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Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Leadership Studies Program

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TITLE Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Leadership Studies Program
 
RESEARCHER James P. Hopkins
Fischler School of Education
Nova Southeastern University
Unpublished doctoral dissertation: December 2013

OBJECTIVE
The purpose of this research was to examine if the University of Richmond’s Jepson School of Leadership undergraduate program improved leadership skills and to explore which aspects were the most influential.

METHODOLOGY
The targeted population was undergraduate students in their senior and sophomore year of studies in the leadership studies program and declared majors at the University of Richmond’s Jepson School of Leadership Studies. A total of 81 sophomores and 50 seniors declared leadership studies majors at the Jepson School, and 23 sophomores and 29 seniors (N=52) responded to both survey requests. Participants completed the Leadership Practices Inventory and a post-program Attitude Survey, were interviewed and submitted an academic portfolio.

KEY FINDINGS
The most frequently used leadership practice reported by sophomores was Enable, followed by Model and Encourage, and then Challenge and Inspire. The same rank order was found for seniors, and the gains reported by the seniors over the sophomores were 0.7 or better, with Challenge as the leadership practice showing the largest gain (1.22). All students (100%) reported they were more effective leaders as a result of the Jepson program. Quantitative data and analysis showed clear gains in leadership behaviors between the sophomore and senior years. In all five leadership practices, senior means were higher, and individual question means were higher in 29 of 30 questions, and equal in the remaining question. Furthermore, the mean differences between sophomores and seniors were significant for all five leadership practices.

The author notes:

Further, in assessing the magnitude of the results for one quantitative measure, the LPI-S; the findings were authoritatively significant, as the effect sizes ranged from “appreciative” on one scale, to “medium” and “large” on another (p. 162).

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