Lynne Cohen

Document Type



Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching

Place of Publication



School of Education


Cohen, L., (2013) Building leadership capacity in undergraduate students: Final report for ALTC Teaching Fellowship. Australia: Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching.


This Fellowship addressed the significant issue of leadership. Its primary focus was researching and developing leadership skills in undergraduate students. The Fellowship was designed to develop and trial a leadership program specifically to enhance the competencies and skills of undergraduate students beyond their discipline knowledge. A group of universities across Australia agreed to participate in a pilot program to respond to the following identified issues.

• The area of leadership development in undergraduates has been under-researched and under-debated in recent work about graduate attributes, generic skills, and work integrated learning.

• There has been considerable focus on leadership development for staff within the higher education sector, however not specifically for undergraduate students.

• There appears to have been no national review, synthesis or analysis or any formal collective discussion about leadership development for students, the existing leadership development programs, and what might constitute good practice in leadership development for students.

• There is a lack of evaluation of leadership development programs for students.

• The majority of leadership development programs are often "housed" in student support units rather than an academic unit and are characterised by their voluntary nature and competitive entry.

• Participation may occur through extra-curricular activities such as student societies and clubs and may or may not include some form of formal skills development program.

• Programs are often based in a specific discipline (e.g., the Science Mentoring and Leadership Program at the University of Sydney) and for specific populations (e.g., gifted/talented students or women).

• Programs are often for all students (not specifically for undergraduate students)...

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