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Infusing gender and diversity issues into educational leadership programs: Transformational learning and resistance

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this article is to consider the impact of incorporating a set of readings focused on issues of gender, diversity, leadership, and feminist thought into the curriculum of a statewide educational leadership doctoral program. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Based data from open-ended surveys, semi-structured interviews, and reflection statements, the article presents a qualitative analysis of how students react to, learn from, and resist social justice-oriented curricula and teaching strategies, particularly those related to gender issues. Findings ‐ The analysis of the data collected in this research suggests that, after a year of exposure to readings and written assignments about gender and other diversity issues, few students had undergone significant transformations in their learning regarding gender issues. Moreover, it was found that many students demonstrated resistance to reading, reflecting on and discussing gender issues. Originality/value ‐ Programs and professors that endeavor to prepare leaders who are transformative, require transformative teaching practices that assist in the development of such leaders. When content includes issues of diversity, our findings indicate that it is particularly important that faculty increase their knowledge of student responses to difficult content and transformative teaching strategies.
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Keywords: Equal opportunities; Feminism; Leadership; Sex and gender issues; Transformational leadership

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2006

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