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Mentoring Relationships & Leadership Capacity: New Dissertation Using MSL Data

An Examination of Mentoring Relationships and Leadership Capacity in Resident Assistants 

Dr. Sherry Early, faculty member in Higher Education and Student Affairs at Ohio University, successfully defended her dissertation on the relationship between mentoring relationships and the development of leadership capacity in resident assistants. The MSL research team is tremendously proud of Dr. Early for contributing important findings to our growing body of leadership knowledge!

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to examine mentoring relationships and resident assistants’ (RA) leadership capacities. In addition, the type of mentor of the RAs, and the gender match and race match of the mentor-protege pairs was investigated. This study provides insight into the profile of resident assistants as well as findings related to mentoring outcomes on the Social Change Model constructs of socially responsible leadership, and leadership efficacy. I utilized the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership 2009 data. A sample of 6,006 resident assistants (RAs) was analyzed using an adapted version of Astin’s (1991, 1993) Inputs-Environments-Outcomes (I-E-O) college impact model as the conceptual framework and the Social Change Model of Leadership as the theoretical framework.

Independent samples t-tests, analysis of variance, and regression were used to analyze data on leadership capacity and mentoring outcomes (personal development and leadership empowerment). Leadership capacity findings suggested a mentored RA demonstrates significantly higher leadership capacity than a non-mentored RA. The type of mentor is not a predictor of socially responsible leadership; student affairs professionals are positive predictors of leadership efficacy in comparison to other student mentors. Gender match and race match mentor-protege pairings results on leadership capacity did not yield significant results. Regression findings suggest gender match and race match mentor-protege pairs did not differ from cross-gender and cross-race mentor-protege pairs on leadership capacity.

These findings fill gaps between research and practice and provide incentives for stakeholders of collegiate environments to mentor resident assistants. More specifically, these findings provide residence life and housing administrators with evidence-based research that mentored RAs demonstrate higher leadership capacities and possess the potential to become transformational change agents in college and beyond.

To access the full dissertation, visit:

To access other dissertations and theses which utilize MSL data, click here.

New MSL Article Published: Leadership Capacity, Efficacy of Women in STEM Fields

Developing the leadership capacity and leader efficacy of college women in science, technology, engineering, and math fields.

Recently, the Journal of Leadership Studies published John Dugan, Kimberly Fath, Shannon Howes, Kathryn Lavelle, and Joshua Polanin’s article that explores the experiences of women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields in developing leadership capacity and leader efficacy.

Abstract: The current study examined the extent to which college women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) majors demonstrated differential levels of leadership capacity and/or leader efficacy than their non-STEM, female peers. Data represented 14,698 women from 86 institutions of higher education in the United States. Results indicated similar levels of leadership capacity but significantly lower leader efficacy for women in STEM majors. Implications explore unique predictors of leader efficacy for women in STEM majors along with recommendations for changes to policy and professional practice that might address how the differential organizational contexts shape leadership development.

To read the full article, visit the reports and publications page here.

New MSL Publication: MSL Insight Report: Leadership Program Delivery

The Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership strives to advance socially responsible leadership development on college campuses across the world. While participation in the MSL contributes to the movement to expand our knowledge of leadership, the most critical outcomes of this work are only achieved when data are utilized to inform practice. Our research team is excited to provide a new resource that provides important points of consideration and reflection associated with the delivery of leadership education programs.

The full report is available in the Reports and Publications section of the website.  We hope this report can provide new insight into how institutions can effectively support leadership development programs on college campuses.

New MSL Article Explores Complexity of Race

All too often, leadership educators approach race from a simplistic, static lens. In their recently published article, John Dugan, Corinne Kodama, and Matthew Gehardt call for a more complex examination of the intersection of race and leadership development. Using Collective Racial Esteem (CRE) as a framework, they explore predictors and influences of leadership development based on different racial groups and CRE subdimensions.

Abstract: The purpose of this research was to contribute to the college student leadership literature through a more complex examination of the influences of race on socially responsible leadership development. Data represented 8,510 participants from 101 colleges and universities in the United States. Results provided evidence of the additive value of including measures of collective racial esteem (CRE) above and beyond simple indicators of racial group membership. CRE examines an individual’s self-concept related to membership in a broader racial group and may be used as a correlate of racial identity in assessing the impact of race in quantitative research. Analyses also revealed different predictors of leadership development by racial group, as well as unique influences from subdimensions of CRE, demonstrating the importance of disaggregating data to provide a more complex picture of the influences of race on leadership development. Results offer implications informing educators’ abilities to better target leadership interventions to meet a diverse range of developmental needs.

This a great read for leadership educators who want to better understand the influence of race on leadership development.  You can find the article here.

New MSL Article Published!

Recently, the Journal of College Student Development published John Dugan, Michelle Kusel, & Dawn Simounet’s article that explores transgender students’ experiences in college. With sparse empirical research available on transgender students’ experiences, this research provides new insight into transgender students’ perceptions of and educational outcomes in relation to the collegiate environment.

Abstract: We explored transgender students’ perceptions, engagement, and educational outcomes across 17 dimensions of the collegiate experience. Data were collected as part of a national study and represent a total of 91 transgender-identified college students as well as matching samples of nontransgender LGB and heterosexual peers for comparative purposes. Results suggest some variation within the transgender student population (i.e., male to female, female to male, intersexed) as well as significant differences in perceptions of campus climate and educational outcomes between transgender students and their nontransgender LGB and heterosexual peers.

Check it out!