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Title:Training civic bridge builders: Outcomes of community leadership development programs
Author(s):Keating, Kari H.
Director of Research:Lleras, Christy
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Lleras, Christy
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Gasteyer, Stephen P.; Raffaelli, Marcela; Ebata, Aaron T.
Department / Program:Human & Community Development
Discipline:Human & Community Development
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):community leadership
Leadership development
civic engagement
social capital
community capitals
social bridging
rural communities
Abstract:As rural communities experience rapid economic, demographic, and political change, program interventions that focus on the development of community leadership capacity could be valuable. Community leadership development programs have been deployed in rural U.S. communities for the past 30 years by university extension units, chambers of commerce, and other nonprofit foundations. Prior research on program outcomes has largely focused on trainees’ self-reported change in individual leadership knowledge, skills, and attitudes. However, postindustrial leadership theories suggest that leadership in the community relies not on individuals but on social relationships that develop across groups akin to social bridging. The purpose of this study is to extend and strengthen prior evaluative research on community leadership development programs by examining program effects on opportunities to develop bridging social capital using more rigorous methods. Data from a quasi-experimental study of rural community leaders (n = 768) in six states are used to isolate unique program effects on individual changes in both cognitive and behavioral community leadership outcomes. Regression modeling shows that participation in community leadership development programs is associated with increased leadership development in knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors that are a catalyst for social bridging. The community capitals framework is used to show that program participants are significantly more likely to broaden their span of involvement across community capital asset areas over time compared to non-participants. Data on specific program structure elements show that skills training may be important for cognitive outcomes while community development learning and group projects are important for changes in organizational behavior. Suggestions for community leadership program practitioners are presented.
Issue Date:2011-05-25
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Kari H. Keating
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-25
Date Deposited:2011-05

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