Notes from the Field: Reaching New Heights in Leadership Education: Report on the Annual Meeting of the Association of Leadership Educators

Eric Kaufman

Reaching New Heights in Leadership Education:  Report on the Annual Meeting of the Association of Leadership Educators

Eric Kaufman

Climb higher. See further. Become a more powerful catalyst for leadership development than ever before. That was the focus of the 21st annual meeting of the Association of Leadership Educators (ALE). In early July, more than 120 leadership educators met in Denver, Colorado, to discuss research findings and share ideas for enhancing leadership education. Conference highlights included keynote presentations by Zach Hunter and iB‐LIEVE as well as a plethora of research and practice presentations.

This year’s conference included 36 paper presentations, 14 topical roundtable discussions, and 5 educator showcase presentations. The contexts for these participant-led sessions ranged from higher education to nonprofit organizations to military academies. This year’s outstanding paper award went to Daniel M. Jenkins for his paper on Exploring Instructional Strategies in Undergraduate Leadership Education. The paper reported on a national survey of leadership educators, and the findings suggest an emphasis in discussion‐based and inclusive pedagogies in academic credit‐bearing undergraduate leadership studies courses. To view this paper and access the full conference proceedings, go to

In addition to paper presentations, the conference included many outstanding posters. This began a Symposium of Emerging Research, hosted by the University of Phoenix School of Advanced Studies. The symposium included 32 poster presentations on topics ranging from mentoring to social media to community leadership. The traditional poster session was held later in the conference with 26 additional posters exhibited at that time. The outstanding poster award went to Birkenholz, Simonsen, Velez, and Dye for their poster titled Student Reflections on Course Assignments in an Undergraduate Leadership Course. The poster reported on an exercise where students commented on the value of each assignment as a tool to promote learning about leadership and/or applications to their life.

The awards banquet included recognition of many deserving individuals and programs. This year’s Outstanding Leadership Program award went to the Center for Civic Leadership at Fort Hays State University. The ALE Rising Star award went to Dr. Jennifer Williams from Texas A&M University, and the Distinguished Leadership and Service Award went to Dr. Penny Weeks from Oklahoma State University. Several students were also recognized with the association’s Founding Mothers’ Award. Those students include Kathrynne Buchanan from the University of Phoenix, Sarah Gervais from Texas A&M University, and Viviana Giraud from the University of Florida.

As part of the conference, ALE’s new board members were inducted. They include the following:
President: Nicole Stedman
Vice President: Tony Andenoro
Secretary: Jennifer Williams
Treasurer: Scott Allen
Director of Resource Development: Greg Gifford
Director of Marketing and Public Relations: Eric Kaufman
Director of Members Services and Communication: Natalie Coers
Director of Awards and Recognition: Bryan Patterson
Past President: Jackie Bruce

All of ALE members are looking forward to next year’s conference in beautiful Key West, Florida. The conference will be July 8-11, 2012, at the Doubletree Grand Key Resort. The theme for the conference is Change Your Latitude! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to engage in scholarly discussion and research, learn new techniques for teaching and practice, and gain valuable networking with your peers—as well as Key West excursions and having fun!

The Association of Leadership Educators began in 1990 with a vision for a professional association that focused on leadership education, linked theory to practice, disseminated research, and provided professional development opportunities for anyone engaged in leadership education, both formal and non-formal. As the association continued to grow and expand, ALE launched the Journal of Leadership Education in 2002 as a peer-reviewed journal that provides a forum for linking research to practice. ALE continues to engage members in fulfilling the mission to strengthen and sustain the expertise of professional leadership educators. If you are interested in joining ALE, go to

About the Author

Eric Kaufman

Eric Kaufman serves in the volunteer role of director of marketing andpublic relations for the Association of Leadership Educators.  He isemployed as an assistant professor and Extension specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education at Virginia Tech.
Prior to joining the faculty at Virginia Tech, Eric was programcoordinator for Florida’s Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agricultureand Natural Resources (2004 ­ 2007). At Virginia Tech, Eric coordinates a graduate certificate program in Collaborative Community Leadership.  As
part of his Extension appointment, he works with volunteer leadership council members. Eric’s research interests include multiple aspects of leadership and leadership development, including agricultural, collegiate, grassroots, strengths-based, and volunteer leadership.


  1. BUDS MOLINA FERNANDO on August 22, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    I am happy to hear about your advocacy and transformative leadership initiative. My question or call it concern is: “how about global solidarity? what are the key initiatives we should take to spread and advocate the mandate of Integral Leadership and/or Association of Leadership Educators?” I guess it is important and a global imperative to share our initiative, wisdom, systems, among others, to effectively create or mold more integral leaders around the globe. Thank you and more power to your initiatives. NAMASTE.

    • Russ Volckmann on November 13, 2011 at 4:00 pm

      Perhaps you would be interested in writing an article about this?