Date of Conferral







Dean Frost


The purpose of this quantitative study was to expand understanding of leadership behaviors and their influence on follower engagement. Researchers have shown that engagement is a predictor of retention and organizational performance. Leadership theory and the conceptual framework of worker engagement were the study's theoretical anchors. Despite a proliferation of leadership studies, engagement antecedents are largely unknown. The aim of this study was to narrow the gap in the literature by examining the extent to which there may be a relationship between college instructors' behaviors and student engagement. Although not traditionally regarded as frontline leaders, extant leadership literature affirmed college instructors' organizational position, role, and responsibilities as direct supervisors and students as their followers. The independent variables were instructor behavior, institutional support, and depth of learning. Student engagement was the dependent variable. Correlation and regression analysis were applied to existing survey data collected in 2014 from students who were enrolled in a diverse, urban community college located in a major metropolitan city in the United States. The most prominent finding, that leadership behaviors had the strongest correlation to student engagement, contributed to the body of leadership knowledge by reaffirming leadership behaviors as a predictor of follower engagement. Given the increasing diversity of workers and followers, this study's findings have the potential to help leaders more effectively engage followers who are members of historically marginalized groups, thereby, helping to narrow equity gaps and advance social justice, particularly in higher education.