Dakota Wesleyan University Athletic Mission Statement
We develop competitive excellence in our student-athletes by providing Christ-centered programs integrating premier academic, athletic, leadership, spiritual and service experiences that equip them to become leaders in their families, communities and world.
DWU aspires to develop a culture of leadership in which student-athletes act with personal responsibility, integrity and conviction while demonstrating commitment to the greater good, both in principle and action.
Teamwork – The Lead Strong program develops student-athletes who understand the importance of working together as a team. Team success comes from appreciating the talents of all team member of the team and leveraging each member’s abilities for peak performance.
Involvement – The Lead Strong program develops student-athletes who are committed and passionate about achieving excellence.
Grit – The Lead Strong program develops student-athletes who understand the value of hard work and determination. Their “grit” helps them persist through challenges or success.
Excellence – The Lead Strong program develops student-athletes committed to excellence. Mediocrity in effort, belief or leadership remains unacceptable.
Responsibility – The Lead Strong program develops student-athletes who take personal responsibility for their choices and actions. These athletes lead by example.
The Lead Strong program develops athletes who:
Take personal ownership, understanding that individuals cannot lead others unless they first determine their own values and motivations:
Value servant leadership by putting the needs of others above their own wishes;
Understand that leadership can be learned, experienced and improved; and
Demonstrate the preparation to serve as leaders within their future communities and careers.
Freshman Year: Foundations of leadership
The Lead Strong first-year athletic leadership program is a required program for all freshman student-athletes. One evening each month, participants will come together for facilitated discussions about leading by example; special guest speakers will share insights about leadership. The initial focus will be on knowing oneself through a discovery of one’s personal strengths. Tools such as the Gallup StrengthsFinder and other inventories will be used to help student-athletes appreciate their best gifts and talents. The program is designed to help student-athletes develop habits of success in their transition from high school to college.
The spring semester program is designed for student-athletes who see themselves as future team captains or who are recognized by coaches as promising future team leaders. His eight-week dialogue series over lunch aims to enhance the basic understanding of DWU’s core values, key leadership principles, the student-athlete’s leadership strengths, and the adoption of positive habits that enhance leadership credibility.
Sophomore and Junior Years: Emerging Leaders
The emerging leaders program provides one-on-one mentoring sessions with student-athletes who exhibit strong potential to become team leaders. Building upon the student strengths, this program is designed to help students hone their leadership abilities. Monthly leadership development sessions will introduce key leadership concepts to students. Short readings will be assigned before each session. Participants will discuss how lessons apply to their leadership on the field of competition.
The program will also involve active learning experiences. Participants will have an opportunity to learn about teamwork through outdoor simulations that encourage problem-solving and determination. Each participant will also lead a community service project.
Senior Year: Tiger “Coach” Program
Community outreach by athletes who care about helping
At Dakota Wesleyan University, good leaders are servant leaders. Servant leaders put the success of other ahead of themselves. This program, designed for senior captains, encourages the students to reflect on their leadership lessons and apply these lessons in future career opportunities. Each of the senior leaders who completes the four-year sequence will be leading a community outreach program to serve those in need. Each athletic team will identify at least one service project each semester. Student leaders will facilitate the design, development and implementation of the service project. Senior student leaders will also be involved in the new athlete orientation and provide a testimonial of their experience at the senior athletic banquet.