Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Higher Education

Committee Director

Dennis E. Gregory

Committee Member

Mitchell R. Williams

Committee Member

Cherng-Jyh Yen


Transformational Leadership Qualities Among Students Within Doctoral Higher Education Leadership Programs is a mixed-method study utilizing program evaluation of course descriptions and transformational leadership fostering activities, interviews with program chairs surrounding transformational leadership fostering activities, and completion of the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ-5x™) survey results from doctoral higher education students and their programs within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Researchers in the field of Higher Education and Leadership indicated that Transformational Leadership was more apt for college and university presidency, that doctoral degrees were more preferable for college and university presidency, and as doctoral higher education programs provide students with curriculum geared toward college and university leadership training, these programs may be seen as a training ground for the nation’s future college and university presidents.

Transformational Leadership is defined as “an exceptional form of influence that moves followers to accomplish more than what is usually expected of them. It is a process that often incorporates charismatic and visionary leadership” (Northouse, 2016, p. 161). This study aimed to address not only current Transformational Leadership measurement of doctoral higher education students through the MLQ-5x™, but also how their corresponding programs are seen by program chairs in charge of these programs, and how the programs are described through program websites. This study investigated the only five public doctoral higher education programs in the Commonwealth of Virginia and surveyed a total of thirty students across these programs. These individuals self-rated using the MLQ-5x and were peer-rated by colleagues to enhance validity of results. Themes surrounding how these programs are administered were collected, and findings suggest that while students are in fact above average regarding transformational leadership, there is no correlation between student transformational leadership scores and program offerings.


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