Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
The evolution of counseling is due in no small part to the leadership that has directed and fostered the development of the profession. That development is an ongoing process and though it may take many forms, counselor educators are called upon to act as the leaders that effect change in the field. According to the 2009 standards of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), one of the primary obligations for doctoral programs is to prepare students to serve as leaders of the profession. It is not surprising then that the CACREP (2009) standards state that in addition to entry-level considerations, doctoral program admission criteria should include consideration of each applicant's professional leadership potential. Nevertheless, no guidelines exist that clarify the way in which faculty members are expected to go about determining an applicant's professional leadership potential. The purpose of this exploratory study was to gain insight into how faculty members at CACREP accredited doctoral programs assess leadership potential when screening new applicants. Specifically, this study focused on how leadership attributes (e.g., charisma) versus leadership processes (e.g., future-thinking orientation) factor into the way faculty members assess leadership potential. Participants were randomly assigned one of four study-created vignettes that described a hypothetical doctoral program applicant with varying levels of leadership attributes and processes. They were then asked to rate their "applicant's" leadership potential. A two-way ANOVA revealed that there was a significant interaction between leadership attributes and processes in that the applicant with high leadership attributes was given a higher leadership potential score than the applicant with both high leadership attributes as well as leadership processed. The results support the idea that faculty members at CACREP accredited doctoral programs tended to favor leadership attributes (e.g., charisma, sociability) in a potential leader over leadership processes (e.g., future-thinking orientation, knowledge). These findings also seem to suggest that participants somewhat penalized the applicant that also exhibited characteristics associated with leadership processes. Possible explanations for these findings as well as suggestions for future research are provided.
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