Book by Kathy Guthrie and Laura Osteen
Review by Kathryn S. Snider
College of Community and Public Service Advising Center
Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan

As I read the book, Developing Students’ Leadership Capacity (Guthrie & Osteen, 2012), I could not help but wonder, “How can academic advisors be a part of their institutions’ leadership development efforts?” Leadership education seems to be a hot topic right now within higher education and is often listed as an institutional goal or a learning outcome of programs and services offered on many college campuses. I wondered about academic advisors’ ability to help with leadership development efforts because we are not usually the ones administering programs and services; rather, academic advisors are the ones meeting with hundreds of students day-in-and-day-out. 

The book, Developing Students’ Leadership Capacity (Guthrie & Osteen, 2012) was written as a response to the International Leadership Association’s (ILA), “Guiding Questions: Guidelines for Leadership Education Programs.” The book runs through each of the ILA’s five guiding questions to give an overview of what is essential to a leadership education program: context, conceptual framework, content, teaching and learning, and assessment. Because academic advisors are rarely involved in official leadership programs, it may be more valuable for advisors to read chapter one about how contextual factors influence the development of students’ leadership capacity titled, “Considering Context: Developing Students’ Leadership Capacity” and chapter six about how to use standards to create learning outcomes titled, “Using Standards to Develop Student Learning Outcomes.”

According to Guthrie and Osteen (2012) in Chapter one, leadership programs must align within the following contextual layers: higher education, institutional mission, administrative support, and collaborative environment. Academic advisors can be part of the administrative support contextual layer by referring students to leadership programs, explaining the value of said programs, suggesting students consider courses that focus on leadership development to students and by pushing students to take on responsibilities that will help develop their leadership skills. By supporting the leadership program in theses ways, advisors not only give administrative support, but also they help create a campus culture that reflects the institutional mission of creating leaders within society. 

Chapter six focuses on using the Council for the Advancement of Standards for Higher Education’s (CAS) domains and the ILA’s guiding questions to develop student-learning outcomes. This portion of the book can be deemed useful to anyone working within higher education. Whether academic advisors are involved in leadership development programs or not is irrelevant to the material in this chapter. This chapter gives a good overview of how to apply CAS Standards and other standards to the development of student learning outcomes. This information can be adapted to an academic advising office and its need to develop student-learning outcomes. 

Academic advisors can use some of the information presented in the book, Developing Students’ Leadership Capacity, and apply it to their advising sessions in order assist campus leadership programs and the institution with the goal of producing the next generation of leaders.

International Leadership Association (ILA). “ILA Guiding Questions: Guidelines for Leadership 
Education Programs.” College Park, Md: Author. Last modified 2009. Retrieved from www.ila-net.org/communities/LC/GuidingQuestionsFinal.pdf

Developing Students' Leadership Capacity: New Directions for Student Services Number 140, Winter 2012. Book by Kathy Guthrie and Laura Osteen (Eds.). Review by Kathryn S. Snider. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass. $29.00 pp. 109. ISBN  978-1-1185-4090-9
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