty aggressive in

chasing after what I want.

• I could talk to a salt and peppershaker

and probably make a good

conversation.

• I wouldn’t say that I shy away from

being assertive, especially in the

classroom environment.

• (I am a) Perfectionist, passionate,

intense. If I’m going to do something,

I’m going to do it 130%.

• I want to be a woman who fights for

other women someday.

• (Self-description) determination,

intelligence, assertiveness, resilience.


Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Identification as leader. The participants all identified as leaders and expressed

relative ease in the role. Each felt a sense of personal charisma and empowerment

that allowed them to step into a variety of roles that had previously been off-limits

to young women. These statements are summarized in Table 5.

Table 5

Statements Related to Identity as Leader

• I’m a leader on the team.

• People…look to me. I give off that

aura.

• If nobody else is going to step

forward, I will step forward very

quickly.

• I tend to take control.

• (Hates group projects) I could do

what they’re doing better. I guess

that’s kind of my initial leadership

style.

• Almost all of them (leadership

positions in organizations to which

she belongs).

• In almost any situation I take a

leadership role.

• I definitely want to be a team

player, but if it involved team

captain, I’d be captain.

• I’ll try to like subconsciously

manipulate (others) to what I want

(them) to do.

• I don’t like being one of those

passive people who just kind of

gets told what to do.

• (I like) running the show. I am

President.

109

• I try and start and just join the

organization but…I get like the natural

born leader mentality.

• I hate group projects…I end up doing

everything.

• I also know when passivity might be

more…advantageous to…accomplish

something.

• I display characteristics of all those at

different points (different leadership

traits), depending on the situation.

• (In leadership situations I can) change

my leadership style. You just have to

adapt.

• I’ve always been a leader in everything.

• I’ve always been like a leader of

leaders.

• When I got in my sorority, I was like

determined to be president.

• You have to be somewhat aggressive

and you have to be a leader and you

have to stand out from the pack and get

away from this (university) girl image

that portrays the (university) girl as

dumb, here for her “Mrs. degree,” stuff

that I absolutely hate.


Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Statements Related to Perceptions of Relative Strength. The interviews also

elicited comments regarding the strength that these women felt in comparison

with other women. There was a level of knowing and expressing oneself that was

not just in opposition to men. The Alpha Females in the current study saw

themselves as higher ranking than other female students on campus. In many

ways, they saw themselves as leaders of leaders, instead of just leaders. These

comments are summarized in Table 6.

Table 6

Statements Related to Perceptions of Relative Strength

• Probably (stronger than average

female). Like, I have big muscles.

• (I am) bigger than the average

female.

• (Stronger than the average

female?) Yes.

• (I am) strong-willed.

• (Am I more physically strong?)

Really, yeah.

• (I have a) strong personality.

• I don’t think it’s so much that I’m

stronger, but more that I

understand my identities more. I

have a stronger sense of selfawareness…because

I know what

I’m capable of. I think a lot of

women don’t know what they’re

capable of and so they settle.

• (Am I stronger than average

female?) Yes. (Am I physically

stronger?) On this campus, yes.

Perceived Negative Aspects of Being an Alpha Female

110

• I knew that inside I had a lot of strength

and so that’s why I think so many girls

at (my university) fall victim to eating

disorders and all these other emotional

problems because they think that in

order to be beautiful, there is this one

cookie cutter image.

• (Am I stronger than the average

female?) Yes. (In what ways?) I’m

stronger in the classroom. I’m not

afraid to share a perspective.

• I’m definitely strong-willed. Once I set

my mind to something, I will find a

way to make it happen.

• I think like I’m a fighter and I feel like I

will stand for myself and I will stand up

for other people. I stood up for my

mom and I always stood up for my

siblings.

• (Am I stronger than the average

female?) Definitely, yes.,” stuff that I

absolutely hate.

While there may be positive aspects of this emergent identity and personal

accomplishments of this generation of new female students, the participants

clearly pay a price for their status and strong identity. With the advantages they

enjoy as Alpha Females, come the disadvantages. These women report being


Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

negatively labeled and stereotyped, feeling forced to live up to very high

expectations, and struggle with intimate and personal relationships. The Alpha

Female identity is not all positive and it appears to be a persona that is managed in

creative ways by each of these women.

Labels, stereotypes, and the price paid. As our participants spoke about their

experiences on campus, each provided examples of how others have categorized

or labeled their actions. These comments have come from friends, other students,

faculty, and staff members. While being very aware of this dynamic, none of them

expressed great discomfort with the denigrating remarks. A summary is provided

in Table 7.

Table 7

Statements Related to Perceptions of Relative Strength

• called pushy

• labeled “feminazi”

• They’ve called me “penis-eater.”

• have been resented

• “It’s not only girls who are leaders

but girls who…are honest, strong

who are called ‘bitchy.’ I feel like

in many ways we’ve reclaimed the

word ‘bitch.’”

111

• I can be a heinous bitch

• called intimidating

• called bitchy

• called stubborn

• lack of confidence in beauty

• forced to put up fronts like they are

stronger than they are (multiple

responses)

Struggles with intimate relationships. An unexpected and significant theme that

emerged in the data was the self-reported struggles that virtually all of these

women reported in intimate relationships, both romantic and non-romantic. While

these Alpha Females readily admit a sense of personal accomplishment in

virtually every area of their lives, they disclosed feelings of inadequacy, fear and

failure in this one arena, as summarized in Table 8.


Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Table 8

Challenges in Intimate Relationships

• With my boyfriend, I’m very

dependent.

• I’m weak when it comes to

relationships; very weak.

• To this day, I don’t feel like I’m

ready to date anybody.

• I feel like I’m a very confident

person, outwardly, but I think I have

some deeper self-confidence and

self-esteem issues. For each situation

I feel both very confident and not

confident at all.

• (I went from one boyfriend to the

next and) I didn’t know how to not

have someone to talk to every night.

• At the beginning of the semester I’d

say that I was completely

emotionally dependent on men.

• Girls can be really good at putting on

a front, too.

• I am a little intimidated and it’s hard

to find a guy (that doesn’t intimidate

me). So, I would say that definitely

makes a relationship a little bit

harder.

• I don’t want to be tied down to a guy

right now.

• It’s kind of strange sometimes

because usually I thrive on

competition, but in social situations,

it’s a little different.

• I think almost all women struggle

with self-esteem, physical selfesteem.

112

• I think that a lot of girls that are similar

to me are very confident…in some

things, but…my confidence level as far

as romantic relationship is nowhere

near as strong as it is with school

work…(and) leadership in an

organization.

• The thing that I’m least confident with

is my relationship with men...we invest

in much more in them than men do.

• I feel like I have much more confidence

(in leadership situations) than I do in

my personal setting. I sacrificed other

things, social aspects.

• I consider myself independent, but I

know that I’m dependent on my parents

and my fiancée.

• (Speaking of first boyfriend) We broke

up because he had a problem with me

being involved on campus. He told

me…that women didn’t really have a

role in leadership at (my university).

• (My university) somehow, grossly

conditioned me to not feel confident in

my beauty.

• The last person I dated was exactly the

same as me. Very strong-willed...we

didn’t really prioritize each other. It

was kind of hard for one of us to

compromise…I need someone that’s

maybe less hardcore.

• (I believe I have) less confidence

physically, and like (in) romantic

relationships.


Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Discussion and Implications

The antecedent variables are critical in the lives of the Alpha Females. The strong

base that family empowerment and support gave them served to pay dividends in

the college environment. Not only did Alpha Females have a nurturing

environment, but they also had role models that taught them that being female

was either a non-issue or an advantage. This teaching has led Alpha Females to

push boundaries and has conflicting evidence in the literature (Eagly & Carli,

2003).

Being an Alpha Female college student has many advantages. Our study mirrors

the findings of Kindlon (2006) in that there appears to be a new generation of

thriving, influential, and effective “girls.” In general, the participants in this study

were proud of their identification and, in one case, were committed to help other

women evolve and improve their lives. There appear to be cultural and

personality changes as reported by Twenge (1997a, 1997b, 2001, 2007) that are

impacting the trajectory of an entire generation of women that will continue to

change the way roles and relationships are negotiated on campus. The women in

this study were eager and adaptive leaders who had experienced significant

accomplishments and advantages from their status (Helgesen, 1990).

A general analysis might conclude that the emergence of the Alpha Female

college student is a positive development for the student, university, and society at

large. However, this advance comes with a price. Indicative of inconsistent

standards for men and women, each of the participants reported being the victim

of verbal insults or negative stereotypes. While our population appeared resilient

enough to withstand this, there remains great resistance to women in equal or

superior roles on campus and an effort to keep women in a place of traditional

inferiority. This finding is consistent with the arguments of Eagly’s role congruity

theory (Eagly & Karau, 2002).

Conclusion

There is much to learn about the experiences and essence of being an Alpha

Female student in college. The fields of educational research and student

development would especially benefit from an intentional effort to explore this

certain and swelling phenomenon. The implications of this cultural shift will have

echoes for years to come as generations of young Alpha Females forge individual

and collective identities that will reshape society.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

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Ward, R. M., Popson, H., & DiPaolo, D. (2008). Defining the alpha female and

her sexual assault risk. Miami University.

Wittig, R. M., Crockford, C., Lehmann, J., Whitten, P. L., Seyfath, R. M., &

Cheney, D. L. (2008). Focused grooming networks and stress alleviation

in wild female baboons. Hormones and Behavior, 54 (1), 170-177.

Zacharatos, A., Barling, J., & Kelloway, E. K. (2000). Development and Effects

of Transformational Leadership in Adolescents. Leadership Quarterly, 11

(2), 211-226.

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Biographies

Dr. Rose Marie Ward is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology

and Health at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. She is a health psychologist who

examines the impact of college on health behavior change. Her recent research

examined the prevalence of the Alpha Female personality across 12 different

universities and colleges. This research assessed the risk associated with the alpha

personality with respect to alcohol use and sexual assault risk.

Dr. Donald G. DiPaolo is an Assistant Professor in the Education Department at

the University of Detroit Mercy in Detroit, Michigan. He is a leading, national

voice in the area of leadership education and has presented to tens of thousands of

college student leaders across the United States and Canada. Dr. DiPaolo is the

author of Leadership Education at American Universities: A Longitudinal Study

of Six Cases (Mellen Press). He also serves on the Editorial Review Board of the

Journal of Leadership Education and has received numerous honors for his

contribution to the lives of college students.

Halle Popson is a graduate student pursuing a masters degree in Health Promotion

in the Department of Kinesiology and Health at Miami University. She obtained

her undergraduate degree in Health Studies at Miami University while compiling

a record setting career as a Miami University varsity softball player. Her research

on sexual assault and the Alpha Female was presented at the National Conference

of Undergraduate Research in 2008; highlighting her research interests in the

areas of women’s health, athletics, and leadership.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Effective Leadership Development for Undergraduates:

How Important is Active Participation in Collegiate

Organizations?

John C. Ewing

Agricultural and Extension Education

Pennsylvania State University

209A Ferguson Building

University Park, PA 16802

Ph: 814.863.7463

E-mail: jce122@psu.edu

Jacklyn A. Bruce

Agricultural and Extension Education

Pennsylvania State University

008 Ferguson Building

University Park, PA 16802

Ph: 814.863.1789

E-mail: jab743@psu.edu

Kristina G. Ricketts

304 Garrigus Building

Community and Leadership Development

University of Kentucky

Lexington, KY 40546-0215

k.ricketts@uky.edu

Ph: 859-257-3767

Abstract

Leaders are needed in all areas of life. A question arises, “Where do leaders come

from and how do they develop the skills necessary to be effective?” Colleges and

universities have been developing leadership skills since their inception (Astin,

1996). This study examined students in a college of agriculture to determine if

students’ perceptions about leadership skills varied based on participation in

collegiate organizations and whether a participant held a collegiate officer

position. Results indicated 55% were active in collegiate organizations and 23%

held an officer position. For the most part student perceptions related to the

impact on leadership skill development did not vary between the groups and were

“positive” in nature. It was noted that approximately 36% of all responses were

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

“negative” toward the collegiate organizations’ ability to develop leadership

skills. Therefore, recommendations include that individuals in leadership

positions should examine their organizations’ ability to develop members’

leadership abilities.

Introduction and Conceptual Framework

The future success of local communities, states, and the country is tied to the

development of quality leaders. Leadership, though often hard to define

concretely, in its most basic form can be described as influencing others towards

achieving a common goal (Northouse, 2001). As such, leadership is needed in all

organizations and at all levels of government (Astin, 1996; National Association

of Colleges and Employers, 2000; van Linden & Fertman, 1998). Furthermore,

many employers indicate a desire for employees to possess a diverse set of

leadership skills (Astin, 1996; Bennis, Spreitzer, & Cummings, 2001; Bruening &

Shao, 2005; Irani, Place, & Friedel, 2006; National Association of Colleges and

Employers, 2000; van Linden & Fertman, 1998). Layfield, Radhakrishna, and

Andreasen (2000) summarized ways in which faculty worked to help students

develop leadership skills; one of the most important being the inclusion of

leadership opportunities in and outside of the classroom. Individuals must be

given the opportunity to lead during their everyday lives; this includes students

that are pursuing higher education. Without the opportunity to practice leading a

group, growth in skill may not occur.

Colleges and universities have been committed to building students’ leadership

skills and abilities since their inception (Astin, 1996), which is often illustrated

through their mission statements (Boatman, 1999). Collegiate venues where

students can learn and enhance their leadership skills include student service

programs, collegiate organizations, and through service learning projects. For

instance, Seemiller (2006) asserts that participation in The Social Change Project

(a service learning project) encourages students to recognize the need for

leadership in creating effective social change which supports active utilization of

these same leadership concepts in the future. Astin (1999) posited that there was a

positive relationship between student participation in college, both academic and

extracurricular, and student development. Boatman (1999) pointed out that

colleges use both formal (i.e., classroom and laboratory instruction) and informal

(i.e., student organizations) methods to enhance student leadership abilities.

Finally, Engbers (2006) notes a significant increase in leadership development

programs across college campuses, and ties this to a need for effective leadership

development in preparing tomorrow’s leaders – and ultimately, the importance of

leadership in society.

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The importance of participation in student organizations to developing leadership

skills has also been reported in several studies. Rutherford, Townsend, Briers,

Cummins, and Conrad (2002) concluded that everyone can be a leader, but

“individuals do not possess all the skills or expertise to always lead” (p. 30).

Specifically, the authors found that student perception of leadership ability was

higher for high school FFA members compared to non-members. Thus, leadership

skill and ability may be perceived higher for members of collegiate organizations

when compared with non-members. Birkenholz and Schumacher (1994) found

that several college activities, such as being part of a departmental club, social

fraternities and sororities, student government, professional or honorary

fraternities, and intramural clubs and organizations, were significant indicators of

perceived leadership abilities. Shertzer and Schuh (2004) concluded that those

students holding leadership positions while in college were often given additional

leadership development opportunities when compared to those members that did

not hold leadership positions.

Important to the context of this study, Colleges of Agriculture (COA) students

have traditionally differed from their main campus counterparts. Historically,

student enrollment has been comprised primarily of students from rural

communities (Raven & Barrick, 1992; Reisch, 1984). As educators in the College

of Agriculture, we used to know who our students were and could program

accordingly. However, that is no longer the case. COA students are looking more

diverse than ever. Many have limited agriculture knowledge and are increasingly

coming from urban as well as rural areas (Dyer, Breja, & Andreasen, 1999; Irani,

Place & Friedel, 2006; Osborne & Dyer, 2000). With an increasing number of

students coming in from different backgrounds and situations, new opportunities

have emerged. Society, as well as our student population, is changing. As such,

the need for leadership development for COA students is crucial.

