HEDS occasionally supports projects led by people at HEDS institutions and works with external partners on research that helps us fulfill our mission of advancing liberal arts education, inclusive excellence, and student success. We describe two of these projects below. If you are interested in working with HEDS on a research project or learning about research projects that are in the works, please contact Charlie Blaich and Kathy Wise. We’re happy to either connect you with a project or help you develop your own project.

Leadership Section on the HEDS Alumni Survey


Countless college and university programs focus on developing leadership among undergraduates. Nonetheless, pipelines to leadership outcomes beyond college are not well understood, often lack a scientific foundation, and appear to exacerbate, rather than mitigate, existing barriers to the diversification of future leaders. Better data holds the key for advancing the empirical study of leadership development and, in turn, the design and implementation of more effective leadership programming for college students. Ultimately, we hope this will lead to a broadening of the leadership pipeline. The Leadership Section on the HEDS Alumni Survey can help us achieve these critical goals.

The Leadership Section contains two measures that capture different dimensions of leadership. Both have been validated through prior studies on college student and alumni samples. One measure relates to leadership aspirations, the other relates to leadership motivations. Neither measure has, to date, been examined at the scale of HEDS Alumni Survey or with the kind of diversity found among the HEDS Alumni Survey participants. Combining the leadership section with existing measures of college experiences and post-college behaviors, attitudes, and outcomes in the HEDS Alumni Survey will allow us to advance research and institutional programming to support leadership attainment.

Leadership Aspirations (Question 23 on the HEDS Alumni Survey) is a nine-item scale adapted from the Career Aspirations Scale-Revised (CAS-R) Leadership Subscale (Gregor & O’Brien, 2016), and indicates one’s explicit desire for holding leadership positions and positional authority within a chosen career domain. Alumni will be asked questions like, “I want my work to have a lasting impact on my field” and “I want to have responsibility for the future direction of my organization or company.” Leadership Motivations (Cassidy & Lynn, 1989) contains two subscales (Question 24 on the HEDS Alumni Survey) used to assess how much importance individuals attribute to qualities that are typically deemed leadership-like. Individuals will be asked to respond to questions such as, “I enjoy having authority over other people” and “I want to be an important person in the community,” as examples from the dominance and prestige subscales, respectively.


We’ve included the Leadership Section in the HEDS Alumni Survey, beginning with the 2022-2023 administration year. Any college or university that administers the HEDS Undergraduate Alumni Survey from August 2022–on will have the Leadership Section in their survey and will receive summary data on the two leadership scales, Leadership Aspirations and Leadership Motivations in their survey report. You can learn more about this survey and register on the HEDS Alumni Survey page.

If you have questions about administering the HEDS Alumni Survey, please contact Macanda Myers and Jenna Thomas. If you have questions about the scales in the Leadership Section, please contact Gregory Wolniak of the Louise McBee Institute of Higher Education, University of Georgia, and Jennifer Tackett, Department of Psychology, Northwestern University.

Cassidy, T., & Lynn, R. (1989). A multifactorial approach to achievement motivation: The development of a comprehensive measure. Journal of Occupational Psychology, 62(4), 301–312.

Gregor, M.A., & O’Brien, K.M. (2016). Understanding career aspirations among young women: Improving instrumentation. Journal of Career Assessment, 24(3), 559–572.

Survey on Collaboration between Advancement and Academic Affairs


This HEDS research project was designed to learn how advancement/development professionals and faculty at colleges and universities understand one another’s work and to identify ways to make their collaboration both easier and more productive.

What do we know about how these colleagues work together and what they understand about this relationship? How can advancement and academic affairs best collaborate with each other? Are there ways that leaders can support and develop these relationships? We think these questions are relevant for institutions whose budgets are stressed in the post-COVID landscape of higher education. Many schools are placing additional emphasis on fundraising that could ease budget pressures and fund programs that support student persistence and success.

The surveys asked people about their experiences with, attitudes toward, and knowledge of the work of their colleagues. For faculty, the survey asked about their experiences with advancement colleagues and their level of knowledge about advancement operations. Conversely, advancement staff answered questions about their understanding of the work of faculty and administrators in academic affairs. You can download the full survey from the document section on this page.


This survey is now closed. To learn more about it, please contact Frank Boyd, HEDS Senior Research Fellow.