Building Capacity through Student Leadership Development and Practices

Building Capacity through Student Leadership Development and Practices

Maria Martinez Witte (Auburn University, USA), Jane B. Teel (Auburn University, USA), Leslie A. Cordie (Auburn University, USA) and James E. Witte (Auburn University, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1049-9.ch003
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Student leadership programs are prominent within educational institutions and continue to be altered in order to incorporate emerging leadership concepts. This chapter provides an introduction to changing leadership variables that are affecting students. Also included is an overview of leadership development programs and research and relevant student leadership programs and research studies. Best practices for developing capacity and creating student leadership development experiences are provided as well as future trends in the field.
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Developing leaders is a primary tenant and focus in the field of higher education. Leadership development for students is an anticipated outcome for educational institutions and can be found in institutional missions and values. Student focused curriculum will most likely include leadership development concepts. Student leadership traits and characteristics can be developed or strengthened and can be cultivated in higher education institutional programs. There continues to be a research interest in student leadership in schools and community settings. Dempster and Lizzio (2007) investigated what younger individuals believed leadership was and why it was important. The interest in student leadership may be on the rise since there is a perceived shortage of individuals willing to take on leadership roles. There has been a decline of potential leaders in educational areas (Gannon, 2001; Gronn, 2007; MacBeath, 2006). In fields such as education, psychology, nursing, and pharmacy, professionalism refers to the incorporation of coursework, experiences, research, teaching, and professional development. A way to effectively enhance and deepen these experiences is through developing a student’s leadership skills. Kois, King, LaDuke, and Cook (2016) suggested recommendations for cultivating student leadership in professional psychology programs through mentorship, graduate training programs, enhancing diversity in leadership opportunities, and using a range of settings for student leadership experiences.

Membership in educational associations has also experienced a decline and organizations are being reshaped by powerful economic trends. Over the past 100 years, membership in an association has been a tradition as individuals join to support the mission, values, and efforts of the organization. Not all associations are facing a reduction in membership. Today, Facebook has over a billion members and is the world’s largest association and there is no cost to become a member (Kahan, 2013). Professional membership may be morphing into separate engaged actions in which individuals participate based on intentions and collective behaviors such as negotiating with policy makers, attending a live event, or tweeting en masse (Kahan, 2013).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Systemic Thinking: Thinking that reflects a flexible and adaptive environment that includes decisions by the group’s members.

Leadership Development: Activities that enhance the quality of leadership with an individual or an organization.

Millennials: Individuals born between the early 1980’s to the early 2000’s.

Hierarchical Thinking: Thinking that reflects a traditional top-down leadership with decisions being made by upper management levels.

Civic Participation: Individuals that become involved in processes and issues that affect the community.

Student Leadership: Students that serve in an influential position in a school or campus.

Digital Natives: Individuals that have interacted with digital technology from an early age and are comfortable with technology and digital language found in computers, phones, video games, and the internet.

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