Simonsen, J. C., Velez, J. J., Foor, R. M., Birkenholz, R. J., Foster, D. D., Wolf, K. J., & Epps, R. B. (2014). A multi-institutional examination of the relationships between high school activity involvement and leadership characteristics. Journal of Agricultural Education, 55(1), 200-214. doi: 10.5032/jae.2014.01200


Developing leaders is vital to the future of our nation.  As institutions of higher education address the need for leadership through courses and experiences, there is a need to recognize and acknowledge the potential impact of high school activity participation on leadership development.  This descriptive-correlational study surveyed first-time college students about their former participation in high school activities.  The objective was to determine the relationship between student activity participation and leadership characteristics.  Results of this study revealed that incoming college students (n = 388) participated more in community service and athletics than any other activities during their high school experience.  Students rated themselves highest in the leadership constructs of Integrity and Intelligence, and lowest in regard to Leadership Efficacy and Charisma.  Leadership Efficacy, Sociability and Charisma constructs exhibited the strongest positive relationship with high school activity participation.  However, the strength of the relationships and the corresponding effect sizes were small.  Based on the findings, high school teachers, advisors, mentors and coaches should be encouraged to actively and purposefully facilitate the development of  eadership characteristics through the programs and activities they supervise.  Further research is warranted to provide additional insight into the potential relationship between student activity participation and the development of leadership characteristics.

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