• Study of the Lasting Effects of Attending a Leadershape Program

      Stoker, Daniel J.
      This exploratory study investigated the long-term learning resulting from participation in a LeaderShape program. The research examined LeaderShape graduates‘ current practices and definitions of leadership to see if they remain consistent with the program‘s learning goals. Graduates with five or more years since attendance were studied to provide a separation of time for the social experience to dissipate and to allow for possible application of the material beyond a collegiate setting. An electronic survey was distributed to 1,399 LeaderShape graduates who attended a national session between 1986 and 2004, resulting in 207 (14.8%) responses. Quantitative questions were analyzed utilizing SPSS and four open-text questions were thematically coded and analyzed. The quantitative questions resulted in strong responses, with 17 of the 21 scaled questions with over 90% positive results. The data show that LeaderShape continues to be a meaningful experience for the respondents and they continue to identify abilities and behaviors consistent with the LeaderShape outcomes. The qualitative results demonstrated strong social connections facilitated by the environment and atmosphere, personal effects regarding values and leadership style, and continuing memory of specific curricular components most often due to emotional or personal affect. Based upon the data, LeaderShape could be characterized as an emotionally charged, positive growth experience that develops a lasting effect on program graduates by developing strong connections, enhancing personal values, and developing a commitment for leaders to influence positive change. The research demonstrates that program graduates identify, apply, and retain curricular components that enhance their personal development years after attendance with an adequate amount of time for discussion, reflection, and social interaction at the experience.