Date of Thesis



Greater involvement has been linked to higher satisfaction rates in students' experiences (Astin, 1993b), and the greater the level of a student's social and academic involvement has been linked to the greater likelihood for persistence (Tinto, 1975). Involvement in educationally purposeful activities during the first year of college had a statistically significant effect on student persistence from first to sophomore year (Kuh, Cruce, Shoup, Kinzie, & Gonyea, 2008). Educationally purposeful activities, such as a leadership program developing socially responsible leadership, has been found to influence persistence from first to sophomore year (Wolniak, Mayhew, & Engberg, 2012). The purpose of the current study was to examine the effect of a leadership program based on the Social Change Model of Leadership Development (HERI, 1996), on students' leadership and persistence. A sample of 139 first-year traditional-aged undergraduate students at a small, private liberal arts institution in the Northeast was used in the study. No significant differences among the different demographic characteristics were found based on participation in the leadership program. Additionally, no significant difference was found between the number of membership in student organizations and participation in the program. However, significant differences were found on the number of leadership positions obtained in student organizations, and the number of weeks persisted based on the students' level of participation in the first stage of the leadership program.


leadership, student development, transition theory, involvement theory, social change model of leadership development, predictors of persistence, student involvement

Access Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Type

Master of Science in Education


Education - college student personnel

First Advisor

Katharyn E.K. Nottis