Valerie I. Sessa, Cristina Matos, Courtney A. Hopkins 10.12806/V7/I3/RF5
Today’s organizations are seeking college graduates with leadership skills and are finding the students deficient (Casper-Lott & Barrington, 2006). Those in higher education are beginning to realize that their institutions are now expected to play a major role in shaping the future of leadership development in today’s society.
Colleges and universities across the nation have responded to this realization by providing their students with leadership courses designed to develop (in varying degrees) students’ formal knowledge about leadership, as well as to develop the students as leaders. These leadership courses are growing in popularity. Numerous colleges and universities across the nation are offering courses for credit, and curricular and co-curricular programs on leadership. In particular, leadership courses are now part of nearly every business school’s curriculum in the country (Doha, 2003).
The proliferation of these courses at the undergraduate level presumes that colleges and universities are well equipped to undertake the mission of providing training and education in leadership (Doh, 2003). However, there has been little rigorous evaluation to date of available leadership courses to determine their effectiveness, particularly in terms of what students are learning about leadership and how deeply they are learning leadership. The purpose of this study is to begin filling this gap by evaluating learnings in a freshman leadership course that utilizes a service-learning pedagogy. Our hope is that as faculty begins to evaluate their own curricula in this area and communicate their findings, universities can develop or improve their own leadership development courses and programs, students can be assured that they are receiving quality leadership development, and organizations can begin meeting their needs. This call is shared with other faculty who are beginning to evaluate and communicate information on their own leadership development courses using a variety of different pedagogies (see Blackwell, Cummins, Townsend, & Cummings, 2007; Barbuto, 2006; Goethe & Moore, 2005; Stedman, Rutherford, & Roberts, 2006).
To carry out our evaluation, we posed two research questions. First, what do students say they are learning in our leadership course utilizing service-learning in terms of formal theories of leadership, about themselves as developing leaders, and about leading in the civic arena? Such information would help us and other instructors using service-learning pedagogy in their courses on leadership to gain a better understanding of the types of learnings in which students are actually engaging. Second, how deeply are they learning these concepts (Biggs, 1999; Bloom, 1956; Rams den, 1992)? When examining depth of learning, we were interested in determining the extent to which students could critically analyze the leadership ideas to which they were being exposed, and whether they could link
learning’s to themselves and to real life observations and practices and link their observations and practices back to the theoretical learnings. This information would help us and other instructors begin to critically assess the merit of service- learning pedagogy to teach leadership as well as give us tools for deepening student learning.
Using Service-Learning to Help Students Learn about Leadership
Because the course we are evaluating uses service-learning as one of the main pedagogies for helping students learn about leadership theory and its application, we begin by describing why we used service-learning. In learning about leadership theory, students are faced with a large, historical, and confusing body of both academic and pop literatures that illustrates the complexity of study, practice, and understanding of leadership. To date, no single theory has been able to fully capture the essence of leadership, and many available theories are disparate or even contradictory (Mello, 2003). For example, theories have focused on the presumed leader’s traits, skills, and behaviors; on the interplay between the leader and the follower; and, most recently on what is accomplished rather than who is actually “doing” the leadership (Drath, 2001).
One way for students to grasp and interpret the complexity of leadership, as well as draw from it in such a way as to help them develop as leaders, is to expose students to experiences that allow them to learn about theories, try the theories out or observe them in real life settings, and reflect on the interplay between formal theory and their own practice; in particular, what are they learning about leadership, what are they learning about themselves as leaders, and what are they learning about practicing leadership in the civic arena. An alternative for allowing students to do this is through an academic service-learning course. However, there is currently little available information regarding the impact of academic service- learning on learning outcomes on leadership.
Service-learning, which combines academic study with community service, has been growing dramatically in popularity (Campus Compact, 2003). In service- learning courses. students’ community service experiences are compatible with and seamlessly integrated into the academic learning objectives of the course, in a manner similar to traditional course requirements (Howard, 1998). What service- learning brings to the traditional classroom, one typically based on abstract conceptualization of theoretical concepts and models, is experiential learning (concrete experiences with the real world) and reflection (observation of own and other’s experiences that tie together abstract conceptualization and concrete experience) (Kolb, 1984). That is, student’s observations and experiences in the community and reflections about their experiences are a medium for students to learn and demonstrate their knowledge and are as pivotal to the student’s academic learning as class lectures, library research, writing research papers, and taking exams.
There is a growing body of research demonstrating that service-learning contributes to the civic, personal, and academic development of students (see Madsen, 2006, for a brief review). In terms of civic development, students participating in service-learning demonstrate increased political awareness, community engagement and civic action, social justice attitudes, and intentions to participate in future community service (see McCarthy & Tucker, 2002; Moely, Mercer, Ilustre, Miron, & McFarland, 2002; Simons & Cleary, 2006). In terms of personal development students participating in service- learning demonstrate increases in self-efficacy, interpersonal skills, self-rated leadership activities (see Astin, Vogelgesang, Ikeda, & Yee, 2000; Moely et al., 2002). Service-learning also facilitates academic development, and has also been linked to better writing skills, increased critical thinking, increased motivation and contextual understanding of course material, improved test performance, and GPA (Astin, et al., 2000; Ash, Clayton, & Atkinson, 2005; Cohen & Kinsey, 1994; Markus, Howard, & King, 1993).
In addition to its many benefits to students themselves, service-learning can be practically incorporated into current undergraduate curriculums. There is a growing body of literature describing the mechanics of implementing service- learning in a broad spectrum of courses. For example, the American Association of Higher Education has a series of 18 monographs focusing on why and how service-learning can be implemented in a specific discipline.
Academic Service-learning and Leadership Courses
As yet, little is known specifically about how service-learning can be implemented in leadership courses and its impact on learning outcomes of leadership courses. For example, Middleton (2005) examined charismatic leadership emergence in students participating in a service-learning leadership course. Other available studies have looked at the impact of service-learning on certain leadership concepts such as interpersonal skills, ethics, teamwork, and decision-making (Astin et al., 2000; Dumas 2002; Friedman 1996; Moely, et al., 2002; Vogelgesang & Astin, 2000); however, the courses included in these studies have not been leadership courses per se. For example, Astin and colleagues (2000) compared academic service-learning students within a variety of courses and students who performed community service through settings other than a course on a variety of abilities and skills, and found that in the leadership arena, the outcomes between the two groups were the same. They concluded that service-learning does not add to the students’ leadership abilities, but rather that leadership growth occurs at the same rate in both community service and academic service-learning. One explanation proposed by Astin and colleagues is that academic courses using service-learning tend to focus more on cognitive skills and their development rather than on the development of leadership skills.
As the course discussed here is specifically focused on leadership theory and application, this study begins to fill the evident void in the literature: What do students learn about leadership in a leadership course that utilizes service-learning pedagogy? In this study, we assessed the effectiveness of a service-learning leadership course using student final projects based on written reflections (see Eyler, 2002; Eyler & Giles, 1999; Roberts, 2008; Stedman, et al., 2006). These reflections were designed to allow students to demonstrate academic learnings on leadership as well as outcomes with respect to student personal growth as leaders, and leadership practice in the civic arena.
