Strategic Leadership: Developing 21st Century Citizens Who Invest Their Time, Talent, and Treasure in the Service of Others

Strategic Leadership: Developing 21st Century Citizens Who Invest Their Time, Talent, and Treasure in the Service of Others

Joshua H. Truitt (University of Central Florida, USA), Jarrad D. Plante (University of Central Florida, USA), Thomas D. Cox (University of Central Florida, USA) and Sandra L. Robinson (University of Central Florida, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1049-9.ch114


The pervasive effects of change leadership may be best illustrated by examining institutional engagement and student experience, two areas that directly affect alumni giving. Alumni donor participation may be understood by focusing on student experience and engagement, and higher education administrators can benefit from understanding the influence of alumni donor behavior through enriching college experiences. The study examines data of alumni giving at three different institutions in the southeastern United States to determine the impact of the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification and reclassification on the purposeful institutionalization of community engagement and service-learning. The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of the institutionalization of service-learning process, practical strategies for implementing system-wide change, and relate those practices to its influence on alumni donor behavior – information that are practical and highly useful that can facilitate positive changes for institutions.
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The societal value of higher education and the impact that institutions are making on students is under immense examination, as it has never been in recent time. In addition, leaders of institutions of higher education are under mounting pressure to ensure graduates possess the knowledge, skills, and citizenry to excel in 21st Century. It can be argued that perhaps one reason for this increasing pressure is how the community, with its various constituencies, has become involved to a much greater extent. Community engagement has a long-standing history in higher education (Burkhardt & Pasque, 2005), and has been used to instruct, guide and foster students who authentically engage their community and engage in service-learning opportunities. Pascarella and Terenzini (2005) found that students who engage in service-learning while in college are more likely to be active in their communities and institutions as alumni. In 2005, The Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, an elective classification system, began recognizing higher education institutions that use evidence-based documentation to demonstrate depth and breadth in engagement, as well as student learning, partnerships, and community involvement. Institutionalizing and tracking these evidence-based behaviors requires strategic leadership, vision, collaboration, partnership, and reciprocity (Carnegie Foundation, 2014).

In addition to enrolling in coursework, community engagement and involvement is the most important thing that a student can do while in college (Plante, Currie, & Olson, 2014). Astin (1999) asserts that involvement is an investment of one’s energy and can yield positive student learning outcomes, and that gains in student development and learning are associated with student involvement and the efficiency of educational policy being reflected by the aptitude of a practice or policy that increases students’ involvement. Authentic student involvement occurs along a continuum and is measured both quantitatively and qualitatively; it does not occur spontaneously, but instead through the careful and deliberate strategic planning of institutional leaders (Astin, 1999).

Leadership, management, and accountability are required to infuse the institutionalization of student involvement and engagement within a college campus, and simultaneous changes in leadership during times of change can severely affect the change process (Bringle & Hatcher, 2000). This chapter elucidates the results of a study of three Carnegie Community Engagement Classification designated institutions to understand the institutionalization of service-learning over time by examining the 2008 classifications and 2015 reclassifications across three distinct institution types – a Private Liberal Arts College, a Private Teaching University, and a Public Research University located within the same metropolitan area. Each institution experienced significant changes in leadership and organizational structure of the units responsible for the process. These changes and reorganizations will be explored in detail to demonstrate how institutional change occurs, and the effects of leadership changes during institutional change.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Community Engaged Learning (CEL): Community engaged learning is a curriculum-based experience where students become actively engaged in the community as an integral part of their learning. The goal of CEL is to engage critical thinking, enhance knowledge, and promote and reflect on the well-being of the community. This pedagogy may include civic engagement, community-partnered research, service-learning, and other experiential learning that takes place in local, national, and/or international community ( Tacelosky, 2013 ).

Community engagement: Community engagement is described as the collaboration “between higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity” ( Driscoll, 2009 , p. 6).

Initialization: Policies, professions, techniques, and programs are developed with services and/or products that are produced rationally; this allows for new organizations and forces in existing organizations to incorporate new procedures and practices defined by rationalized organizational work concepts and institutionalized within society. Organizations that perform in this manner will increase legitimacy and stability. Rules that are established and institutionalized are sharply distinguished from prevailing social behaviors. Powerful organizations such as higher education attempt to build their procedures and goals into society as institutional rules. An example of an institutional rule would be school administrators who are creating new training programs and curricula and validate them as innovations in governmental requirements and educational theory, and, if successful, the new programs can be authoritatively required ( Meyer & Rowan, 1977 ).

Service-Learning (SL): According to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), service-learning combines serving the community and student learning in a way that improves both the community and the student, and involves active student participation, fosters civic responsibility, and integrates an educational or academic component (“Principles and Concepts of SL and CBR,” n. d.). Similar to general community service, service-learning may be voluntary or mandatory where service activities can take place within or outside the school. Service-learning also draws lessons through critical analysis activities like classroom presentations, direct writing and group discussion, in addition to organized thoughtful reflection ( Spring, Grimm, & Dietz, 2008 ).

Carnegie Community Engagement Classification: An elective classification in which higher education institutions voluntarily participate. Taking place on a five-year cycle, it is a self-assessment process whereby colleges and universities are reviewed based on documentation and data collection on institutions’ identity, mission and commitments. Community engagement is described as a collaboration between higher education institutions and their local, regional, national, and global communities for beneficial exchange of resources and knowledge to enrich scholarship, creative activity, enhance curriculum, engage citizens, and strengthen civic responsibility and democratic values while addressing social issues and contributing to the common good, all in a context of reciprocity and partnerships. There were 296 schools that classified in both in 2008 ( Carnegie Foundation, 2014 ).

Leadership: Performance roles at various levels and in its collective influence, leadership shapes institutional practices and behavior ( Sandmann & Plater, 2009 , p. 23).

Alumni Donor Participation Rate: The number of alumni who made a financial contribution to the college or university, during the year of interest, divided by the total number of alumni for the year of interest ( Turner, Meserve, & Bowen, 2001 ).

Alumni Donor: An alum who made a financial contribution to the college during the year(s) of interest.

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