Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Valerie I. Sessa

Committee Member

Jennifer D. Bragger

Committee Member

Daniel V. Simonet


According to the International Leadership Association, more than 2,000 academic and co-curricular programs exist at universities across the nation (Guthrie, Teig, & Hu, 2018). Evaluation of programs is largely piecemeal—meaning that the additive effects of these programs are not examined. The purpose of this study is to address the current gap in the literature by holistically assessing the impact that these leadership experiences have on the participating students rather than looking at the consequences of these experiences individually. The current study uses 99 students’ data from a five- year, multi-institutional, longitudinal study to examine the pathways that these undergraduate students take to develop their leadership skills through all academic, co-curricular leadership development programs and formal leadership positions throughout all four years of their undergraduate career. Eight pathways were identified by a research team based on participatory experiences of students (e.g., a formal leadership position, no participation and mixed participation path). Antecedents to and consequences of these pathways were examined using Chi-square and regression analyses with highly involved participants having higher school engagement and psychosocial development their senior years compared to less involved students. The results of this study have large implications for the leadership development field, both to those working in institutions and leadership practioners, helping to inform who is in these programs and the longitudinal impact of these developmental programs on students.

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