EXCEL program participants tour the Farmington, Mo., Civic Center pool.
What leadership development outcomes does an EXCEL program produce? Is EXCEL a suitable program solution for the leadership situation in my community?
Participants in the EXCEL program experience 70 distinct beneficial outcomes as a result of their participation.
The EXCEL program achieves desirable outcomes for all participants despite differences in participant characteristics, implementation site or specific curricula used in implementation across sites.
The 70 specific EXCEL program outcomes reflect five broad dimensions: 1) personal growth and efficacy; 2) community commitment; 3) shared future and purpose; 4) community knowledge; and 5) civic engagement.
Excerpts taken from Pigg, Kenneth. 2001. EXCEL: Experience in Community Enterprise and Leadership. Program Evaluation Report. Department of Rural Sociology. University of Missouri.
Beginning in 2008, important findings reported in a multi-state NRI project, entitled Impact of Community Leadership Education in the New Economy, support the argument that the “treatment” (i.e., the participation of respondents in community-based leadership development education programs) produced significant learning when compared to those in control counties where no programs were available. There were larger gains in learning and attitude changes among those participating in these programs than among those who did not.
Descriptive statistics show there is a dominance of women participants in treatment counties. This finding leads to the need for a discussion regarding “Is leadership in rural American being re-gendered?” In treatment counties, 67 percent of the respondents were female and 33 percent were male. However, this ratio was reversed in control counties where 65 percent were male and 34 percent were female.
Five states, 20 locations demonstrate that a significant number get engaged in community activities and material benefit. Out of 500 respondents to a survey, researchers found 212 projects conducted in the last 3 to 5 years in 20 locations. One or more participants were involved in the funding and building of a new high school in Camdenton, Mo., and new construction of an aquatic center in Moberly, Mo. Other examples found in the research include: an addition to a hospital, a course for youth leadership on ethics in business, attraction of Smithsonian exhibits to boost tourism creation, and a new tourism center. A path analysis has been developed that connects individual outcomes at participant level to community outcomes.
Yet to be determined is the community effect of these programs via the activities carried out by the participants in the programs compared to the leaders in control counties. This is the focus of phase two of the research.