Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Leadership Studies


The goal of this thesis is to develop a conceptual understanding of ally identity and effective and sustainable ally behaviors in order to analyze ally development at the University of Richmond and synthesize brief recommendations for practical applications for cultivating allies. This first chapter on "Enduring Inequality and the Need for Allies" defines allies, explores privilege and constructions of difference in terms of race and gender, exposes the reality of current injustices, and demonstrates the need for allies as leaders of dominant social groups to work alongside leaders of non-dominant social groups in effecting broad social change. The second chapter on "Developing Allies and Ally Behaviors" examines Keith Edwards' model of ally identity development, compares and contrasts ally development with moral development, assesses the motivation, approach, and morality of three distinct ally development programs at the University of Richmond, and offers recommendations for fostering effective and sustainable allies. Published in 2006, just a year before I began this research, Edwards' model joins the still "emerging empirical and theoretical literature on ally development." 7 Edwards' conceptual model compels further empirical testing as I suggest in the next chapter, but such empirical work is not the focus of this thesis. Instead, I engage with Edwards' model on a conceptual level to determine whether, and, if so, what connections exist between Edwards' model of ally identity development and moral development. I also use Edwards' model and my integration of ally development and moral development as a tool to assess three unique ally development programs at the University of Richmond.