Leadership at Reed

Social Change Model of Leadership Development

Leadership programs at Reed use the Social Change model as their foundation. The Social Change model is strongly aligned with Reed's mission, as its primary goal is to enhance learning and development. The Social Change model also emphasizes the value of all types of leadership and encourages service, action, and the development of personal skills.

Basic Premises

  • The Social Change model is designed to enhance the development of leadership qualities in all students - those who hold formal leadership positions as well as those who do not - and to promote a process that is inclusive and actively engages all who wish to contribute.
  • Leadership is viewed as a process rather than as a position.
  • The model explicitly promotes the values of equity, social justice, self-knowledge, personal empowerment, collaboration, citizenship, and service.
  • Service provides a powerful vehicle for developing student leadership capabilities in a collaborative environment. Learning happens by making meaning of life experiences.

Two Primary Goals

The first goal is to enhance student learning and development. More specifically, the Social Change model aims to develop in each student participant greater Self-knowledge, the understanding of one's talents, values, and interests, especially as these relate to the student's capacity to provide effective leadership; Leadership competence, the capacity to mobilize oneself and others to serve and to work collaboratively.

The second goal is to facilitate positive social change at the institution and in the community. That is, to undertake actions which will help the institution and community to function more effectively and humanely for all.


Source for all information about the Social Change model: Higher Education Research Institute. (1996). A Social Change Model of Leadership Development: Guidebook Version III. Los Angeles: The Regents of the University of California.


The model examines leadership development on three levels.

1. The individual: What personal qualities are we attempting to foster and develop in those who participate in a leadership development program? What personal qualities are most supportive of group functioning and positive social change?

2. The group: How can the collaborative leadership development process be designed not only to facilitate the development of desired individual qualities but also to effect positive social change?

3. The community/society: Toward what social ends is the leadership developmentactivity directed? What kinds of service activities are most effective in energizing the group and in developing personal qualities in the individual?

The Social Change model rests on seven critical values (7 Cs):

  • Consciousness of Self (individual)
  • Congruence (individual)
  • Commitment (individual)
  • Collaboration (group)
  • Common Purpose (group)
  • Controversy with Civility (group)
  • Citizenship (community/society)

These values fall around the core value: change. Change is the value "hub" which gives meaning and purpose to the 7 Cs. Change, in other words, is the ultimate goal of the creative process of leadership, to make a better world and a better society for self and others.

Consciousness of Self means being aware of the beliefs, values, attitudes, and emotions that motivate one to take action.

Congruence refers to thinking, feeling, and behaving with consistency, authenticity, and honesty toward others. Congruent people are those whose actions are consistent with their most deeply held beliefs and convictions. Clearly, personal congruence and consciousness of self are interdependent.

Commitment is the psychic energy that motivates the individual to serve and that drives the collective effort. Commitment implies passion, intensity, and duration. It is directed toward both the group activity as well as its intended outcomes. Without commitment, knowledge of self is of little value. Without adequate knowledge of self, commitment is easily misdirected. Congruence, in turn, is most readily achieved when the person acts with commitment and knowledge of self.

Collaboration constitutes the cornerstone value of the group leadership effort because it empowers self and others through trust. Collaboration multiplies group effectiveness by capitalizing on the multiple talents and perspectives of each group member and on the power of that diversity to generate creative solutions and actions. Collaboration empowers each individual best when there is a clear-cut division of labor.

Common Purpose means to work with shared aims and values. Having a common purpose facilitates the group's ability to engage in collective analysis of the issues at hand and the task to be undertaken. Common purpose is best achieved when all members of the group share in the vision and participate actively in articulating the purpose and goals of the leadership development activity. Recognizing the common purpose and mission of the group helps to generate the high level of trust that any successful collaboration requires.

Controversy with Civility recognizes two fundamental realities of any creative group effort: that differences in viewpoint are inevitable and that such differences must be aired openly but with civility. Civility implies respect for others, a willingness to hear each other’s views, and the exercise of restraint in criticizing the views and actions of others. It is best achieved in a collaborative framework and when a common purpose has been identified. Controversy (conflict, confrontation) can often lead to new, creative solutions to problems, especially when it occurs in an atmosphere of civility, collaboration, and common purpose.

Citizenship is the process whereby the individual and the collaborative group become responsibly connected to the community and the society through the leadership development activity. To be a good citizen is to work for positive change on behalf of others and the community. Citizenship thus acknowledges the interdependence of all who are involved in or affected by these efforts. It recognizes that the common purpose of the group must incorporate a sense of concern for the rights and welfare of all those who might be affected by the group's efforts.