Cover of Enhancing Campus Capacity for Leadership by Adrianna J. Kezar and Jaime Lester
Enhancing Campus Capacity for Leadership
An Examination of Grassroots Leaders in Higher Education
Adrianna J. Kezar and Jaime Lester


368 pages.
from $35.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804776479
Paperback ISBN: 9780804793353
Ebook ISBN: 9780804781626

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Enhancing Campus Capacity for Leadership contributes to the growing tradition of giving voice to grassroots leaders, focusing on the largely untapped potential of faculty and staff on college campuses. In an increasingly corporatized environment, grassroots leadership can provide a balance to the prestige- and revenue-seeking impulses of traditional campus leaders, create changes in the teaching and learning core, build greater equity, improve relationships among campus stakeholders, and enhance the student experience. This book documents the stories of grassroots leaders, including their motivation and background, the tactics and strategies that they use, the obstacles that they overcome, and the ways that they navigate power and join with formal authority. This investigation also highlights the fact that grassroots leaders, particularly in more marginalized groups, can face significant backlash. The authors end with a discussion of the future of leadership on college campuses, examining the possibilities for shared and collaborative forms of guidance and governance.

About the authors

Adrianna J. Kezar is Professor of Higher Education at the University of Southern California.

Jaime Lester is Associate Professor of Higher Education at George Mason University.

"[This book] provides insightful critique of status quo organizations, and theoretical and practical strategies for making differences and building capacity throughout an institution. . . Overall, Kezar and Lester make a significant contribution to the literature that connects to prior work by Tull, Hirt, and Saunders, Amey and Reesor, Hirt, Kuk, Banning and Amey, and others who remind readers of the importance of understanding your context, how it works, what is of value in it, and how to create opportunities and influence regardless of your location in the organization. . . It is an important book for all of us in higher education."

—Marilyn J. Amney, Journal of College Student Development

"[Enhancing Campus Capacity for Leadership] is the first research book of its kind to look at how bottom-up leadership (leadership from faculty and staff) can operate and succeed within the academy . . . The authors are to be congratulated for bringing us such a thoroughly researched study about non-positional, bottom-up leadership in higher education."

—Helen S. Astin, The Review of Higher Education

"Grassroots leadership is one of the most promising approaches to replenishing higher learning by helping to bring greater clarity and cohesion to our nation's colleges and universities. Ideas are precious, and this text advances several promising ones—not only for enriching the literature on leadership for change, but also the daily lives of those of us who believe that we need to work together to bring about a meaningful future. What a pleasure to read a book in which one feels that one is in conversation with the authors. This is an exemplary piece of work."

—Clifton Conrad, University of Wisconsin-Madison and co-editor of The SAGE Handbook on Research in Education: Ideas as the Keystone of Exemplary Inquiry, Second Edition

"This exemplar of case study design examines grassroots change initiatives in higher education to reveal the shifting nature of faculty and staff leadership in increasingly corporatized colleges and universities. Kezar and Lester highlight the dynamics of power in contemporary institutions, offering strategies for negotiating those dynamics. The voices of the research participants authentically and vividly demonstrate the power and process of leadership without formal authority."

—Suzanne Estler, University of Maine