Student Leadership Behavior in Residential Colleges

Higher Education    Students

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TITLE Student Leadership Behavior in Residential Colleges
RESEARCHER Elizabeth M. White-Hurst
College of Education
University of South Carolina
Master’s Thesis: June 2006

The purpose of this study was to understand student leader behavior and the role the environment of a residential college has on a student’s decision to become a leader.

The author interviewed 26 student leaders at three residential colleges in the southeastern United States, ranging from freshman to senior status, with half being men and the other half women. Respondents also completed the Student-Leadership Practices Inventory and had two colleagues complete the Student LPI-Observer.

The interviews revealed that “students discussed ways in which they actively chose to behave in a leadership capacity that reflected the five practices described by Kouzes and Posner” (p. 25).

While females scored themselves higher than men on the five practices, only Modeling the Way had statistically higher female vs. males scores. Observers had women higher on four of the five leadership practices (the exception being Inspiring) but none of these were statistically significant. All in all, there was little difference found between male and female leaders on the five leadership practices.