In the Fall of 2011, the inaugural National Leadership Education Research Agenda was conceived and the Association of Leadership Educators stepped forward to develop a functional and applicable resource to supplement the scholarship informing Leadership Education. This charge was approached with consideration for the fundamental problems and issues within the broad context of Leadership Education that should be addressed at the higher education level through research in the next five years and under the auspice of achieving the two overarching goals of the agenda: 1) Provide research priorities that can guide applied scholarship contributing to the development of future leaders and managers through higher education, and 2) Provide key elements that further define Leadership Education as a discipline.
Leadership Education is the pedagogical practice of facilitating leadership learning in an effort to build human capacity and is informed by leadership theory and research. It values and is inclusive of both curricular and co-curricular educational efforts.
Through the enhanced direction achieved by the application of the included research priorities, the field of Leadership Education aims to further define itself as a discipline and more importantly, contribute to the development of leaders prepared to address the complex challenges facing our world.
Our desire is that this document will initiate collaborative dialogue, breakdown interdisciplinary silos, and create trajectory for the work that we do as leadership educators.
The Priority Areas
AREA I - Pedagogical Priorities – The Applied How of Leadership Education
Inclusive of the essential considerations that inform the learning and transfer of learning through innovative Leadership Education. This is includes, but not limited to the pedagogical and andragogical methods associated with the development of competencies, capacities, and dispositions for practicing leadership.
Priority I – Teaching, Learning & Curriculum Development
Applied Outcome – Practitioners and scholars will require an intentional eye for building connections with other streams of research, a better understanding the process of educating for mastery or expertise, and the desire to explore the role of individual differences and social identity within Leadership Education contexts. The following areas are recommended for exploration with respect to Leadership Education teaching, learning and curriculum development.
Priority II – Program Assessment & Evaluation
Applied Outcome – Leadership educators and program administrators will be required to have greater intentionality with respect to their understanding of the differences that exist among leadership programs. This includes a better understanding of programmatic assessment processes, their necessity in higher education, and a firmer grasp on the availability, utility, application, and implementation of programmatic assessment resources. The following areas are recommended for exploration with respect to the programmatic assessment and evaluation of Leadership Education.
AREA II - Content Based Priorities – The Applied What and Who of Leadership Education
Inclusive of the essential considerations that inform our understanding of the leadership learner and content aimed at developing competencies, capacities, and dispositions for practicing leadership
Priority III - The Psychological Development of Leaders, Followers, & Learners
Applied Outcome – Leadership Education is critically grounded in the psychological development of those that it is created to impact. The psychological roots of Leadership Education provide a critical foundation for higher-level organizational development and leadership practice. Although this is a foundational element of the Leadership Education landscape, the intricacies of personality and self-awareness, along with other variables, require continued development and additional research that will provide perspective for leadership educators tasked with preparing the next generation of leaders. The following areas are recommended for exploration with respect to the psychological development of leaders, followers, and learners.
Priority IV - The Sociological Development of Leaders, Followers, & Learners
Applied Outcome – Humans by nature are social beings who seek social interactions to establish pleasure and reduce pain. This fundamental element of the human psyche becomes the foundation for leadership practice. This priority examines the essential function of the individual within the group context and reflects the critical relationship that exists between leaders and followers and instructors and learners with respect to Leadership Education. This priority builds upon the previous priority and establishes a firm application of the individual within the group, team, and organizational contexts. The following areas are recommended for exploration with respect to the sociological development of leaders, followers, and learners.
Priority V – Influences of Social Identity
Applied Outcome – Leadership scholars and educators should more effectively center considerations of social identity in leadership research, education, and practice. This includes clear attention to marginalized voices and ideas, an understanding of the socio-historic and contextual influences of organizational environments on leadership development, and the use of asset-based and agenic approaches to research that situate social identity as a key variable of influence. In an effort to better align Leadership Education with principles of contemporary leadership theories emphasizing inclusion, social justice, and equity, scientific research, the following areas are recommended for exploration with respect to the understanding of learner, leader, and follower social identity.
Priority VI – Social Change & Community Development
Applied Outcome – Ultimately, our charge as leadership educators is to prepare future leaders to positively impact national and international communities. This priority is intimately linked to that effort with respect to the dynamic variability and systemic complexity of community development. In an effort to promote healthy and sustainable social change within the communities future leaders are called to serve, it is critically important to address the historical foundations and the interdisciplinary application of diverse theoretical perspectives. This includes but is not limited to the theoretical foundations specifically aimed at social change and the development of vibrant and resilient communities. The following areas are recommended for exploration with respect to social change and community development.
Priority VII – Global & Intercultural Leadership
Applied Outcome – Global competence is increasingly a priority within higher education, and the development of global leadership knowledge and capacities are vital for the future of our global community. This priority encompasses a focused charge for the development of global and intercultural competence and increased understanding of leadership in a global context. Indelibly linked to the previous priority global and intercultural leadership promotes and advances social change in an international contexts, with respect to systems-based and complexity-based leadership frameworks. The following areas are recommended for exploration with respect to the development of global and intercultural competencies and capacities within leaders, followers, and learners.