Leadership development programs, critical race theory, and culturally relevant pedagogy : a phenomenological case study of minoritized perspectives.

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Leadership development programs (LDPs) and formal educational programs (i.e., advanced and terminal degrees) serve as conventional pathways for leader preparation and leader ascension in postsecondary education settings. Institutionally established LDPs should reflect institutional and participant values within their curriculum design. However, many institutions do not validate nor elevate the voices of minoritized racial and ethnic populations when designing or implementing LDP curricula. A need exists to describe and discern LDP best practices based on valuable perspectives from underrepresented LDP participants at institutions of higher education (IHEs) to effectuate optimum pedagogy. Unfortunately, IHEs infrequently demonstrate urgency nor leverage qualitative data from participants to change the asymmetrical power dynamics between LDPs and emerging leaders. Ultimately, the minoritized ontological beliefs regarding white supremacy, subordinating power structures, and marginalized voices require an epistemological examination. The author mainly explores the concordance between the expressed values of best practice LDPs and the expressed values of black LDP participants. This descriptive case study examines participants’ phenomenological experience during the racial tumult of 2020. The researcher-created Leadership Development Conceptual Framework (LDCF) includes components of a best practice academic leadership development framework, critical race theory, and culturally relevant pedagogy. The study collects, analyzes, and synthesizes qualitative data from participants who have completed the LDP and identify as black. The central research question that parses the research data and LDP participant responses is, how do racially and ethnically minoritized participants understand, interpret, and navigate through leadership development programs in institutions of higher education? This qualitative case study uses a criterion-based, purposive LDP participant sample from an anonymized institution of higher education to extract and analyze data using a semi-structured interview protocol. The research analysis incorporates a within-case, constant comparative analysis during the framework analysis of the a priori academic leadership development (ALD) framework, critical race theory (CRT), and culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) components. Next, the cross-case thematic analysis yields the representative constructs of the researcher-created Leadership Development Conceptual Framework (LDCF). The study findings inform leadership development program design best practices (i.e., planning, implementation, evaluation, sustainability, and replication), exalt participants’ voices using CRT and CRP, and scaffold future research.

2020. Critical race theory. Culturally relevant pedagogy. Higher education leadership development programs. Phenomenological case study.