About CLS

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Vision Statement

In support of Sam Houston State University’s mission and motto, “The measure of a Life is its Service,” the Center for Leadership and Service strives to develop students as active citizen leaders promoting social change within communities.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Center for Leadership & Service is to provide students with intentional, structured educational training opportunities that expose them to the concepts of leadership theory, skills, and application that promote community service as an integral aspect of education.

Core Leadership Assumptions

  • Leadership is in everyone
  • Leadership is a process, rather than a tangible product
  • Leadership is relational
  • Leadership is collaborative
  • Leadership is not restricted to a position or title
  • Leadership is inclusive
  • Leadership is community-building
  • Leadership is focused on ethically and socially responsible behavior
  • Service provides a powerful vehicle for developing student's leadership capabilities

Our Foundation: The Social Change Model of Leadership

The Center for Leadership & Service utilizes the Social Change Model of Leadership in all facets of the office's programming. The Model is also represented in our logo, where the 7 circles represent the "Seven C's" described below. 

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 students’ leadership skills

The Social Change Model of Leadership is based on seven dimensions, or values, called the “Seven C’s”: consciousness of self, congruence, commitment, common purpose, controversy with civility, collaboration, and citizenship. All seven values work together to accomplish the transcendent “C” of change. Each dimension interacts with one another as shown below.

The Model

The Social Change Model of Leadership

The individual dimension consists of the values: consciousness of self, congruence, and commitment. The group dimension consists of the values: common purpose, collaboration, and controversy with civility. Finally, the societal/community dimension consists of the value of citizenship. All of the values contribute to the ultimate goal of change.

The "Seven C's"

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 that drives the collective effort. Commitment implies passion, intensity, and duration.Group Values

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 7 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:

  • 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
  • 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: http://www.socialchangemodel.org/