Date of Award

8-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Diane Reed

Second Supervisor

Cynthia McCloskey

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the influence positional leadership has on satisfaction and retention of second-year students, especially males. To accomplish this, the researcher conducted a mixed-methods study utilizing an online administration of the Student Leadership and Satisfaction Survey (Appendix B) and the completion of focus groups with second-year male positional leaders at Cazenovia College (CAZ), Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS), and Keuka College (KC). This study showed significant relationships between many of the variables within the study, resulting in an understanding that overall satisfaction influenced retention, but that being involved in campus memberships or exercising positional leadership influenced satisfaction and retention even more. The focus groups resulted in participants who were satisfied with their current institution and had no desire to transfer, and who expressed improved organization, time management and communication skills due to exercising positional leadership. The bonds formed through social interactions and mentoring relationships were critical to the success of the focus group participants who also recognize that gender dynamics existed on their campus and adapted their leadership styles accordingly. As a result of this study, recommendations to develop different recruitment and training techniques, expand leadership opportunities, create a mandatory leadership course, establish a 4+4 Mentoring Program while continually assessing second-year students· needs are also necessary to support second-year students. Hiring of appropriate personnel, restructuring monetary allocations and improving or changing campus wide policies and procedures are also critical for second-year student success. The moral imperative to develop students into productive citizens is the priority of executive leaders, and a staple of this study, resulting in advancement of research in the field of higher education to improve satisfaction, retention, and student development of second-year students.

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