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UNF study shows student leadership development impacts athletic & academic performance

A University of North Florida study that showed how leadership development programs positively improve female student-athlete academic, as well as athletic performance, received the Distinguished Research Award at the Institute for Global Business Research Conference.

The study found that due to the significant time commitments of practice, competition and academics, few University student-athletes are offered comprehensive leadership development to hone skills essential to current and post-college success. These skills include teamwork abilities, communication, critical thinking, problem-solving skills and self-confidence.

The preliminary report details the program implementation of a leadership development program for student-athletes at UNF and examines the effectiveness of this initiative influencing academic and athletic outcomes. The findings demonstrate that leadership development training, particularly when reinforced with team-specific leadership coaching, can produce significant positive benefits in student-athletes. In addition, the study also found the greatest gains amongst the women athletes illustrating the importance of customized, gender-specific leadership development.

The research was conducted by UNF leadership faculty Dr. Matthew Ohlson, associate professor; Dr. Elizabeth Gregg, professor; and Dr. Amanda Pascale, associate professor; with Dr. Jessica Stapleton, clinical and applied movement sciences assistant professor. The full paper will be published soon in the International Journal of Sport and Society.