In Bold Pursuit of Leadership: Conceptualizing Socially Responsible Student Leadership Development in Higher Education Practices

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Roth, David-Aaron, Curriculum and Instruction - School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia
Moon, Tonya, ED-CISE Department, University of Virginia

Colleges and universities play an integral role in shaping how current learners become the leaders of tomorrow. Whether it be through curricular or co-curricular practices, higher education professionals are critically thinking about the ways in which such leadership development is taking place, by putting a greater emphasis on the development of traits and behaviors regularly associated with leaders (e.g., communication, collaboration, and commitment) rather than simply doling out the titles and accolades associated with it. By focusing on the development of both social and leadership identities, many leadership educators are considering the ways in which their programs can (a) meet the needs and interests of more diversified student populations, and (b) better prepare students to tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow in socially responsible and ethical ways. This qualitative, descriptive case study investigated the ways in which different stakeholders of Rugby Leads, a volunteer and leadership development program affiliated with a large, public university in the southeast, conceptualized socially responsible leadership and how program leaders facilitated curricular and co-curricular opportunities for students that align with that conceptualization. Through interviews with various stakeholders associated with Rugby Leads (e.g., Staff Members, Community Partners), a document review, and a review of peer institutions, this study discerned the organization’s common language of socially responsible leadership in order to provide recommendations for how Rugby Leads can enhance current and future practices to better meet the needs and interests of all stakeholders.

EDD (Doctor of Education)
student leadership development, socially responsible leadership, curricular leadership practices
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