Medical University of Warsaw (POLAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN18 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 4917-4924
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.1217
Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain
Extracurricular activities (ECAs) are defined as activities that students undertake apart from those required to earn a degree. These activities are generally voluntary and include social, sports, and cultural activities. ECAs are expected to enrich students’ experience, and provide them with added advantages to increase their employability. ECAs often show a well-developed soft skill set in regard to skills of organisation, time-management and leadership. These skills are very important is public health, whether it be locally, nationally or globally. Leadership and management skills are essential parts of public health training, because the nature of public health is changing rapidly and increasing in complexity.

The aim of the study was to analyze level of authentic leadership skills of public health students in case of extra academic activity (EAA) such as: (a) active participation in the conference, (b) volunteering, (c) participation in soft skills training courses, and (d) additional internship.

Material and methods:
In 2018, cross-sectional study was conducted on a group of 178 public health students from five Polish universities. The study group consists of 83.7% of female and 16.3% of male respondents. The mean age of the analyzed group was 23.8 ± 4.31 (Median = 23). Authentic leadership sills was analyzed by using standardized Authentic Leadership Self-Assessment Questionnaire (ALQ) which has three subscales: Self-awareness, Relational transparency and Moral processing. An individual interview was used to obtain data about extra academic activity such as:
(a) Active participation in the conference,
(b) volunteering,
(c) participation in soft skills training courses (e.g. leadership, communication, and social competences),
(d) additional internship. The STATISTICA program, version 13.1 (StatSoft Inc.) was used for all calculations.

Public health students, who actively participated in scientific conventions, were characterized by a statistically significantly higher level of two authentic leadership dimensions: self-awareness (Z = -2.028, p <.05) and relational transparency (Z = -2.038, p <.05). In the case of moral processing, there were no differences. In the case of such variables as:
(a) volunteering,
(b) participation in soft skills training courses,
(c) additional internship, the level of authentic leadership was the same in group of students who active undertake these EAA, and student who never undertake these activities.

Authentic leadership skills, especially self-awareness and relational transparency, can play an important role in developing a public health students’ scientific activity. Therefore, activities aimed at strengthening the scientific potential of public health students may be a priority for the university. The presented results did not show that the level of authentic leadership skills differentiated public health students in terms of other ECAs (e.g. volunteering, participation in soft skills training courses, and additional internship). For this reason, these ECAs should be planned to strengthen students leadership skills and leadership self-efficacy regardless of the initial level of it.
Leadership, Public health, Curriculum, Public Health Students, Social Skills.