Higher Education Students
The purpose of this study was to explore the leadership practices of select student government leaders in California community colleges.
The population for this study consisted of the 580 male and female student government leaders in California community colleges; while the sample involved 150 student government leaders in Region IX during the Spring 2009, and a total of 88 participated (59% response rate). Respondents completed the Student LPI and provided demographic information. The majority of respondents were senators (65%), followed by vice president (11%) and president (10%), then treasurer, and secretary. The majority of respondents were female (55%), and the average age was 26 years. Most were Caucasian (44%), with 23 percent Hispanic and 14% African American. In this study, Cronbach alpha scores were .74 for Model, .82 for Inspire, .78 for Challenge, .60 for Enable, .84 for Encourage, and .93 overall.
The most frequently engaged in leadership practice was Enable, followed by Encourage, then Challenge, and Model and Inspire. No significant differences were found for Model, Inspire and Challenge on the basis of student government position. Most of the statistical difference found for Enable was due to the higher frequency ratings by Presidents, while most of the difference for Encourage were the low frequency ratings by those in the position of Secretary. In terms of gender, males had significantly higher scores on Challenge than their female counterparts, but no statistical differences were found on the leadership practices of Model, Inspire, Enable and Encourage. No statistically significantly correlations were found between ethnicity and any of the leadership practices. Older students had significantly higher scores on Model and Inspire than their younger counterparts but were not different on Challenge, Enable and Encourage.
Multiple regression analysis using an overall leadership score (all five leadership practices) as the dependent variable and the four demographic factors (gender, position, age, and ethnicity) as the independent variables was not statistically significant.
The author recommends that “student affairs professionals should pre- and posttest the S-LPI self and observer instruments with student government leaders. The results of these instruments provide valuable, behavioral feedback for each individual” (p. 59).