Design of the Leadership Course: Integrating Theory, Service, and Reflection
This study was conducted in eight courses with four professors across two semesters, fall of 2005 and fall of 2006. All used the same leadership course, the same readings, similar syllabi, and a similar sample of students. This leadership course was designed to allow students to begin to understand and articulate their own implicit theories of leadership and develop their own leadership styles. While receiving a grounding in historical and contemporary psychological theories on leadership, students practiced (and observed others’) leadership through community service; assessed themselves based on theories, assessment instruments, and behaviors during their community service and other relevant activities; and, reflected on the connections they were seeing between the formal theories, their observation of themselves and others during community service, and their assessment of themselves. In terms of grounding, students were exposed to leadership research and thought in order to assist them in broadly understanding what constitutes leadership from a variety of psychological perspectives including traits, skills, style, situational, contingency, path-goal, leader-member exchange, transformational, team leadership, social change theories, and leadership tasks and principles (Drath, 2001; Komives, Lucas, & McMahon, 1998; Northouse, 2003). Students developed, gathered, and received information and data in a variety of ways (readings, assessment instruments, community service projects, and class projects) to begin assessing their own leadership knowledge, skills, abilities, and characteristics to gain a better understanding of themselves as leaders.
The learning objectives of the course were as follows. At the end of the course, students were expected to be able to: (a) Explain and articulate three principles of leadership (Personal dominance, Interpersonal Influence, Relational Dialogue) (Drath, 2001) and psychological theories discussed in class that fit into each principle; (b) Identify their own leadership resources and capabilities using assessments and reflection on behaviors in community service projects and other relevant activities; and, (c) Articulate personal, civic, and leadership learnings through critical reflection.
During the course of the semester, students were expected to complete 20 hours of service (approximately two hours a week for 10 weeks). Students were given a choice of service projects and times of service. During the first semester, projects were grouped into three areas. The first was working with children. Specific options included tutoring students at various nearby grade schools (in this option, participants went to specific grade schools) and mentoring middle school students (in this option, the middle school students were all brought to campus on a specific day and participated in activities with their mentors). The second was working with the elderly. Options here included teaching the elderly how to use computers and visiting the elderly at a local nursing home. The third set of options was for groups of students to develop their own service projects over the course of the semester. During the second semester, all projects involved working with children in a variety of ways, including after-school programs, tutoring, and mentoring for children from grades one through eight.
Format of the leadership class and the written reflections were consistent across courses and professors in both semesters. There were two class sessions per week. One class session was devoted to discussing a leadership theory and special topics. Theories included: traits, skills, style, situational, path/goal, transformational, social change, team leadership, and a discussion of Drath’s (2001) principles of leadership as a meta-theory for all the theories discussed.
Special topics included: recognizing leadership, what is leadership, values and ethics, gender and leadership, and cross cultural leadership. The other class session was devoted to students reflecting on their experiences and course content in order to learn about leadership, about themselves, and about leadership in the civic arena. This involved either the class as a whole or division of the class into groups which discussed and reported out to the class. In addition, students wrote weekly reflections based on similar topics.
We were guided in developing our class, group, and written reflections based on the work of Ash and her colleagues (Ash & Clayton, 2004; Ash, Clayton, & Moses, 2004 draft). Each reflection followed the DEAL model in which students were asked to: describe in Detail what happened in the weekly service-learning session, Examine their experience, and Articulate their Learnings. Reflections on the service-learning varied weekly regarding whether they concentrated on personal learning (introduced first), leadership learnings (introduced second), and civic learnings (introduced third). Students were guided in their reflections (both during class time and written) using prompts to help them work through each step (see Appendix 1 for sample prompts from the DEAL model).
Leadership reflections were used to help students explore and articulate in depth how the experiences during the service-learning informed their leadership learning and how their leadership learning informed their practice and observation during community service. Students considered where and how theories and specific course concepts emerged in the community organization and how those concepts differed in the community as compared to the text, lecture, or class discussion. The primary goals of reflection in this category were for the students to learn more about the course material, to see new nuances and complexities of theories and special topics that they had not seen previously, and to consider both how theory can best be used in practice and how practice can best inform theory (Ash & Clayton, 2004; Ash, Clayton, & Moses, 2004 draft). The aim is for the student to become a scholar who is engaged in a process of learning, who thinks from the perspective of leadership theory, and who purposefully uses leadership learning for his or her service projects.
Personal reflections were used to help students explore and articulate in depth what their experiences during the service-learning told them about themselves and the persons/leaders they were becoming. They considered their feelings, behaviors, personal challenges, assumptions, and so on. The primary goal of reflection in this category was for students to learn more about themselves as leaders and consider what changes, if any, they wanted to make (Ash & Clayton, 2004; Ash, Clayton, & Moses, 2004 draft). The concept behind these personal reflections was that each student is an individual who is engaged in a lifelong process of intentional personal growth.
Civic reflections were used to help students explore and articulate in depth what the experiences during service-learning tell them about how people act as part of larger processes to generate change in the world. The primary goal of reflection in this category was for the student to take a systemic perspective, beginning to critically examine his or her role as an agent of change within the community and deciding what roles they want to play in this arena (Ash & Clayton, 2004; Ash, Clayton, & Moses, 2004 draft).
Again, each weekly reflection was slightly different. For example, early reflections were primarily focused on helping students Describe what happened in their service-learning project that week. Next Examining the experience was added, and finally Articulating Learnings were added. In addition, students typically concentrated on one or two areas of personal, leadership, and civic topics each week rather than all three. In their final three reflections, they began to articulate their learnings in depth. Students were asked to critically reflect on one leadership learning, one personal learning, and one civic learning. These articulated learnings served as rough drafts for their final paper in which they articulated one thing they had learned about leadership, one thing they had learned about themselves as leaders, and one thing they had learned about leading in the civic arena over the course of the semester. Between this draft and the final paper, students received personalized feedback and handouts with descriptions of learning depth categories. This study used the final articulated learnings to determine what students said they learned as a result of the course and the service learning in terms of their personal learning, their leadership learning, and their civic learning, and how deeply they learned this material (see Appendix 2 for guided reflections for final papers and Appendix 3 for learning depth rubrics).
Finally, students participated in a number of other activities, including a weekly essay quiz on the leadership theory reading; a variety of individual assessments (MBTI and others); individual assignments such as coming up with their own symbol of leadership; their leadership timeline; a short paper summarizing what they we learning about themselves as leaders based on their instrument assessments; a group assignment analyzing the leadership in a movie; and, an individual paper outlining how leadership occurred in their group.
