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A fairly recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education (April 12, 2013), by Barden and Curry asked the question, “Faculty members Can Lead, but Will They?” Barden and Curry suggest that, “every professor has the intellectual capacity to understand and embrace the elements of modem leadership necessary to guide institutions in today’s higher-education marketplace.” But... is there a dearth of leadership and leadership development opportunities among faculty in the academy? The current research used a survey approach to look at the landscape of leadership development in academia among Catholic, Lutheran, and Secular institutions. The general hypothesis was that Catholic Institutions, incorporating the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and the philosophy of the institutions founding order would show more investment in leadership development than other types of institutions of higher education. Results however indicate that there is a dearth of leadership development across all types of institutions of higher education. Most notably, there is very little in the way of formal leadership development for faculty across all institutions, virtually no institution provides professional development plans for its faculty, funding for leadership development tends to be ad hoc (on a case by case basis) or minimal (less than $1,000 per faculty annually) at best, and the primary challenges facing all institutions is a lack of interest of faculty taking on leadership roles and difficulty identifying leadership potential. The primary resources used to support leadership development among faculty are national organizations or conferences (such as CIC and ACE). However, secular and Lutheran institutions leverage these more than do Catholic institutions. Perhaps of most concern although virtually no institution incorporates leadership development in their prevailing institutional philosophy. Catholic institutions are much less likely to integrate leadership development in their missions than are secular and Lutheran institutions. The research suggests that the development of a leadership institute, founded on and based in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, and housed at a Catholic College or University, may be a way to address the state of leadership development among faculty. This may especially be the case if the leadership institute could focus on cost effective and affordable programs, work toward integrating leadership development into institutional mission and philosophy, and work toward generating interest in leadership among faculty.


Submitted as a Catholic Intellectual Tradition Research Project.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.