Strategically Preparing the Next Generation for Leading in a World of Social Change

Strategically Preparing the Next Generation for Leading in a World of Social Change

Joanne DeMark (Western Washington University, USA) and Christina Van Wingerden (Western Washington University, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1049-9.ch120


This chapter, in five areas of focus, reports on one university's experience with developing student leaders through co-curricular paraprofessional experiences. First, college students' capacities for social change leadership (Higher Education Research Institute, 1996), as measured by the social responsibility leadership scale (SRLS) through the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership (MSL) (Dugan, 2006) are reported. Secondly, qualitative data suggesting themes that further inform the favorable MSL results are described, and align with several high impact student leadership development practices cited in other research (Dugan, Kodama, Correia, & Associates, 2013). An innovative approach to obtain follow-up qualitative data is described, whereby the principal investigator combined celebration with data-gathering. Fourth, the authors describe an empowerment model in one department that aims to create environments where student leaders engage in action, critical self-reflection, and skills development. Finally, strategically leading away from a centralized student leadership development program by creating a complementary, consultative model for student leadership development in a university co-curricular division is described.
Chapter Preview


There has not always been focus and forethought on developing college students to be leaders, much less a field of academic study and studied practices to achieve that goal. The history of student leadership development, from the 1970s when fragmentation and a widely diverse set of development activities prevailed, to a more planned, theoretically- and scientifically-bounded field of today, is an interesting story (Komives, 2011). It was the Kellogg Foundation in the 1990s who provided funding to the relatively newly formed (1989) James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership at the University of Maryland to host several institutes, leadership events, and formative discussions that resulted in the publication of papers, books, and providing the foundation for leadership studies and the establishment of the International Leadership Association (Komives, 2011, p. 5). Vis-à-vis being thoughtful about developing college students to become social change leaders, William C. Richardson, then President and CEO of the Kellogg Foundation, wrote:

The fundamental belief that social change results only when people take it on themselves to get involved and make a difference now characterizes the work of the Kellogg Foundation throughout the world... We believe that effective leadership is an essential ingredient of positive social change. No society can continue to evolve without it, no family or neighborhood holds together in its absence, and no institution prospers where it is unavailable…Students will implicitly generate their notions and conceptions of leadership from what is taught intentionally and unintentionally across the educational experience will be led by those we have taught, and they will lead us as we have shown them they should. (Astin & Astin, 2000, iv-v)

It is in the vein of those origins of college student leadership development that the authors have undertaken to provide an articulation of one university’s experience measuring the capacities of college student leaders for positive social change, exploring favorable results for the themes which will expand or affirm certain principles and practices in student leadership development, and describe some of the workings directly with student leaders, and indirectly as a leadership program working co-collaboratively with other student affairs units, to achieve results.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Training: Activities designed to enhance skills and improve an individual’s performance in a particular role ( Haber, 2011a , p. 245).

Platform: The format of the curricular or co-curricular experience typically associated with best-practices in leadership education (e.g., emerging leaders retreat, leadership certification programs, academic courses, and lecture series).

Leadership Capacity: The knowledge, skills, and attitudes associated with the ability to engage in leadership ( Day, Harrison, & Halpin, 2009 ).

Pedagogy: The facilitation of learning experiences in an intentionally designed class or program that support development of student participants. Practical applications consider both content and process ( Meixner & Rosch, 2011 ).

Leadership Efficacy: One’s internal belief in the likelihood that they will be successful when engaging in leadership. Leadership efficacy is a specific form of efficacy associated with the level of confidence in the knowledge, skills, and abilities associated with leading others. It can thus be clearly differentiated from confidence in the knowledge, skills, and abilities one holds associated with other social roles such as a teacher ( i.e. , teacher efficacy) or statesman ( i.e. , political efficacy) ( Bandura, 1997 ; Hannah, Avolio, Luthans, & Harms, 2008 , p.1).

Leadership Development: Defined by Allen and Roberts (2011) as “a continuous, systemic process designed to expand the capacities and awareness of individuals, groups, and organizations in an effort to meet shared goals and objectives” (p. 67).

Leadership Activity: A specific event or activity that exists within the context of the individual leadership experience. Leadership activities often represent pedagogical approaches to enhancing student learning ( Haber, 2011a , p. 232).

Formal Leadership Program: An intentional collection of leadership experiences that are integrated into an overall experience designed with the purpose of developing or enhancing leadership skills, knowledge, and capacity ( Haber, 2011a , p. 232).

Individual Leadership Experience: An element of a leadership program intentionally designed to develop leadership capacity ( Haber, 2011a , p. 232).

Leadership Education: Activities designed to educate and develop the overall leadership capacity of an individual outside of a specific position; can include education about leadership theories, approaches, and models that are broadly applicable ( Haber, 2011a , p. 245).

Leadership: Grounded using the Social Change Model of Leadership and defined by the MSL as a values-based process in which people work collaboratively toward the purpose of creating positive social change ( Dugan et al, 2012 , p. 6).

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: