Characteristics and practices of executive leadership ofcommunity engaged institutions--take two!
Lorilee Sandmann, Professor, University of Georgia []
Jia Liang, Ph.D. candidate, University of Georgia []

Keywords: Executive leadership, Carnegie “community engaged” classification, higher education, structures

Track: Theoretical or conceptual frameworks to advance research

Format: Research paper

Date & time: Thursday 2:00-3:10
Location: Wilson

Because of their resources, roles, decision-making authority, and imputed trust, institutional leaders in higher education are positioned to have a significant impact on the development of community engagement and service learning. This study, drawing from the 2008 and 2010 Carnegie classified community-engaged institutions, investigates the characteristics and practices of higher education executives leading engaged institutions and also compares results to the analysis of the 2006 applications on the same topics.

The authors use Bolman and Deal’s (2008) four framework approach to leadership that consists of structural, human resource, political, and symbolic frames from which leaders’ assumptions, practices, and change strategies can be examined. The study analyzes responses to the select foundational questions of the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification application framework (CAFT, 2010) to identify patterns of the leaders and structures implemented to facilitate engagement. Utilizing the constant-comparative qualitative method (Merriam, 1998), identified themes serve as the primary basis for responding to the research questions.

When engagement is aligned as an institution-wide priority, the portfolios of many senior campus leaders also reflect leadership to engagement. Evidence of how these leaders of engaged institutions perform the tasks of leadership is illustrated by three aspects of the documentation: executive actions; planning documents; and structures implemented to support, advance, and execute community engagement.

This research indicates that successful institutions manifest extensive involvement of executive leadership that speaks consistently about the engagement mission and embeds it in institutional planning. Evidence can be found that leaders use the four frames of leadership. Institutional structures vary but reflect growing models of shared leadership. Three themes continue as less recognized by leadership: (a) impact of engagement on such public policy variables as access, efficiency, equity, and participation; (b) linkage of engagement with evaluation, outcomes, or accreditation; (c) engagement as social change.

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Sandmann, L. R., & Plater, W. M. (2009). Leading the engaged institution. In L. R. Sandmann, C. H. Thornton, & A. J. Jaeger (Eds.), Institutionalizing community engagement in higher education: The first wave of Carnegie classified institutions. New Directions for Higher Education, 147, 13-24. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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