Leadership Development of College Students in Taiwan

Higher Education    Students

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TITLE Leadership Development of College Students in Taiwan
Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Indiana University
Doctoral Dissertation: February 2003

The purpose of this study was to develop the College Student Leadership Development Inventory (CSLPI) for measuring the development of Taiwanese college student leadership behaviors and attitudes.

For the purposes of this study, 1,235 college students were randomly selected from 18 institutions across Taiwan based upon type and location of the institution, gender, major and class rank (year in school). Sixty-three percent were from public institutions, 52% were male, 40% were majoring in natural sciences or engineering, 24% in humanities and service, education and social and behavior sciences, 19% in business, and 17% in medical science, biology and others. Twenty-six percent were first year students, 29% were sophomores, 25% were juniors and 20% were seniors. The CSLPI consisted of five parts. The student version of the Leadership Practices Inventory, the Leadership Attitudes Scale (Weilkiewicz (2000), the Student Experiences and Involvement Questionnaire (Pace & Kuh, 1998; Huang, 1999), the College Environment Scale (Indiana Center for Postsecondary Research), and the Student Background Information (researcher developed). All of the instruments were translated into Chinese by the researcher. Internal reliability (Cronbach Alpha) for the LPI was .96.

Factor analysis suggested that “the leadership behaviors of Taiwanese college students did not show the clear pattern of the five dimensions of leadership behaviors as shown in American college students” (pp. 80-81), and resulted in a single factor (representing 44 of the explained variance; with all items except one loading at .51 or above).

The five practices did not vary between male and female students. The mean scores on the five practices generally increase as students’ class rank increases (ANOVA significant). While there was some difference based upon such factors as students’ major, living experience (on campus or at home), holding a leadership position in the classroom or in a student organization, hours spent in a paid job, type of institution, the magnitude of these differences were rather small. On the other hand, such factors as the following significantly impacted leadership practices: The more time (hours) students spent in student organizations, receiving leadership training, greater level of academic involvement, greater frequency of interaction with faculty, more frequent peer interaction, and a campus environment that emphasized various aspects of student development.

“The findings of this study, then, support earlier research claims that student involvement in both academic (i.e., the various of academic involvement) and interpersonal activities (i.e., the variables of student-faculty relationship, peer relationship, hours spent in student organizations) indeed had impacts on Taiwanese college students’ leadership development” (p. 164).

“The evidence of this study demonstrated that both academic involvement and interpersonal interaction have influences on Taiwanese students’ leadership development. This finding breaks the myth which maintains that ‘students’ academic and non-academic experiences are separate and unrelated areas of influence on learning and development” (Pascarella & Terenzini, 1999:159). This finding reminds student affairs professional and practitioners in Taiwanese higher education that they should not only encourage students to get more involved in on- and out-of-campus activities, but should also provide various leadership programs or workshops for facilitating student leadership development” (p. 165).

“Third, the findings provide empirical evidences that there was a positive relationship between non-academic factors and student leadership development. This finding offers an insight for student affairs professionals and practitioners that they should create a comprehensive climate to foster student leadership development” (p. 165).