Theoretical Foundations

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Theoretical foundations

The Center for Student Leadership & Engagement is rooted in a variety of interdisciplinary theories, models and concepts.  This theoretical foundation is central to the pedagogy of our work and is utilized to support and sustain experiences for East Carolina University community.  

Leadership Learning and Engagement

Heifetz, Grashow & Linsky's (2009) adaptive leadership model

Kouzes and Posner's work on Exemplary Practices of Leadership

Learning Reconsidered by NASPA and ACPA (2004)

Leadership Identity Development Model by Komives, Casper, Longerbeam, Mainella, Osteen (2004)

Social Change Model of Leadership by the Higher Education Research Institute's Ensemble (1996)

Guiding Principles for our Work

ECU Integrated Leadership Framework

Knowledge: Lifelong Learner

Understand accountability for learning

Recognize learning potential by broadening knowledge base & developing effective learning strategies

Inspire others to engage in the learning process

Engage learning in a holistic manner inclusive but not limited to mind, body and spirit

Respect and take advantage of all dimensions of others' talents & passions


Gain an understanding of self and others

Engage in meaningful and respectful dialogues across differences

Foster environments that encourage connection

Communicate with respect

Empower others to engage in the leadership process


Create opportunities to engage the community in sustainable positive change

Develop climates that are inclusive and respectful of all cultures

Create environments that encourage awareness of social issues

Exercise utilizing values in  decision making

Model socially just values and behaviors


Understand personal well-being

Adapt healthy lifestyles to sustain well-being

Commit to continual growth

Provide opportunities to explore well-being in a holistic manner


Create connections explicitly aligning leadership and service

Commit to creating positive sustainable change throughout our communities

Inspire others to engage in service