Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Kenneth Stothers

Committee Member

Rachel Winstead


Community College, Leadership, Social Change, Student Leadership


This applied dissertation was conducted in order to compare levels of socially responsible leadership, as reported in the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership (MSL, Dugan & Associates 2012; Dugan, Komives & Associates, 2009), between students at community colleges and 4-year colleges. The problem this study addressed was the relatively limited knowledge about the leadership development of students attending community colleges (Basham & Mathur, 2010; Cloud, 2010). Students who have the ability to engage in on-campus activities have a greater opportunity to become involved in any one of a variety of leadership positions and activities such as student-organization officers, student employment, retreats, and trainings. Engaged students, therefore, are more easily able to translate leadership involvement into specific skills that can be included on their resumes and marketed to future colleges or potential employers. An adapted version of the MSL scale (Dugan & Associates 2012; Dugan, Komives & Associates, 2009), an instrument created to observe the effects of postsecondary education on the leadership development of college students, was administered to over 300,000 students at approximately 250 institutions. Specifically, the instrument investigates college experiences and their influences on leadership-related outcomes of students such as complex cognitive skills, social perspective-taking, and leadership efficacy. Results revealed significant differences between students attending community colleges and those from 4-year colleges with regard to several values of leadership development: change, citizenship, controversy with civility, and consciousness of self. It can be concluded that students attending community colleges, when compared to those from 4-year colleges, have significantly higher scores for change, controversy with civility, and consciousness of self. In comparison, students from 4-year colleges have higher citizenship scores.

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