Theoretical Framework

The Social Change Model of Leadership Development (SCM; HERI, 1996) was selected as the theoretical model for MSL. The SCM is:

  • Consistent with the emerging leadership paradigm
  • Created specifically for college students
  • One of the most well-known and often applied student leadership models (Kezar, Carducci, & Contreras-McGavin, 2006; Owen, 2012)

The SCM measures socially responsible leadership defined as “a purposeful, collaborative, values-based process that results in positive change” (Komives & Wagner, 2009).  Its central principles are assessed through eight core values that describe students’ levels of self-awareness and abilities to work with others (HERI).


The dynamic interplay of the seven values contributes to students’ overall capacity for socially responsible leadership.

The theoretical framework is further influenced by the student development, counseling psychology, and broader leadership studies literature to frame and measure contextual influences on leadership development.