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Title:The relationship of student involvement in political organizations to self-reported capacities for socially responsible leadership
Author(s):Hogendorp, Melanie B.
Director of Research:Cain, Timothy R.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Cain, Timothy R.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Ikenberry, Stanley O.; Loeb, Jane; Rosch, David M.
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Ed Organization and Leadership
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Leadership development
political involvement
student development
college students
student politics
Abstract:This research investigated the relationship between college students’ political involvement and their capacities for socially responsible leadership, including which student characteristics, precollege experiences, and collegiate experiences contributed to these capacities. Political involvement was defined as participation in co-curricular, campus-based student organizations that were political or advocacy in nature as self-reported on the 2009 Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership Student Survey (MSL-SS). Socially responsible leadership was defined as a purposeful, collaborative, group process that ultimately is concerned with fostering social responsibility and positive social change for the common good, measured by students’ self-reported scores on the Socially Responsible Leadership scale – Revised 3 (SRLS-R3) (Dugan & Komives, 2009; Tyree, 1998) on the MSL-SS. The SRLS-R3 measures were based on the social change model of leadership development (SCM) (Higher Education Research Institute, 1996), which is one of the most well known student leadership models, in part for its broad applicability to student populations, recognition of social responsibility as an essential educational outcome, and grounding in theoretical measures of postindustrial notions of leadership. The study employed a cross-sectional, quantitative research design based upon secondary analysis of data collected as part of the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership (MSL), a national project examining the influences of higher education on leadership development of college students. A sample of 96,257 college students were sorted into four subgroups based on students’ self-reported involvement in political organizations, non-political organizations, both political/non-political organizations, and no student organizations (i.e., non-involved). Analysis of variance and multivariate analysis of variance were employed to compare differences across the four student subgroups based on students’ self-reported demographic characteristics, precollege experiences, and collegiate experiences. Using an adapted version of A. W. Astin’s (1991) I-E-O college impact model, data were analyzed further through hierarchical multiple regression to identify the degree to which these variables contributed to leadership outcomes. Results indicated that the regression equation explained 36% of the variance in respondents’ scores on the SRLS-R3. Findings suggest that students’ involvement, including in political organizations, is important for fostering students’ leadership development, as defined by the SCM; however, students gained the most from a varied set of co-curricular involvement experiences. Although precollege experiences and precollege measures of the social change values predicted the most variance in leadership outcomes, other college experiences, including frequency of co-curricular involvement, frequency of holding positional leadership roles, and frequency of participation in leadership training and education programs, also related positively to students’ leadership development. Additionally, evidence from the data suggests that political involvement and leadership development differ among various groups of students, particularly among female students and students of color. Findings support a growing body of research that explores how different types of co-curricular involvement could influence leadership development and how the leadership process differs among various groups of students. Numerous implications arose from this research for college researchers and practitioners. This research reinforces the historic and important role of colleges and universities in educating a socially responsible and engaged citizenry, which is at the core of higher education’s civic and public mission.
Issue Date:2012-05-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Melanie Beth Hogendorp
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-05-22
Date Deposited:2012-05

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