Assessing Student Leadership

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Part of the Student Leadership Development Extended Online Learning Program

Core Competencies: Leadership, Management, Student Learning
Originally presented on June 16, 2009
This is the archived version.

Program Description

Through the programs, activities, services, and facilities offered by college unions and student activities professionals, the development of leadership in students happens in a variety of forms on campus. Learn more about current trends, theories, and practical applications related to student leadership development through this series of online learning sessions.

Program Schedule


Sessions Focused on Leadership Integrated throughout Practice

Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership Development 
Presented by John Dugan, Loyola University–Chicago

The Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership is an international research program examining the influences of higher education on the development of students' leadership abilities. The study represents data from more than 150,000 students at over 100 colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. This session engages participants in a presentation and discussion of findings from the study. Specific attention also will be paid to the unique experiences of students involved as members of programming boards. The goal of this session is for participants to leave with concrete ideas and insights into how to structure both formal and informal learning opportunities that offer the greatest potential for influencing student leadership development.

John Dugan serves as an assistant professor in the higher education program at Loyola University–Chicago, where he teaches graduate-level courses on leadership development, student development theory, and social justice. He has also presented at national and international conferences on leadership topics relating to assessment, cultural influences, and peer education. He is co-editor of the “Handbook for Student Leadership Programs” (NCLP) and author of “Cross Cultural Leadership,” a monograph in the NCLP Insights & Applications Series. He has published research on student leadership grounded in the social change model in the Journal of College Student Development and NASPA Journal. Dugan is a past recipient of the ACPA: College Educators International Burns B. Crookston Doctoral Research Award, Nevitt Sanford Award for Research in Student Affairs, and was recently named an Emerging Scholar.

Assessing Student Leadership 
Presented by Darlena Jones, Educational Benchmarking (EBI)

This session focuses on the learning outcomes associated with student organization leaders. We will explore the aggregate data collected from college student leaders from across the United States through the new EBI Student Organization Leaders Assessment, and highlight programs’ strengths and weaknesses, predictors of performance, and subpopulation characteristics.

Darlena Jones, Ph.D., is director of research and development for Educational Benchmarking Inc. (EBI). Currently, Jones conducts research on EBI’s studies and has published her findings in numerous journals. She has also presented results of EBI’s studies at many international conferences including the Assessment Institute at Indiana University Purdue University–Indianapolis, Association for Institutional Research (AIR), NASPA, and ACPA. She also has been an invited speaker for the past four years at the National Conference on First-Year Assessment.

Sessions Focused on Student Leadership Programs

College Student Leadership Programs Trends and Resources 
Presented by Craig Slack & Kristan Cilente, National Clearinghouse for Leadership Programs

Through an historical overview of leadership and leadership resources within the higher education context, program participants will learn more about the current state of leadership programs. Other session topics include putting leadership theory in practice and emerging trends in college students leadership development.

Craig Slack is the director of the National Clearinghouse for Leadership Programs (NCLP) and the assistant director of the Stamp Student Union for Leadership and Community Service-Learning at the University of Maryland. Slack has worked with student leadership for more than 20 years and was integral to beginning NASPA’s Knowledge Community for Student Leadership Programs and ACPA’s Commission for Student Involvement. Additionally, Slack has advised student governments, coordinated alternative break trips, and taught numerous leadership courses. On campus, he has been instrumental in creating the leadership studies minor and linking leadership, civic engagement, and community service-learning. Finally, Slack is a co-editor on the “Handbook for Student Leadership Programs” and a member of the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership (MSL) research team.

Kristan Cilente is the graduate coordinator for the NCLP and is an advanced doctoral student in the college student personnel program at the University of Maryland. Cilente’s research focus is on leadership development and community service-learning, serving on the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership (MSL) research team as well as a qualitative research project investigating the perceived meaning-making for participants in alternative spring break programs. Furthermore, Cilente teaches courses in the leadership studies minor and the LEAD program at the University of Maryland and has authored a chapter in the just released, “Leadership for a Better World: Understanding the Social Change Model of Leadership Development.”

Matching Your Leadership Program with Student Needs 
Presented by Heidi Lang, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Successful training programs are all about meeting student needs. But we all know how tricky that can be when students' needs change from day to day and from person to person. Session participants explore some simple strategies that can be applied to make student leader training programs more intentional, organized, and effective.

Heidi Lang is the Wisconsin Union social education program coordinator at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. There, she works in partnership with students to coordinate the training program for the Wisconsin Union Directorate (WUD) student programming board. The WUD consists of four officers, 15 directors, 32 associate directors, and approximately 300 committee members. Lang also advises the WUD vice presidents and the Distinguished Lecture Series Committee. She received a master's degree in higher education from North Carolina State University and a bachelor's degree in psychology and interpersonal communications from Western Michigan University.

Campus Showcases
  • University of Arizona
    Presented by Tina Neil
  • Denison University
    Presented by Natalie Pariano
  • University of Iowa
    Presented by Tara Edberg
  • University of Nevada–Las Vegas
    Presented by Dustin Peterson
  • Texas State University–San Marcos
    Presented by Lisa Furler
  • Texas Tech University
    Presented by Jana Vise


Updated Nov. 9, 2012