Theoretical Frameworks

Leadership Identity Development Model

The certificate and minor in leadership studies are grounded in the research literature on college student leadership development. The program’s curriculum is structured around the Leadership Identity Development Model first published by Komives, Longerbeam, Owen, Mainella and Osteen in 2006. The course curriculum aligns with the model’s six stages.

LDST 1220 LDST 2700 LDST 320 LDST/WGS 3330 LDST 3600 LDST 3700 LDST 4220
Awareness X
Exploration/Engagement X
Leader Identified X X
Leadership Differentiated X X X X X
Generativity X X X X X
Integration/Synthesis X X X

Major Theories Used to Develop and Assess Student Learning

  • Social Change Model
    Identifying seven components that contribute to leading effective social change, Astin and Astin’s 1996 booklet outlined the model. It continues to serve as a foundation for much of the current research in college student leadership development, particularly by the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership. This model is taught in LDST 3220: Leadership Styles and Strategies in a Diverse Society.
  • Five Practices of Exemplary Leaders
    Detailed in the 2012 book by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, The Leadership Challenge, these five practices were identified from hundreds of interviews with leaders and constituents as behaviors that distinguish the most effective leaders. This text is used in LAS 151/152: Dean’s Leadership Seminar and LDST 2700: Campus Leadership Development. The theory is also studied in LDST 3220: Leadership Styles and Strategies in a Diverse Society.
  • Community Leadership
    Developed by Todd Pittinsky in 2006, the seven competencies are outlined in his publication “How to Develop Public Leaders.” Pittinsky offers these competencies as areas for continual improvement and drawing upon each based on the leadership context. These competencies are used to assemble a well-rounded curriculum offered in the leadership certificate’s electives list and to advise students when they develop their plan of study.


Astin, H. S., & Astin, A. W. (1996). A Social Change Model of Leadership Development: Guidebook: Version III. Higher Education Research Institute, University of California, Los Angeles.

Komives, S. R., Longerbeam, S. D., Owen, J. E., Mainella, F. C., & Osteen, L. (2006). A leadership identity development model: Applications from a grounded theory. Journal of College Student Development47 (4), 401-418.

Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2012). The Leadership Challenge (Vol. 5). Jossey-Bass.

Pittinsky, T.L. (2006) “How to Develop Public Leaders.” Kennedy School Bulletin, summer 2006, p. 13.