Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport

Degree Type

Master of Science in Recreation


The Wilderness Education Association has seen and answered the need to train outdoor leaders. It has provided a wide range of courses and opportunities for future outdoor leaders to learn and practice their skills. It is important to examine the effectiveness of these courses and how they effect course participants. This study focused on the perceived changes by students in their leadership skills as a result of the Wilderness Stewardship Course. This study was conducted during a Wilderness Education Association Wilderness Stewardship course offered at Western Kentucky University. The established Leadership Skills Inventory, developed by Frances Karnes and Jane Chauvin, was used in evaluating student leadership perceptions. The inventory requires individuals to respond to questions that have been separated into 9 leadership categories. Strengths and weaknesses of the individuals are measured by their answers. The categories include fundamentals of leadership, written communication, speech communication, decisionmaking, group dynamics, problem-solving, personal development, and planning skills. Students were given the inventory as a pre and posttest and the results were analyzed using a paired t-test. The results indicated a significant change in student's perception of skills in four areas. They areas include fundamentals of leadership, speech communication skills, character-building skills and group dynamic skills. Length of course, direct teaching on subjects, and opportunities to practice skills provided opportunities to develop skills in the above mentioned areas.



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Kinesiology Commons