Leadership development in higher education: a case study of the experiences of faculty and staff in a leadership development program at a public, four-year research institution

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University of Alabama Libraries

During a time when effective leadership at institutions of higher education is more critical than ever, the decline in the number of individuals who identify themselves as leaders and the decline in numbers of those who are interested in pursuing formal positions of leadership--or assuming the roles of emergent leaders--is concerning. This dissertation explores how institutions of higher education are cultivating their leaders. Using the Leadership Institute program at Southwest State University as a case study, the purpose of the dissertation is to 1) explore the personal experiences of faculty and staff at a four-year institution participating in a campus-based leadership development program and 2) examine the ways in which a four-year institution increases leadership capacity of its employees. The study also seeks to understand the influence of industrial and postindustrial leadership paradigms on a contemporary campus-based leadership development program. Through one-on-one interviews, observation and document review, the descriptive case study design provided a unique opportunity to examine in detail the institutional and individual benefits of a campus-based leadership program as well as allowed for assessment of the stated outcomes of the program. The conceptual framework for the study centers on the Rost and Smith (1992) postindustrial and industrial model, exploring in detail the trait, behavioral, situational and change-oriented theories of leadership. The following are the questions that guided the study: (1) What leadership philosophies underscore the Leadership Institute curriculum? (2) How do the Leadership Institute participants conceptualize leadership? (3) What individual policies, practices or behaviors have changed as a result of Leadership Institute participation? Results of the study, as well as the implications from practice that emerged from the findings, suggest that to successfully navigate as a formal or informal leader in the realm of higher education individuals must be able to understand leadership from a process-oriented perspective as well as from a management perspective. There is evidence that using multiple frameworks allows for leader development as well as leadership development--both of which are necessary to effectively address the complex issues with which higher education is faced in the twenty-first century.

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Higher education administration