Undergraduate Student Leader Perceptions of Leadership Charles Geoffrey Norbert B.A. Gettysburg College Master’s Thesis Presentation Department of Educational Specialties, Educational Leadership Loyola University Maryland in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Educational Leadership May 15, 2012
Purpose The purpose of this study was to conduct amix method study to see if gender plays a rolein how undergraduate student leadersperceive leadership.
A Review of the Literature on Leadership Gender and leadership Traditionally associated with male characteristics Historically women have experienced gender bias that has limited their opportunity to advance to leadership position (Eagly & Carli, 2001). Society and further research has lead to shift in leadership perspective There has been increase in leadership studies based on gender Women have beneﬁted from the paradigm shift in leadership perspectives that incorporated “feminine” skill and behaviors consistent with female gender roles (Eagly & Carli, 2001, 2003; Komives, 1994). Leadership has grown to include new traits like, relationship building, contentedness, ethics of care and concern (Eagly & Carli, 2003).
A Review of the Literature of Undergraduate Student LeadershipStudent learning is directly proportional to the quality and quantity ofinvolvement (Astin,1995)Leadership development is as a major outcome for most higher educationinstitutions (Astin & Astin, 2000). Leadership development, has been linked to growth in several areas of personal development: civic, social, and political awareness and efﬁcacy, commitment to service, communication skills, personal and social responsibility, self esteem, vision, and ethicsThe major limitation in past studies was the lack of a theoreticalframework on how leadership was viewed (Dugan et al. 2008; Haber &Komives, 2009).
Social Change Model of Leadership The Social Change Model (SCM) (HERI, 1996) was designed specifically for use with college students (Dugan et al., 2011). The SCM serves as the foundation of the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership (MSL) the largest study of college leadership. The SCM is regarded as the most widely used model of student leadership in higher education (Dugan et al., 2011; Haber & Komives 2009). The SCM has played a prominent role in shaping curricula, programs, and leadership education for undergraduates (Haber & Komives 2009). The Socially Responsible Leadership Scale (SRLS) was developed as a means to measure the constructs of the SCM (Tyree, 1997; Haber & Komives 2009). The current version of the SRLS is the SRLS-R2
Research QuestionsDoes gender play a role in how undergraduate student leaders perceivetheir leadership competencies? Sub-questions: 1. Using the SCM how do female undergraduate student leaders perceive their leadership competencies? 2. Using the SCM how do male undergraduate student leaders perceive their leadership competencies? 3. If differences do exist from the eight constructs of the SCM, in which constructs do they exist? 4. Are these differences significant?
SampleA small catholic universityLocated in the Mid-AtlanticSample consisted of 379 student leaders identified 230 female students 149 male studentsA wide range of campus leadership opportunitiesrepresented
MethodologyPermission was granted to use the SRLS-R2 68 Likert scale question Example question: I am comfortable initiating new ways of looking at things Demographic questions were added (gender, race, class year, leadership position)Survey Instrument was sent to 379 student leaders Survey was open for one monthAfter completion of survey portion three focus groups were conducted Participation was voluntary Ten total questions were asked One question for each of the eight constructs of the SCM Two questions about perceptions of gender on leadership
Qualitative Results146 students completed the instrument in its entirety(39%) Female participants n=106, 72.60% Male participants n=40, 27.39%Once data was collected mean scores were analyzed bygender Independent Sample t-test was done to see if difference in mean scores was statistically signiﬁcant (p≤.05)
Qualitative ResultsThree focus groups were conducted (n=16) 9 female participants 7 male participants Data was transcribed and analyzed for themes Focus group data helped to support survey ﬁndings Female participants showed a greater depth of response when compared to the males Female leaders clearly articulated that they felt gender had an impact on leadership Forced to adapt to male traits Felt pressure to do well because they were female Felt since males were so underrepresented on campus that they had an advantageMales felt that leadership was trait based and gender had little impact
Implications and Further Research Female undergraduate student leaders demonstrated a higher self-perception of their leadership abilities Females still felt a lack of conﬁdence based societal stereotypes of leadership Males as the traditional majority group in leadership did not feel gender impacted leadership Males being under represented in leadership positions has created more competition among females Why are men under represented in higher education, and in campus involvement? Is there a need for more gender speciﬁc leadership training? Further research should be conducted on why the differences in self-perception exits between females and males.
LimitationsStudy limited to a small catholic institution Social change is large focus of the mission What would results be at a large public institution or single sex institutionMajority of the sample group was females Survey sample almost identical to university demographics
ReferencesDugan, J. (2006). Explorations using the social change model: Leadership development among college men and women. Journal of CollegeStudent Development, 47(2), 217-217-225.Dugan, J. (2006). Involvement and leadership: A descriptive analysis of socially responsible leadership. Journal of College Student Development, 47(3), 335-335-343.Dugan, J. P., Bohle, C. W., Gebhardt, M., Hofert, M., Wilk, E., & Cooney, M. A. (2011). Inﬂuences of leadership program participation on students capacities for socially responsible leadership. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 48(1), 65-84.Dugan, J. P., & Komives, S. R. (2010). Inﬂuences on college students capacities for socially responsible leadership. Journal of College Student Development, 51(5), 525-549.Haber, P., & Komives, S. (2009). Predicting the individual values of the social change model of leadership development: The role of college student’s leadership and involvement experiences. Journal of Leadership Education, 7(3), 133-151.Higher Education Research Institute. (1996). A social change model of leadership development: Guidebook version III. College Park, Md: National Clearinghouse for Leadership Programs.
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