Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 2006


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Education Leaders (IDPEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Helen C. Sobehart

Committee Member

James E. Henderson

Committee Member

Launcelot Brown


Leadership, self-efficacy, spiritual leadership


Since 1993 Duquesne IDPEL cohort participants begin their educational journey by participating in the Professional Seminar (Pro-Sem). The initial portion of the Pro-Sem is currently held at the Linsly Outdoor Center (LOC). At Linsly participants are involved in several experiential based simulation experiences. The purpose of these experiences is to encourage dialogue and to build Cohort teamwork (Duquesne University, 1996). This study was compelled by the findings of Brufee (1999) and Vygotsky (1978) that social interaction allows the learner to gain knowledge more rapidly. A Heuristic phenomenological case study method was used in this study of the learning experiences of 23 IDPEL Pro-Sem participants at Linsly. Data collection involved post-activity surveys, post-activity audio taped interviews, participant journals, and video journals. The questions answered in the study were: (1) What specific activities did participants in the experience believe had, or will have, the greatest positive impact on their self-efficacy as leaders? (2) What emotions, thoughts and feelings did participants describe experiencing during the activities that initiated the cohesion of IDPEL cohort and advisory group members? (3) What specific activities and experiences did participants identify as having the greatest long-term and short-term emotional impact? The results of the study indicated that scaffolding the level of physical and emotional challenges influenced the value of the experience for the participants. The group reflection times were identified as having a profound effect on participants' feelings of self-efficacy and group cohesion. Finally, the study findings indicated a developmental framework of leadership that suggests a stage of leadership between the transformational and transcendental stage suggested by Sanders et al. (2003). The "Inspirational Leader" describes the transitional stage when the individual moves from a motivational focus of the transformational leader, to a spiritual focus of the inspirational leader, and eventually the faith focus of the transcendental leader. This "Inspirational" stage is when the student/leader gains an understanding and desire to lead in another dimension. Spiritual leadership emphasizes a high interest in ethics, relationships and the balance between work and self (Wolf, 2004). Students of leadership recognize how critical spiritual intelligence is for exceptional leadership (Rogers, 2003).