Book by Dennis C. Roberts
Review by: Amy Casaldi
School of Life Sciences, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Arizona State University
As academic advisors and those in advising or mentoring related positions understand, helping a college student chart their own path to a successful future can be daunting. One of the most important factors would be to assist the student in the development of skills that are needed for their future career prospects, whether their career would begin after their undergraduate education or after graduate or professional school. Dr. Roberts in Deeper learning in leadership: Helping college students find the potential within attempts to do just this. His research on leadership provides a preview for any higher education professional from academic advisor to faculty member on designing a leadership program or facilitating leadership initiatives for undergraduate students to become a part of on your campus.
As advising professionals wouldn't it be nice to be able to explain to your students some of the skills they will need to develop in order to be employable across any major? Roberts (2007) explains “Through the Making the Match project, Evers and his colleagues sought to determine the degree to fit between the skills possessed by college graduate and the qualities that employees sought in their employees.” The research project found the four skill areas that employers value the most are managing self, communicating, managing people and tasks, and mobilizing innovation and change (Roberts, 2007). Employers and graduates reported the same ratings, mobilizing innovation and change and managing people and tasks were the lowest skill areas of college graduates right out of school. This is a major issue considering these were the top skills employers wanted in their new hires.
So now that advisors can tell their students what skills they most need to develop in college, how do advisors implement this? Dr. Roberts proposes a solution and his hypothesis is based on the notion that leadership can be taught. With this premise he provides an overview that provides the right amount of depth about leadership theory, practice, and current leadership programs. He blends research and application that can provide any advising professional with the knowledge to get started on your own campus. This book would be an excellent edition to any advisor looking to learn more about developing leadership skills and how to advise their students towards this. It also provides helpful insights into how this information can be applied with a formal leadership program on campus or without one. The only misgiving I had about this book would be it starts out slow, but it does that to properly explain the context into which the information is to be understood. I recommend this book to any advising professional looking to learn more about leadership and gain better insight to the career preparation our students can and need to be taking part in. Dr. Roberts does not propose a one-size-fits-all model, but instead many ideas for solutions to be implemented on your campus.
Deeper learning in leadership: Helping college students find the potential within. (2007). Book by Dennis C. Roberts. Review by: Amy Casaldi. San Fransisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 235 pp., $40.00, ISBN # 978-0-7879-8585-1