Assessing the Impact of Academic Service Learning and Reflection on Leadership Outcomes
Samples were taken from the body of first semester freshmen at a large eastern teaching university enrolled in the Emerging Leaders Learning Community during the Fall 2005 (semester 1) and Fall 2006 (semester 2) semesters. During the fall of 2005 a total of 95 students were registered in the learning community and were divided into four classes. Approximately one-third of the students were Economic Opportunity Fund (EOF) students who did not have the traditional criteria needed to be regularly admitted to the university but showed promise and came from an economically or environmentally disadvantaged situation. One- third were presidential scholars who also did not have the traditional criteria to be regularly admitted to the university but showed promise and had significant leadership experience in their community, and one-third were regularly admitted students. All students were first semester freshmen between 17 and 19 years old. Forty-three percent of the students were Caucasian, 32% were African Americans, 17% were Hispanics and 6% were Asians. Of the 95 students, 63 consented to participate in this study. Of those, we received the completed coursework necessary for inclusion in the study from 30 students for a total inclusion rate of approximately 30%. In one course several students who had originally agreed to participate elected to do an alternative final paper and in another course section not all of the final papers were kept by the professor.
During the fall of 2006, a total of 80 students were registered in the learning community and were divided into four classes. Like the students in semester 1, approximately one-third were EOF students, one-third were presidential scholars, and one-third were regular-admit students. Of the 80 students, 68 consented to participate in this study. Of these, we received 58 final reflection papers for a total inclusion rate of approximately 72.5%.
Coding procedures were similar for both semesters. Coding of the final reflection paper was done in two stages. During stage 1, subject matter experts (SMEs) coded content of the reflections to determine what students learned academically, personally, and civically. During stage 2, SMEs coded depth of learning. The following is a more in depth description of each stage of coding.
Semester 1 (Fall of 2005)
Stage 1: Content Coding. The second author of this paper along with two other SMEs began with coding the personal learning reflections, with the first author managing the process. We initially read one-half of what would become the total number of personal reflections. We were guided by the reflection questions to see which themes arose. Individually we wrote down the themes that appeared from the personal reflections. The three SMEs and the first author met as a group. We discussed and agreed upon a set of themes. This entailed going through several of the essays in detail and making certain that the themes we found were similar. We then categorized these themes into more general themes. Using the specific and general themes we created a coding protocol. The reflections were then divided between the three SMEs and each SME read two-thirds of the readings, with each SME overlapping one-half of the readings with each of the other SMEs. We then met to discuss our findings and code all of the reflections to consensus. To determine reliability, Kappa scores were calculated and were high across all coding categories (Fleiss, 1981). Later, additional personal learning reflections were added and they were coded by only one SME. Our procedure with the leadership learning reflections followed the same procedure. In terms of reliability, Kappa scores were calculated and were also found to be high across all coding categories in leadership.
Coding the civic learning reflections proceeded a little differently from coding the personal and leadership learnings. Although we began coding in the same manner, we found that students did not reflect on the reflection questions as closely as they had with the personal and leadership reflection questions. We individually reread the civic learnings and looked for general themes that arose. The three SMEs then met as a group, with the first author facilitating. We discussed and agreed upon a set of themes. This entailed going through several of the essays in detail and making certain the themes that were being found were similar. We then proceeded in a similar procedure as with the personal and leadership learnings. Again, in terms of reliability, Kappa scores were calculated and found to be high across all coding categories.
Stage 2: Depth of Learning Coding. To prepare for the next stage of coding, SMEs were trained by Patti Clayton of North Carolina State University. Clayton and others (see Ash & Clayton, 2004; Ash, Clayton, & Atkinson, 2005) have developed two rubrics to evaluate the quality of thinking demonstrated in the written reflection: learning depth and critical thinking. In this study, we included learning depth.
Using Bloom’s taxonomy (1956), Ash and colleagues (2004 draft) developed a rubric for measuring depth of learning in terms of understanding course materials, personal growth, and civic engagement. Because this study was part of a larger study that included coding students’ reflections over time and included students in three different courses, the first author and another SME completed the coding in the following manner. For the leadership learning, the entire reflection was read. If the student clearly identified and described a concept, the student received a 1. If not, the student received a 0 and no further coding was done. If the student received a 1, the document was analyzed to determine if the student clearly applied the concept in the context of the service learning. If so, a 2 was assigned. If not, the code was left as a 1 and no further coding ensued. If a 2 was given, the document was analyzed to determine if the student analyzed and synthesized the concept. If so, a 3 was recorded, if not, the code was left a 2 and no further coding ensued. Finally, if the student received a 3, the document was analyzed to determine if the student evaluated the concept. If so, a 4 was assigned, if not, the code was left a 3. (1=identify and describe, 2=apply, 3=analyze and synthesize, 4=evaluate). We coded a number of academic reflections separately, met and consensus coded. Because we were reading and coding so many reflections across a variety of courses, we continued in this manner to ensure that we remained in high agreement, coding a number of reflections then consensus coding before moving to the next set. When finished with academic, we moved to personal, then to civic. (See Appendix 3 for coding of academic (leadership), personal, and civic depth of learning).
Semester 2 (Fall of 2006)
Stage 1: Content Coding. Content coding in the second semester proceeded in almost exactly the same procedure as the first semester (fall of 2005) with the first author and the third author as coders. Again, we were guided by the reflection questions to see which themes arose as well as using codes from the previous semester. To determine reliability, Kappa scores were calculated and were high across all coding categories in academic (leadership), personal, and civic learnings (Fleiss, 1981).
Stage 2: Depth of Learning Coding. Coding for depth of learning proceeded in a similar fashion to coding for depth of learning in semester 1, with one important difference. The first and third authors, who did the coding, received updated training by Clayton to use a similar Depth of Learning rubric with six levels rather than four (1=identify, 2=describe, 3=apply, 4=analyze, 5=synthesize, and 6=evaluate).
The results from the two semesters are provided below one after the other. As service projects differed and depth of learning codes differed between the two semesters, we did not combine the data.
Semester 1: What was Learned. This portion of the reflection involved what the students said they learned about leadership. The students were asked to describe one theory or concept they learned as a result of their coursework and service- learning. Twenty-seven of the 30 students completed this task. Nineteen of the students stated one specific theory they learned and three mentioned one special topic that they learned. However, a few mentioned more than one theory or concept: Two mentioned two theories; two mentioned one theory and one special topic; and, one mentioned one theory and two special topics. Theories mentioned by these students included: situational theories (seven), the leadership principle of relational dialogue (Drath, 2001) (six), path-goal theory (four), team leadership (three), skills approach (three), trait theories (two) and transformational theory (one). Special topics mentioned by these students included ethics in leadership, communication, patience, and personality.
Semester 2: What was Learned. Forty-nine of the 58 students completed this task. Thirty-two of the students stated a theory and 10 mentioned a special topic. Eight of the students mentioned more than one theory or special topic. Theories mentioned by these students included: Situational theory (12), team leadership (including social change theory, Komives, et al., 1998) (nine), some component of Drath’s theory (2001) (four), path-goal theory (three), transformational theory (two), style leadership (one), and that alternate theories work depending on the situation (one). Special topics mentioned by these students included the need for adaptability (four), diversity, importance of being organized, importance of confidence, and importance of serving followers.
