Athletics Department Spotlight: Tennessee Volunteers

Student-athletes admitted into the VOLeaders Academy learn how to be a positive force for their team, campus, and local and global communities.

The VOLeaders Academy—a dynamic partnership between UT’s Division of Student Life; the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences; and the Department of Athletics — was developed to cultivate positive student-athlete leaders through sport to create positive social change.

By using their platform in sport, student-athletes admitted into the VOLeaders Academy learn how to be a positive force for their team, campus, and local and global communities. The program aims to inspire student-athletes to find ways to use their influence and passion for sport to enact change that transcends their athletic success.

The VOLeaders Academy is a comprehensive, year-long leadership curriculum for Tennessee student-athletes.

The VOLeaders Academy uses the frameworks of servant leadership, transformational leadership, emotionally intelligent leadership and strengths-based leadership to develop each student-athlete into a committed and effective leader. The academy engages students in experiential and service-learning activities, both locally and abroad, that provide them with unique opportunities to learn, lead, and empower under served populations through sport.

This yearlong collaborative program has four core components:

• Leadership Retreat. Full-day off-campus retreat focused on individual and group development.

• Leadership in Sport Course. A three-hour course focusing on the art of self-leadership, provided in the fall semester.

• Personal & Socially Responsible Leadership.  A three-hour service-learning course teaching leadership principles, professionalism, critical thinking, and cross-cultural communication skills through sport-based service.

• Service Immersion Experience. A ten-day cultural exchange providing applied leadership and service opportunities focused on community development and social change through sport. Destinations will vary each year.  Past locations have included: Brazil, site of the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games; 2017 – Vietnam; 2018 – Ecuador; and in 2019 – Rwanda.

CLICK HERE for additional information about the VOLeaders Academy.