Leadership education for undergraduate students: Strengthening career readiness at U.S. Universities

K. Peter Kuchinke, Alexandre Ardichvili

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Over the past 25 years, leadership education programs have become common features of undergraduate programs at U.S. universities and are experiencing strong demand and support by administrators, students, and employers alike. Leadership education operates in parallel to the traditional curriculum and can improve the career opportunities for university graduates and increase the talent pool of hiring organizations. Many such programs have their origin in student services units, but have more recently become part of degree programs in the form of leadership majors, minors, and certificates. Leadership skills are part of the set of transferable skills for successful university-to-work transition and are expected by employers in increasingly team-and network-based work environments. This chapter explores the history and evolution of these programs and provides an overview of the commonalities and differences in university-based leadership education in a group of public research universities in the mid-western United States. We selected two universities for in-depth case studies and provide their histories, features, governance, conceptual frameworks, and pedagogical characteristics with the aim of enabling comparative analysis, assessment of their outcomes, and consideration of their relevance to systems of higher education in other countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOpening and Extending Vocational Education
PublisherPeter Lang AG
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9783034336062
ISBN (Print)9783034334877
StatePublished - Jan 21 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Peter Lang AG, International Academic Publishers, Bern 2021.


  • Higher education
  • Leadership education
  • Public universities
  • USA
  • Undergraduates


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