Preparing Latinx College Students for Leadership in California

ABSTRACT PREPARING LATINX COLLEGE STUDENTS FOR LEADERSHIP IN CALIFORNIA By Ronald S. Glickman With a majority Latinx population in California and the future of the state’s economy depending on college educated leaders, it is important to develop a deeper understanding of how Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) in the state can better prepare Latinx students for leadership in the workforce. In this qualitative case study, I investigated the experiences of four first-generation college students in an undergraduate leadership course at an HSI and their perceptions about how their experiences in the course influenced their beliefs about leadership and their behavior in the workforce. This study draws from the existing literature on theoretical understandings of authentic leadership and self-authorship. Authentic leadership theory asserts that leaders possess a strong sense of self (George, Sims, Mclean, & Mayer, 2007), whereas self-authorship theory provides a framework for understanding how college students develop a strong sense of self (Magolda, 2004). Since college students must develop a strong sense of self in order to develop into authentic leaders (Eriksen, 2009), these two theories form the conceptual framework that guided this study. The findings suggest that the professor’s persona and approach in the classroom created a learning environment that prompted cognitive dissonance, propelled students into The Crossroads (Magolda, 2009) phase of self-authorship, and fostered varying degrees of personal growth and authentic leadership skills development. The study concludes with a discussion of the findings, implications for practice, and recommendations for future research. KEYWORDS: Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), Latinx college students, first generation college students, self-authoring theory, authentic leadership theory, leadership development programs