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Title: A Case Study of Undergraduate Women in a Leadership Development Program at a Coeducational Institution
Authors: Haight, Lori Poveromo
Advisors: Tuere Bowles, Ph.D., Committee Co-Chair
Audrey J. Jaeger, Ph.D., Committee Chair
Keywords: single-sex education
leadership development
Issue Date: 3-May-2010
Degree: EdD
Discipline: Higher Education Administration
Abstract: ABSTRACT HAIGHT, LORI POVEROMO. A Case Study of Undergraduate Women in a Leadership Development Program at a Coeducational Institution (Under the direction of Audrey Jaeger, Ph.D. and Tuere Bowles, Ph.D.). The purpose of this interpretive case study was to explore the collegiate experiences of undergraduate women participating in a cohort women’s only leadership development program at a coeducational institution. Using a framework based on Kurt Lewin’s psycho-social model of behavior being the function of a person interacting with the environment (b=f(pxe)), the following research questions were asked: 1) What are the collegiate experiences of undergraduate women at a coeducational institution? 2) How are undergraduate women in a coeducational institution shaped by their environment? and 3) What are the behavioral outcomes of undergraduate women participating in a leadership program at a coeducational institution? The Baldwin Scholar Program at Duke University was chosen as the case to depict single-sex leadership development within a coeducational institution. Data in the form of in-depth, semi-structured interviews, observations, and documents were collected and analyzed using the constant comparative method. Nineteen Baldwin Scholars participated in the study, representing a range of demographics including race, academic areas and co-curricular interests. The women’s undergraduate experience included self-discovery, academic enrichment and building community within both the Duke University and Baldwin Scholars Program environment. The undergraduate experience of the women in this study were impacted by their Baldwin community and the relationships this community afforded them. This cohort single sex model created a community that offered a level of support to its participants, and this support in turn offered them the resources to deal with the challenges of their undergraduate experience. In a competitive coeducational environment, a single sex leadership development program offers women undergraduates the level of support necessary to meet institutional challenges. The Baldwin Scholars program is an example of a leadership development program created for a specific segment of the population. This study shows how single-sex environments at coeducational institutions can enhance the collegiate experience of women undergraduates. More research is needed to continue to explore how this type of environment impacts women undergraduate students.
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