NCORE Webinar Series
A Generative Approach to Latinx Student Leadership Development
Wednesday, October 7, 2020 | LIVE 3:00-4:30 PM Central Time*
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This session will introduce the intersections of generativity and cultural wealth model as a theoretical framework to understand a different approach to developing leadership in our Latinx student population. To understand the background, I highlight specific components through generativity and leadership, Latinx culture and generativity, and the Cultural Wealth model.
Generativity and Leadership
In the context of higher education and leadership development, generativity is mostly considered through its incorporation as the fifth stage of the Leadership Identity Development (LID) Model (Komives, Owen, Longerbeam, Mainella, & Osteen, 2005). This model has become a signature model for guiding students through the leadership development process in the context of higher education. Through this model, six-stages leadership identity development are described: 1) awareness, 2) exploration/engagement, 3) leader identified, 4) leadership differentiated, 5) generativity, and 6) integration/synthesis. In their study, they identify how most students enter college at stage three or four and typically exit college at stage four.
Focusing on the generativity stage, we learn how it derives from an aging concept from Erikson's model of psychosocial development (1963). Erikson describes generativity as "primarily the concern in establishing and guiding the next generation" (1963, p. 267). This sentiment of guiding the next generation is echoed into the LID model as they describe it as being related 1) a larger purpose, 2) to the recognition of developmental needs of younger members, and 3) a need to "create a leadership pipeline for their groups" to sustain the organization (Komives et al., 2005, p. 607). During this stage of the model, students are also developing a stronger understanding of how leadership can be practiced through interpersonal processes anywhere in the group, not just through titled leadership roles. This is reflected during this generative stage in a follow up study where they describe generativity as when "students showed an ability to look beyond themselves and express a passion for their commitments and care for the welfare of others" (Komives, Mainella, Longerbeam, Osteen, & Owen, 2006, p. 411). This notion of "looking beyond themselves" and "communities" demonstrates their ability to shift from individualistic mind frames to collectivist or community-oriented mind frames.
Latinx Culture and Generativity
Within the national culture of the United States, the Latinx population and other minoritized identities are often underrepresented in research as race and ethnicity are often explored through a dichotomy of Blacks and Whites (Yosso, 2005). The literature on generativity is no different as the majority of studies have been conducted on predominately-white populations and have not brought in the perspective of how different identities come into play with generative behaviors. While Erikson did not explicitly make a connection to generativity and culture, De St. Aubin and Bach (2015) demonstrate how the second half of his 1950 publication of Childhood and Society weaves in the connections between generativity and culture. In their exploration, they state, "culture determines what is passed on from generation to generation and culture shapes how generativity is performed" (De St. Aubin and Bach, 2015). Leaving culture out of the exploration of generativity is limiting potential to more fully understand what is valued and how generativity is passed on in the research groups.
To understand how generativity is experienced for the Latinx population, it is important to gain an understanding of the cultural aspects of this ethnic population. In her book The Power of Latino Leadership: Culture, Inclusion, and Contributions, Juana Bordas speaks to eight key values of Latino culture: la familia, simpatico (or being congenial) demeanor, generosity, respect, honesty, hard work, service to others, and faith (2013). The nature of how these values have been passed down culturally from generation to generation is a practice of generativity in and of itself. The first value of la familia stems from a deep commitment to family ties. Within the Latinx community, the family goes beyond blood relations and extends to the community. This brings in what Bordas describes as a culture anchored in a We orientation where people interdependent on one another. The remaining seven values are straightforward and further express the important focus on others and developing and interdependent community.
In the practice of generativity, there is a notion of moving from an individualistic mindset to becoming community-oriented. With this in mind, the Latinx population may exhibit generative behaviors by way of their cultural capital. In other words, the cultural values of family and community bring invaluable capital through experiences of building relationships, communication, and trust. Considering generativity as a valuable commodity leading to social relationships and adaptability (Lawford et al., 2005; Lawford & Ramey, 2015), the Latinx population may develop stronger generative behaviors earlier in their life as compared to other non-community-oriented cultures.
In considering Latinx student's understandings of leadership, there are some barriers. The Spanish language, as a start, does not properly translate the relational process of leadership that most leadership educators convey. In Spanish it is even more strongly associated with a position and culturally, the Latinx population does not seek positional leadership as they believe they must be recognized for their hard work or recommended rather than taking on positions. As Western understandings of leadership typically begin with this aspect, they do not easily embrace their leadership identity. Considering their community oriented strengths, they may better understand leadership if it was instructed to understand the community impact before discussing the impacts possible through positions.
Cultural Wealth Model
To bring in the cultural perspective, I bring in the Cultural Wealth Model constructed by Yosso (2005). In this model, Yosso uses a strengths-based approach to culture and describes how different types of cultural capital can be considered by educators to better understand the value of their minoritized students. This model considers six types of capital: aspirational capital describes a student's hopes and dreams; linguistic capital brings in language and communication capacities; familial capital draws in the community values developed from familial relationships; social capital refers to a student's network and access to resources; navigational capital addresses a student's ability to acculturate or adapt; and resistance capital is how a student has learned to speak up against injustice (Yosso, 2005). I believe the familial capital, among others, will be important for pulling in the Latinx cultural values and how they relate to generativity and begin to identify their leadership identity.
Bordas, J. (2013). The power of Latino leadership: Culture, inclusion, and contribution. San Francisco: CA, Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
De St. Aubin, E., & Bach, M. (2015). Explorations in generativity and culture. In The Oxford handbook of human development and culture: An interdisciplinary perspective. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 24 Nov. 2019, from https://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199948550.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199948550-e-40.Erikson, E. H. (1963). Childhood and society. New York, NY: Norton. (Original work published 1950)
Komives, S. R., Mainella, F. C., Longerbeam, S. D., Osteen, L., & Owen, J. E. (2006). A Leadership Identity Development Model: Applications from a Grounded Theory. Journal of College Student Development, 47(4), 401-418.
Komives, S. R., Owen, J. E., Longerbeam, S. D., Mainella, F. C., & Osteen, L. (2005). Developing a leadership identity: A grounded theory. Journal of College Student Development, (6), 593-611.
Yoso, T. J. (2005). Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Race Ethnicity and Education, (8)1, pp. 69-91.
Jennifer M. Batchelder, M.Ed.
Jennifer identifies as a biracial Chicana/Latina, dyslexic, leadership educator from San Antonio, Texas. She is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Florida State University Higher Education program. Her research interest involves the study of cultural leadership education. Particularly, she explores generativity (community focus on guiding the next generation) and leadership development for the Latinx college student population. She currently serves as a graduate research assistant for the Leadership Learning Research Center where she is an instructor for the Undergraduate Certificate in Leadership Studies and contributes to research on leadership programs across the United States and internationally. Before beginning her doctoral journey, Jennifer received her Bachelor’s in Marketing and Master’s in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Texas State University-San Marcos. Her professional work experience in higher education includes five years of work in student affairs with a focus on student engagement. Outside of her passion for student development and leadership education, Jennifer enjoys game nights, bicycling, dancing, and being with family and friends!