I wrote last about our campus initiative that is going to push us toward a “comprehensive” leadership program. We’re really building this from the middle, as there are many leadership efforts around campus that already exist. A move in this strategic direction is still without a lot of focus and without any defined leadership roles for our office in this effort, but as the Director of Student Involvement and LEADERSHIP, it’s probably a good idea for me to get our ducks in a row, right?
In preparing for this movement on our campus, I know that someone needs to take leadership for leadership. (grin!) I don’t know if I’m going to end up in this role, but I need to get prepared for my office to be primary partners in this effort if not charged with overall direction. So, how do we get the plan in place? Let’s look at needs and let’s look at assessment.
I’ll confess that I’m someone who gets pretty fired up at the idea of assessment and feels very dedicated to its place in our department. However, I’m not someone who is blessed with a natural gift for statistics (as my grades last semester show!) and I also didn’t get much preparation for the mechanics of assessment in my master’s program.
So, now I’m a department director and we need data. Go.
We needed information and we needed it quickly. So, we looked to a national survey on leadership and found the MSL. I don’t know how many of you have participated in the Multi Institutional Study of Leadership, but we decided to take the plunge for the first time this year. This national study of leadership that looks at how the higher education experience impacts leadership in college students. It surveys a HUGE majority of your student population and gives back a TON of data! Check out this work from Susan Komives and John Dugan and you’ll certainly see why we were so excited.
I now have a set of data that tells me what 4,000 of our students think about leadership and need to figure out what to do with it! eeeek! This beginning Ph.D. student looks at all of this great data, knows there are great pieces of insight in this binder, but is shaking in her boots to try to figure out where to go next with it.
Here is what I have figured out so far:
- I’m developing a list of “research questions” that I think the data might answer.
- Then, I’m going to work with someone who knows data analysis much better than I do and see if they also agree.
- After that, my supervisor and I are going to figure out the implications of these conclusions here on campus.
- Once we write the implications and conclusions, I’m going to do this presentation as many times as appropriate culture on campus will let me and tell everyone I know what we found.
As of now, I’m hoping it will help us understand a bit more about our college males and why they aren’t stepping forward in leadership roles here. I’m also worried about what looks like overall weak self-report of leadership efficacy from Undeclared majors and really glad to see what looks like very positive ratings on Citizenship from students involved in campus programming. There’s also a list of 20 additional potential questions to pursue and I certainly have my work ahead of me!
Off to a meeting with my supervisor to dig into this for the first time. Wish me luck! I’ll write next time about leadership and what I’m learning about the different “parts” to this change effort.
Until I get back, can you tell our SA Community about a time when you were facing an assessment “Mountain” and conquered it? We will learn from your journey!