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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Joanna Royce-Davis

First Committee Member

Thomas Nelson

Second Committee Member

Cynthia Wagner-Weick


This study sought to understand what students learned about themselves as a leader as a result of taking a for-credit leadership seminar. The study used a qualitative case study methodology in order to interpret data collected through participant surveys and interviews. The participants were academically high-achieving college students who had won a prestigious combined academic and leadership scholarship. As a condition of accepting the scholarship, students participated in a one-unit leadership seminar. The study's findings included that after completing the leadership course, students had gained a more complex understanding of leadership concepts as well as a more complex understanding of themselves as leaders. After the course students could identify themselves as leaders in many different situations, including situations where they held no forma! leadership position. The findings indicate that as the students integrated the information on leadership theories and models into their personal understanding of leadership, their personal leadership identity became more complex. This finding adds to the literature on leadership identity development by indicating a possible mechanism for increasing the complexity of students' leadership identity.



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