The salience of developing leadership skills in students seems to be clear.

However, those individuals slated with the all-important task of developing these

leadership skills and abilities may not always think about the details associated

with development.

Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of this study was to examine student perceptions regarding the

impact of participation in collegiate organizations. More specifically, the

objectives of the study were to:

1. Describe the demographic characteristics of the undergraduate students in

the college of agriculture;

2. Describe membership status in collegiate organizations of the

undergraduate students in the college of agriculture; and,

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3. Describe participant perceptions related to the impact on leadership skill

development through participation in collegiate organizations for

individuals that held officer positions compared to those individuals that

did not hold an officer position in these organizations.

Methods

Descriptive survey methods were used to examine college of agriculture students’

perceptions related to leadership abilities. The survey instrument was

administered via SurveyMonkey, a web-survey tool, after obtaining the

university’s Institutional Review Board’s approval. The SurveyMonkey survey

system collected student responses via the internet and held the data until the

researchers completed the study and imported the data into SPSS.

Due to an interest in collecting data related to a specific population, a census was

conducted rather than employing sampling techniques. The target population of

this study was all college of agriculture students currently enrolled at a large landgrant

institution. A total of 2,056 students were enrolled in the college when the

frame was obtained from the Office of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate

Education. Five of the e-mail addresses were invalid and undeliverable. Thus, a

total of 2,051 students had the opportunity to respond to the survey instrument. A

total of 789 students (39%) responded to the invitation to take part in the study.

The statistical technique of comparing early to late respondents (Miller & Smith,

1983) was used to control for non-response error.

Respondents to the initial invitation, the first reminder invitation, and second

reminder invitation, for a total of three contacts, were considered “early”

respondents. Those individuals responding to the fourth and later invitations were

considered “late” respondents. The dates for the initial invitation and reminder

invitations were set a priori by the researchers for comparison of early to late

respondents. A total of 131 responses were considered late. Thus, 17% of the

responses were considered to be late respondents; an acceptable percentage for

statistical comparison. A comparison of responses from the “early” to “late”

respondents revealed that there was no statistical difference between the early and

late respondents in this study.

Dillman’s (2000) advice on conducting internet surveys was consulted when

designing the study. Incentives were offered to respondents of this survey. All

respondents were entered into a drawing for 25 gift certificates worth 20 dollars

each that could be used at the university book store. The data, including reliability

tests, was analyzed and appropriate descriptive statistics were obtained using the

Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS 14.0).

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Validity for the survey instrument used in the study was established through a

panel of experts in teacher and leadership education. Each expert reviewed the

instrument for face and content validity. Following the field test, comments from

the experts were used to make changes to increase the face validity of the

instrument. The panel found no concerns related to the content validity of the

instrument.

Post-Hoc reliability for the survey instrument was determined using the

Cronbach’s Alpha procedure. Reliability for the survey instrument was alpha=.77.

Data was downloaded from the SurveyMonkey data collection system into SPSS.

Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics including frequencies and

percentages.

As part of this survey instrument, students were asked to respond to several

demographic questions. The participants were asked if they were a member of any

student organizations within the college and to indicate whether the respondent

had ever, or currently, held an officer position within one of these collegiate

organizations. As a follow-up to this particular question, the respondents were

asked to identify the position, or positions, that were held currently or in the past.

The status of whether the student held an officer position, this factor was used to

compare the perceptions of these two groups. Officer position was chosen due to

the fact that most organizations within the college have “regular” officer teams,

while other leadership positions vary widely depending on the organization's

structure.

Finally, those participants that indicated they had been at some time a member of

any collegiate organization were asked to respond seven statements related to the

impact of participating in a collegiate organization. All information for this study

was collected at the nominal level of measurement.

Results

The target population for this study was all students in the College of Agricultural

Sciences at a large land-grant institution. Due to the control for non-response,

results for this study’s objectives can be generalized to the current population of

students at this particular land-grant institution. Demographic information was

gathered to inform the researchers and reader of specific characteristics of the

population of interest. Student major was the first demographic characteristic of

interest. Nearly 33% of all respondents were Animal Science majors, with

Agribusiness (8.5%) and Forestry (6.7%) rounding out the top three (see Table 1).

Other demographic information of interest included gender, age, and class rank as

defined by current semester standing. Respondents were predominantly female

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(60%), with a majority of the respondents being between 19-22 years old.

Specifically, respondents’ ages were: 9% 18 years of age or under, 41% 19-20

years old, 38% 21-22 years old, 7% 23-24 years old, and 5 % 25 years of age or

older. Interestingly, the most uniform statistics occur within the respondents’

current semester in college where the numbers are all very close: Freshman –

24%, Sophomore – 21%, Junior – 24%, Senior – 29%, and Other – 2%.

Table 1

Percentage of Respondents by Major

Rank Major f %

1. Animal Science 258 32.6

2. Agribusiness 67 8.5

3. Forestry 53 6.7

4. Wildlife and Fisheries Science 45 5.7

5. Environmental and Renewable

Resource Economics

38 4.8

6. Agriculture and Extension Education 35 4.4

7. Food Science 33 4.2

8. Agricultural Science 32 4.0

9 (tie). Landscape Contracting 25 3.2

9 (tie). Horticulture 25 3.2

10. Turfgrass Management

123

22 2.8

Table 2 reflects whether respondents held or had never held an officer position

within a collegiate student organization. One-hundred, eighty-four (23 %) of the

participants identified themselves as officers and 605 (77 %) responded as never

holding an officer position.


Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Table 2

Responses of Officer Position Held in Collegiate Student Organizations (n=789)

Officer Position Held f %

Yes

No 605 77

Total

Note: Of those participants responding “no” to the question, 355 were not

members of collegiate organizations.

To address the second objective of the study, respondents were asked to indicate

whether they currently participate in or have ever participated in a student

organization within the College of Agricultural Sciences. Overall, 55% (n=434) of

the respondents indicated that they had participated in a collegiate organization. In

contrast, 45% (n=355) of the respondents indicated they had not participated in a

collegiate student organization (see Table 3).

Table 3

Responses of Membership in Collegiate Student Organizations (n=789)

Member F %

Yes

No 355 45

Total

Objective three was developed to describe the perceptions of individuals that held

officer positions compared to those individuals that did not hold an officer

position. Specifically, the participants were asked to agree or disagree with each

statement based on their experience in a collegiate organization. Table 4 displays

the frequency and percentage of responses for the participants related to each of

the seven statements related to impact of a collegiate organization on the

participant. The table is also divided between those individuals that have held an

officer position and those that have not held an officer position in a collegiate

organization.

124

184

789

447

789

23

100

55

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Table 4

“Officer” and “Non-officer” Responses to Statements Related to Participation in

Collegiate Organizations (n=447)

Statement Held an Officer

Position

Participation in collegiate organizations have:

1. Allowed me to participate in activities that I

would not have otherwise been able to

experience.

2. Allowed me to reflect on the importance of

the activities in which I participate.

3. Allowed me to learn about my strengths as

an individual.

4. Helped me realize that my participation in

activities has an impact beyond myself.

5. Allowed me to apply learning from the

organization's activities to other areas of my

life.

6. Allowed me to build relationships with

people that have similar interests.

7. Prepared me for my future career.

125

(n=184)

Did Not Hold a

Officer Position

(n=263)

Yes No Yes No

158 26

188 75

118 66 119 144

136 48 133 130

134 50 134 129

125 59 120 143

163 21 197 66

141 43 150 113

Statement Number One. One-hundred, fifty-eight individuals (out of a total of

184) that held an officer position believed that participating in collegiate

organizations allowed them to take part in activities that would not have been

available otherwise. Only 14% (26/184) of officer respondents believed that they

could get these experiences elsewhere. Of the respondents who did not hold an

officer position, a majority 71% (188/263) still believed that participating in

collegiate organizations allowed them to take part in activities that would not have

been available otherwise. Alternatively, 29% of respondents that did not hold

officer positions believed that they could get these experiences elsewhere.

Statement Number Two. One-hundred, eighteen of the officer respondents

believed that participating in collegiate organizations allowed them to reflect on

the importance of activities in which they participated. Sixty-six participants that


Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

held officer positions believed that participation in collegiate organizations did

not allow for reflection on activities in which they participated. A minority 45%

(119/263) of individuals that did not hold an officer position believed that

participating in collegiate organizations allowed them to reflect on the activities in

which they participated. Fifty-five percent (144/263) of respondents who did not

hold officer positions believed that participation did not allow for reflection on the

activities.

Statement Number Three. Seventy-four percent (136/184) of the individuals that

held an officer position believed that participating in collegiate organizations

allowed them to learn about their individual strengths. Forty-eight participants (or

26 %) that held officer positions believed that participation in collegiate

organizations did not allow them to learn about their strengths as an individual. A

close 51% (133/263) of non-officer respondents believed that participating in

collegiate organizations allowed them to learn about their individual strengths,

while 49% within this non-officer group believed that participation in collegiate

organizations did not help them discover anything about their individual

strengths.

Statement Number Four. One-hundred, thirty-four individuals that held an officer

position believed that participating in collegiate organizations allowed them to

realize that their participation in activities had an impact beyond themselves. Fifty

participants that held officer positions believed that participation in collegiate

organizations did not help them to realize that their participation in activities had

an impact beyond themselves. Fifty-one percent (134/263) of individuals that did

not hold an officer position believed that participation in collegiate organizations

helped them to realize that their participation in activities had an impact beyond

themselves. Similarly, 49% (129/263) of participants that did not hold officer

positions believed that participation in collegiate organizations helped them to

realize that their participation in activities had an impact beyond themselves.

Statement Number Five. Sixty-eight percent (125/184) of officer respondents

believed that participating in collegiate organizations allowed for application of

learning from the organization’s activities to other areas of life. Only 32% of

participants that held officer positions believed that participation in collegiate

organizations did not allow for application of learning from the organization's

activities to other areas of life. Forty-six percent (120/263) of individuals that did

not hold an officer position believed that participating in collegiate organizations

allowed for application of learning from the organization’s activities to other

areas of life. One hundred and forty-three participants that did not hold officer

positions believed that participation in collegiate activities did not allow for

application of learning from the organization’s activities to other areas of life.

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Statement Number Six. One-hundred, sixty-three individuals that held an officer

position believed that participating in collegiate organizations allowed them to

build relationships with people that have similar interests. Twenty-one

participants that held officer positions believed that participation in collegiate

organizations did not allow for the building of relationships with people that have

similar interests. A majority 75% (197/263) of individuals that did not hold an

officer position believed that participating in collegiate organizations allowed for

the building relationships with people that have similar interests. Only 25%

(66/263) of non-officer respondents believed that participation allowed for the

building of relationships with people that have similar interests to themselves.

Statement Number Seven. A majority 77% (114/184) of officer respondents

believed that participating in collegiate organizations helped them to prepare for a

future career. Forty-three participants that held officer positions believed that

participation in collegiate organizations did not help to prepare for a future career.

Then again, 57% (150/263) of the participants that did not hold an officer position

believed that participating in collegiate organizations helped to prepare for a

future career. Forty-three percent of the non-officer respondents assumed that

participation in collegiate organizations did not help prepare for a future career.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Leadership skill development is important for our leaders of tomorrow. As

participating in collegiate groups and organizations is a great way to develop

leadership experientially, a primary objective of this study was to determine the

membership status of students in the college of agriculture. Over one-half of the

respondents were involved in at least one collegiate organization. In due course,

respondents not participating in a collegiate organization should be encouraged to

explore the opportunities offered through participation in collegiate organizations.

Further research should be conducted to examine the reasons that students choose

not to participate in collegiate organizations during their time in college.

Along with membership status, information related to which individuals held

office was explored. Approximately 25% of all participants responded that they

held an officer position at some point during their membership. Thus,

approximately 75% of students responded that they did not hold an officer

position. These numbers seem reasonable based on the size of officer teams of

many organizations. However, of the students responding that they did not hold

an officer position, over half did not participate in a collegiate organization. This

seems to indicate that students not holding officer roles are not participating in

collegiate organizations and not taking on leadership roles. To the contrary, this

may mean students are not participating in collegiate activities and organizations

at all. Further research should also be conducted to examine if opportunities were

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available for students to participate as officers, or if there was no interest on the

part of the student to participate in an organization in the first place.

The final objective of the study was to describe participant perceptions related to

the impact on leadership skill development through participation in collegiate

organizations; comparing individuals that held officer positions to those

individuals that did not. While most of the individuals that held office responded

positively to all seven of the statements related to this objective, an equal number

of individuals not holding leadership roles responded similarly. Does this mean

that simply participating (at any level) in a collegiate organization builds student

confidence in their leadership skills? Does participation, and not necessarily

holding an office, contribute more to perceived leadership ability? As leadership

educators within colleges and universities, we often find ourselves searching for

ways to improve our students’ leadership competence. This research may suggest

a change in the way we program – providing less emphasis on leadership roles

once you gain membership to an organization and more emphasis on providing

opportunities for individuals to gain membership to organizations which match

their personal or professional goals. Future research should be conducted to

describe what factors determine whether a student perceives participation in

collegiate organizations as beneficial to developing leadership skills.

Also of note in objective number three, were the two statements that received the

lowest percentage of “positive” response – “Participation in collegiate

organizations allowed me to reflect on the importance of the activities in which I

participate” and “Participation in collegiate organizations allowed me to apply

learning from the organization's activities to other areas of my life.” Individuals

that work with student organizations should consider the impact that reflection

and application play in leadership development. Students should be able to reflect

on their collegiate organization experiences and become better leaders because of

them. This should include the opportunity to apply organizational experiences to

other areas of life, including potential career areas. Advisors, officers, and

members of collegiate organizations should consider implementing opportunities

for reflection following organizational activities that help members grow as

leaders. If the organization is not currently offering opportunities for reflection in

this capacity, advisors should search out ways to enhance this component of

learning. Organizations should incorporate activities and other learning

opportunities into the program plan that allow students to make the connection

between those opportunities and future life experiences.

Results related to objective three did not indicate that holding an office influenced

student perceptions more positively regarding leadership skill development than

not doing so. However, negative responses to any of the statements in this study

should be considered as opportunities for organizational change. Why do some

students feel that a particular collegiate organization is not providing skills for the

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future, or not providing opportunities for networking and relationship building?

How can a collegiate organization build opportunities into their program plan that

will allow students to reflect and learn skills that will benefit the student for life?

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National Association of Colleges and Employers (2002). Job outlook 2000 – What

employers want. Retrieved May 22, 2006, from http://www.naceweb.org.

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Biographies

John C. Ewing is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural and

Extension Education at Pennsylvania State University. In this position, Dr. Ewing

provides leadership for the departmental teacher education program. He has

research interests in experiential learning, teaching and learning and laboratory

instruction and management.

Jacklyn A. Bruce is an Assistant Professor of Youth and Adult Leadership

Development at Pennsylvania State University in the Department of

Agricultural and Extension Education. In this position, Dr. Bruce provides

leadership for a variety of state level leadership development programming for the

Pennsylvania 4-H program, maintains a rigorous research program in the area of

transfer of leadership training and skills, and an outreach program on working

with teens for Pennsylvania’s 4-H Youth Development Extension Agents.

Kristina G. Ricketts is an Assistant Extension Professor of Leadership

Development at the University of Kentucky, with an appointment of 75%

Extension and 25% teaching. As an Extension Professor, Dr. Ricketts develops

and presents effective leadership programming across the state to both Extension

personnel and community leaders. In addition, Dr. Ricketts is responsible for

assisting with the departmental leadership major by teaching several courses.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Predicting the Individual Values of the Social Change

Model of Leadership Development: The Role of

College Students’ Leadership and Involvement

Experiences

Paige Haber

Adjunct Lecturer

Department of Leadership Studies

University of San Diego

San Diego, CA

phaber@sandiego.edu

Susan R. Komives

Professor

Counseling and Personnel Services

University of Maryland

College Park, MD

komives@umd.edu

Abstract

This study explored the extent to which co-curricular involvement, holding formal

leadership roles, and participating in leadership programs contributed to female

and male college students’ capacity for socially responsible leadership. It focused

specifically on the individual values of the Social Change Model of Leadership

Development. An adapted version of Astin’s Input-Environment-Outcome Model

was the conceptual framework and the Social Change Model individual values

including consciousness of self, congruence, and commitment served as the

theoretical framework. Data were collected from a random sample of 3,410

undergraduates at one institution through the Multi-Institutional Study of

Leadership. Participants completed a web-based survey including the Socially

Responsible Leadership Scale-Revised2. Data were analyzed using hierarchical

multiple regression to identify the extent to which the environmental variables

contributed to outcomes. Involvement in student organizations was the most

significant environmental variable and community involvement emerged as

significant for women. A discussion of findings and implications is presented.

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Introduction and Framework

As is reflected in institutional mission statements, many colleges and universities

emphasize outcomes related to student leadership development and reaching

higher levels of developmental maturity in the area of leadership skills,

knowledge, and competence (Council for the Advancement of Standards in

Higher Education, 2006; Roberts & Ullom, 1990). Leadership education has

become increasingly more prominent nationally and globally, with many venues

to deliver leadership education and training (Huber, 2002). The leadership

development of college students has increasingly become a strong focus of

student affairs work, and the academic study of leadership has also become more

prominent (Komives, Dugan, Owen, Slack, & Wagner, 2006; Roberts, 1997).

There are an infinite number of leadership definitions, and a review of scholarly

literature demonstrates that there are a variety of competencies, skills, values, and

behaviors identified as key to leadership capacity. One of the key areas of

leadership development, particularly found in leadership models developed for

college students, is a focus on self. More specifically, models tend to focus on an

understanding of oneself, the ability to manage oneself, acting in accordance with

one’s values, being a person of character, developing a sense of purpose, and

demonstrating commitment (Goleman, Boyatzis, & McKee, 2002; Higher

Education Research Institute, 1996; Komives, Lucas, & McMahon, 2007;

Shankman & Allen, 2008). These areas of development also tend to be identified

as the foundational aspects of leadership; a strong sense of self contributes to

one’s ability to understand others and work with others toward change, which

requires more complex developmental capacity (Bennis, 1989; Goleman, et al.;

Kegan, 1982; Komives, Owen, Longerbeam, Mainella, & Osteen, 2005). The

Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education’s (CAS)

Standards for Student Leadership Programs includes the category of personal

development to capture some of these leadership areas focused on self (CAS,

2006); these competencies are identified by CAS as an important component

college student leadership programs.

College Student Leadership Development

Through examining literature and research on college students’ development of

leadership outcomes, three environmental variables consistently emerged as

experiences contributing to the development of personal development aspects of

leadership (Astin 1993; Cooper, Healy & Simpson, 1994; Dugan 2006b; Kezar &

Moriarty, 2000; Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005). These experiences include cocurricular

involvement, holding formal leadership roles, and participating in

leadership training and education programs. Within the context of this study these

terms are defined as:

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• Co-curricular involvement: A form of involvement that occurs outside of

the classroom and contributes to designated learning and developmental

outcomes. The term co-curricular has been chosen to reflect a cooperative

rather than a supplementary form of activity that includes organized

involvement in campus as well as community groups or organizations.

• Formal leadership role: A leadership position in a campus or community

organization, such as a president, treasurer, co-chair, committee head, or

team captain.

Leadership training and education program: “Any program or activity

intentionally designed with the purpose of developing or enhancing the

leadership skills, knowledge, or abilities of college students” (Haber,

2006, p. 29). These programs can include the components of leadership

training, education, and development through such means as seminars and

workshops, mentoring, guest speakers, service and volunteer placement,

leadership courses, outdoor education, and conferences (Zimmerman-

Oster & Burkhardt, 1999).

Co-curricular Involvement and Formal Leadership Roles

Co-curricular involvement was identified in Astin’s (1993) classic longitudinal

study as a significant variable for leadership as a personality and self-concept

outcome. Of the eight significant involvement measures, five reflect aspects of

co-curricular involvement. Student-student interaction, which is often evident in

student organizations or other student activities, had the strongest effect on

leadership. Student-faculty interaction, although not always characteristic of cocurricular

involvement, can exist in organization advising or other out-of-class

involvement that includes faculty. Fraternity/sorority membership, intramural

sports, and volunteer work each emerged as significant and reflect different types

of co-curricular involvement. Additionally, student clubs and organizations,

fraternity and sorority membership, and diversity activities, which reflect cocurricular

involvement, were significant variables contributing to growth in

leadership abilities. Amount of time spent engaging in co-curricular involvement,

such as hours spent in student clubs or organizations, was also emphasized as

positively contributing to the outcomes.

In a study examining men’s fraternity and student governance involvement, a

common theme emerged that these experiences contributed to their leadership

skills and development of self (Byer, 1998). These skills included public

speaking, effective goal setting, goal accomplishment, goal reassessment, a

greater sense of responsibility, time management skills, interpersonal skills, and

general leadership skills. In a three-year longitudinal study, Cooper et al. (1994)

found similar findings in a study comparing students involved in student

organizations to those who were not involved. The study found significant

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differences between the two groups. When controlling for input variables, the

involved students scored higher on the sub-tasks of developing purpose (F=36.3,

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

programs (Zimmerman & Burkhardt, 1999). Because of the nature of the

perceived growth per institution and different forms of assessment utilized to

determine this growth, it is hard to draw strong conclusions.

Directly addressing the outcomes of the program and students’ identification of

their outcomes as a result of participation, DiPaolo (2002) conducted in-depth

interviews with six male participants in a five-day leadership education program.

The participants identified gaining a strong sense of values and core belief system

through the leadership program. Similarly, a study of 12 students who participated

in a two-week outdoor leadership and stewardship course resulted in significant

findings from a pre- and post-test of speech communication skills and characterbuilding

skills (Hobbs & Spencer, 2002).

Comparing Environmental Variables

Examining the influence of multiple environmental variables simultaneously

could expand our understanding of how different experiences contribute to

different leadership outcomes. There is a lack of research that addresses

concurrently the multiple environmental variables of student organization

involvement, holding a formal leadership role, and participation in student

leadership programs. Cooper et al. (1994) and Astin (1993), highlighted above,

studied different experiences but did not examine them concurrently in order to

draw comparisons.

Two additional studies examined multiple experiences simultaneously with some

experiences emerging as more significant than others. The first study examined

the environmental variables of leadership classes, being elected to office, and

active participation in student organizations for African American and Caucasian

men and women (Kezar & Moriarty, 2000). The significant environmental

predictors of leadership ability differed by groups. For Caucasian men the

strongest predictor was enrollment in leadership courses (β=.13), for African

American men it was participation in racial or cultural awareness workshops

(β=.16), for Caucasian women it was taking leadership courses (β=.13), and for

African American women it was being elected to student office (β=.17). Overall,

taking leadership courses was the experience that served as a positive predictor of

leadership ability for all four groups. Other significant predictors included student

organization involvement, intramural sports, volunteer work, ROTC, serving as a

Resident Advisor, and membership in a sorority.

A second study examined the influence of the involvement measures of

community service, positional leadership roles, student organization membership,

and formal leadership programming on outcomes of the Social Change Model of

Leadership (Dugan, 2006b; HERI, 1996). Three of the outcome measures reflect

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the individual values of the model consciousness of self, congruence, and

commitment. For consciousness of self (t=-2.56, p< .05) and congruence (t=-2.31,

p< .05), community service was a significant variable with those involved in

community service scoring significantly higher in both measures than those who

did not. For commitment, community service (t=-2.87, p< .05) and positional

leadership roles (t= -2.11, p< .05) emerged as significant variables. The

environmental variables of student organization membership and formal

leadership programming did not emerge as significant for these individual values

of the model.

Additional research on the influence of multiple college environmental variables

can add to a greater understanding of how different experiences contribute to

college students’ personal development aspects of leadership.

Theoretical Framework

One limitation in the study of college student leadership development is the lack

of theoretical framework on how leadership is viewed in most studies. Although

there are some studies based on Kouzes and Posner’s (2007) The Leadership

Challenge using the Student Leadership Practices Inventory as a measure (Binard

& Brungardt, 1997; Komives, 1994; Posner & Brodsky, 1995), most studies are

not based on any leadership theory or framework (Dugan, 2006a).

The Social Change Model (SCM) (HERI, 1996), which was used in Dugan’s

(2006b) study and serves as the foundation of the Multi-Institutional Study of

Leadership (Dugan & Komives, 2007), is a model of leadership development that

identifies three groups of leadership values (individual, group, and

community/society) with a total of eight leadership values. The three outcomes in

the individual level of the model, which are the outcomes explored in this study,

are consciousness of self, congruence, and commitment. The outcomes of

common purpose, collaboration, and controversy with civility exist at the group

level and the outcome of citizenship comprises the community/societal level of

the model. The overall goal of the model is the eighth outcome, change. This

approach to leadership is a purposeful, collaborative, values-based process that

results in positive social change (HERI, 1996). The terms socially responsible

leadership have been adopted to describe the philosophy of leadership presented

by the SCM (Tyree, 1998).

SCM is regarded as the most widely used model of student leadership

development in higher education. Indeed, “the social change model of leadership

development and seven C's of social change have played a prominent role in

shaping the curricula and formats of undergraduate leadership education

initiatives in colleges and universities throughout the country” (Kezar, Carducci,

& Contreras-McGavin, 2006, p. 142). SCM has been used to frame a variety of

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co-curricular student leadership programs and has been used as a framework for

leadership courses (Haber, 2006; Martinez, 2006; Seemiller, 2006).

The individual level of the SCM serves as the theoretical frame of this research

study. The Socially Responsible Leadership Scale (SRLS) was developed as a

way to measure the values and outcomes of the SCM (Tyree, 1997, 2001). This

model was chosen due to the context and focus of the research study; the model

was created specifically for college students, and it reflects the emerging

paradigm of leadership as a relational, change-directed, learned, and

transformative process (Rost, 1993). The individual level is explored in order to

focus on some of the foundational aspects of leadership development. The

individual values of the model tend to be the most developed, resulting in higher

means (Ricketts, Bruce, & Ewing, 2008; Dugan, 2006b). Through exploring these

values, the researchers attempted to provide insight to what experiences

contribute to the development of these foundational values.

There are very few published research studies that use the SCM as a focus or

theoretical frame. In addition to Dugan’s (2006b) aforementioned study, the

SRLS was also used in comparing gender differences in SCM outcomes (Dugan,

2006a) and in a study examining the mean SRLS scores of students in a College

of Agricultural Sciences (Ricketts et al., 2008). A revised version of the SRLS,

the SRLS-R2, was used in a study exploring socially responsible leadership and

spirituality (Gehrke, 2008). Considering the widespread use of the SCM, there is

need for additional research on the SCM outcomes.

Purpose

This study sought to address gaps in current literature and add to the research on

leadership development by examining experiences that contribute to students’

individual dimensions of leadership development. The purpose of this study was

to identify the extent to which co-curricular involvement, formal leadership roles,

and leadership education and training programs independently and collectively

contribute to college students’ individual outcomes of socially responsible

leadership.

Design

Methods and Procedures

Data for this study were obtained through the Multi-Institutional Study of

Leadership (MSL), a quantitative national leadership study sponsored by the

National Clearinghouse for Leadership Programs and the University of Maryland.

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MSL was a national study with 52 participating institutions. This study uses the

data from one participating campus.

This study was designed using Astin’s (1991) input-environment-outcome (I-E-O)

college impact model. This conceptual framework was chosen because the

environmental variables are of the most interest in the study. By controlling for

input characteristics, the I-E-O framework helps assess the extent to which the

environmental variables, as opposed to input characteristics, contribute to the

leadership outcomes. This study included a modified version of the model. Data

were collected at one point in time so that participants retrospectively assessed

inputs or pre-college variables at the time of this study rather than at a point in

time prior to college.

This cross-sectional method varies from the longitudinal model that is

characteristic of the I-E-O model. Some research has shown that this “then-post”

design of assessment can provide more accurate and significant change over time

than a true pre and post-test design wherein there may be a response shift bias in

the assessment (Rohs, 2002). Additionally, due to length restrictions, a quasi-pretest

was used; only one question per outcome was included in the pre-test as

opposed to the six to nine questions identified per construct. Despite this

deviation from the model, the pre-test measures used in the design of this study

helped control for input characteristics when assessing the outcomes of the study.

The design of the study also differs from the I-E-O model in that it expands the

environmental variables to include off-campus experiences, such as involvement

in community organizations, rather than just campus-based experiences. This

allows for a greater understanding of environmental variables contributing to

students’ leadership outcomes.

The independent and dependent variables of the study framed in the I-E-O model

are presented in Table 1. The variables include a variety of pre-college and

college experiences including service, student organization involvement,

community involvement, holding leadership roles, and involvement in leadership

training and education programs. This last category is broken into three types of

programs based on amount of time and intensity – short-term, moderate-term, and

long-term experiences. Short-term experiences are individual or one-time

leadership lectures, workshops, or conferences; moderate-term experiences are

multiple or ongoing trainings, retreats, and workshops or a single leadership

course; and, long-term experiences are multi-semester leadership programs,

multiple leadership courses, such as through a leadership minor or major, or a

leadership living-learning program.

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Population and Sample

Participants in the study were undergraduate students at a four-year, public

Research I institution in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The random

sample size for the study was 3,410 students. The total number of usable partial

and complete responses in the study was 1,407. This reflected a 41% return rate.

After the removal of some cases that were statistical outliers or were classified as

graduate student or other for class standing, 1,206 participants were deemed

usable.

Table 1

Input, Environment, and Outcome Measures of the Study

Inputs Environments Outcomes

Race/ Ethnicity

Involvement during college Consciousness of Self

Class Standing

• college organization

Pre-college Involvement

• community

Congruence

• student clubs/ groups

organization

• varsity sports

• breadth of

Commitment

• community organizations involvement

Pre-college Formal Leadership Formal Leadership Role

Role

during college

• student clubs/ groups/ • college organization

sports

• community

• community organizations organization

Pre-college Leadership Leadership Training &

Training

Education during college

• participation in training • short-term

SRLS-R2 Quasi-Pretest

experience

Measures

• moderate-term

• questions that correspond experience

to outcome measures • long-term experience

Instrumentation

The instrument used in this study was the MSL instrument, which included the

SRLS-R2, demographic and pre-college variables, environmental variables, and

the additional outcome variables such as leadership self-efficacy, cognitive

development, and diversity appreciation (NCLP, 2006). The SRLS-R2 is a revised

version of Tyree’s (1998) SRLS, which is a self-reporting instrument that

measures the eight constructs of the SCM with 68 items. Each of the three

constructs in this study is comprised of six to nine items. Scale reliabilities ranged

from 0.78 to 0.81. A description of each variable, a sample item from the scale,

number of questions in the scale, and Cronbach Alpha scores of reliability are

presented in Table 2.

