Date of Award

Spring 2-15-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Jeffrey Lee, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Andrew Barton, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Cheryl-Marie Osborne Hansberger, Ed.D.


Purpose: This qualitative study describes participants’ perspective of how participation in the Leadership Development Institute through the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities supports the development of leadership skills within mid-level Christian university leaders.

Methodology: A phenomenological research approach explored the lived experiences of LDI participants and used semi-structured interviews to illustrate study participants’ perspectives. Interviews were triangulated through observations and artifacts.

Findings: Data analysis led to findings that mid-level leaders in higher education develop leadership skills through a broad network of professional relationships, time for self-reflection about leadership, affirmation in leadership potential, interactions with senior leaders, pertinent feedback, and provision of clear leadership plans.

Conclusions: Research findings led to the conclusions that successful leaders in higher education are intentional about broadening their professional network, designing time and space for reflection is a critical element of leadership development, affirmation creates confident leaders and promotes employee engagement, interactions between senior leaders and emerging leaders strengthens the pipeline of prepared candidates, feedback raises awareness that builds confidence and presence, and clear leadership plans guide development necessary for leadership success.

Recommendations: Recommendations apply to a wide spectrum of stakeholders. Implications for actions by higher education leaders include scheduled reflection time, leadership coaching, 360° evaluations and senior leader engagement. Institutional recommendations include cross-campus and institutional collaborations, virtual professional networks, gamification for leadership development, and employment of a chief learning officer to broaden leadership development institution-wide.