Focusing mainly on one particularly rich and illustrative case study—the University of Virginia—and grounded in a larger ethnographic study of higher education for citizenship, this research examines the frameworks of education for citizenship/global citizenship versus education for (global) leadership with empirical data from institutional policies and documents, courses and supplemented with observations and interviews with faculty and students. This paper makes two main claims. First, that the contemporary emphasis on leadership development within U.S. institutions of higher education is a symptom of and contributes to the perception of higher education as a private good instead of a public good. The second, related argument is that higher education for leadership has been conflated with higher education for citizenship.

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