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Data Collection and Analysis

Participants’ self-reported data scores were collected between February 17 and

March 20, 2006 via a web survey. Participants were contacted via email to

participate in the study and they were sent up to three email reminders inviting

them to join the study if they had not yet completed it. The email invitations

included a link to the web survey and an individual code. When entered into the

survey the individual code was separated from the response so no identification

could be made to link the responder with that response.

Table 2

SRLS-R2 Sample Questions and Scale Reliabilities

Construct Description # of Sample

Questions Question

Consciousness Being aware of the

I can describe

of Self beliefs, values,

how I am

attitudes, and

emotions that

motivate a person to

take action

9

similar to other

people.

Congruence Thinking, feeling,

My behaviors

and behaving with

are congruent

consistency,

with my beliefs.

genuineness,

authenticity, and

honesty toward

others

7

Commitment Having the energy

I hold myself

that motivates an

accountable for

individual to serve 6 responsibilities

and drives the

collective effort

I agree to.

142

Cronbach

Alpha

Note: Descriptions from Designing an instrument to measure socially responsible

leadership using the social change model of leadership development, by T. M.

Tyree, 1998, unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Maryland, College

Park, MD.

Modified hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted for each of the

three outcome measures for both men and women. Each regression included six to

nine blocks of input, environmental, and outcome variables. For the first six

blocks in the regression, a number of input variables were entered as the first

blocks of the analysis including pre-college involvement and pre-college

leadership positions. The input blocks were followed by and the quasi pre-test

outcome measure and subsequently the environmental variables of co-curricular

0.78

0.80

0.81


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involvement, holding a formal leadership role, and participation in leadership

training programs.

After the input variables were entered into the regression analysis, the hierarchical

model was modified in that the remaining environmental variables were entered

through stepwise regression to explore which of the environmental variables

contributed to the most variance in outcome scores. This method was chosen to

determine which of the environmental variables were significant for each outcome

variable and the extent to which the input and environmental variables contributed

to the variance in outcome scores. This allowed for a clearer understanding of the

effect of the environmental variables as well as practical implications. Using

multiple regression analyses in this study enabled the researchers to determine

how much of the variance of the outcome scores are explained by the input and

environmental variables for each gender.

Results

A demographic description of the respondents of the study and the demographic

characteristics of the random sample are presented in Table 3. In comparing the

respondent characteristics to that of the larger sample, women appeared to be

slightly over represented. Additionally, seniors and juniors appeared to be over

represented while freshmen seemed to be slightly under represented. It is difficult

to determine the comparison of the sample and respondents for the racial

breakdown because the current study utilized the variable of Multiracial and the

institutional data for the sample did not. It does appear that White students are

slightly over represented in the respondent group, but it is difficult to make other

conclusions because of the different categorization techniques. Bias weights were

not calculated for this analysis.

The study examined to what extent co-curricular involvement, holding a formal

leadership role, and participating in leadership education and training programs

independently and collectively contributed to undergraduate men and women

college students’ individual outcomes of socially responsible leadership. Findings

on the significant environmental variables from each of the three outcomes are

presented below. The means and standard deviations of the environmental

variables by gender are presented in Table 4, and outcome scores by gender are

presented in Table 5.

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Table 3

Demographic Characteristics of Respondents

Respondent Demographics

N=1206

144

Sample Demographics

N=3410

Female 686 (56.9%) 1690 (49.6%)

Male 520 (43.1%) 1720 (50.4%)

White/ Caucasian 774 (61.7%) 1972 (57.8%)

Black/ African

American

108 (9.0%) 439 (12.9%)

Asian American/

Pacific Islander

168 (13.9%) 477 (14.0%)

Latino/ Hispanic 45 (3.7%) 212 (6.2%)

Multiracial/ Multiethnic 107 (8.9%) n/a

Other/ Not Reported 34 (2.8%) 300 (8.8%)

American Indian included in other/ not rep 10 (0.3%)

Freshman 205 (17%) 732 (21.5%)

Sophomore 285 (23.6%) 851 (25.0%)

Junior 355 (29.4%) 863 (25.3%)

Senior 361 (29.9%) 920 (27.0%)

Post Bachelor not included 44 (1.3%)

Average Age 20.56 (SD=2.74)


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Table 4

Mean and Standard Deviations of Environmental Measures by Gender

Total Female Male

Involvement- Student

Organizations a

Involvement-

Community

Organizations a

Breadth of

Involvement b

Leadership Role-

Student Organizations a

Leadership Role-

Community

Organizations a

Short-term Leadership

Education/ Training c

Moderate-term

Leadership Education/

Training c

Long-term Leadership

Education/ Training c

3.00 (1.35) 3.09 (1.35) 2.88 (1.34)

1.82 (1.20) 1.80 (1.19) 1.85 (1.23)

3.11 (2.60) 3.07 (2.42) 3.15 (2.83)

1.99 (1.37) 2.00 (1.39) 1.98 (1.34)

1.51 (1.03) 1.48 (1.00) 1.56 (1.08)

1.91 (0.94) 1.93 (0.95) 1.88 (0.93)

1.60 (0.86) 1.61 (0.87) 1.58 (0.86)

1.43 (0.86) 1.43 (0.87) 1.42 (0.85)

a: Scale range is 1-5 (never to much of the time)

b: Total number of different kinds of student groups involved in, ranging from 0-21

c: Scale range is 1-4 (never to many)

Table 5

Mean and Standard Deviations of Outcome Measures by Gender

Consciousness

of Self

Congruence Commitment

Total

3.91 (0.51) 4.14 (0.46) 4.21 (0.46)

Female

Male

3.93 (0.49) 4.17 (0.43) 4.24 (0.43)

3.89 (0.54) 4.10 (0.50) 4.16 (0.50)

Note: Response choices range from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5)

Consciousness of Self

For the outcome of consciousness of self, multiple regression analysis explained

33.7% of the variance of women’s scores and 24.5% of the variance in men’s

scores (see Table 6). For women, the first six blocks of input variables entered

into the regression analysis using hierarchical multiple regression, that emerged as

significant (p< 0.05) were race, class standing, pre-college involvement, precollege

formal leadership role, pre-college leadership training, and the

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consciousness of self pretest measure. The block of pre-college involvement was

negatively related to the outcome because each of the variables (student

organizations, varsity sports, and community organizations) had negative beta

scores. The first six blocks of the regression accounted for 29.7% of the variance

for this outcome measure with the pre-test for consciousness of self adding the

most variance (19.4%) when it was entered into the regression as the fifth block.

The variables entered into the regression after block six through stepwise multiple

regression that emerged as significant (p< 0.05) were in order of amount of

additional variance explained (R 2 Change), involvement in student organizations,

involvement in community organizations, and holding a leadership role in student

organizations. These environmental measures combined explained 4% more of

the total variance for the outcome. The other variables that were entered into the

stepwise regression were not found to be significant and were therefore rejected

from the model.

For men, the blocks of class standing, pre-college involvement, pre-college

leadership role, pre-college leadership training, and the pre-test for consciousness

of self emerged as significant predictors (p< 0.05). The block of pre-college

involvement was negatively related to the outcome, as each of the variables

including student organizations, varsity sports, and community organizations had

negative beta scores. Within the block of pre-college formal leadership role,

leadership role in a student organization emerged as a significant variable. The

total variance explained after the first six blocks of the regression was 23.2%. The

pre-test for consciousness of self added the most variance (9.8%) when it was

entered into the regression as the fifth block. The only environmental variable that

emerged as significant through stepwise multiple regression was involvement in

student organizations which added 1.3% to the total R-square value. The other

variables that were entered into the stepwise regression were not found to be

significant and were therefore rejected from the model.

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Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

Table 6

Predictors of Consciousness of Self for Women and Men

Women Men

B β Sig B β Sig

1. Race

White/ Caucasian 0.084 0.080 0.151 0.135

Black/ African American 0.050 0.037 0.115 0.057

Asian American/ Pacific Islander

-

-0.078 0.087 0.055

0.109

Latino/ Hispanic 0.127 0.053 0.118 0.037

Multiracial/ Multiethnic

(Referent Category: Other/ Not

Reported)

0.001 0.000 0.202 0.109

R 2 Change 0.023 0.012

New R 2 0.023 0.012

F Change 3.229 ** 1.217

2. Class Standing

Class Standing 0.030 0.066 * 0.080 0.157 ***

R 2 Change 0.090 0.022

New R 2 0.032 0.034

F Change 6.003 * 11.564 ***

3. Pre-College Involvement

Student Organization

-

0.009 -0.018

-

0.005

-0.010

Varsity Sports

-

0.002 -0.006

-

0.019

-0.044

Community Organizations

-

0.005 -0.011

-

0.011

-0.021

R 2 Change 0.034 0.056

New R 2 0.066 0.090

F Change

4. Pre-College Formal Leadership Role

8.158 *** 10.476 ***

Student Organization 0.016 0.766 0.090 0.176 **

Community Organization

-

0.009

-0.389

-

0.002

-0.003

R 2 Change 0.014 0.032

New R 2 0.080 0.122

F Change

5. Pre-College Leadership Training

5.245 ** 9.238 ***

Pre-College Leadership Training 0.066 0.131 *** 0.041 0.070

R 2 Change 0.087 0.012

New R 2 0.103 0.134

F Change 16. 886 *** 6.940 **

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Table 6 (continued)

6. SRLS Pretest Measure

Pretest for Consciousness of Self 0.194 0.465 *** 0.166 0.340 ***

R 2 Change 0.194 0.098

New R 2 0.297 0.232

F Change

7. Student Organization Involvement

185.410 *** 64.586 ***

Involvement in Student Organizations 0.042 0.114 ** 0.051 0.128 **

R 2 Change 0.028 0.013

New R 2 0.325 0.245

F Change

8. Community Organization Involvement

27.654 *** 8.800 **

Involvement in Community

Organizations

0.042 0.102 **

R 2 Change 0.008

New R 2 0.333

F Change

9. Student Organization Leadership Role

7.897 **

Leadership Role- Student Organization 0.031 0.088 *

R 2 Change 0.004

New R 2 0.337

F Change 3.949 *

Total R 2

Total F

Congruence

For the outcome of congruence, multiple regression analysis explained 24.8% of

the variance of women’s scores and 19.3% of the variance in men’s scores (see

Table 7). For women, the first six blocks of input variables, which were entered

into the regression analysis using hierarchical multiple regression, that emerged as

148

0.337

21.179

***

0.245

11.688

* p < .05 ** p < .01 *** p < .001

Note: After Block 6 variables were entered using stepwise regression. Those included after

Block 6 significantly contributed to the variance.

Women: Men:

Total Breadth of activities Involvement Community Organizations

Leadership Role- Community Organization Total Breadth of activities

Short Term Training & Education Leadership Role- Student Organization

Moderate Term Training & Education Leadership Role- Community Organization

Long Term Training & Education Short Term Training & Education

Moderate Term Training & Education

Long Term Training & Education

***


Journal of Leadership Education Volume 7, Issue 3 – Winter 2009

significant (p< 0.05) for women were race, class standing, pre-college

involvement, pre-college formal leadership role, pre-college leadership training,

and the congruence pretest measure. The blocks of pre-college involvement and

pre-college formal leadership role did not significantly contribute to the outcome

variable. The first six blocks of the regression accounted for 22.5% of the

variance for this outcome measure, with the pre-test for congruence adding the

most variance (11.3%) when it was entered into the regression as the fifth block.

The only variable entered into the regression after block six through stepwise

multiple regression that emerged as significant (p< 0.05) was involvement in

student organizations which added 2.3% to the total variance explained by the

analysis. The other variables that were entered into the stepwise regression were

not found to be significant and were therefore rejected from the model.

For men, the blocks of class standing, pre-college involvement, pre-college

leadership role, and the pretest for congruence emerged as significant predictors

(p< 0.05). The block of pre-college involvement contained variables that

demonstrated both positive (varsity sports) and negative (student organization and

community organization involvement) relationships with the outcome measure.

The pre-test for congruence added the most variance (11.0%) when it was entered

into the regression as the fifth block. None of the environmental variables were

found to be significant and therefore were rejected from the regression analysis.

The total R-square value for the regression was 19.3%.

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Table 7

Predictors of Congruence for Women and Men

Women Men

B β Sig B β Sig

1. Race

White/ Caucasian -0.089 -0.102 -0.017 -0.016

Black/ African American -0.061 -0.043 -0.082 -0.044

Asian American/ Pacific Islander -0.188 -0.156 0.029 0.020

Latino/ Hispanic 0.024 0.012 -0.157 -0.053

Multiracial/ Multiethnic

(Referent Category: Other/ Not

Reported)

-0.066 -0.043 0.006 0.003

R 2 Change 0.020 0.001

New R 2 0.020 0.001

F Change

2. Class Standing

2.786 * 0.143

Class Standing 0.038 0.097 ** 0.072 0.155 ***

R 2 Change 0.005 0.019

New R 2 0.025 0.020

F Change

3. Pre-College Involvement

3.424 9.754 **

Student Organization -0.017 -0.037 -0.007 -0.013

Varsity Sports -0.003 -0.008 0.007 0.017

Community Organizations 0.039 0.098 * -0.009 -0.019

R 2 Change 0.048 0.030

New R 2 0.073 0.050

F Change

4. Pre-College Formal Leadership Role

11.660 *** 5.357 ***

Student Organization 0.024 0.061 0.065 0.138 *

Community Organization -0.012 -0.027 0.001 0.002

R 2 Change 0.010 0.027

New R 2 0.083 0.077

F Change

5. Pre-College Leadership Training

3.829 * 7.360 ***

Pre-College Leadership Training 0.044 0.100 * 0.024 0.045

R 2 Change 0.009 0.005

New R 2 0.092 0.082

F Change 6.467 * 2.884

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Table 7 (continued)

6. SRLS Pretest Measure

Pretest for Consciousness of Self 0.199 0.366 *** 0.207 0.349 ***

R 2 Change 0.113 0.110

New R 2 0.225 0.193

F Change 114.957 *** 68.856 ***

7. Student Organization Involvement

Involvement in Student Organizations 0.052 0.163 ***

R 2 Change 0.023

New R 2 0.248

F Change 20.765 ***

Total R 2

Total F

Commitment

For the outcome of commitment, multiple regression analysis explained 25.4% of

the variance of women’s scores and 29.9% of the variance in men’s scores (see

Table 8). For women, the first six blocks of input variables that emerged as

significant (p< 0.05) for women were pre-college involvement, pre-college formal

leadership role, pre-college leadership training, and the commitment pre-test

measure. Although its block was not significant, the variable of class standing

emerged as significant. The first six blocks of the regression accounted for 22.4%

of the variance for this outcome measure with the pre-test for commitment adding

the most variance (12.9%) when it was entered into the regression as the fifth

block. The variables entered into the regression after block six through stepwise

multiple regression that emerged as significant (p< 0.05) were, in order of amount

of additional variance explained (R 2 Change), involvement in student

151

0.248

15.808

***

0.193

9.245

* p < .05 ** p < .01 *** p < .001

Note: After Block 6 variables were entered using stepwise regression. Those included after

Block 6 significantly contributed to the variance.

