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Prospective leadership development in colleges and universities in Canada : perceptions of leaders, educators, and students



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The perceived need for more and better leadership in the United States has led to the inclusion of leadership development programs in some 800 American colleges and universities. The goal of this study was to contribute to the construction of similar programs in Canadian colleges and universities. Interviews were conducted with 83 individuals: 41 students, 24 educators and 18 leaders. The researcher used the appreciative inquiry method, and the resulting data were analyzed within the grounded theory design advocated by Strauss and Corbin (1998). In this study the perceptions of leaders, educators, and students were described regarding ideal leadership and ideal leadership development. The researcher found that leadership was perceived to be an interactive process between members of a team, rather than the direction of a single individual to others. It was discovered that leadership was perceived as the releasing of an individual’s potential, through mentoring, for the purpose of contributing to a collaborative team that articulated and accomplished a shared vision. The development of individuals was viewed as at least equally important as the accomplishing of a goal. From the perceptions of study participants, a definition of leadership development was constructed. Leadership development was the intentional fostering of individuals toward their maximum leadership capacity through personal development, experiential leadership opportunities, leadership education, and the development of leadership skills. These developments were based on personal awareness and readiness within a mentoring environment. Based on a synthesis of the literature review, a survey of leadership development programs, and the findings of these interviews, the researcher constructed a four level model of leadership development. This model provides for programmatic component areas that might profitably be included in leadership development programs. The model also suggests consideration of the conceptual issues that need to be addressed by educators in formulating programs of leadership development for colleges and universities. The levels of the model are as follows: (a) articulate inherent understandings regarding students, teaching, and the role of universities; (b) complete educator tasks that assess individuals in the program as well as define leadership and articulate an understanding of skill development; (c) construct three program categories of leader development, leadership education, and leadership training together with a philosophy of leadership development; and (d) decide on the program components that will fulfill program objectives within the three categories of leader development, leadership education, and leadership training.Implications for theory, research, and colleges and universities are outlined. The study is to assist in the construction and further enhancement of leadership development initiatives and programs in colleges and universities.



leadership development, colleges and universities, leadership



Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Educational Administration


Educational Administration


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