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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Jerry G. Bergsma
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Educational Leadership, Research, and Technology
Title: The Impact of Leadership Training on Student Athletes at Calvin College
Dr. Sue Poppink, Chair
Dr. Louann Bierlein-Palmer
Dr. Donald DeGraff
Date: Thursday, February 17, 2011 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
3005 Beltline Campus, Grand Rapids
This research is an exploratory study of the impact of leadership training on the student-athletes at an NCAA Division III member institution. Leadership education and training in athletics has seen a lack of research that could give insight into identifying attributes and actions that are associated with high-quality leadership training experiences. The purpose of this study is to identify: a) quality and outcomes of the Gainey Leadership Retreat training program and b) the attributes and impact of the Gainey program using the lens of Eich’s (2008) grounded theory of high-quality student leadership programs.
The study participants are 60 female student-athletes and 50 male student-athletes who attended the Gainey Leadership Retreat between 2004 and 2009. This study uses Eich’s (2008) grounded theory as a framework for creating Likert-scale questions and open-ended questions in an online survey that ascertain the quality of the retreat experience as well as the willingness/confidence to lead and the overall impression of the retreat as a leadership training tool. Descriptive statistics, t-tests, ANOVAs, and multiple regression are used to analyze the data collected.
Analysis of the data indicates: a) Gainey Retreat participants reported a high degree of satisfaction with the learning community, experiential learning, and program development components of the retreat, b) Gainey Retreat participants experienced an immediate impact on confidence to lead and leadership actions in the team setting, c) Gainey Retreat participants reported a lasting impression on their willingness and confidence to lead, and d) Gainey Retreat participants reported a highly favorable overall impression of the retreat as it related to value of the athletic experience at Calvin and the building of a strong foundation for future leadership.
Overall, this study supports previous research that team building interventions are tempered by resources, time, cost, and magnitude of change; degree of impact varies based on the characteristics of team leader, the setting of the intervention, and the intervention's theoretical basis; and, leadership interventions have an equal impact across gender. The findings from this study further add to the literature by providing support that leadership training in athletics has a positive impact on future leadership willingness and confidence.