Women: Men:

Involvement Community Organizations Involvement Student Organization

Total Breadth of activities Involvement Community Organizations

Leadership Role- Student Organization Total Breadth of activities

Leadership Role- Community Organization Leadership Role- Student Organization

Leadership Role- Community

Short Term Training & Education

Organization

Moderate Term Training & Education Short Term Training & Education

Long Term Training & Education Moderate Term Training & Education

Long Term Training & Education

***


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organizations, and holding a leadership role in community organizations. These

environmental measures combined explained 2.45% more of the total variance for

the outcome. The other variables that were entered into the stepwise regression

were not found to be significant and therefore rejected from the model.

For men, the blocks of class standing, pre-college involvement, pre-college

leadership role, pre-college leadership training, and the pre-test for commitment

emerged as significant predictors (p< 0.05). Within the block of pre-college

formal leadership role, leadership role in a student organization emerged as a

significant variable. The total variance explained after the first six blocks of the

regression was 28.3%. The pre-test for commitment added the most variance

(18.3%) when it was entered into the regression as the fifth block. The

environmental variables that emerged as significant through stepwise multiple

regression and accounting for 1.6% additional variance were involvement in

student organizations and breadth of student involvement, with breadth having a

negative relationship with the outcome of commitment. Breadth refers to the

number of types of student organizations the students has belonged to during

college. The other variables that were entered into the stepwise regression were

not found to be significant and were therefore rejected from the model.

The six regression analyses explained at most 33.7% of the variance in outcome

scores and low as 19.3% of total variance. Much of the variance came from input

variables, particularly the outcome quasi pre-tests, and little variance came from

the environmental variables. Involvement in student organizations emerged as a

significant environmental variable for each outcome for men and women with the

exception of congruence for men. Some of the environmental variables were

significant for some outcome measures while others did not emerge as significant

for any of the measures. A summary of the significant variables by each outcome

for men and women are presented in Table 9. These findings are discussed in the

next section. Although some environmental variables emerged as significant, they

contributed to only a small amount of variance for each of the outcomes for both

women and men.

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Table 8

Predictors of Commitment of Self for Women and Men

Women Men

B β Sig B β Sig

1. Race

White/ Caucasian 0.030 0.034 0.184 0.177

Black/ African American -0.020 -0.014 0.225 0.119

Asian American/ Pacific Islander -0.077 -0.062 0.092 0.063

Latino/ Hispanic 0.124 0.059 0.146 0.049

Multiracial/ Multiethnic

(Referent Category: Other/ Not

Reported)

0.032 0.020 0.216 0.125

R 2 Change 0.016 0.018

New R 2 0.016 0.018

F Change

2. Class Standing

2.217 1.861

Class Standing 0.030 0.075 * 0.053 0.111 **

R 2 Change 0.003 0.013

New R 2 0.019 0.031

F Change

3. Pre-College Involvement

2.360 6.892 **

Student Organization -0.007 -0.015 -0.008 -0.016

Varsity Sports 0.006 0.017 0.004 0.009

Community Organizations 0.023 0.059 -0.031 -0.063

R 2 Change 0.055 0.039

New R 2 0.074 0.070

F Change

4. Pre-College Formal Leadership Role

13.343 *** 7.135 ***

Student Organization 0.018 0.046 0.068 0.142 **

Community Organization -0.006 -0.013 0.012 0.021

R 2 Change 0.011 0.023

New R 2 0.086 0.093

F Change

5. Pre-College Leadership Training

4.180 * 6.274 **

Pre-College Leadership Training 0.034 0.077 0.040 0.074

R 2 Change 0.010 0.008

New R 2 0.095 0.101

F Change 7.226 ** 4.465 *

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Table 8 (continued)

6. SRLS Pretest Measure

Pretest for Consciousness of Self 0.225 0.376 *** 0.295 0.427 ***

R 2 Change 0.129 0.183

New R 2 0.224 0.283

F Change

7. Student Organization Involvement

111.554 *** 128.377 ***

Involvement in Student Organizations 0.050 0.155 *** 0.055 0.148 ***

R 2 Change 0.024 0.009

New R 2 0.248 0.292

F Change

8. Community Organization Involvement

21.302 *** 6.469 *

Involvement in Community

Organizations

0.035 0.081 *

-

0.017

-0.096 *

R 2 Change 0.005 0.007

New R 2 0.254 0.299

F Change 4.929 * 4.922 *

Total R 2

Total F

154

0.254

15.169

***

0.299

14.283

* p < .05 ** p < .01 *** p < .001

Note: After Block 6 variables were entered using stepwise regression. Those included after

Block 6 significantly contributed to the variance.

Women: Men:

Involvement Community Organizations Involvement Community Organizations

Total Breadth of activities Leadership Role- Student Organization

Leadership Role- Student Organization Leadership Role- Community Organization

Short Term Training & Education Short Term Training & Education

Moderate Term Training & Education Moderate Term Training & Education

Long Term Training & Education Long Term Training & Education

***


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Table 9

Summary of Significant Input and Environmental Variables by Outcome

Cons of Self Congruence Commitment

F M F M F M

Block 1 Race (Block) X X

Block 2 Class Standing (Block) X X X X X

Block 3 Pre-Col Inv (Block)

Pre-Col Student Org

Pre-Col Varsity Sport

(X) (X) X X X X

Pre-Col Community

Organization

X

Block 4 Pre-Col Leader Role (Block) X X X X X X

Pre-Col Student Leadership

Role

Pre-Col Community

Leadership Role

X X X

Block 5 Pre-Col Training (Block) X X X X

Block 6 SRLS Pretest (Block) X X X X X X

Stepwise

Blocks

Involvement Student Orgs

X X X X X

Involvement in Community

Orgs

X

Breadth of Involvement (X)

College Leadership Role X

Community Leadership Role

Short-Term Training

Moderate-Term Training

Long-Term Training

X

Total R 2

.337 .245 .248 .193 .254 .299

Note: X = Significant with a positive relationship; (X) = Significant with a

negative relationship; for a block, all variables within the block must be negative

to have this notation. Some blocks that are not noted as negative may contain

some negative variables, but not all

Discussion of Findings

Discussion, Implications, and Future Research

The small amount of total variance for both men and women explained by the

environmental variables in the study demonstrates that college environmental

variables do not contribute substantially to development the individual values of

socially responsible leadership. Because the individual values of leadership tend

to be the more foundational leadership capacities (Bennis, 1989; Goleman, et al.;

Kegan, 1982; Komives, et al., 2005), it could be that these values are a more

stable part of self that do not experience much change. This is demonstrated in the

outcome scores and amount of variance explained. The environmental variables

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of the study were stronger predictors for consciousness of self, which had the

lowest mean scores, than for commitment, which had the highest mean scores of

the three outcomes.

This low amount of variance explained tended to be more salient for men. For two

of the three outcomes, consciousness of self and congruence, the regression

explained more of the variance for women than for men, suggesting that the

predictors used in the regression were more relevant for women than men. This

could be because women may be more intentional about their leadership

development and may seek out opportunities to develop their leadership skills.

Guido-DiBrito and Batchelor (1988) discuss that some leadership opportunities

may not be as accessible to women as they are to men and emphasize the

importance of women seeking out leadership positions and the need to encourage

female student to reach their full potential in leadership-enhancing environments.

A salient finding was involvement in student organizations being the

environmental variable explaining the most variance in outcome measures for

each outcome with the exception of congruence for men. This reflects Astin’s

(1993) finding that for the outcome measure of leadership, student-student

interaction, student-faculty interaction, fraternity/sorority membership, intramural

sports, and volunteer work, which can all be aspects of student organization

involvement, were found as significant experiences. It also reflects Astin’s

conclusion that student clubs and organizations and fraternity and sorority

membership positively influenced growth in leadership abilities.

Involvement in student organizations as a key experience is also consistent with

Byer’s (1988) finding that student organization involvement contributes to a

greater sense of responsibility which reflects commitment. It is also consistent

with Cooper’s (1994) and his colleagues study which indicated that those students

who were involved in student organizations in comparison with those who were

not demonstrated higher scores in leadership outcomes including developing

purpose. This reflects the outcome measures of commitment and consciousness of

self. Interestingly, this overall finding of student organization involvement is not

in line with Dugan’s (2006b) study which resulted in student organization

membership not contributing to any of the three outcomes. This contradiction

could reflect different ways in which involvement in student organizations was

measured or campus context differences and can be further explored in future

research.

Holding a formal leadership role in a college organization was significant for

women’s consciousness of self. Increased self-awareness and increased selfesteem,

which reflects consciousness of self, were significant outcomes from

Romano’s (1996) study of female students holding formal leadership roles. Dugan

(2006b) also identified formal leadership roles as a significant variable but instead

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for commitment. Similarly, another study identified holding a leadership role as

significant for White men’s, White women’s, and Black women’s leadership

ability (Kezar, 2000). The finding from the current study that holding a formal

leadership role is a significant experience for women reflects findings from other

studies and could indicate that experiential opportunities such as engaging in a

leadership role can help students learn more about themselves as individuals.

Short, moderate, and long-term leadership training and education experiences did

not emerge as significant experiences for any of the outcome measures, thereby

indicating that the programs do not significantly contribute to the individual

values of the model for men or women. This is not consistent with other studies

on leadership training programs that identify a number of different leadership

outcomes as a result of participation in such programs (Cress et al., 2001;

DiPaolo, 2002; Zimmerman & Burkhardt, 1999) and Kezar & Moriarty’s (2000)

finding that leadership courses were the most significant experience predicting

leadership ability. However, some of these studies did not focus specifically on

individual aspects of leadership.

When examining the extent to which leadership training and education

experiences contribute to the outcome scores in the current study, a pattern

emerged that each of the environmental variables had low means and low

standard deviations (see Table 5), indicating that the participants in the study had

very little experience with these programs. This pattern reflected scores that are

not normally distributed; these low participant numbers could help explain the

lack of or low significance of the relationships. Although there were some

significant findings, the way in which this form of involvement was measured and

the low means could have prevented other significant findings from emerging. In

addition to this limitation, it is important to note that many of the leadership

training and education experiences may not emphasize the individual values of

socially responsible leadership. It could be that if those experiences were more

intentionally focused on encompassing such values, the environmental variables

of leadership education and training would be more significant.

Involvement in community organizations was a significant variable for women’s

consciousness of self, and holding a leadership role in a community organization

was a significant predictor for women’s commitment. This reflects the role of

community involvement and leadership on women’s individual aspects of socially

responsible leadership. Community involvement and community leadership roles

were not significant for men. Community service can be included in the variable

of community involvement, and has been noted in other studies as a variable that

is significant in students’ leadership development (Dugan, 2006b; Vari, 2005).

Another explanation of this finding can relate to the more community or grouporiented,

also referred to as relational and transformational, leadership practices of

women as compared to men (Eagly, Johannesen-Schmidt, & van Engen, 2003;

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Eagly, Karau, & Makhijani, 1995; Romano, 1996; Vari, 2005). The nature of

community involvement as depicted in this study emphasized group experiences,

such as religious groups, community service organizations, and PTA. The nature

of group involvement may be a more significant experience for women than men

as it relates to transformational or relational leadership.

While involvement in student organizations emerged as a significant experience

for men across the three outcomes, breadth of involvement, which was measured

by the number of type of organizations in which one was involved, was negatively

related to the outcome of commitment for men. This makes logical sense in that

the larger the number of types of involvements, the less commitment a participant

can devote to a particular organization. One of the original items of the SRLS

(Tyree, 1998) was “I find myself involved in many different things,” which is an

item that was reverse scored for the outcome of commitment. Although not

included in SRLS-R2 in order to reduce the length of the survey, this item reflects

that involvement in many different areas, such as many different types of

organizations, is negatively related to commitment. Additional research on why

this variable was only significant for men and not for women would be interesting

to further explore. It may, for example, relate to the types of organizations that

men may be more likely to be involved with than women.

Short-term, moderate-term, and long-term leadership training and education

programs did not significantly contribute to the outcomes of this study. This is

consistent with Dugan’s (2006b) finding that formal leadership programming was

not a significant variable for the individual values of the SCM. It would be worth

exploring who this may be the case; perhaps students who opt into leadership

training and education programs have already developed a strong sense of the

individual values of this model, perhaps instead developing some of the group or

community values of the model.

Limitations

One limitation of the study is that women, White students, and upperclassmen

were slightly over represented among the responders. The findings could be more

heavily reflective of these populations. The study also does not include all

possible variables that could influence the outcomes of the study. For example,

the I-E-O design does not take into account personal characteristics such as

personality, which could also play a key role in these outcomes. Additionally, the

design only includes select environmental variables as opposed to all variables

thought to contribute to the variance. There could be other key environmental

variables contributing to the outcomes, and the environmental variables in this

study could therefore be over emphasized since other environmental variables,

which could have explained some of the variance, were not entered into the

regression model.

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It should also be noted that some of the environmental items in the instrument,

such as the different types of leadership programs, could have been unclear or

unfamiliar for respondents especially those who may not have much experience in

those areas. Since the survey responses were self-reported there could be some

error. For example, perceptions of a high level of involvement for one participant

in the study may look very different from another participant’s idea of a high level

of involvement. Similarly, although the leadership education and training

programs were defined in the instrument as differentiated by program length and

intensity (short, moderate, and long-term), the characteristics and components of

the programs could be unclear. Additionally, as was mentioned in the results, the

low mean scores of these variables are a limitation in the regression design

because the scores are not normally distributed which could affect the regression

analyses outputs. Additional research should examine more intently these

environmental variables, perhaps with a sample made up of students who have

experienced a range of different types and intensities of involvement. Last, it is

important to note that these findings are from a single campus and may not be

generalizable to different campus contexts.

Implications for Practice

The finding of involvement in student organizations being a consistently

significant environmental variable (with the exception of congruence for men)

supports developing and encouraging student involvement opportunities such as

student organizations, living learning programs, and other experiences that

include a group or team context.

The influence of community organization involvement and holding a formal role

in a community organization on women is also worth addressing. This finding

supports student affairs practitioners and faculty promoting experiences in the

larger community off campus. Programs and services such as service learning

experiences and internships can help promote community involvement.

Expanding these intentional connections to the larger community, or perhaps even

globally, can further enhance the leadership development of women students.

The finding that leadership training and education programs were not significant

predictors of the outcomes warrants the examination of components and learning

outcomes of leadership programs. Perhaps the individual values of the SCM

included in this study are not being addressed appropriately, or as was previously

suggested, perhaps the students who choose to be involved in such programs

already have a strong sense of the individual values and will develop other values

through the involvement. If the individual values of the SCM are key learning

outcomes of a leadership program, leadership educators may want to consider

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identifying other opportunities, perhaps by requiring student organization

involvement, to better address these intended values.

Findings from this study suggest that colleges should consider providing a variety

of opportunities for students to gain experiences on campus and in the larger

community. As was found in this study, different experiences can significantly

contribute to the different outcomes for men and women, suggesting that different

opportunities should be available. Additionally, universities should continue to

support co-curricular involvement through supporting student organizations with

ample resources. Student affairs practitioners and leadership educators should not

only help provide these opportunities, but also be proactive in promoting them.

