Mini Workshop Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia 2015

Enhancing graduate employability by building student leadership capability (#44)

Jane Skalicky 1 , Kristin Warr Pedersen 1 , Phillip Dawson 2 , Robert Nelson 3 , Jacques Van Der Meer 4 , Sally Rogan 5 , Sally Fuglsang 1 , Raphael Pereira 6
  1. University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, Australia
  2. Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria
  3. Monash University, Melbourne, VIC
  4. University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  5. University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW
  6. Curtin University, Perth, WA

Abstract Content (up to 300 words recommended)

This workshop will introduce participants to a research-informed framework for student leadership in higher education. Participants will work in small groups to consider the variables that underpin and inform the design, implementation, and evaluation of student leadership programs and opportunities. This will be done in three phases:

1.  Introduction to a framework for understanding and enhancing Student Leadership

2.  Mapping of a student leadership initiative to the framework against a comprehensive suite of variables; such as theoretical underpinnings, training and development, and evaluation.

3.  Sharing insights about the variables considered, and outcomes regarding current strengths and gaps identified for future program development; and resources that may support this.

Participants will also have the opportunity to provide feedback on the utility of the framework in informing practice, specifically considering the design and development of programs and initiatives of the highest quality for the purpose and context within which they are operating. Participants will also consider how the framework might assist in evaluating how specific programs and initiatives are preparing graduates for their future lives and professions. 

Participants should leave the workshop with:

-        An appreciation of the diversity of student leadership programs across the higher education sector

-        An understanding of the range of variables that should be considered in planning for, implementing, reviewing, and evaluating the quality of student and peer leadership programs

-        A completed mapping of a student leadership program that is in operation at the participant’s or other university

-        Identification of areas for further development with a current student and peer leadership program or initiative.

This workshop will be valuable for academic and professional staff involved in student/peer leadership and mentoring programs, or supporting students to develop leadership skills within curricular and co-curricular contexts. 

Addressing the theme/s of the Conference (up to 200 words recommended)

 Higher education institutions attempt to respond to the complex needs of changing workplace environments by providing graduates with opportunities to develop a diverse set of skills that both enhance and extend their disciplinary learning. Intentionally designing both curricular and co-curricular programs that develop student leadership skills is a more recent trend in higher education, as it becomes increasingly recognised that such programs provide students with opportunities to both develop and utilise skills in leadership and collaboration. Peer learning and mentoring programs in particular, have proliferated on many University campuses as these programs become recognised for developing a number of important generic and interdisciplinary skill sets that are valued by workplaces, employers and graduates themselves (Riggio, Ciulla, & Sorenson, 2003; Schwartz, Axtman, & Freeman, 1998).

This workshop will build the capacity of participants to better respond to workplace and graduate needs when designing, evaluating and enhancing institutional student leadership opportunities and programs. The framework provided by the workshop organisers will enable academic and professional staff involved in developing and delivering peer and mentoring programs to reflect on, and plan for, workplace and graduate needs in the future development of their programs.

  1. Riggio, R. E., Ciulla, J. B., & Sorenson, G. (2003). Leadership education at the undergraduate level: A liberal arts approach to leadership development. The future of leadership development, 223-236.
  2. Schwartz, M.K., Axtman, K.M., & Freeman, F.H. (Eds), (1998). Leadership education: A sourcebook of courses and programs (7th ed.), Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership.