Date of Award

Spring 2013

Degree Type

Professional Project

Degree Name

Masters in Leadership Studies


College of Professional Studies


Research in leadership and education reveals consensus among educators that leadership can be taught. Educators are exploring how leadership should be taught believing that students learn best from personal experiences. Experiential learning provides an instructional framework for student centered learning grounded in student experiences and course content. The purpose of the study is to qualitatively assess the degree to which experiential learning in undergraduate leadership courses, facilitated by faculty planning, influences the perception of student learning. Using a phenomenological research method, one interview with the instructor of an undergraduate leadership course at a private, Midwestern four-year university was conducted about course planning. One interview was conducted with students enrolled in the course to assess student perceptions of learning. Three students out of eight enrolled in the course volunteered for participation in interviews. Findings indicated that experiential learning was utilized for instructional planning as a component of adult learning and the instructor’s teaching philosophy. They also indicated students are learning from experiential learning planned by the instructor, including preference for in-class teams and in-class exercises, as well as personal experiences and experiences of classmate’s occurring outside of the classroom.