Future Research

Building from the findings of this study, there are some suggested areas for

further research. A more in-depth examination of the environmental variables in

this study and examination of other environmental variables such as mentoring

relationships, living on campus, or service learning would contribute to a great

understanding of college environments and the role they play in contributing to

socially responsible leadership outcomes. For example, this study warrants

additional research in characteristics of student organization involvement and

types or characteristics of student organizations that contribute to the leadership

outcomes.

This research is perhaps the first I-E-O design that includes off-campus and

community involvement. Since involvement in community organizations and

holding a leadership role in a community organization were significant variables

for female participants, this is an area that is worth exploring when studying

college student involvement. The modified I-E-O design used in this study

facilitates such exploration.

Last, to better understand the role of the environmental variables in this study on

the leadership outcomes, it may be helpful to conduct longitudinal research to

explore the effect of different college environmental factors and leadership

outcome measures over time. For example, it could be helpful to understand

which of the experiences provide more opportunity for development and growth

over time or which outcomes show more change over time due to different

experiences. This could help provide a more in-depth examination of the

experiences and the role they play in developing socially responsible leadership.

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Conclusion

As colleges and universities continue to emphasize the importance of leadership

development of college student and as the need for assessment and accountability

grows (CAS, 2006: Roberts & Ullom, 1990), there is a great need to understand

students’ leadership development and the experiences that contribute to the

outcomes of leadership development. The current study examined the ways in

which co-curricular involvement, holding a formal leadership role, and

participation leadership training and education programs contribute to college

men and women’s leadership outcomes specifically on the individual values of

the SCM. Involvement in student organizations appears to be a key experience in

developing the individual values of leadership and community involvement

appeared important for college women. Engaging with peers and others in

organizational settings provides an opportunity to examine self in the context of

others and promotes self development.

An understanding of self, commitment to one’s work and values, and congruence

and authenticity help provide the foundation from which leadership for social

change can take place (HERI, 1996). This study helped provide insight into this

topic, and future research will continue to contribute to the development of

college students and the greater society.

Leadership Reconsidered, a report focusing on higher education and social

change, states that “a major problem with contemporary civic life in America is

that too few of our citizens are actively engaged in efforts to effect positive social

change” (cited in Astin & Astin, 2000, p. 2). It is the role of leadership educators

to help provide opportunities for, develop, and empower students to engage in and

be effective in leadership contributing to positive social change.

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(2005). Developing a leadership identity: A grounded theory. Journal of

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Roberts, D. C. (1997). The changing look of leadership programs. Concepts &

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Biographies

Paige Haber is an Instructor for the undergraduate Leadership Minor at the

University of San Diego where she is also pursuing a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies.

Paige was an original member of the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership and

is author of the chapter “Structure, Design, and Models of Student Leadership

Programs” in The Handbook for Student Leadership Programs. She is faculty for

The LeaderShape Institute and is involved with college student leadership

initiatives through College Student Educators International (ACPA) and the

International Leadership Association.

Susan R. Komives is a Professor of College Student Personnel in the Counseling

and Personnel Services Department at the University of Maryland. Co-founder of

the National Clearinghouse for Leadership Programs, she is co-principal

investigator of the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership. Susan has authored

and edited many books including Exploring Leadership: For College Students

Who Want to Make a Difference and The Handbook for Student Leadership

Programs. She was also a member of the ensemble that developed the Social

Change Model of Leadership.

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Evaluating a College Leadership Course: What do

Students Learn in a Leadership Course with a Service-

Learning Component and How Deeply do They Learn It?

Valerie I. Sessa

Associate Professor

Dickson Hall Room 237

Montclair State University

Montclair, New Jersey

sessav@mail.montclair.edu

Cristina Matos

Metrus Group

Courtney A. Hopkins

Montclair State University

Montclair, New Jersey

A previous version of this paper was presented at the Annual Meeting of the

Academy of Management, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Thank you to Heather

Brown, Andrea Scaramelli, and Erin McKinney-Props for their assistance in

coding along with a special thanks to Dr. Patti Clayton for her guidance in

training our Subject Matter Experts as well as her comments on a previous

version of this article.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to evaluate final projects in a freshman leadership

course (combining grounding in leadership theories with a service-learning

component) to determine what students learned about leadership, themselves as

developing leaders, and leading in the civic community, and how deeply they

learned these concepts. Students found situational leadership theories, team

leadership theories, and leadership principles (Drath, 2001) most relevant to their

experiences. Personally, students learned about themselves as individuals, leaders,

team members, and community members. Civically, students learned how to

apply leadership theories, work in teams, and about the community as a system. In

terms of depth of learning, based on Bloom’s (1956) taxonomy, students were

able to identify, describe, and apply concepts and to some extent analyze and

synthesize them. These findings suggest that using service learning to help

students learn about both the theory and practice of leadership is a viable

alternative.

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Introduction and Purpose

Today’s organizations are seeking college graduates with leadership skills and are

finding the students deficient (Casper-Lott & Barrington, 2006). Those in higher

education are beginning to realize that their institutions are now expected to play

a major role in shaping the future of leadership development in today’s society.

Colleges and universities across the nation have responded to this realization by

providing their students with leadership courses designed to develop (in varying

degrees) students’ formal knowledge about leadership, as well as to develop the

students as leaders. These leadership courses are growing in popularity.

Numerous colleges and universities across the nation are offering courses for

credit, and curricular and co-curricular programs on leadership. In particular,

leadership courses are now part of nearly every business school’s curriculum in

the country (Doha, 2003).

The proliferation of these courses at the undergraduate level presumes that

colleges and universities are well equipped to undertake the mission of providing

training and education in leadership (Doh, 2003). However, there has been little

rigorous evaluation to date of available leadership courses to determine their

effectiveness, particularly in terms of what students are learning about leadership

and how deeply they are learning leadership. The purpose of this study is to begin

filling this gap by evaluating learnings in a freshman leadership course that

utilizes a service-learning pedagogy. Our hope is that as faculty begins to evaluate

their own curricula in this area and communicate their findings, universities can

develop or improve their own leadership development courses and programs,

students can be assured that they are receiving quality leadership development,

and organizations can begin meeting their needs. This call is shared with other

faculty who are beginning to evaluate and communicate information on their own

leadership development courses using a variety of different pedagogies (see

Blackwell, Cummins, Townsend, & Cummings, 2007; Barbuto, 2006; Goethe &

Moore, 2005; Stedman, Rutherford, & Roberts, 2006).

To carry out our evaluation, we posed two research questions. First, what do

students say they are learning in our leadership course utilizing service-learning in

terms of formal theories of leadership, about themselves as developing leaders,

and about leading in the civic arena? Such information would help us and other

instructors using service-learning pedagogy in their courses on leadership to gain

a better understanding of the types of learnings in which students are actually

engaging. Second, how deeply are they learning these concepts (Biggs, 1999;

Bloom, 1956; Rams den, 1992)? When examining depth of learning, we were

interested in determining the extent to which students could critically analyze the

leadership ideas to which they were being exposed, and whether they could link

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learning’s to themselves and to real life observations and practices and link their

observations and practices back to the theoretical learnings. This information

would help us and other instructors begin to critically assess the merit of servicelearning

pedagogy to teach leadership as well as give us tools for deepening

student learning.

Using Service-Learning to Help Students Learn about Leadership

Because the course we are evaluating uses service-learning as one of the main

pedagogies for helping students learn about leadership theory and its application,

we begin by describing why we used service-learning.

In learning about leadership theory, students are faced with a large, historical, and

confusing body of both academic and pop literatures that illustrates the

complexity of study, practice, and understanding of leadership. To date, no single

theory has been able to fully capture the essence of leadership, and many

available theories are disparate or even contradictory (Mello, 2003). For example,

theories have focused on the presumed leader’s traits, skills, and behaviors; on the

interplay between the leader and the follower; and, most recently on what is

accomplished rather than who is actually “doing” the leadership (Drath, 2001).

One way for students to grasp and interpret the complexity of leadership, as well

as draw from it in such a way as to help them develop as leaders, is to expose

students to experiences that allow them to learn about theories, try the theories out

or observe them in real life settings, and reflect on the interplay between formal

theory and their own practice; in particular, what are they learning about

leadership, what are they learning about themselves as leaders, and what are they

learning about practicing leadership in the civic arena. An alternative for allowing

students to do this is through an academic service-learning course. However, there

is currently little available information regarding the impact of academic servicelearning

on learning outcomes on leadership.

Service-learning, which combines academic study with community service, has

been growing dramatically in popularity (Campus Compact, 2003). In servicelearning

courses. students’ community service experiences are compatible with

and seamlessly integrated into the academic learning objectives of the course, in a

manner similar to traditional course requirements (Howard, 1998). What servicelearning

brings to the traditional classroom, one typically based on abstract

conceptualization of theoretical concepts and models, is experiential learning

(concrete experiences with the real world) and reflection (observation of own and

other’s experiences that tie together abstract conceptualization and concrete

experience) (Kolb, 1984). That is, student’s observations and experiences in the

community and reflections about their experiences are a medium for students to

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learn and demonstrate their knowledge and are as pivotal to the student’s

academic learning as class lectures, library research, writing research papers, and

taking exams.

There is a growing body of research demonstrating that service-learning

contributes to the civic, personal, and academic development of students (see

Madsen, 2006, for a brief review). In terms of civic development, students

participating in service-learning demonstrate increased political awareness,

community engagement and civic action, social justice attitudes, and intentions to

participate in future community service (see McCarthy & Tucker, 2002; Moely,

Mercer, Ilustre, Miron, & McFarland, 2002; Simons & Cleary, 2006). In terms of

personal development students participating in service- learning demonstrate

increases in self-efficacy, interpersonal skills, self-rated leadership activities (see

Astin, Vogelgesang, Ikeda, & Yee, 2000; Moely et al., 2002). Service-learning

also facilitates academic development, and has also been linked to better writing

skills, increased critical thinking, increased motivation and contextual

understanding of course material, improved test performance, and GPA (Astin, et

al., 2000; Ash, Clayton, & Atkinson, 2005; Cohen & Kinsey, 1994; Markus,

Howard, & King, 1993).

In addition to its many benefits to students themselves, service-learning can be

practically incorporated into current undergraduate curriculums. There is a

growing body of literature describing the mechanics of implementing servicelearning

in a broad spectrum of courses. For example, the American Association

of Higher Education has a series of 18 monographs focusing on why and how

service-learning can be implemented in a specific discipline.

Academic Service-learning and Leadership Courses

As yet, little is known specifically about how service-learning can be

implemented in leadership courses and its impact on learning outcomes of

leadership courses. For example, Middleton (2005) examined charismatic

leadership emergence in students participating in a service-learning leadership

course. Other available studies have looked at the impact of service-learning on

certain leadership concepts such as interpersonal skills, ethics, teamwork, and

decision-making (Astin et al., 2000; Dumas 2002; Friedman 1996; Moely, et al.,

2002; Vogelgesang & Astin, 2000); however, the courses included in these

studies have not been leadership courses per se. For example, Astin and

colleagues (2000) compared academic service-learning students within a variety

of courses and students who performed community service through settings other

than a course on a variety of abilities and skills, and found that in the leadership

arena, the outcomes between the two groups were the same. They concluded that

service-learning does not add to the students’ leadership abilities, but rather that

leadership growth occurs at the same rate in both community service and

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academic service-learning. One explanation proposed by Astin and colleagues is

that academic courses using service-learning tend to focus more on cognitive

skills and their development rather than on the development of leadership skills.

As the course discussed here is specifically focused on leadership theory and

application, this study begins to fill the evident void in the literature: What do

students learn about leadership in a leadership course that utilizes service-learning

pedagogy? In this study, we assessed the effectiveness of a service-learning

leadership course using student final projects based on written reflections (see

Eyler, 2002; Eyler & Giles, 1999; Roberts, 2008; Stedman, et al., 2006). These

reflections were designed to allow students to demonstrate academic learnings on

leadership as well as outcomes with respect to student personal growth as leaders,

and leadership practice in the civic arena.

Design of the Leadership Course: Integrating Theory, Service, and

Reflection

This study was conducted in eight courses with four professors across two

semesters, fall of 2005 and fall of 2006. All used the same leadership course, the

same readings, similar syllabi, and a similar sample of students. This leadership

course was designed to allow students to begin to understand and articulate their

own implicit theories of leadership and develop their own leadership styles. While

receiving a grounding in historical and contemporary psychological theories on

leadership, students practiced (and observed others’) leadership through

community service; assessed themselves based on theories, assessment

instruments, and behaviors during their community service and other relevant

activities; and, reflected on the connections they were seeing between the formal

theories, their observation of themselves and others during community service,

and their assessment of themselves. In terms of grounding, students were exposed

to leadership research and thought in order to assist them in broadly

understanding what constitutes leadership from a variety of psychological

perspectives including traits, skills, style, situational, contingency, path-goal,

leader-member exchange, transformational, team leadership, social change

theories, and leadership tasks and principles (Drath, 2001; Komives, Lucas, &

McMahon, 1998; Northouse, 2003). Students developed, gathered, and received

information and data in a variety of ways (readings, assessment instruments,

community service projects, and class projects) to begin assessing their own

leadership knowledge, skills, abilities, and characteristics to gain a better

understanding of themselves as leaders.

The learning objectives of the course were as follows. At the end of the course,

students were expected to be able to: (a) Explain and articulate three principles of

leadership (Personal dominance, Interpersonal Influence, Relational Dialogue)

(Drath, 2001) and psychological theories discussed in class that fit into each

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principle; (b) Identify their own leadership resources and capabilities using

assessments and reflection on behaviors in community service projects and other

relevant activities; and, (c) Articulate personal, civic, and leadership learnings

through critical reflection.

During the course of the semester, students were expected to complete 20 hours of

service (approximately two hours a week for 10 weeks). Students were given a

choice of service projects and times of service. During the first semester, projects

were grouped into three areas. The first was working with children. Specific

options included tutoring students at various nearby grade schools (in this option,

participants went to specific grade schools) and mentoring middle school students

(in this option, the middle school students were all brought to campus on a

specific day and participated in activities with their mentors). The second was

working with the elderly. Options here included teaching the elderly how to use

computers and visiting the elderly at a local nursing home. The third set of

options was for groups of students to develop their own service projects over the

course of the semester. During the second semester, all projects involved working

with children in a variety of ways, including after-school programs, tutoring, and

mentoring for children from grades one through eight.

Format of the leadership class and the written reflections were consistent across

courses and professors in both semesters. There were two class sessions per week.

One class session was devoted to discussing a leadership theory and special

topics. Theories included: traits, skills, style, situational, path/goal,

transformational, social change, team leadership, and a discussion of Drath’s

(2001) principles of leadership as a meta-theory for all the theories discussed.

Special topics included: recognizing leadership, what is leadership, values and

ethics, gender and leadership, and cross cultural leadership. The other class

session was devoted to students reflecting on their experiences and course content

in order to learn about leadership, about themselves, and about leadership in the

civic arena. This involved either the class as a whole or division of the class into

groups which discussed and reported out to the class. In addition, students wrote

weekly reflections based on similar topics.

