Leadership Skills Developed by Legwork, Literally

Leadership Skills Developed by Legwork, Literally

By Janlyn Thaxton, HSU Media Relations

 

 

 

Students enrolled in Hardin-Simmons University’s May Term Leadership Studies workshop are getting their legs in shape for a bike ride across Texas later this month. Students will bike from El Paso to Texarkana, making stops along the way to talk with students about the importance of healthy living and exercise. Dr. Colman Patterson, professor of business and leadership and director of the Leadership Studies Program, says “The trip will give students first-hand experience with organization, communication, problem solving, teamwork, and leadership.” The Leadership Studies Program is uniquely devoted to the development of tomorrow’s Christian leaders, says Patterson. As a multi-disciplinary minor, it includes students and faculty from all areas of campus. Patterson points out that the nine students in the Leadership Seminar class have eight different majors: finance, criminal justice, music, sport and rec management, psychology, Bible, biology, and communication. {{more}} While the students pursue a rigorous program of study rooted in leadership theory, organizational psychology, organizational sociology, and administrative theory, Patterson looks for creative ways to development students’ skills in communication, critical thinking, and ethical reasoning. Patterson says learning occurs both in and out of the classroom as students participate in case studies, travel courses, a variety of special topic courses, and outdoor adventure-education courses, like the bike ride. “These all help to complete the Leadership Studies experience,” maintains Patterson. The team will ride from El Paso to Texarkana in a team relay format with the ride kicking off May 12, 2013, with a drive to El Paso. They will then trek 854 miles, taking some 68 hours of riding time to complete the journey. They expect to arrive at their east Texas destination by May 23. Rebekah Gilligan, a freshman from Burleson, Texas, and one of the trip planners, says, “We will be staying in churches most nights with the exceptions of our stops in Andrews, Graham, Scroggins, and McKinney. In Andrews, we will stay in the Casabella Bed & Breakfast, in Graham we will be at the Best Western, in Scroggins we will be staying at a state park, and in McKinney we will be staying at the Thorman’s house, the home of one of our riders.” All of these places donated rooms to us, so we won’t have to pay for hotel expenses.” The students will also stay at a number of churches along the route. A large portion of the workshop is already underway as students have worked to secured lodging and bikes for the trip. They continue to work this week on funding for gasoline and food. There is even a place on the HSU website to donate to the trip: https://connect.hsutx.edu/donate, under Donation Information, click on the Designation pull-down menu, then click on Leadership Bike Across Texas. Throughout the school year, Leadership students work with non-profit organizations to implement and practice the concepts that they study in the classroom. As they create and perform service projects, their goal is to meet some real community needs. Students are expected to maintain acceptable grade point averages in their college coursework and also be involved in organizations on campus, in their church, and in the community. “We are looking for people who want to make differences in their communities and in the lives of others,” says Patterson. “Leadership and teamwork skills are developed as much through outside-of-class service learning and experiential learning activities as they are in the classroom.” Other upcoming activities for the students include a trip to Vienna, Austria, later this summer for participation in the International Model United Nations Conference. Last semester leadership students participated in the National Model UN Conference in Washington D.C., staying a couple of extra days in due to Hurricane Sandy. They also participated in the Security Council Simulation conference earlier this semester. Students going on the 800-plus mile bike ride include Rebekah, majoring in public relations and advertising; Jacqueline Thorman, a freshman from McKinney, Texas, majoring in social work; Joel Templeton, a sophomore from Cotton Center, Texas, majoring in biblical studies; Joshua Groves, a freshman from Lindale, Texas, majoring in sports fitness and recreational management; Brandon Dillman, a senior from Parker, Colorado, majoring in psychology; and JT Thornton, a junior from Visalia, California, a speech and communications major.