The Eisenhower Leadership Development Program: a study on student leadership skill development
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Although no one program exists for leadership development, there is an understanding among practitioners and researchers that leader and leadership development occur in many venues, with one of those venues being an academic classroom where experience and theory are juxtaposed. One such program is the Eisenhower Leadership Development Program. In an effort to strengthen the academic discipline of leadership and to garner further respect for leadership development programs such as ELDP, leadership development programs must be assessed and evaluated in order to ensure that the objective of the program is being met. Brungardt and Crawford noted that, "assessment and evaluation of leadership programs help ground programs in the needs of students while working within the constraints of academe" (1996, p. 37). The purpose of this study was twofold. First, this study sought to ensure that the Eisenhower Leadership Development Program was producing the outcomes the program was designed to produce. Second, this study sought to demonstrate the worth of ELDP to past, current, and future stakeholders. Former ELDP students were surveyed regarding the perceptions of their learning outcomes based on four practical skills (problem defintion, discovery of research alternatives, delegation/teamwork, and achievable challenge) and four complimentary adaptive skills (focusing on an issue, direct attention to detail, management of time and resources, and persistence). This study found that students did perceive to have gained leadership skills in each of the practical and adaptive skill constructs. The comparison between students' perceptions of each skill before participating in ELDP and after participating in ELDP was positively correlated and statistically significant in every construct. In short, the relationship between the practical and adaptive skills taught in ELDP and the learning outcomes is not serendipitous. The findings show that ELDP is improving the development of students in terms of them becoming leaders and in terms of the greater concept of leadership as related to the four practical and adaptive skills emphasized by ELDP. Further research related to the interdisciplinary design through which the practical and adaptive skills are taught is recommended.
Blackwell, Cindy Southard (2003). The Eisenhower Leadership Development Program: a study on student leadership skill development. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from