Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Public Administration

Major Professor

Susan MacManus, Ph.D.


Diversity, Leadership, Leadership development, Student leaders, Student organizational involvement, Student organizations, Experience with diversity


The steady increase of racial and ethnic diversity in public universities has provided student leaders with many challenges. However, little is known about the effects of racial and ethnic diversity on the development of these student leaders. This study aims to evaluate the effects of racial and ethnic diversity in college student organizations on the development of student leaders and the perceived value of such diversity on their development. The sample consists of 833 student leaders from Florida's ten public universities who completed online surveys. The questions asked were designed to evaluate their past and present leadership roles and skills, exposure to ethnic and racial diversity on their campus (specifically in student organizations), and the perceived influence of racial and ethnic diversity on their leadership skills and career preparation. The results of the study show there is a positive relationship between membership in a diverse student organization and the development of leadership skills. The findings also reveal that the leadership skills learned from this exposure are expected to better prepare students for their careers upon graduation.