Below are some examples of student leadership learnings. The first is a student learning about team leadership. The other is about a student better understanding of the topic of ethics and leadership: With most situations that I’ve been in, there has always been one person who’s stepped up to the plate and named themselves the leader of a specific project, and I admit that I’ve done that too.
However, I never realized that not only can more than one person be a leader in a certain situation, but nine times out of ten it proves to be more effective that way because you have different people with different abilities and skills that can lead you through anything.
I always got very confused about what makes a good leader. I always felt that Hitler was a fabulous leader, but how can a leader be so evil?…Understanding leadership…changes my views on leadership in general. I now understand that someone can be a fabulous leader, follow all the guidelines listed in the book, and really get a committed group of followers, while at the same time be unethical and evil. Understanding this concept helped me understand the separation between someone’s moral character and their leadership ability.
Semester 1: Depth of Learning. After analyzing for what they learned, we looked for how deeply they learned the leadership theory or concept they described. In the first semester, as this portion of the study was included in a different data set, only 22 of the available 30 were coded. Of these 22, the average depth of learning score was 1.91 (sd=1.10) out of 4. In terms of percentages, 13.6% received a zero (did not achieve any learning objectives), 13.6% received a one (clearly identified and described a leadership concept), 45.5 % received a two (clearly applied the concept), 22.7% received a three (clearly analyzed and synthesized the concept), and 4.5% received a four (clearly evaluated the concept).
Semester 2: Depth of Learning. Of the 50 analyzed, the average depth of learning score was 3.24 (sd=1.79). In terms of percentages, 10% received a zero (did not achieve any learning objectives), 6% received a one (clearly identified a leadership concept), 14% received a two (clearly described the concept), 46% received a three (clearly applied the concept), 2% received a four (clearly analyzed the concept), and 22% received a five (clearly synthesized the concept). No students clearly evaluated the concept.
Below is an example of a student who is attempting to analyze and synthesize their understanding of situational leadership:
On one specific occasion I was a leader of a meeting. I realized quickly where the members of the group were on the development continuum. Diagnosing the group is part of the situational approach. According to my diagnoses, I would have to develop and adapt my leadership style. During the meeting, I felt that I was effective at adapting my leadership style. Unfortunately, the book does not give me specific guidelines to follow after I pick my leadership style. For instance, at the meeting I followed the model for situational approach which suggested that I should use high directive—low supportive style. I did use this style, but who is to say that how much direction is enough? Since the approach uses unclear conceptualization, I felt it hard to follow the model. This is because my leadership style changed various times in the same setting. Although I primarily used the first leadership style, different people in the group needed different styles. Ultimately I felt that I used all of the leadership styles and incorporated my own perspective that was not clearly stated in the book.
This student then attempts to evaluate the theory. However, she does not evaluate the theory based on her practice (how to handle different people with different styles, etc.), but rather repeats the weaknesses that she has read in the textbook:
The material in the book should be revised by continuing more studies. In these studies, the researchers should consider more demographic characteristics between the leader and the subordinate. Another key aspect would be to clarify the conceptualization of the leadership model. One last revision should be to understand why subordinates start off motivated and then end up losing motivation. These revisions will help me understand the approach much better.
Semester 1: What was Learned. This portion of the reflection involved what the students said they learned personally. Of the 30 students who participated in this study, 24 described a personal characteristic that they learned during their service- learning. Of these, 10 stated that they learned an individual characteristic about themselves such as they were brave, shy, or tended to be controlling. Seven learned about themselves as a community member, for example, they stated a desire to help others, their love of people, or that their sense of awareness or perspective of the community had increased. Four learned more about themselves as a leader (e.g., their ability to switch from a leadership role to a follower role, or more about their leadership style). And, three learned more about themselves as a team member (e.g., how to work well with others or that they had a tendency to take on the bulk of the work).
Second semester: What was Learned. Fifty students completed this task. Ten of these students listed more than one characteristic or were unclear regarding the personal characteristic they were discussing. Sixteen learned about themselves as individuals, including such characteristics as patience (five), tolerance and open- mindedness (five), and optimism/positivity (two). Four learned about themselves as community members including learning about their own kindness and generosity and their ability to work with children. Eighteen learned about themselves as leaders, including such characteristics as whether and when they should step up or wait for others to step up (11) and, that they were a natural born leader (four). Finally, two learned about themselves as team players. Here are a few examples of what students said they learned:
Over the past month of doing service, I have discovered that I am a supportive leader. Thinking back on the type of leadership setting I was in, I noticed that I was the supporter of the group. Our group was made of all leaders and not everyone could be in control at the same time. For some of my team members, this was a struggle because they did not want to just sit back and learn from each other. For some it was wanting to show dominance and for others it was a lack of communication. I honestly went in thinking that I would be the one planning events, but when that did not happen, I was okay with it. I took the passenger seat and assisted in all the ways I knew.
Looking over this past semester of service-learning, I have learned many interesting facts about myself and my leadership style. I already know when I began the process that I walk into every project trying very hard to make friends with everyone in the group and I take on the bulk of the work. Looking more critically, I can now see that I take on the bulk of the work for two reasons. One being that I hope if I take on anything hard, the rest of the group members can relax more and not have to be under as much pressure, the other reason is that I am controlling and when things are important to me, I like to do them myself, because then I can be assured of the outcome.
Semester 1: Depth of Learning. Depth of learning describes how deeply they learned their specific personal characteristic. In the first semester, as this portion of the study was included in a different data set, 23 of the available 30 were coded. Of these 23, the average depth of learning score was 2.3 (sd=.80) out of four. In terms of percentages, 4.3% received a zero (did not achieve any learning objectives), 4.3% received a one (clearly identified and analyzed the concept), 47.8% received a two (clearly applied their concept), 39.1% received a three (clearly analyzed and synthesized the concept), and 4.3% received a four (clearly evaluated the concept).
Semester 2: Depth of Learning. Of the 50, the average depth of learning score was
(sd=1.57). In terms of percentages, 10% received a zero (did not achieve any learning objectives), 6% received a one (clearly identified a personal concept), 8% received a two (clearly described the concept), 58% received a three (clearly applied the concept), 12% received a four (clearly analyzed the concept), and 6% received a five (clearly synthesized the concept). No students evaluated the concept.Below is an example of a student analyzing and synthesizing an awareness of personal charisma. In this quotation we find a reflection on the potential benefits:A potential benefit would be experiencing more through others instead of having to make mistakes myself. The more I am charismatic, the easier it is for me to surround myself with people and make friends. As I start to make friends, we can share experiences, see what each person went through, whether painful of pleasurable, and make the choices to learn from them or experience it ourselves. Most of the time, if I know something is wrong and someone shared their experience with me, I know to learn through that without having to actually experience it. In summary, I am able to put myself in other people’s shoes, feel what they feel, and relate to their experience without having to go through it all because of my charisma.
