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A Qualitative Evaluation of Student Leadership Learning Outcomes from Study Abroad and the Clifton StrengthsFinder Assessment
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College campuses are challenged with developing leaders. Universities create formal leadership programs for students to develop their leadership prowess. It is critical for universities to be aware of the outcomes of student experiences when implementing programming. The purpose of this study is to describe the leadership learning outcomes of The Maroon & White Leadership Fellows who participated in a study abroad or Clifton StrengthsFinder experience. Qualitative research methods were used to complete this study. Data were provided by, The Maroon & White Leadership program, a student leadership program at Texas A&M University through written or oral guided reflections. A blended framework encompassing Kolb’s model of experiential learning and the Leadership Identity Development model was created to evaluate the student learning outcomes. The first phase of this study evaluated leadership learning outcomes of students who completed study abroad as an education experience within The Maroon & White Leadership program. Emergent themes were cultural awareness, leadership understanding, understanding of the role of a leader, self-awareness, awareness of future benefits of studying abroad, and benefits of diversity. The results suggest that leadership learning outcomes of students who participate in study abroad are tangible, yet different, than learning outcomes of students who participate in study abroad as part of a differing curriculum. The second phase of this study evaluated leadership learning outcomes of students who completed a Clifton StrengthsFinder workshop as a training experience within The Maroon & White Leadership program. Self-awareness, understanding of the role of a leader, understanding the value of knowing one’s strengths, and development of one’s personal leadership identity emerged as themes. It can be determined from these results that students gain leadership knowledge from participating in a Clifton StrengthsFinder-related experience and completing an accompanying guided reflection.
Stein, Megan Rebecca (2018). A Qualitative Evaluation of Student Leadership Learning Outcomes from Study Abroad and the Clifton StrengthsFinder Assessment. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from