Barton College launches student-athlete leadership academy

Barton College launches student-athlete leadership academy

by Benny Benton

WILSON, N.C. – Barton College has become the first NCAA Division II institution in the country to conduct a leadership academy through the Janssen Sports Leadership Center.

Director of Athletics Todd Wilkinson publicly announced the creation of the Barton Student-Athlete Leadership Academy on Tuesday at a meeting of the institution’s student-athletes, noting that it will provide BC’s student-athletes and coaches with the tools to become world-class leaders in athletics, academics and life.

 “It is hard to contain my excitement towards bringing the best sports leadership training center in the country to the Barton athletic program,” Wilkinson said. “Jeff Janssen is known worldwide as the expert on sports leadership. Partnering with the Janssen Sports Leadership Center was an initiative that became a reality through the generous donations of supporters of Bulldog athletics. The program will provide the support and skills our students need to effectively lead themselves and their teams as well as become leaders on the Barton campus."

The Janssen model provides an ongoing and integrated approach to leadership development by targeting and training three distinct groups of student-athlete leaders – Emerging Leaders, Veteran Leaders and Leadership 360.

The Barton Student-Athlete Leadership Academy will utilize multiple modules offered throughout the school year in these three areas to maximize learning, retention and application.

The Emerging Leaders Program is designed for a select group of “high-potential” sophomore student-athletes to develop into effective team leaders. The emphasis of the program is creating effective leaders by example, but sets the stage for vocal leadership as well.

The Veteran Leaders Program is designed for a select group of juniors and seniors from all of Barton’s 18 intercollegiate teams. The program teaches student-athletes the critical skills and insights necessary to be effective vocal leaders.

Barton will hold workshops for Emerging Leaders and Veteran Leaders on Sunday, Aug. 23, and a workshop for BC’s coaches on Monday, Aug. 24. Additional sessions for the emerging and veteran leaders will be held in late fall and early spring.

The Leadership 360 program will be implemented at Barton next year. This program is designed for senior leaders who have completed both the Emerging Leaders and Veteran Leaders programs. Leadership 360 focuses on applying leadership skills to positively impact the team, athletic department, campus and broader community.

In addition to the programming, the academy will also provide educational resources, including The Team Captain's Leadership Manual and the online Team Captains Network for all participants to reinforce and extend the learning. The Janssen Sports Leadership Center will offer advice and support for issues that arise through an ongoing consulting retainer.

The Barton Student-Athlete Leadership Academy is expected to work with approximately 90 student-athletes this year and impact well over 100 student-athletes annually once fully implemented.

While Barton College is the first NCAA Division II institution to implement a leadership academy through the Janssen Sports Leadership Center, it will join more than 20 other schools nationally – most of them NCAA Division I – that have formed academies through the Janssen organization. Barton will join the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Arkansas, University of Colorado and UNC Charlotte as academies overseen directly by Janssen himself.