We were guided in developing our class, group, and written reflections based on

the work of Ash and her colleagues (Ash & Clayton, 2004; Ash, Clayton, &

Moses, 2004 draft). Each reflection followed the DEAL model in which students

were asked to: describe in Detail what happened in the weekly service-learning

session, Examine their experience, and Articulate their Learnings. Reflections on

the service-learning varied weekly regarding whether they concentrated on

personal learning (introduced first), leadership learnings (introduced second), and

civic learnings (introduced third). Students were guided in their reflections (both

during class time and written) using prompts to help them work through each step

(see Appendix 1 for sample prompts from the DEAL model).

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Leadership reflections were used to help students explore and articulate in depth

how the experiences during the service-learning informed their leadership

learning and how their leadership learning informed their practice and observation

during community service. Students considered where and how theories and

specific course concepts emerged in the community organization and how those

concepts differed in the community as compared to the text, lecture, or class

discussion. The primary goals of reflection in this category were for the students

to learn more about the course material, to see new nuances and complexities of

theories and special topics that they had not seen previously, and to consider both

how theory can best be used in practice and how practice can best inform theory

(Ash & Clayton, 2004; Ash, Clayton, & Moses, 2004 draft). The aim is for the

student to become a scholar who is engaged in a process of learning, who thinks

from the perspective of leadership theory, and who purposefully uses leadership

learning for his or her service projects.

Personal reflections were used to help students explore and articulate in depth

what their experiences during the service-learning told them about themselves and

the persons/leaders they were becoming. They considered their feelings,

behaviors, personal challenges, assumptions, and so on. The primary goal of

reflection in this category was for students to learn more about themselves as

leaders and consider what changes, if any, they wanted to make (Ash & Clayton,

2004; Ash, Clayton, & Moses, 2004 draft). The concept behind these personal

reflections was that each student is an individual who is engaged in a lifelong

process of intentional personal growth.

Civic reflections were used to help students explore and articulate in depth what

the experiences during service-learning tell them about how people act as part of

larger processes to generate change in the world. The primary goal of reflection in

this category was for the student to take a systemic perspective, beginning to

critically examine his or her role as an agent of change within the community and

deciding what roles they want to play in this arena (Ash & Clayton, 2004; Ash,

Clayton, & Moses, 2004 draft).

Again, each weekly reflection was slightly different. For example, early

reflections were primarily focused on helping students Describe what happened in

their service-learning project that week. Next Examining the experience was

added, and finally Articulating Learnings were added. In addition, students

typically concentrated on one or two areas of personal, leadership, and civic

topics each week rather than all three. In their final three reflections, they began to

articulate their learnings in depth. Students were asked to critically reflect on one

leadership learning, one personal learning, and one civic learning. These

articulated learnings served as rough drafts for their final paper in which they

articulated one thing they had learned about leadership, one thing they had

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learned about themselves as leaders, and one thing they had learned about leading

in the civic arena over the course of the semester. Between this draft and the final

paper, students received personalized feedback and handouts with descriptions of

learning depth categories. This study used the final articulated learnings to

determine what students said they learned as a result of the course and the service

learning in terms of their personal learning, their leadership learning, and their

civic learning, and how deeply they learned this material (see Appendix 2 for

guided reflections for final papers and Appendix 3 for learning depth rubrics).

Finally, students participated in a number of other activities, including a weekly

essay quiz on the leadership theory reading; a variety of individual assessments

(MBTI and others); individual assignments such as coming up with their own

symbol of leadership; their leadership timeline; a short paper summarizing what

they we learning about themselves as leaders based on their instrument

assessments; a group assignment analyzing the leadership in a movie; and, an

individual paper outlining how leadership occurred in their group.

Methods

Assessing the Impact of Academic Service Learning and Reflection on

Leadership Outcomes

Participants

Samples were taken from the body of first semester freshmen at a large eastern

teaching university enrolled in the Emerging Leaders Learning Community

during the Fall 2005 (semester 1) and Fall 2006 (semester 2) semesters. During

the fall of 2005 a total of 95 students were registered in the learning community

and were divided into four classes. Approximately one-third of the students were

Economic Opportunity Fund (EOF) students who did not have the traditional

criteria needed to be regularly admitted to the university but showed promise and

came from an economically or environmentally disadvantaged situation. Onethird

were presidential scholars who also did not have the traditional criteria to be

regularly admitted to the university but showed promise and had significant

leadership experience in their community, and one-third were regularly admitted

students. All students were first semester freshmen between 17 and 19 years old.

Forty-three percent of the students were Caucasian, 32% were African Americans,

17% were Hispanics and 6% were Asians. Of the 95 students, 63 consented to

participate in this study. Of those, we received the completed coursework

necessary for inclusion in the study from 30 students for a total inclusion rate of

approximately 30%. In one course several students who had originally agreed to

participate elected to do an alternative final paper and in another course section

not all of the final papers were kept by the professor.

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During the fall of 2006, a total of 80 students were registered in the learning

community and were divided into four classes. Like the students in semester 1,

approximately one-third were EOF students, one-third were presidential scholars,

and one-third were regular-admit students. Of the 80 students, 68 consented to

participate in this study. Of these, we received 58 final reflection papers for a total

inclusion rate of approximately 72.5%.

Procedures

Coding

Coding procedures were similar for both semesters. Coding of the final reflection

paper was done in two stages. During stage 1, subject matter experts (SMEs)

coded content of the reflections to determine what students learned academically,

personally, and civically. During stage 2, SMEs coded depth of learning. The

following is a more in depth description of each stage of coding.

Semester 1 (Fall of 2005)

Stage 1: Content Coding. The second author of this paper along with two other

SMEs began with coding the personal learning reflections, with the first author

managing the process. We initially read one-half of what would become the total

number of personal reflections. We were guided by the reflection questions to see

which themes arose. Individually we wrote down the themes that appeared from

the personal reflections. The three SMEs and the first author met as a group. We

discussed and agreed upon a set of themes. This entailed going through several of

the essays in detail and making certain that the themes we found were similar. We

then categorized these themes into more general themes. Using the specific and

general themes we created a coding protocol. The reflections were then divided

between the three SMEs and each SME read two-thirds of the readings, with each

SME overlapping one-half of the readings with each of the other SMEs. We then

met to discuss our findings and code all of the reflections to consensus. To

determine reliability, Kappa scores were calculated and were high across all

coding categories (Fleiss, 1981). Later, additional personal learning reflections

were added and they were coded by only one SME. Our procedure with the

leadership learning reflections followed the same procedure. In terms of

reliability, Kappa scores were calculated and were also found to be high across all

coding categories in leadership.

Coding the civic learning reflections proceeded a little differently from coding the

personal and leadership learnings. Although we began coding in the same manner,

we found that students did not reflect on the reflection questions as closely as they

had with the personal and leadership reflection questions. We individually reread

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the civic learnings and looked for general themes that arose. The three SMEs then

met as a group, with the first author facilitating. We discussed and agreed upon a

set of themes. This entailed going through several of the essays in detail and

making certain the themes that were being found were similar. We then proceeded

in a similar procedure as with the personal and leadership learnings. Again, in

terms of reliability, Kappa scores were calculated and found to be high across all

coding categories.

Stage 2: Depth of Learning Coding. To prepare for the next stage of coding,

SMEs were trained by Patti Clayton of North Carolina State University. Clayton

and others (see Ash & Clayton, 2004; Ash, Clayton, & Atkinson, 2005) have

developed two rubrics to evaluate the quality of thinking demonstrated in the

written reflection: learning depth and critical thinking. In this study, we included

learning depth.

Using Bloom’s taxonomy (1956), Ash and colleagues (2004 draft) developed a

rubric for measuring depth of learning in terms of understanding course materials,

personal growth, and civic engagement. Because this study was part of a larger

study that included coding students’ reflections over time and included students in

three different courses, the first author and another SME completed the coding in

the following manner. For the leadership learning, the entire reflection was read.

If the student clearly identified and described a concept, the student received a 1.

If not, the student received a 0 and no further coding was done. If the student

received a 1, the document was analyzed to determine if the student clearly

applied the concept in the context of the service learning. If so, a 2 was assigned.

If not, the code was left as a 1 and no further coding ensued. If a 2 was given, the

document was analyzed to determine if the student analyzed and synthesized the

concept. If so, a 3 was recorded, if not, the code was left a 2 and no further coding

ensued. Finally, if the student received a 3, the document was analyzed to

determine if the student evaluated the concept. If so, a 4 was assigned, if not, the

code was left a 3. (1=identify and describe, 2=apply, 3=analyze and synthesize,

4=evaluate). We coded a number of academic reflections separately, met and

consensus coded. Because we were reading and coding so many reflections across

a variety of courses, we continued in this manner to ensure that we remained in

high agreement, coding a number of reflections then consensus coding before

moving to the next set. When finished with academic, we moved to personal, then

to civic. (See Appendix 3 for coding of academic (leadership), personal, and civic

depth of learning).

Semester 2 (Fall of 2006)

Stage 1: Content Coding. Content coding in the second semester proceeded in

almost exactly the same procedure as the first semester (fall of 2005) with the first

author and the third author as coders. Again, we were guided by the reflection

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questions to see which themes arose as well as using codes from the previous

semester. To determine reliability, Kappa scores were calculated and were high

across all coding categories in academic (leadership), personal, and civic

learnings (Fleiss, 1981).

Stage 2: Depth of Learning Coding. Coding for depth of learning proceeded in a

similar fashion to coding for depth of learning in semester 1, with one important

difference. The first and third authors, who did the coding, received updated

training by Clayton to use a similar Depth of Learning rubric with six levels rather

than four (1=identify, 2=describe, 3=apply, 4=analyze, 5=synthesize, and

6=evaluate).

Results

The results from the two semesters are provided below one after the other. As

service projects differed and depth of learning codes differed between the two

semesters, we did not combine the data.

Leadership Learning

Semester 1: What was Learned. This portion of the reflection involved what the

students said they learned about leadership. The students were asked to describe

one theory or concept they learned as a result of their coursework and servicelearning.

Twenty-seven of the 30 students completed this task. Nineteen of the

students stated one specific theory they learned and three mentioned one special

topic that they learned. However, a few mentioned more than one theory or

concept: Two mentioned two theories; two mentioned one theory and one special

topic; and, one mentioned one theory and two special topics. Theories mentioned

by these students included: situational theories (seven), the leadership principle of

relational dialogue (Drath, 2001) (six), path-goal theory (four), team leadership

(three), skills approach (three), trait theories (two) and transformational theory

(one). Special topics mentioned by these students included ethics in leadership,

communication, patience, and personality.

Semester 2: What was Learned. Forty-nine of the 58 students completed this task.

Thirty-two of the students stated a theory and 10 mentioned a special topic. Eight

of the students mentioned more than one theory or special topic. Theories

mentioned by these students included: Situational theory (12), team leadership

(including social change theory, Komives, et al., 1998) (nine), some component of

Drath’s theory (2001) (four), path-goal theory (three), transformational theory

(two), style leadership (one), and that alternate theories work depending on the

situation (one). Special topics mentioned by these students included the need for

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adaptability (four), diversity, importance of being organized, importance of

confidence, and importance of serving followers.

Below are some examples of student leadership learnings. The first is a student

learning about team leadership. The other is about a student better understanding

of the topic of ethics and leadership:

With most situations that I’ve been in, there has always been one

person who’s stepped up to the plate and named themselves the

leader of a specific project, and I admit that I’ve done that too.

However, I never realized that not only can more than one person

be a leader in a certain situation, but nine times out of ten it proves

to be more effective that way because you have different people

with different abilities and skills that can lead you through

anything.

I always got very confused about what makes a good leader. I

always felt that Hitler was a fabulous leader, but how can a leader

be so evil?...Understanding leadership…changes my views on

leadership in general. I now understand that someone can be a

fabulous leader, follow all the guidelines listed in the book, and

really get a committed group of followers, while at the same time

be unethical and evil. Understanding this concept helped me

understand the separation between someone’s moral character and

their leadership ability.

Semester 1: Depth of Learning. After analyzing for what they learned, we

looked for how deeply they learned the leadership theory or concept they

described. In the first semester, as this portion of the study was included in

a different data set, only 22 of the available 30 were coded. Of these 22,

the average depth of learning score was 1.91 (sd=1.10) out of 4. In terms

of percentages, 13.6% received a zero (did not achieve any learning

objectives), 13.6% received a one (clearly identified and described a

leadership concept), 45.5 % received a two (clearly applied the concept),

22.7% received a three (clearly analyzed and synthesized the concept), and

4.5% received a four (clearly evaluated the concept).

Semester 2: Depth of Learning. Of the 50 analyzed, the average depth of learning

score was 3.24 (sd=1.79). In terms of percentages, 10% received a zero (did not

achieve any learning objectives), 6% received a one (clearly identified a

leadership concept), 14% received a two (clearly described the concept), 46%

received a three (clearly applied the concept), 2% received a four (clearly

analyzed the concept), and 22% received a five (clearly synthesized the concept).

No students clearly evaluated the concept.

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Below is an example of a student who is attempting to analyze and synthesize

their understanding of situational leadership:

On one specific occasion I was a leader of a meeting. I realized

quickly where the members of the group were on the development

continuum. Diagnosing the group is part of the situational

approach. According to my diagnoses, I would have to develop and

adapt my leadership style. During the meeting, I felt that I was

effective at adapting my leadership style. Unfortunately, the book

does not give me specific guidelines to follow after I pick my

leadership style. For instance, at the meeting I followed the model

for situational approach which suggested that I should use high

directive—low supportive style. I did use this style, but who is to

say that how much direction is enough? Since the approach uses

unclear conceptualization, I felt it hard to follow the model. This is

because my leadership style changed various times in the same

setting. Although I primarily used the first leadership style,

different people in the group needed different styles. Ultimately I

felt that I used all of the leadership styles and incorporated my own

perspective that was not clearly stated in the book.

This student then attempts to evaluate the theory. However, she does not

evaluate the theory based on her practice (how to handle different people

with different styles, etc.), but rather repeats the weaknesses that she has

read in the textbook:

The material in the book should be revised by continuing more

studies. In these studies, the researchers should consider more

demographic characteristics between the leader and the

subordinate. Another key aspect would be to clarify the

conceptualization of the leadership model. One last revision should

be to understand why subordinates start off motivated and then end

up losing motivation. These revisions will help me understand the

approach much better.

Personal Learning

Semester 1: What was Learned. This portion of the reflection involved what the

students said they learned personally. Of the 30 students who participated in this

study, 24 described a personal characteristic that they learned during their servicelearning.

Of these, 10 stated that they learned an individual characteristic about

themselves such as they were brave, shy, or tended to be controlling. Seven

learned about themselves as a community member, for example, they stated a

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desire to help others, their love of people, or that their sense of awareness or

perspective of the community had increased. Four learned more about themselves

as a leader (e.g., their ability to switch from a leadership role to a follower role, or

more about their leadership style). And, three learned more about themselves as a

team member (e.g., how to work well with others or that they had a tendency to

take on the bulk of the work).

