Leadership educators have the opportunity to participate in continuous improvement. Every class, every student, every comment yields possible innovation, invention and re-creation. In a recent class of college undergraduates, students were asked to write what they thought transformational leaders should do to ensure success with followers. This activity was not scientific, the students might have been biased from class instruction, and we cannot make broad conclusions from the students’ ideas. But, it is always refreshing to reflect on what 20-year-olds are thinking.
In the first commentary, Stech develops a rationale for leadership educators by discussing education, training, and development. He guides the reader through a discussion instructional types and how each distinguishes from the other. Stech’s article provides a current view for how research in leadership education may be distinguished by the intention of the instruction and objectives for a course or program.
Bruce and Ricketts studied practitioners who worked on interdisciplinary teams. Their intent was to explore one aspect of leadership education – cooperation. Their results have implications as to what to include in future leadership education programs or courses. Those who participated on interdisciplinary teams revealed several barriers to productive cooperation. These areas, including lack of relationships and networking skills, may be the foci of newly created or revised leadership curricula.
A second commentary is provided to provoke conversation for development of a new category within JOLE. Van De Valk submitted a review of literature that concerns leadership and social capital. In his review, he does not draw conclusions nor write implications. This summary of the literature is a valuable tool for other researchers interested in this component of leadership education. Readers are encouraged to review his commentary as a summary of research in the area of leadership and social capital. Another aspect of this commentary is to begin discussion of adding a new category for JOLE readers.
How leadership educators deliver subject matter was the focus of McCotter’s work. In her study, she investigated the motivation of students who completed their leadership education course via technology-assisted learning. Her results provided an empirical justification for how leadership educators approach course development and student motivation. She provided rationale for developing a sense of community within the course and addressing the pressures students experience within different paradigms of delivery systems.
Greiman and Addington contributed to the discussion of how leadership education programs were organized by investigating those who teach leadership. In their study, the researchers sought to determine factors that influenced leadership teachers’ self-efficacy. Their results indicated that transformational and laissez-faire styles were predictors of self-efficacy. As leadership education programs and courses are evaluated, Greiman and Addington added a provocative component for consideration – the self-efficacy of those who teach leadership.
Three application briefs in this issue provided excellent examples to enhance leadership education experiences. Roberts discussed reflection as a part of a leadership education course. In her brief, she outlined procedures for leadership educators to incorporate reflection into their course. She included rationale for the importance of developing “reflective leaders” who are faced with an increasingly diverse and complex society.
DiPaolo, in his study, complimented the proposal to evaluate leadership curriculum. He conducted longitudinal research to investigate the impact of leadership education in contrast to personal leadership experiences. His findings revealed two years after a leadership retreat that the participants attributed their leadership development more to experience than to the retreat. DiPaolo suggested revision of current leadership curricula with noted emphasis on long-term leadership models instead of short-term leadership models.
Middlebrooks discussed another reflective technique – “the Kiva.” In his brief, he included the historical basis for the Southwestern Native American Kiva. In this process, the students in a leadership education course were able to discuss a difficult issue through an organized procedure. The Kiva process allowed students to conduct productive conversation with multiple and reflective responses.
The study conducted by Ricketts, Bruce, and Ewing examined how college students viewed their leadership future. Students studying in a particular college at a large university were questioned as to their social leadership views. The researchers concluded that changes have occurred over time as to how college students viewed their leadership responsibilities. Given these changes, it was recommended that a review of leadership education curriculum be conducted.
The third application brief introduced another activity to enhance leadership education. In his brief, Allen explained the use of the simulation, “StarPower.” He used this simulation with great success. Participants recommended the use of “StarPower” to teach students about ethical behavior. Allen’s example, when added to Roberts’ reflection and Middlebrooks’s Kiva form an excellent set of activities to enhance the leadership education classroom.
© 2015 Association of Leadership Educators