This student attempts to evaluate her strategies for personal growth, but becomes very general and does not continue with her charisma theme nor is she very detailed:
Over the long term, I see personal growth in relationships with people, careers, and dealing with myself mentally. Now that I have become aware of my ability to work with others, I can improve present relationships and use this ability to create new relationships with people. I also know that my career should involve being around people, specifically children…
Semester 1: What was Learned. This portion of the reflection involved what students said they learned civically. While 27 students completed their civic learning reflections, only 24 of them articulated what they learned clearly enough to be coded. Again, although the majority of the students (20) discussed one thing they learned, several mentioned more than one (four).
Eleven of the students said they learned more about a specific leadership theory and used that theory to approach their role in the civic arena and one student mentioned three leadership theories). Of these, six of the students said that they approached their service-learning using transformational theory; five approached their service-learning using situational theory; and, two approached their service- learning using trait theories. Other theories were only mentioned once.
Six stated they learned more about a specific attitude and used that attitude to approach their service-learning (of those one student stated three attitudes, two stated two, and three stated one). Two stated they approached the service-learning with a positive attitude; two approached the service learning with an open mind; and, two stated they did everything they were asked to do.
Finally, some students stated that they learned more about a specific role with which to approach their service-learning. Twelve of the students mentioned an aspect of working as part of a team including the need for teamwork, working in collaboration, and the need to take turns leading. Three students saw themselves as a role model. Out of the 24 students coded, only one said the fulfillment of the service learning was completed because of a requirement or grade.
Semester 2: What was Learned. Fifty students out of 58 completed this section; however, eight listed more than one characteristic or were unclear. Responses were grouped into two categories: self as a group member and understanding the system and one’s role in it. Twenty-six students stated they learned something about themselves as a group member, including collaboration and cooperation (eight), working to benefit the group as a whole (seven), listening and respecting others’ point of view (five), different people are good at different tasks (three), communication (two), and importance of putting in one’s own input (one).
Sixteen stated they learned something about their role, including such items as understanding the process and one’s role in it (six), responsibility, reliability, and commitment (four), and importance of volunteering (two). Here is an example of what a student said had been learned about leading in the civic arena:
Each “service learning” client had different objectives for us to understand, but they all had to do with being a leader and leadership. As part of MSU’s presidential leadership program, this client expected us to be good role models, always attend our service learning program, attend learning community meetings, and have good attitudes towards developing as leaders. In the STARS program, the teachers depended on us to be leaders. This client expected us, most importantly, to show up each week. They also expected us to be positive, upbeat, motivational, set a good example, and be good role models to the students. These students expected us to help them with their homework, always be there if they needed assistance, and to come to their level if needed. Also, as time went on, they depended on us as role models and friends. This was motivational for me because it really shows how being a good, positive leader attracts the same type of followers. Since a lot of these objectives involve a strong emphasis on morals and values (good role model/set a good example/positive/upbeat/ motivational/come to level of others), I would have to say that I undertook the transformational approach with respect to them. This approach stresses that leaders need to understand and adapt to the needs and motives of others. It also explains that certain leaders are able to inspire followers to achieve great things. Transformational leaders are recognized as change agents who are good role models, who can create and articulate a clear vision for an organization, who empower followers to achieve higher standards, and who act in ways that make others want to trust them.
Semester 1: Depth of Learning. We then investigated how deeply the students learned this civic approach. In the first semester, as this portion of the study was included in a different data set, 23 of the available 30 were coded. Of these 23, the average depth of learning score was 1.0 (sd=1.24) out of four. In terms of percentages, 56.5% received a zero (did not achieve any learning objectives), 4.3% received a one (clearly identify and describe), 21.7% received a two (clearly apply the concept), and 17.4% received a three (clearly analyzed and synthesized the concept). No students evaluated the concept.
Semester 2: Depth of Learning. Of the 50 coded, the average depth of learning score was 1.27 (sd=1.61). In terms of percentages, 56% received a zero (did not achieve any learning objectives), 6% received a one (clearly identified a concept), 14% received a two (clearly described the concept), 16% received a three (clearly applied the concept), and 8% received a four (clearly analyzed the concept). No students synthesized or evaluated the concept.
The individual in the above example was able to apply her approach, analyze and synthesize. However, she did not evaluate her approach, but instead changed direction and became very general:
In moving future action in the direction of long-term and sustainable change, I would bring all of my learnings into an organization, ready to share what I know with others. I would also come into the atmosphere with a positive upbeat attitude and ready to work hard. I would always carry with me my morals and values, and be accepting of others. I would base my job on task and relationship behaviors, and always act as a leader and good role model…
The purpose of this descriptive study was to begin to understand what students learn during a leadership course that uses service-learning pedagogy as well as determine how deeply the students are learning the various concepts. To accomplish this, we coded final projects using critical reflections based on service-learning projects collected during two semesters of a particular leadership course. These reflections were coded both in terms of content and in terms of depth of learning, using a depth-of-learning coding scheme developed by Ash and colleagues (Ash et al., 2004 draft; Ash, et al., 2005).
In terms of leadership learning, students mentioned learning such theories as situational leadership, team leadership, principles of leadership (Drath, 2001), and path-goal theory. Less mentioned were transformational, skills, style, and trait theories. None of the students mentioned other theories addressed in class including: contingency models and leader member exchange theory. In addition, they mentioned learning special topics such as the importance of ethics in leadership and the importance of communication.
Drath (2001) suggests that there are three principles (ways of understanding) of leadership: personal dominance (leadership is what the leader does), interpersonal influence (leaders are influenced by their followers and the context), and relational dialogue (leadership is the accomplishment of certain tasks and can happen in a myriad of ways). Skills, style, trait, and to some extent transformational theories are all directed at the leader (personal dominance).
Situational theory and path goal theory both fall under the principle of interpersonal influence. Team leadership falls under the principle of relational dialogue. Using this rubric and the theories themselves to frame student academic learnings, student learnings reflect a fairly complicated view of leadership. They understand that they need to analyze the context, understand the relationships they have with others, and act accordingly – be it as the leader or as a member of a group doing leadership. These learnings are crucial for their future, either as participating in leadership in organizations who more and more are relying on teamwork or participating in civic activities that rely on collaborations among multiple and diverse parties.
In terms of personal learning, students learned about themselves as individuals – stating such concepts as patience, tolerance, or shyness. They learned about themselves as community members including discovering a desire to help others and their love of people, or how their sense of awareness of their community increased. They learned about themselves as leaders. Here, they stated such things as discovering the need to switch back and forth between being a leader and follower or whether they should step up or wait for others to do so. And finally, they learned about themselves as team members. Some indicated that they learned how to work well with others, while others discovered that they tend to take on the bulk of the work in a team project. Not only is learning about the self important for growing as a leader, but it is also a desired outcome in a liberal education. This study demonstrates that students are learning important lessons and skills about themselves.
In terms of learning about how they approached and fit in the civic arena, students spoke about a variety of possibilities, and most took this quite seriously (only one mentioned participating in service-learning for the grade). In the first semester, some spoke about specific leadership theories that helped them approach the situation such as transformational theory, situational theory, and trait theory. They learned to work as part of a team. And, they learned more about working within a larger system and their roles within that system. Working in organizations is ubiquitous in this society. Students indicated learning realistic lessons about how work actually happens in organizations and the scope and limits of the roles they took on.
