Advisor Perspectives of Student Leadership in College Organizations for Students with Disabilities

Elizabeth A Watkins, Fordham University


This research examined advisor perspectives of student leadership in College Organizations for Students with Disabilities (COSDs). The study viewed disability as an aspect of diversity. The theoretical framework for the research was Kouzes and Posner’s (2014) Student Leadership Development Framework. The methodology used an embedded multi-site case study with COSD advisors at three colleges in the northeastern United States. Each advisor completed the Demographic and Disability Factual Survey; they used the paper version of the standardized Student Leadership Practices Inventory, Student LPI, Observer Form (Kouzes & Posner, 2013) to assess student leadership practices. Advisors were also interviewed to explore their perspectives about student leadership development in depth. Data analysis revealed the most used leadership practice was Enable Others to Act. Five possible factors influenced student leadership: faculty advisors and college administration, leadership training and active participation, previous experience, peers and family, and diversity and identity. Four possible factors facilitated student leadership: modeling leadership, advisor accessibility, shared leadership, and goal setting. Collaboration supported the success of all three COSDs in the form of leadership training; working relationships with campus organizations; seeking advice from experts on and off campus; and participation in events sponsored by allied groups.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Disability studies|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Watkins, Elizabeth A, "Advisor Perspectives of Student Leadership in College Organizations for Students with Disabilities" (2020). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28002605.