1st Edition

A Day in the Life of a College Student Leader Case Studies for Undergraduate Leaders

By Sarah M. Marshall, Anne M. Hornak Copyright 2008

    “Sarah Marshall and Anne Hornak have done a magnificent job exploring diverse contexts in which college students expand their individual leadership capacity and learn and practice engaging in relational leadership with others. These cases are realistic because they were gathered from their interviews with real students engaging in leadership. From whatever perspective, students can learn that they are doing leadership when they work with others to address shared issues, solve shared problems, and work toward positive change.” - from the Foreword by Susan R. Komives

    This book presents over 230 case studies that reflect typical issues faced by undergraduate student leaders. The scenarios cover the range of functional areas of student life.These cases are intended for use by faculty and student affairs professionals as training tools for new student leaders who generally receive little preparation before assuming their positions. Cases provide an opportunity for students to roleplay and discuss scenarios before they encounter potentially similar events in their daily lives as leaders; engage students intensely in their learning, as they work through the issues and problems; and promote meaningful dialogue and discussion of relevant theory.The cases are based on real life dilemmas, and reflect both contemporary and historical campus issues. They are derived from interviews with 110 undergraduates and 11 student affairs administrators from large public research institutions, small privates, community colleges, and mid-sized comprehensive schools.The book begins with guidance on how to use case studies effectively, and on how to incorporate theory in analyzing them. The cases are then grouped into chapters, each of which focuses on a particular type of student organization. The cases vary in length to allow for multiple uses. Shorter cases can be role played and discussed in leadership training workshops, while longer cases can be used as take home assignments or debated during longer training sessions. The book concludes with general advice for student leaders. To assist with the facilitation process, the authors provide discussion questions to begin the analysis of each case. The cases are written broadly enough to allow for a variety of possible solutions.

    Acknowledgements; Foreword. Helping College Students Engage in Leadership—Susan R. Komives; Table of Cases; 1. Introduction; 2. The Application of Student Development Theory in Case Analysis; 3. Residence Life Cases Appropriate for Resident Advisors; 4. Student Government Cases; 5. Greek Life Cases; 6. Leading Minority/Underrepresented Groups Cases; 7. Orientation/Welcome Week Cases; 8. Activities/Programming Board and Fee Allocation Cases; 9. Honorary/Academic/Professional Association Cases; 10. Service Learning Organizations/Community Engagement Cases; 11. General Leadership Cases; 12. Advice for Student Leaders; Index.


    Sarah M. Marshall is currently Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Director of the Doctor of Education Program at Central Michigan University (CMU) where she teaches courses related to today’s college student, student affairs administration, student development, and higher education administration. Dr. Marshall is the editor of the popular Stories of Inspiration in Student Affairs series and co-authored A Day in the Life of A College Student Leader with Dr. Hornak.

    Anne M. Hornak is currently Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at Central Michigan University where she teaches courses related to ethical leadership, college student development, and higher education administration. Dr. Hornak conducts research on White identity development, financial challenges of today’s students, and intercultural competence. Along with A Day in the Life of a College Student Leader, she has published multiple articles and book chapters.

    "The cases appear at the beginning of the book in the form of a useful table, which breaks down each case according to topic, functional area, and type of conflict or issue. The introductory chapter provides a brief and helpful guide about how to utilize the case studies: steps for analyzing key points, discussing stakeholderse, and identifying possible courses of action. The authors also suggest different methods of use based on the reader's role: written assignments by faculty, or one-on-one discussions between the student leader and the advisor.

    This book works well as a teaching and student leader development tool for several reasons. The cases presented in each chapter cover a wide range of topics and functional areas. The situations also vary in complexity. Most cases can easily be adapted to the institution's type or location, or to the student leader's style or position. As a student affairs practitioner at a small, private, liberal arts, church-affiliated college, I found it rather easy to adapt situations from a large public university to my own campus setting.

    Mant of the cases presented in one situation could easily be adapted to student leaders in another situation. For example, many of the cases presented for orientation and Welcome Week can be easily applied to residence life. Cases are also timely, including examples involving technology and Facebook.

    Several cases can lead to a deeper discussion about how a student leader fits in the larger college community because they clearly suggest the involvement of college and university staff and officials.

    Each case comes with suggested discussion questions, beginning by asking participants to identify the issues in the case. The depth of questions often correlates to the complexity of the dilemma presented. Questions move beyond the specific case's basic issues to larger questions, making the cases adaptable to varying types of institutions, organizations or situations."

    The Review of Higher Education

    "Politics. Divided loyalties. Ethical dilemmas. Peer conflicts. Supervisory issues. These are just a few of the complexities student leaders must navigate in their daily lives on college campuses. In order to better prepare students to constructively engage in such experiences, Sarah Marshall and Anne Hornak's book A Day in the Life of a College Student Leader offers a litany of case studies designed to generate meaningful dialogue and critical analysis of realistic campus-based student experiences with leadership. . . . In sum, the specificity and flexibility of this book make it a valuable contribution to faculty and administrators seeking to help students wrestle with the nexus of leadership theory and practice. It offers a much-needed contribution to the student leadership literature, is informed by and true to contemporary college student experiences, and useful across multiple educational contexts."

    Julie E. Owen

    Journal of College Student Development

    George Mason University

    "This title provides numerous case studies in ethics and leadership for the college student, in the key areas of Greek life, student government, residence life, leading minority/underrepresented groups, activities/programming board/fee allocation, service learning organizations and community engagement, orientation week, honorary/academic/professional associations, and general leadership. Cases are based on interviews with undergraduate students, and the first two cases provided include lengthy questions and suggestions setting the tone for individual use of the remaining scenarios. A handy table at the beginning of the publication lists each case study title and page number and cross-references it to the type of leadership questions it raises. "

    Book News Inc