How deeply did they take this learning? In both Bloom’s taxonomy (1956) and Ash and colleagues (Ash, et al., 2004 draft; Ash, et al., 2005) revision, the levels are ordered in degree of difficulty. An important premise of Bloom’s taxonomy is that each level must be mastered before progressing to the next. Bloom’s taxonomy provides a structure that enabled Ash and colleagues to construct a checklist for the design of the coding of critical reflections. As such the levels within the leadership, personal, and civic areas are levels of learning development, and these levels increase in difficulty. In this course, the majority of the students were able to apply their concepts in leadership and personal learning, suggesting that they were able to identify and describe a concept, apply the concept as it occurred in their service learning, and to some extent, analyze and synthesize it. They tended not to be able to evaluate the concepts. In terms of civic learning, many students were not able to achieve any learning objectives.
A demonstration of effective learning could arguably cover all the levels. On the other hand, perhaps expecting first semester freshman (two-thirds of which are specially admitted) who are not only adjusting to college life, but are also being exposed to a new (for them) pedagogical approach, to be able to fully evaluate and analyze complex theories, topics, and ideas via the vehicle of service-learning and critical reflections, is too high of an expectation. We argue that the depth in which these first semester freshman students demonstrated learning in the leadership and personal areas is actually satisfactory, with the expectation that as they progress through additional years of college and additional service learning courses, they can be expected to continue deepening their learning to a point where they are able to fully analyze, synthesize, and evaluate concepts.
However, there is ample room for improvement in depth of learning in the course as it currently stands, particularly in the area of civic learning. Learning about leading in the civic area is perhaps the most complex of the three topics, and it is given the least amount of attention during the course. Areas such as the design of the service-learning project, the design of the reflection mechanisms, the extent to which student capacity to learn this way is cultivated, and methods of feedback can all be examined and modified to help students deepen their learning. For example, in this course students were given reflection prompts to help them write about their service-learning experiences: one rewrite with feedback and a document describing learning depth. Ash and colleagues (Ash, et al., 2004 draft; Ash, et al., 2005) also suggest the use of multiple rewrites, special sessions, and online tutorials to help students learn how to write better reflections and deepen their learning. Other possibilities include offering a progression of courses that allow students to take their leadership learnings deeper and deeper over the course of their tenure at the university rather than focusing on learning in one course.
However, we do conclude from these findings that service-learning is a viable alternative for teaching leadership. In answer to our research questions: Our student learnings were rich and varied. Students learned a number of leadership theories and topics from the course content and they were able to experience and observe leadership in a real-life setting through service-learning. They were able to tie the theories they were learning to their experiences, and their experiences helped facilitate their understanding of the concepts. In general, across all categories, students seemed to find situational leadership models, team leadership, and leadership principles most relevant to their experiences in their service learning projects. They learned about working in and sharing leadership in teams. They learned about working within a system. And they learned about themselves as individuals, as leaders, as group members, and as community members. In addition, their depth of learning (with the exception of civic learning) was quite adequate for a course for first semester freshman.
There were three limitations to this study. The first limitation was the small sample size. Data collection and analysis over additional semesters would yield a better understanding of what students are learning in this course. In addition, with a larger number of participants, we can begin to understand how different learnings relate to different service-learning projects, for example do students learn different things about leadership if they are working with children, with the elderly, or designing their own community projects? We could also begin to understand the impact of variables such as student demographics (e.g., year in school) and different instructors on learning.
The second limitation of this study is that it was cross-sectional. We did not follow up with our students over time. It would be useful to understand whether these students were able to take their learnings from this course and continue to apply and develop them during their tenure as students, or later as employees, graduate students, and so forth. Previous research has found that the longer students work on their leadership skills, the more skill and knowledge outcomes are expected (Schefferet, 2007). Continued data collection over the course of these students’ tenure in the university and beyond would yield a better understanding of whether students were able to use the learnings of this course and build on them in their lives.
The third limitation in this study was the lack of a comparison group utilizing a different pedagogical approach. Some remaining questions include whether students learned something different or better about leadership, about themselves as leaders, and about the practice of leadership in the civic arena as a result of the service learning and reflection. It is difficult to determine whether students learned about leadership more deeply than they would by utilizing different pedagogies. While we cannot answer these questions from the current study, our findings suggest that service-learning is a useful pedagogy for learning about leadership, learning about selves as leaders, and learning about leadership in the civic arena.
Because organizations are continuously seeking college graduates with leadership skills, this study sought to determine whether students can, in fact, learn about leadership and about their own leadership qualities in a university setting as well as whether service-learning can be a pedagogy for facilitating this learning. This study is one of the first to explore using service-learning pedagogy to develop leadership knowledge and practice. It demonstrates that students can meaningfully grasp and interpret the complexities of leadership theories via service-learning and reflection as well as draw from the course in such a way as to help them
develop as leaders. Not only did the students understand leadership theory, but they were able to practice implementing or observe these theories in their service which in turn helped them better understand the theory. Our study suggests that universities can consider service-learning pedagogy as a viable option to give students an opportunity to develop leadership qualities that organizations seek, both theoretically and contextually.
As we gain more understanding about different pedagogies used to teach leadership and their success and failures, those interested in helping our students become leaders can learn and improve their own practice. By continuing to explore service-learning and other pedagogies for leadership knowledge and development, we can improve leadership programs to prepare students for leadership challenges outside of the university.
Ash, S. L., & Clayton, P. H. (2004). Articulated learning: An approach to guided reflection and assessment. Innovative Higher Education, 29(2), 137-154.
Ash, S. L., Clayton, P. H., & Atkinson M. P. (2005). Integrating reflection and assessment to capture and improve student learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 11, 49-60.
Ash, S. L., Clayton, P. H., & Moses, M. G. (2004 draft). Learning through critical reflection: A tutorial for students in service-learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing. Under development.
Astin, A., Vogelgesang, L., Ikeda, E., & Yee, J. (2000). How service learning affects students. Los Angeles: Higher Education Research Institute, UCLA.
Barbuto, J. E. (2006). Dramaturgical teaching in the leadership classroom: Taking experiential learning to the next level. Journal of /Leadership Education, 5, 4-13.
Biggs, J. (1999). Teaching for quality learning at university. SHRE and Open University Press.
Blackwell, C., Cummins, R., Townsend, C., & Cummings, C. (2007). Assessing Perceived Student Leadership Development in an Academic Leadership Development Program. Journal of Leadership Education, 6(1), 39-58.
Bloom, B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: the classification of educational goals (1st ed.). New York: Longmans Green.
Cohen, J., & Kinsey, D. F. (1994). “Doing good” and scholarship: A service learning study. Journalism Educator, 48(4), 4-14.
Doh, J. P. (2003). Can leadership be taught? Perspectives from management educators. Academy of Management: Learning & Education, 2(1).
