Purpose and Mission

The Leadership SPRIG provides a mechanism to collaboratively identify priorities and strategically guide the department’s focus on leadership research, outreach, and teaching.  Such a focus will promote faculty engagement in interdisciplinary activities, particularly those that address College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and university priorities.   

Other targeted outcomes of the Leadership SPRIG are increased recruitment of students interested in leadership as a field of study and increased external revenue generation.  


Leadership in an era of rapid change is often cited as the critical element that distinguishes success from failure.  Technology and globalization are only two of a number of factors that are contributing to the increased rate and magnitude of change we are experiencing.   The National Academy of Sciences recently acknowledged that many of today’s major challenges – including energy security, national security, human health, and climate change – are closely tied to the global food and agricultural enterprise.  Academic institutions with agriculture programs  are in a perfect position to prepare the next generation of leaders and professionals to address these challenges (The National Academies, 2009).  The report concluded that issues of the 21st century will require a new level of collaboration and “will require knowledge and ability to communicate across disciplines and bring people together to explore solutions.” 

The Ohio State University and the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences have also cited the need for leadership to address issues of critical importance in our state, nation, and world.  The call for leadership to address three CFAES signature areas include:  Food Security, Production, & Human Health; Environmental Quality & Sustainability; and Advanced Bioenergy & Biobased Products as primary focal points of the current CFAES Strategic Plan (2009-2013).

Leadership was also identified as a high priority in the National Research Agenda: Agricultural Education and Communication, 2007-2010 (Osborne, n.d.).  The 2010 – 2014 Strategic Plan for our new department suggested a strategy to develop and advance disciplinary focus and impact through the use of self-populated research interest groups (SPRIGs).  The Leadership SPRIG will be supported by a self-selected team of faculty, staff, and students for the purpose of focusing disciplinary and interdisciplinary efforts on leadership research, outreach, and teaching activities that address issues of critical importance. 


  • Improve alignment of faculty research, outreach, and teaching to support the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences signature areas.
  • Extend faculty collaboration and partnerships on interdisciplinary research teams.
  • Increase faculty submissions and awards for externally funded grants.
  • Expand support for graduate students in the department.
  • Publish more peer-review journal articles authored by departmental faculty and graduate students.

Current Activities

  • Development of a new undergraduate/graduate course in professional leadership ethics to be offered Autumn 2012.
  • Presentation of four  research papers presented at the 2012 Association of Leadership Educators conference in July, 2012.
    • “A Multi-Institutional Examination of the Relationships between High School Activity Involvement and Leadership Constructs among First-time College of Agriculture Students”
    • “Relationship Between Leadership Traits and Activity Participation Among Madison Plains High School Students”
    • “Relationship Between Activity Participation and Leadership Traits Among Metro Early College High School Students”
    • “The Creation and Validation of the Individual Leadership Trait Inventory”
  • Two graduate students specializing in leadership.
  • Current enrollment of four students currently enrolled in their Leadership practicum experience.