Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Studies

Sub-Department

College of Education

First Advisor

Toby Jenkins

Abstract

Based on previous findings from employers, undergraduate students, and universities regarding workforce readiness, action is needed to improve students’ knowledge and skills in areas such as professionalism, communication, problem solving, and leadership. The increase in undergraduate leadership education curricula and programs over the past few decades has been significant. While research has been done on the relationship between leadership education and specific knowledge and skillsets, further research is needed on the impact of leadership education on perceived job readiness. This paper outlines the purpose, background, methodology, and findings of an action research study on the relationship between leadership education and job readiness. A review of the literature is provided that explores: (a) leadership education including the evolution of leadership, types of leadership education, and undergraduate leadership programs; (b) job readiness discussing employer and student perceived job readiness; (c) university response to job readiness; and (d) how to assess job readiness. The first research question asked, “How does leadership education impact perceptions of job readiness in undergraduate students?” The second research question added, “How does leadership education impact perceptions of job readiness in diverse undergraduate student populations?” The methodology utilized for the qualitative action research was an exploratory case study design. Based on the coding results, seven themes emerged as having significant connections in relationship to the research questions. The findings of this study indicate that there are important components of leadership education that may have positive impacts on students’ perceptions of job readiness and self-efficacy for leadership in the workforce.

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