Drath, W. H. (2001). The deep blue sea: Rethinking the source of leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.
Dumas, C. (2002). Community-based service learning: does it have a role in management education? International journal of value based management, 15, 249 -264.
Eyler, J. (2002). Reflection: Linking service and learning – linking students and communities. Journal of Social Issues, 58(3), 517-534
Eyler, J., & Giles, D. (1999). Where’s the Learning in Service-Learning? San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Fleiss, J. L. (1981). Statistical methods for rates and proportions (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley.
Friedman, S. D. (1996). Community involvement projects in Wharton’s MBA curriculum. Journal of Business Ethics, 15(1), 95-101.
Guenthner, J. F., & Moore, L. L. (2005). Role playing as a leadership development tool. Journal of Leadership Education, 4, 59-65.
Howard, J. P. F. (1998). Academic service learning: A counternormative pedagogy. In R.A. Rhoads & J. P. F. Howard (Eds.), Academic service learning: A pedagogy of action and reflection (pp. 21-29). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.
Komives, S. R., Lucas, N., & McMahon, T. R. (1998). Exploring Leadership: For college students who want to make a difference. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Madsen, S. R. (2006). Course-linked service-learning in management education: Lessons learned. Organization Management Journal, 3, 14-33.
Markus, G. B., Howard, J. P. F., & King, D. C. (1993). Integrating Community Service and Classroom Instruction Enhances Learning: Results from an Experiment. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 15(4), 410-419.
McCarthy, A. M., & Tucker, M. L. (2002). Encouraging community service through service learning. Journal of Management Education, 26(6), 629- 647.
Mello, J. A. (2003). Profiles in leadership: Enhancing learning through model and theory building. Journal of Management Education, 27(3), 344.
Middleton, K. L. (2005). The service learning project as a supportive context for charismatic leadership emergence in nascent leaders. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 4, 295-308.
Moely, B. E., Mercer, S. H., Ilustre, D., Miron, D., & McFarland, M. (2002). Psychometric properties and correlates of the civic attitudes and skills questionnaire (CASQ): A measure of student’s attitudes related to service learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 8(2), 15-26.
Northouse, P. G. (2003). Leadership: Theory and Practice (3rd ed.). Sage Publications.
Ramsden, P. (1992). Learning to teach in higher education. Routledge.
Roberts, C. (2008). Developing future leaders: The role of reflection in the classroom. Journal of Leadership Education, 7, 116-129.
Schefferet, D. R. (2007). Community leadership: What does it take to see results? Journal of Leadership Education, 6(1), 174-189.
Simons, L., & Cleary, B. (2006). The influence of service learning on students’ personal and social development. College Teaching, 54, 307-319.
Stedman, N. L. P., Rutherford, T. A., & Roberts, T. G. (2006). Does providing feedback to student reflections impact the development of their leadership competence? Journal of Leadership Education, 5, 177-190.
Vogelgesang, L. J., & Astin, A. W. (2000) Comparing the Effects of Community Service and Service-Learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 7, 25-34.
Sample Prompts Using DEAL for Leadership, Personal, and Civic Learnings
Community Service First Week’s Reflection Questions
Describe in detail and as objectively as possible (1/2-1 page):
Where were you (describe the setting), who else was there, when did this experience take place.
Why were you there?
What did you do and with whom? Go step by step here.
What direction did you get?
What were the most significant features of the experience, the specific details that you might want to examine further?
Examine your experience (1/2-1 page for each section)
Consider these prompts to help you write
How did you feel while you were there?
What assumptions or expectations did you bring to the situation and how did they affect your actions? Also, re-read your expectations page – how was the experience similar to and/or different from what you expected?
What personal strengths and weaknesses did the situation reveal (include your MBTI, signature strengths, and leadership style)? How did they affect the situation positively or negatively? What might you do next time to build on strengths/overcome weaknesses?
Did you/did you not experience difficulty working/interacting with other people? What might you do differently next time to minimize the difficulties?
How did the situation reveal your own biases or attitudes—toward other people, toward the organization?
How did this situation challenge or reinforce your personal values and beliefs?
Consider these prompts to help you
What is/are the goal(s) of this service learning project? Think about it from the point of view of the clients, the organization, MSU—Center for Community-based learning, the professor of this class, and you.
What am I trying to accomplish in this service learning project? In taking action, am I focusing on the symptoms of problems or causes of problems? What would it take to focus on underlying causes?
What roles do each person/group/organization involved in the situation play and why? What alternative roles could each have played?
What did I learn about working as part of a larger system? How, specifically, did I learn it? Why does this learning matter? And how will I use this learning civically (What goals will you set in accordance to what you have learned in order to improve yourself)?
Answer each of these questions
How was leadership displayed in this situation—on your part or on the part of others? Describe what you saw and why you thought it was leadership.
What elements of situational theory relate to this experience? How were you able to apply situational theory to your experience?
What similarities/differences were there between what you learned in reading about situational theory and the situation as it unfolded?
How did this experience enhance (or detract from) your knowledge of situational theory?
Articulate your learning (1 page):
What did you learn personally? How, specifically, did you learn it? Why does this learning matter? And how will you use this learning about yourself (What goals will you set in accordance to what you have learned in order to improve yourself)?
What did you learn civically (via your service)? How, specifically, did you learn it? Why does this learning matter? And how will you use this learning civically (What goals will you set in accordance to what you have learned in order to improve yourself)?
Articulate your personal learning (3 pages minimum):
ANSWER EVERY QUESTION
Look over all of your past reflections on your experience of leadership during the service learning project as it has to do with your personal perspective and your learnings. Examining your experiences from the personal perspective allows you to explore what the experience reveals about your personal leadership characteristics: your strengths and weaknesses, your sense of identity, the assumptions you tend to make about yourself and others, and your beliefs and values as well as other traits. As a leader, not only should you strive to learn something new about yourself, you should also consider why you are the way that you are and whether you want to make any changes in yourself.
In this next section, you will articulate your learning in DETAIL. Please do the following:
Identify and describe a specific personal characteristic of yours that you now understand better as a result of reflection on your service learning experience. Specifically, what personal strength, weakness, assumption about yourself or others, belief, conviction, trait, etc. have you become aware of, or more aware of, as a result of reflection on your service learning experience?
Apply your understanding of this particular personal characteristic in the context of your leadership experiences this semester experiences and other areas of your life. Specifically, how does/might this characteristic positively and/or negatively affect your interactions with others, your decisions, and/or your actions in your service learning activities and in other areas of your life?
Analyze the source of this particular personal characteristic and the steps necessary to use or improve on it in your service learning experiences and other areas of your life. Specifically, what are the possible sources or reasons for this personal characteristic? In what specific way can you use this strength or improve upon this weakness, etc., in your service learning activities and in other areas of your life in the short-term? What are the potential personal benefits and risks or challenges you might face as you do so?
Develop and evaluate your strategies for personal growth. Specifically, what is a significant way to use this new awareness in your life over the long-term, so you can continue to improve upon your process of personal growth? What challenges or setbacks might you face in this process over time and how might you deal with them? How will you assess or monitor your progress in this personal growth process so that you can continue to make changes?
