Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




James P Barber

Committee Member

Pamela E Eddy

Committee Member

Margaret Constantino


Our complicated global society requires effective leadership. Undergraduate Leadership programs vary in design and implementation to provide college students with the opportunity to acquire knowledge about the leadership process and develop their skills to become more effective leaders themselves. The purpose of this program evaluation study was to determine how elements of student involvement experiences within the academic and co-curricular components of a comprehensive, 4-year leadership program contributed to retention and learning outcomes for students. Program attrition rates represented a potential learning loss at a small, residential, public regional institution, where the study of leadership was emphasized. Through document and artifact review and interviews with four key campus administrative stakeholders and a diverse group of 23 students who began the program as freshmen, the academic coursework in leadership and service-learning requirements were found to have the greatest positive impact on learning outcomes and program persistence. Overall, students attributed their personal and professional development outcomes associated specifically with program participation as valuable to their future aspirations of engaging successfully in the leadership process to contribute positively in their careers and civic lives. A disconnection between the academic and co-curricular components was evident, and the ePortfolio, learning community, and speaker event components were identified as areas where implementation improvements could lead to bridging that gap and increasing program retention and leadership learning outcomes. With an articulated emphasis on pursuing positive social change, this leadership program can do just that by improving program retention rates and the number of graduates with an elevated understanding of and capacity for leadership.




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