Second semester: What was Learned. Fifty students completed this task. Ten of

these students listed more than one characteristic or were unclear regarding the

personal characteristic they were discussing. Sixteen learned about themselves as

individuals, including such characteristics as patience (five), tolerance and openmindedness

(five), and optimism/positivity (two). Four learned about themselves

as community members including learning about their own kindness and

generosity and their ability to work with children. Eighteen learned about

themselves as leaders, including such characteristics as whether and when they

should step up or wait for others to step up (11) and, that they were a natural born

leader (four). Finally, two learned about themselves as team players. Here are a

few examples of what students said they learned:

Over the past month of doing service, I have discovered that I am a

supportive leader. Thinking back on the type of leadership setting I

was in, I noticed that I was the supporter of the group. Our group

was made of all leaders and not everyone could be in control at the

same time. For some of my team members, this was a struggle

because they did not want to just sit back and learn from each

other. For some it was wanting to show dominance and for others

it was a lack of communication. I honestly went in thinking that I

would be the one planning events, but when that did not happen, I

was okay with it. I took the passenger seat and assisted in all the

ways I knew.

Looking over this past semester of service-learning, I have learned

many interesting facts about myself and my leadership style. I

already know when I began the process that I walk into every

project trying very hard to make friends with everyone in the group

and I take on the bulk of the work. Looking more critically, I can

now see that I take on the bulk of the work for two reasons. One

being that I hope if I take on anything hard, the rest of the group

members can relax more and not have to be under as much

pressure, the other reason is that I am controlling and when things

are important to me, I like to do them myself, because then I can be

assured of the outcome.

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Semester 1: Depth of Learning. Depth of learning describes how deeply

they learned their specific personal characteristic. In the first semester, as

this portion of the study was included in a different data set, 23 of the

available 30 were coded. Of these 23, the average depth of learning score

was 2.3 (sd=.80) out of four. In terms of percentages, 4.3% received a zero

(did not achieve any learning objectives), 4.3% received a one (clearly

identified and analyzed the concept), 47.8% received a two (clearly

applied their concept), 39.1% received a three (clearly analyzed and

synthesized the concept), and 4.3% received a four (clearly evaluated the

concept).

Semester 2: Depth of Learning. Of the 50, the average depth of learning score was

3.18 (sd=1.57). In terms of percentages, 10% received a zero (did not achieve any

learning objectives), 6% received a one (clearly identified a personal concept),

8% received a two (clearly described the concept), 58% received a three (clearly

applied the concept), 12% received a four (clearly analyzed the concept), and 6%

received a five (clearly synthesized the concept). No students evaluated the

concept.

Below is an example of a student analyzing and synthesizing an awareness of

personal charisma. In this quotation we find a reflection on the potential benefits:

A potential benefit would be experiencing more through others

instead of having to make mistakes myself. The more I am

charismatic, the easier it is for me to surround myself with people

and make friends. As I start to make friends, we can share

experiences, see what each person went through, whether painful

of pleasurable, and make the choices to learn from them or

experience it ourselves. Most of the time, if I know something is

wrong and someone shared their experience with me, I know to

learn through that without having to actually experience it. In

summary, I am able to put myself in other people’s shoes, feel

what they feel, and relate to their experience without having to go

through it all because of my charisma.

This student attempts to evaluate her strategies for personal growth, but

becomes very general and does not continue with her charisma theme nor

is she very detailed:

Over the long term, I see personal growth in relationships with

people, careers, and dealing with myself mentally. Now that I have

become aware of my ability to work with others, I can improve

present relationships and use this ability to create new relationships

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with people. I also know that my career should involve being

around people, specifically children…

Civic Learning

Semester 1: What was Learned. This portion of the reflection involved what

students said they learned civically. While 27 students completed their civic

learning reflections, only 24 of them articulated what they learned clearly enough

to be coded. Again, although the majority of the students (20) discussed one thing

they learned, several mentioned more than one (four).

Eleven of the students said they learned more about a specific leadership theory

and used that theory to approach their role in the civic arena and one student

mentioned three leadership theories). Of these, six of the students said that they

approached their service-learning using transformational theory; five approached

their service-learning using situational theory; and, two approached their servicelearning

using trait theories. Other theories were only mentioned once.

Six stated they learned more about a specific attitude and used that attitude to

approach their service-learning (of those one student stated three attitudes, two

stated two, and three stated one). Two stated they approached the service-learning

with a positive attitude; two approached the service learning with an open mind;

and, two stated they did everything they were asked to do.

Finally, some students stated that they learned more about a specific role with

which to approach their service-learning. Twelve of the students mentioned an

aspect of working as part of a team including the need for teamwork, working in

collaboration, and the need to take turns leading. Three students saw themselves

as a role model. Out of the 24 students coded, only one said the fulfillment of the

service learning was completed because of a requirement or grade.

Semester 2: What was Learned. Fifty students out of 58 completed this section;

however, eight listed more than one characteristic or were unclear. Responses

were grouped into two categories: self as a group member and understanding the

system and one’s role in it. Twenty-six students stated they learned something

about themselves as a group member, including collaboration and cooperation

(eight), working to benefit the group as a whole (seven), listening and respecting

others’ point of view (five), different people are good at different tasks (three),

communication (two), and importance of putting in one’s own input (one).

Sixteen stated they learned something about their role, including such items as

understanding the process and one’s role in it (six), responsibility, reliability, and

commitment (four), and importance of volunteering (two). Here is an example of

what a student said had been learned about leading in the civic arena:

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Each “service learning” client had different objectives for us to

understand, but they all had to do with being a leader and

leadership. As part of MSU’s presidential leadership program, this

client expected us to be good role models, always attend our

service learning program, attend learning community meetings,

and have good attitudes towards developing as leaders. In the

STARS program, the teachers depended on us to be leaders. This

client expected us, most importantly, to show up each week. They

also expected us to be positive, upbeat, motivational, set a good

example, and be good role models to the students. These students

expected us to help them with their homework, always be there if

they needed assistance, and to come to their level if needed. Also,

as time went on, they depended on us as role models and friends.

This was motivational for me because it really shows how being a

good, positive leader attracts the same type of followers. Since a

lot of these objectives involve a strong emphasis on morals and

values (good role model/set a good example/positive/upbeat/

motivational/come to level of others), I would have to say that I

undertook the transformational approach with respect to them. This

approach stresses that leaders need to understand and adapt to the

needs and motives of others. It also explains that certain leaders are

able to inspire followers to achieve great things. Transformational

leaders are recognized as change agents who are good role models,

who can create and articulate a clear vision for an organization,

who empower followers to achieve higher standards, and who act

in ways that make others want to trust them.

Semester 1: Depth of Learning. We then investigated how deeply the students

learned this civic approach. In the first semester, as this portion of the study was

included in a different data set, 23 of the available 30 were coded. Of these 23, the

average depth of learning score was 1.0 (sd=1.24) out of four. In terms of

percentages, 56.5% received a zero (did not achieve any learning objectives),

4.3% received a one (clearly identify and describe), 21.7% received a two (clearly

apply the concept), and 17.4% received a three (clearly analyzed and synthesized

the concept). No students evaluated the concept.

Semester 2: Depth of Learning. Of the 50 coded, the average depth of learning

score was 1.27 (sd=1.61). In terms of percentages, 56% received a zero (did not

achieve any learning objectives), 6% received a one (clearly identified a concept),

14% received a two (clearly described the concept), 16% received a three (clearly

applied the concept), and 8% received a four (clearly analyzed the concept). No

students synthesized or evaluated the concept.

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The individual in the above example was able to apply her approach, analyze and

synthesize. However, she did not evaluate her approach, but instead changed

direction and became very general:

In moving future action in the direction of long-term and

sustainable change, I would bring all of my learnings into an

organization, ready to share what I know with others. I would also

come into the atmosphere with a positive upbeat attitude and ready

to work hard. I would always carry with me my morals and values,

and be accepting of others. I would base my job on task and

relationship behaviors, and always act as a leader and good role

model…

Discussion

The purpose of this descriptive study was to begin to understand what students

learn during a leadership course that uses service-learning pedagogy as well as

determine how deeply the students are learning the various concepts. To

accomplish this, we coded final projects using critical reflections based on

service-learning projects collected during two semesters of a particular leadership

course. These reflections were coded both in terms of content and in terms of

depth of learning, using a depth-of-learning coding scheme developed by Ash and

colleagues (Ash et al., 2004 draft; Ash, et al., 2005).

In terms of leadership learning, students mentioned learning such theories as

situational leadership, team leadership, principles of leadership (Drath, 2001), and

path-goal theory. Less mentioned were transformational, skills, style, and trait

theories. None of the students mentioned other theories addressed in class

including: contingency models and leader member exchange theory. In addition,

they mentioned learning special topics such as the importance of ethics in

leadership and the importance of communication.

Drath (2001) suggests that there are three principles (ways of understanding) of

leadership: personal dominance (leadership is what the leader does), interpersonal

influence (leaders are influenced by their followers and the context), and

relational dialogue (leadership is the accomplishment of certain tasks and can

happen in a myriad of ways). Skills, style, trait, and to some extent

transformational theories are all directed at the leader (personal dominance).

Situational theory and path goal theory both fall under the principle of

interpersonal influence. Team leadership falls under the principle of relational

dialogue. Using this rubric and the theories themselves to frame student academic

learnings, student learnings reflect a fairly complicated view of leadership. They

understand that they need to analyze the context, understand the relationships they

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have with others, and act accordingly – be it as the leader or as a member of a

group doing leadership. These learnings are crucial for their future, either as

participating in leadership in organizations who more and more are relying on

teamwork or participating in civic activities that rely on collaborations among

multiple and diverse parties.

In terms of personal learning, students learned about themselves as individuals –

stating such concepts as patience, tolerance, or shyness. They learned about

themselves as community members including discovering a desire to help others

and their love of people, or how their sense of awareness of their community

increased. They learned about themselves as leaders. Here, they stated such things

as discovering the need to switch back and forth between being a leader and

follower or whether they should step up or wait for others to do so. And finally,

they learned about themselves as team members. Some indicated that they learned

how to work well with others, while others discovered that they tend to take on

the bulk of the work in a team project. Not only is learning about the self

important for growing as a leader, but it is also a desired outcome in a liberal

education. This study demonstrates that students are learning important lessons

and skills about themselves.

In terms of learning about how they approached and fit in the civic arena, students

spoke about a variety of possibilities, and most took this quite seriously (only one

mentioned participating in service-learning for the grade). In the first semester,

some spoke about specific leadership theories that helped them approach the

situation such as transformational theory, situational theory, and trait theory. They

learned to work as part of a team. And, they learned more about working within a

larger system and their roles within that system. Working in organizations is

ubiquitous in this society. Students indicated learning realistic lessons about how

work actually happens in organizations and the scope and limits of the roles they

took on.

How deeply did they take this learning? In both Bloom’s taxonomy (1956) and

Ash and colleagues (Ash, et al., 2004 draft; Ash, et al., 2005) revision, the levels

are ordered in degree of difficulty. An important premise of Bloom’s taxonomy is

that each level must be mastered before progressing to the next. Bloom’s

taxonomy provides a structure that enabled Ash and colleagues to construct a

checklist for the design of the coding of critical reflections. As such the levels

within the leadership, personal, and civic areas are levels of learning

development, and these levels increase in difficulty. In this course, the majority of

the students were able to apply their concepts in leadership and personal learning,

suggesting that they were able to identify and describe a concept, apply the

concept as it occurred in their service learning, and to some extent, analyze and

synthesize it. They tended not to be able to evaluate the concepts. In terms of

civic learning, many students were not able to achieve any learning objectives.

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A demonstration of effective learning could arguably cover all the levels. On the

other hand, perhaps expecting first semester freshman (two-thirds of which are

specially admitted) who are not only adjusting to college life, but are also being

exposed to a new (for them) pedagogical approach, to be able to fully evaluate

and analyze complex theories, topics, and ideas via the vehicle of service-learning

and critical reflections, is too high of an expectation. We argue that the depth in

which these first semester freshman students demonstrated learning in the

leadership and personal areas is actually satisfactory, with the expectation that as

they progress through additional years of college and additional service learning

courses, they can be expected to continue deepening their learning to a point

where they are able to fully analyze, synthesize, and evaluate concepts.

However, there is ample room for improvement in depth of learning in the course

as it currently stands, particularly in the area of civic learning. Learning about

leading in the civic area is perhaps the most complex of the three topics, and it is

given the least amount of attention during the course. Areas such as the design of

the service-learning project, the design of the reflection mechanisms, the extent to

which student capacity to learn this way is cultivated, and methods of feedback

can all be examined and modified to help students deepen their learning. For

example, in this course students were given reflection prompts to help them write

about their service-learning experiences: one rewrite with feedback and a

document describing learning depth. Ash and colleagues (Ash, et al., 2004 draft;

Ash, et al., 2005) also suggest the use of multiple rewrites, special sessions, and

online tutorials to help students learn how to write better reflections and deepen

their learning. Other possibilities include offering a progression of courses that

allow students to take their leadership learnings deeper and deeper over the course

of their tenure at the university rather than focusing on learning in one course.

However, we do conclude from these findings that service-learning is a viable

alternative for teaching leadership. In answer to our research questions: Our

student learnings were rich and varied. Students learned a number of leadership

theories and topics from the course content and they were able to experience and

observe leadership in a real-life setting through service-learning. They were able

to tie the theories they were learning to their experiences, and their experiences

helped facilitate their understanding of the concepts. In general, across all

categories, students seemed to find situational leadership models, team leadership,

and leadership principles most relevant to their experiences in their service

learning projects. They learned about working in and sharing leadership in teams.

They learned about working within a system. And they learned about themselves

as individuals, as leaders, as group members, and as community members. In

addition, their depth of learning (with the exception of civic learning) was quite

adequate for a course for first semester freshman.

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Limitations

There were three limitations to this study. The first limitation was the small

sample size. Data collection and analysis over additional semesters would yield a

better understanding of what students are learning in this course. In addition, with

a larger number of participants, we can begin to understand how different

learnings relate to different service-learning projects, for example do students

learn different things about leadership if they are working with children, with the

elderly, or designing their own community projects? We could also begin to

understand the impact of variables such as student demographics (e.g., year in

school) and different instructors on learning.

The second limitation of this study is that it was cross-sectional. We did not

follow up with our students over time. It would be useful to understand whether

these students were able to take their learnings from this course and continue to

apply and develop them during their tenure as students, or later as employees,

graduate students, and so forth. Previous research has found that the longer

students work on their leadership skills, the more skill and knowledge outcomes

are expected (Schefferet, 2007). Continued data collection over the course of

these students’ tenure in the university and beyond would yield a better

understanding of whether students were able to use the learnings of this course

and build on them in their lives.

The third limitation in this study was the lack of a comparison group utilizing a

different pedagogical approach. Some remaining questions include whether

students learned something different or better about leadership, about themselves

as leaders, and about the practice of leadership in the civic arena as a result of the

service learning and reflection. It is difficult to determine whether students

learned about leadership more deeply than they would by utilizing different

pedagogies. While we cannot answer these questions from the current study, our

findings suggest that service-learning is a useful pedagogy for learning about

leadership, learning about selves as leaders, and learning about leadership in the

civic arena.

Implications

Because organizations are continuously seeking college graduates with leadership

skills, this study sought to determine whether students can, in fact, learn about

leadership and about their own leadership qualities in a university setting as well

as whether service-learning can be a pedagogy for facilitating this learning. This

study is one of the first to explore using service-learning pedagogy to develop

leadership knowledge and practice. It demonstrates that students can meaningfully

grasp and interpret the complexities of leadership theories via service-learning

and reflection as well as draw from the course in such a way as to help them

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