Articulate your civic learning (2 pages minimum):
ANSWER EVERY QUESTION
Look over all of your past reflections on your experience of leadership during the service learning project as it has to do with civic responsibility and your learnings. Examining your experiences from a civic perspective helps you deepen your understanding of the role of leadership in citizenship. It helps you better understand why things are the way they are and how they might be changed. As a leader, you will be called upon to promote long-term, sustainable improvement in the world around you—to do this you need to understand the situation, your role in it, and how to act as an agent of change.
In this next section, you will articulate your learning in DETAIL. Please do the following:
Identify and describe the approach you took toward meeting your service learning “clients’” objectives (MSU, the organization, AND the individual(s) you worked with). Specifically, identify and describe the objectives from each perspective. And describe the approach you undertook with respect to those objectives.
How does this approach positively and/or negatively affect the fulfillment of the different objectives of your service?
Analyze the appropriateness of this approach in light of alternatives and the steps necessary to make any needed improvements. Specifically, what were your reasons for taking this approach (attitudes, interests, agendas, assumptions, knowledge, resources). What alternative approaches could you have taken (were available)? Which approach, in hindsight, was/would have been more appropriate (more effective, more efficient, etc.) and why? And in what specific ways could you improve on your involvement in collective action and what are the benefits and risks/challenges of doing so?
Evaluate your role as an agent of systematic change. What would be involved in moving this project into one that has long-term, sustainable, and systemic change? What challenges or setbacks might you face if you were to remain involved in moving this program forward? How might you assess or monitor progress in this change process so that you can continue to make changes for greater success?
Articulate your learning (3 pages minimum):
ANSWER EVERY QUESTION
Look over all of your past reflections on your experience of leadership and your learnings on leadership during the service learning project. Examining your experiences from the academic perspective helps you understand better the course material. You have been asked to make connections between what you have read and discussed and what you experience in the community. In doing so, you have been able to compare and contrast what the theories suggest with what actually happens, make preliminary judgments regarding the adequacy of the material, and use that critique to build your own implicit theory of leadership.
In this next section, you will articulate your learning in DETAIL. Please do the following:
Identify and describe one specific leadership concept from the course materials that you now understand better as a result of engaging and reflection on your service learning experiences.
Apply this specific leadership concept in the context of your experiences. Specifically, how does the leadership concept help you better understand or deal with issues related to your service- learning related experiences AND how does the service learning related experience help you to better understand that leadership concept?
Analyze the relationship between the leadership concept and your experiences. Specifically, compare and contrast the leadership concept and your experience—how are they the same and different? What are the possible reasons for the difference(s) between your understanding of the leadership concept and your experience with it? (e.g., biases assumptions/agendas/lack of information on the part of the scientist or on your part). What complexities (subtleties, nuances, new dimensions) do you see now in the leadership concept that the author did not address or that you had not been aware of before?
Evaluate the adequacy of the leadership concept and/or your evolving understanding of it. Specifically, how might the concept need to be revised? What additional questions need to be answered/evidence gathered to help you make an informed judgment? What should/might you and/or your service organization do in the future? What are the benefits? What are the risks?
Identify and describe a specific academic concept that you now understand better as a result of reflection on your service learning experience.
Identify an academic concept that relates to your service learning experience.
Describe the academic concept that relates to your service learningexperience.
Apply the academic concept in the context of the experience
How does the academic concept apply to/emerge in your service learning experience (e.g., how did you or someone else use the material? When did you see it?)?
Analyze the academic material (and/or your prior understanding of it) in light of the experience and develop an enhanced understanding of it.
Compare and contract the academic material and your experience: In what specific ways are the academic material (and/or your prior understanding of it) and the experiences the same and in what specific ways are they different?
What are the possible reasons for the difference(s) between the material and your prior understanding of it and your experience? (e.g., bias/assumptions/agendas/lack of information on the part of the author/scientist or on your part).
In light of this analysis, what complexities (subtleties, nuances,new dimensions) do you now see in the material that were not addressed or that you had not been aware of before?
Evaluate the adequacy of the material(and/or your prior understanding of it) and develop a strategy for improve action
How specifically might the material (and/or your understanding of it) need to be revised —AND—
If applicable, what additional questions need to be answered and/or evidence gathered in order for you to make a more informed judgment regarding the adequacy/accuracy/appropriateness of thematerial(and/or your prior understanding of it) —AND—
What should you and/or your service organization do differently in the future (or have done differently in the past) AND what are the associated benefits and risks/challenges?
Identify and describe a specific personal characteristic of that you now understand better as a result of reflection on your service-learning experience.
Identify a personal characteristic (e.g., strength, weakness, assumption about yourself or others, belief, conviction, trait, etc.) that.
Describe the academic concept that relates to your service learning experience.
Apply your understanding of this personal characteristic in the context of the experience and (as applicable) to other areas of your life.
How does/might this characteristic positively and/or negatively affect your interactions with others, your decisions, and/or your actions in your service learning activities and (as applicable) in other areas of your life?
Analyze the sources of this characteristic and develop the steps necessary to use or improve on it in the short term.
What are the possible reasons of/reasons for this personal characteristic?
In what specific way(s) can you use this strength, improve upon this weakness, etc., in your service learning activities and (as applicable) in other areas of your life over the short term?
What are the potential benefits/risks/challenges you might face as you do so?
Develop and evaluate your strategies for personal growth over the long term.
What is a more general and significant way to use this new awareness in your life over the long term, so that you continue and improve upon your process of personal growth?
What challenges or setbacks might you face in this process and how might you deal with them?
How will you use or monitor your progress in this personal growth
process so that you may make changes as needed for greater success?
Identify and describe the approach you or others took toward meetingcollective objectives.
Identify the collective objective(s).
Describe the approach that was undertaken with respect to those objectives.
Apply your understanding of the approach in the context of the objectives at stake.
How does/might the approach positively and/or negatively affect the fulfillment of the objectives?
Analyze the approach in light of alternatives and develop the steps necessary to make any needed improvements in the short term.
What alternative approach(es) was(were) available and how would it (they) affect the fulfillment of the objectives? (e.g., directing action towards an individual v. a group; towards a symptom v. a root cause; towards a short term v. long term solution).
What are the possible reasons for the approach you (they) took and/or for not taking the alternative(s)? (e.g., attitudes, interests, agendas, assumptions, knowledge, resources).
In light of the analysis what specific way(s) can you (they)improve on your (their) involvement in processes of collective action in the short term and what are the benefits and risks/challenges in doing so?
Evaluate your (others’) role as an agent(s) of long term, sustainable, and/or systemic change.
Based on the above analysis:
What could be involved in moving future action in the direction of long term, sustainable, and or/systemic change? (e.g., changes that address underlying causes and does not cause inappropriate dependencies).
What challenges or setbacks might be faced in this process and how might they be dealt with?
How might progress be assessed or monitored in this change