Tonight the top two college football teams of the year battled on the gridiron. There was no doubt these two schools developed athletic leaders. However, are the institutions behind these teams developing leaders off the field?
I recently wrote about our leadership failure in academia. So during tonight’s game, when I saw the Southeastern Conference (SEC) tagline of “Scholars. Champions. Leaders.”, I investigated the leadership development programs of their schools. For each school in the SEC conference, do they offer a Leadership minor, major or graduate program? Here are the results. Of the 14 schools in the Southeastern Conference:
- Only 1 school offers a graduate program in leadership that is not specific to an industry or function
- There are 7 schools with no leadership majors to offer undergraduates
- There are 5 schools with no leadership minors to offer undergraduates
- There is 1 school with no leadership-focused minor, major, or graduate program
Certainly, the SEC is not alone in this regard. I suspect most major conferences would reveal similar – or worse – results. Our academic failure of leadership development stems from this perspective:
- Every high school student is expected to possess leadership skills when applying for college
- Every college claims to produce great, future leaders
- Yet very few universities offer robust options for leadership development studies
Why does the development of future leaders continue to be a gap in academia, while we claim the opposite?