- The Handbook for Student Leadership Development
The first edition of The Handbook for Student Leadership Programs, edited by Komives, Dugan, Owen, Slack, and Wagner (2006), was, and remains, a useful resource guide for higher education administrators and faculty members, with practical information about developing and implementing leadership programs on college and university campuses. With a slight change in its title, this second edition makes clear its focus on the target of those programs: the development of student leaders. The new edition maintains the useful and practical focus of the first edition and builds on it with a clear focus on inclusivity of diverse student populations, an exploration of current assumptions and trends in leadership development, and an acknowledgement of the multiple methods of program delivery for leadership education.
In the first chapter, Komives sets an inviting tone for the book by sharing her first exposure to leadership development. This engaging, personal story allows readers to recall their own "aha" experiences, connecting them to the subject in a meaningful way. This first chapter goes on to trace the development of leadership education, noting influential themes in scholarship, theory development, and professional practice and addressing current issues in campus-based leadership programs. The chapter's appendix is the first of many useful tables in the volume, presenting a chronology of influences in student leadership development programs.
Following this introduction, the book is organized in four parts: Foundations of Leadership Education, Program Design, Program Context, and Program Delivery. Reading sequentially gives a solid orientation to leadership education, with history, theory, and research providing a strong foundation to putting the concepts in practice. Later sections offer considerations, strategies, and resources for implementing leadership in various contexts and formats. Readers could enter the book at any point, however, and glean insights into how to improve existing programs—for example, establishing an assessment program or seeking external funding, restructuring or rebuilding curricula, or updating activities and content.
In chapter 2, Dugan and Komives expand on the historical introduction in chapter 1 to explore some of the foundational theoretical threads. With a focus on the application of theory to practice, Dugan and Komives provide a broad overview with references to primary works for further exploration. Attention to social justice issues and cogent analysis of the base assumptions of the evolution of leadership theory make this chapter a valuable addition to the study of leadership. Dugan dives into the research literature in chapter 3, presenting key themes and groupings of leadership research with suggested action steps for practitioners [End Page 618]to connect research findings to professional practice. Organizing his discussion in three areas—student characteristics, environmental contexts, and structural influences—Dugan synthesizes a broad literature base, providing a rich bibliography for further study.
Chapters 4 and 5 tie leadership development to other theoretical foundations. Wagner explores student development theories in chapter 4, written toward those who have not studied these theories in graduate programs. She includes theoretical staples, such as Perry, Kohlberg, and Gilligan, and broadens the theoretical base with discussion of other constructs such as self-efficacy and practical intelligence. Wagner focuses on the Leadership Identity Development Theory developed by Komives, Longerbeam, Owen, Mainella, and Osteen (2006), offering concrete suggestions on supporting and challenging students at each level of leadership identity. Owen, in chapter 5, suggests how to create "educationally purposeful leadership learning environments" (p. 111). She presents multiple models for approaching leadership education; for example, Table 5.1 connects ACPA and NASPA's Powerful Partnershipsmodel's 10 learning principles to leadership learning. This is one of several resources in the chapter that are practical, usable, and immediately applicable to student leadership programs.
Arminio opens the section on program design with chapter 6, detailing considerations for establishing and advancing leadership programs. Offering cogent suggestions for program development, Arminio reminds leadership educators to connect to institutional mission and priorities, create partnerships and shared vision, and recognize and remove barriers to success...