Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Leadership development in student affairs graduate preparatory programs
by Nelson, Kelly Anne, Ed.D., University of Southern California, 2010, 216; 3434553
Abstract (Summary)

As colleges and universities increase in complexity, so do the leadership demands of student affairs professionals. Today, entry-level professionals are expected to be competent leaders. As a result, student affairs graduate preparatory programs (SAGPPs) have an obligation to foster the leadership development of their enrolled students. This qualitative study explores how student affairs graduate preparatory programs (SAGPPs) teach the theoretical constructs and practical applications of leadership.

Students, faculty, and internship supervisors from two universities were interviewed on their perceptions of how and where leadership development was being taught in the SAGPP. The findings demonstrate that leadership development in SAGPPs is fostered through a process involving knowledge acquisition, skill-building, feedback, and reflection. Faculty and supervisors unanimously agreed that leadership is an important learning outcome for SAGPP students. Unfortunately, there are many competing priorities that can interfere with providing leadership development in the classroom and in the internship setting. The findings indicate that students are highly motivated to learn and grow as leaders. They have found ways to ensure that their leadership development needs are met. These methods include involvement in extracurricular activities and the cultivation of significant relationships with faculty, supervisors, mentors, advisors, and peers. These relationships were shown to be highly effective in nurturing students’ leadership development. Two of the most interesting findings were (1) the importance of verbal processing and (2) the need for faculty and staff to have a strong sense of their role as leadership educators.

Implications for SAGPPs seeking to maximize the leadership development opportunities for students include: (1) cultivating a strong leadership educator identity among faculty and supervisors, (2) increasing the amount of time spent talking about leadership, (3) building strong relationships between SAGPP faculty and internship supervisors, (4) ensuring that students have a developmental network made up of multiple significant relationships, and (5) increasing the quality, frequency and amount of feedback and reflection used to foster leadership development.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kezar, Adrianna
Commitee: Johnson, Amy, Jun, Alex
School: University of Southern California
Department: Education(Leadership)
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 72/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher education
Keywords: Graduate programs, Leadership, Leadership development, Professional preparation, Student affairs, Student affairs graduate programs
Publication Number: 3434553
ISBN: 9781124414829
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