Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Developing Digital Student Leaders: A Mixed Methods Study of Student Leadership, Identity, and Decision Making on Social Media
by Ahlquist, Josie, Ed.D., California Lutheran University, 2015, 524; 3713711
Abstract (Summary)

Social media tools permeate the college student experience (Junco, 2014), including for those students who hold leadership positions on campus. The purpose of this study was to document the experiences and online behaviors of 40 junior and senior student leaders on digital communication tools. The study was conducted at two institutions in the western United States. Three research questions guided the sequential exploratory mixed methods study connecting student leadership, the presentation of identity, and decision-making with social media use. The study involved a three phase mixed methods analysis of focus group interviews and 2,220 social media posts.

Five major findings surfaced, including (a) social media impact starting in K-12 (b) college student leaders’ navigation of social media (c) presentation of digital identity (d) the beginning of leadership presence and possibilities and (e) significance of social media guidance in college. These findings suggest college student educators should implement holistic digital leadership education. Initiatives should begin early, prior to student enrollment in higher education, focusing on identity expression, positive possibilities-based perspectives, with a focus on social media’s potential impact on student groups, social communities, and social change. Findings from this study can mobilize higher education professionals, student peers, and parents to become digital educators, providing tools for students to implement in their digital practices.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Vallejo Pena, Edlyn
Commitee: Hoffman, John L., Rodriguez-Klino, Diane
School: California Lutheran University
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 76/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration, Educational leadership, Web Studies
Keywords: Digital identity, Leadership training, Social change model, Social media, Student affairs, Student leadership
Publication Number: 3713711
ISBN: 978-1-321-90366-9
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