Volume 10, Issue 1 -- Winter 2011

Has the word leadership become trite? Has its meaning become diluted through overuse and misuse? This is a “soapbox” item for me. Here is an example. A faculty member from another department visited with several leadership faculty in my department last month. He was soliciting our support for a certificate program the dean had tasked him with developing. The certificate was being developed for graduate students seeking a focus in the equine industry. The 15 hour program was titled the Equine Industry Management and Leadership Certificate. It consisted of a core of equine courses, three management electives, and one leadership course. We suggested dropping “leadership” from the title due to the minimal leadership content in the program. 

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Research reported by Christie Brungardt indicates the need for college graduates entering the workforce to have soft skill development such as communication, teamwork and interpersonal skills. A survey of graduates with varying levels of leadership education was conducted to determine soft skill development and the results were compared across groups. Findings indicate the need for further research in this area. 

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Gifford, Cannon, Stedman, and Telg also present a capstone experience for undergraduate leadership majors.With a focus on career development, in addition to concept and skill assimilation, the course provides students an alternative to the traditional internship capstone experience.

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Leadership texts, both academic and popular culture, were examined in this research presented by Harris, Bruce and Jones. Texts were evaluated, categorized and compared, leading to the finding that academic texts, while more through in content, were more difficult to read than those written for non-academic consumption.Recommendations for leadership educators related to text book selection and teaching style are given.

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Donna Jackson presents a brief that encourages leaders to look within themselves and to followers’ perceptions to determine their personal strengths. She suggests that knowing personal strengths is important before leaders seek to develop future leaders and will lead to a more authentic approach to leadership.

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Adding an experiential learning component to an MBA class, in this case an outdoor experience, increased participants’ leadership development, as reported by Kass and Grandzol. Students participated in a Leadership On The Edge program where they applied leadership concepts as they climbed a mountain as a team. Students reported the experience as being transformative, implying that adding an experiential component to the classroom can pay great dividends in student learning.

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A culminating project for undergraduate students in a leadership major is presented by Moore, Odom, and Wied.  Based on developing three of Gardner’s “5 minds for the future,” the Leadership for Dummies assignment allows students to showcase three foundational leadership concepts in an applied format. Initial reactions indicate that students are assimilating concepts as a result of the project.

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Rasmussen, Armstrong and Chazdon report on an Extension leadership development program that focused on social and human capital development. A retrospective survey revealed that community members increased their leadership skills and attitudes, as well as built social capital, as a result of the program.

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Paul Kaak presents the teacher, philosopher and practitioner Paulo Freire in his commentary.  Kaak describes Freire’s educational philosophies and how they can be used to teach leadership, based on one’s own personal philosophy of leadership.  Examples of this type of teaching are given as well as recommendations for implementation.

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Examining the relationship between the emotional intelligence of undergraduate students with their post-industrial leadership skills is the focus of research presented by Rosch, Joseph and Newman. Results from Emotional Intelligence and Socially Responsible Leadership Scale instruments were compared and found that constructs within each are related, yet distinct.

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Douglas Lindsay provides a thought provoking commentary using the Taliban as a negative example of leadership. As an Air Force officer deployed to Afghanistan, Lindsay offers his observations of leadership principles used ineffectively within the Taliban and suggests utilizing his examples as a current event topic in leadership classrooms.

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