Social Change Model of Leadership

Our leadership programming is based on the Social Change Model of Leadership

Established in 1994, the Social Change Model approaches leadership as a purposeful, collaborative, values-based process that results in positive social change. The model was built upon the following assumptions:

  • "Leadership" is concerned with effecting change on behalf of others and society
  • Leadership is collaborative
  • Leadership is a process rather than a position
  • Leadership should be value based
  • All students (not just those that hold formal leadership positions) are potential leaders
  • Service is a powerful vehicle for developing leadership skills

The Social Change Model based on seven dimensions, or values, called the Seven Cs: Consciousness of self, Congruence, Commitment, Common purpose, Controversy with civility, Collaboration, and Citizenship. All seven dimensions work together to accomplish the transcendent “C” of change, each interacting with one another.

The "Seven Cs"

Individual Values

  • Consciousness of self
    Awareness of the beliefs, values, attitudes, and emotions that motivate one to take action
  • Congruence
    Thinking, feeling, and behaving with consistency, genuineness, authenticity, and honesty
  • Commitment
    Motivational energy to serve and that drives the collective effort. Commitment implies passion, intensity, and duration

Group Values

  • Collaboration
    Working with others in a common effort; it constitutes the cornerstone value of the group leadership effort because it empowers self and others through trust
  • Common purpose
    Working with shared aims and values; it facilitates the group’s ability to engage in collective analysis of the issues at hand and the task to be undertaken
  • Controversy with civility
    Recognizes two fundamental realities of any creative group effort: that differences in viewpoints are inevitable and that such difference must be aired openly but with civility

Community/Societal Values

  • Citizenship
    Process whereby the individual and the collaborative group become responsibly connected to the community and the society through the leadership experience
  • Change
    “Hub” which gives meaning and purpose to the seven C’s; change, in other words, is the ultimate goal of the creative process of leadership—to make a better world and a better society for self and others


The Social Change Model of Leadership has two primary goals:

  1. To enhance student learning and development; more specifically, to develop in each student participant greater:
    • Self-knowledge: Understanding one's talents, values, and interests, especially as these relate to the student's capacity to provide effective leadership
    • Leadership competence: The capacity to mobilize one-self and others to serve and work collaboratively
  2. To facilitate positive social change at the institution or in the community; that is, undertake actions which will help the institution/community to function more effectively and humanly


Astin, Helen S. and Alexander W. Astin. A Social Change Model of Leadership Development Guidebook Version III. The National Clearinghouse of Leadership Programs, 1996.
The Social Change Model: