From Competitors to Well-Rounded Leaders

It’s a competitive world we live in. What better way to prepare students for the world they face than placing them in a competitive atmosphere?

Research tells us that even small doses of adversity and challenge help to develop resilience and that competition heightens relationship-building skills through emotional and social intelligence. Drive, passion, and empathy—winning and losing with grace—are essential ingredients in leadership. Competition breeds all of those qualities and abilities.

That’s one of the reasons I relish the fact that IUP is a big player in NCAA Division II. Thanks to how IUP embodies the Division II philosophy, our athletes benefit from a well-rounded experience. They are immersed in their academic coursework and extracurricular activities, they spend a great deal of time with their teammates doing volunteer work in the community, and they still face fierce sports competition. Division I athletes can’t necessarily say they do all three.

What a year we are having so far!

Our football team just won the PSAC championship, and with our Number 1 ranking in the NCAA Super Region, we have a bye for the first round and will host the second round on November 25. I hope to see you in the stands! (We’re having a pregame party that day. See details.)

Our men’s cross country team placed third at NCAA regionals, ensuring our runners a spot at the NCAA Championship meet in Evansville, Indiana, today.

The women’s basketball team beat the University of Pittsburgh—yes, Pitt!—at a preseason game and go off to a fabulous regular-season start with two big wins during the S&T Bank PSAC-MEC Challenge.

The golf team won another PSAC title, and senior Joshua Bartley won the individual championship title.

Likewise, the volleyball team made it to the quarterfinals of the PSAC tournament and still might receive an invitation to the NCAA regional tournament. We’ll know more next week.

The nationally ranked men’s basketball team has been traveling to area schools as part of the National Association of Basketball Coaches Stay in to Win program, which encourages students to stay in school.

It’s easy to brag about IUP’s outstanding students, and our athletes represent us so well. They truly are leaders in the making.

We are moving full speed ahead on a number of fronts. In the last installment of Your Leadership Update, I noted that we have the best people working to have the most positive impact on our world.

Here are a few examples.

Our graduate Applied Archaeology program was identified by the Register of Professional Archaeologists as a top 10 producer of registered professional archaeologists. In other words, we are producing the best qualified people responsible for preserving history and culture. You’ll read about one instance of that in the next edition of IUP Magazine.

Professors associated with the Mid-Atlantic Addiction Research and Training Institute at IUP are hard at work combatting the nation’s opioid crisis. Rural communities like Indiana are struggling with this epidemic, and we have a cross-disciplinary group actively planning training and prevention and preparing to conduct research on causes and solutions.  All have involved students in their work, providing that hands-on approach to learning that I often describe.

Our campus community is actively exploring racism in the United States, illustrated by a recent cross-curricular discussion that examined race and diversity, the First Amendment and free speech, forms of protest, and historical perspectives and cultural perspectives. Likewise, our President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion is on the advent of releasing the draft Diversity Action Plan to the campus community.

I welcome your comments and questions, and, always, I thank you for your support and interest in IUP.


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