By Scott Smith (Central Arkansas)
Editor’s Note: Sigma Nu’s LEAD Program, unveiled in 1988, has been the Fraternity’s premier ethical leadership development program for collegiate members for over two and a half decades. Since 2006, the Fraternity has evaluated the LEAD Program through George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Public Health. The following series of posts will show the results of the most recent study and update members on the program’s continued progress. Read Part 1 here.
A review of open-ended feedback from the 2014 evaluation reveals that participants see value in the bonding and educational experiences and opportunities provided by the LEAD Program. However, several myths and misconceptions about the intended purpose, implementation models, flexibility, and elective nature of the program persist. Continued enhancements and improvements will continue to be made to the online and facilitated materials as well as our overall training efforts to address these concerns.
No doubt, there are continued opportunities to improve the program and increase its relevance and value for collegiate members. Staff are hard at work reviewing the full transcripts of student responses and ideas – over 350 pages worth – and will be working to include updated activities, examples, and topics.
Student response to the new open-ended questions about how the LEAD Program has made a difference in their life, affected their leadership capabilities, future planning capabilities, and personal decision making were overwhelmingly positive. A small sampling of those responses is provided below.
- LEAD helped me learn a lot about myself. Through LEAD, I have been able to set goals beyond graduation and has provided me with the knowledge of how to accomplish the goals I have set for myself. In addition, I believe LEAD has built stronger relationships within my chapter. I went through LEAD as a candidate and the memories I made with my fellow candidates while going through LEAD will be some of my favorites when I look back on my college experience.
- As a student, it gave me the opportunity to talk about the stuff that I needed to talk about. As a man, it educated me on several different things that led to positive change in different aspects of my life (e.g. relationships, business, personality differences, organization).
- LEAD provided me with an idea of how much more important Sigma Nu as a whole really is. LEAD offers great advice for not only leadership skills, but also skills needed to become the best man possible!
- Actually running the program has given me great event planning experience. The actual sessions have made me a better and more morally driven man.
- Because of the LEAD program I have developed better interpersonal skills, I have also learned to evaluate my ethics and values during my decision-making. I have set more concrete, attainable academic goals.
- I am currently the LEAD Chairman of our chapter. Before I was elected, I really wanted to see a change with how our chapter implemented LEAD itself; I wanted to see full Phase sessions, All Chapter sessions, and a strong foundation of ethics built into our brotherhood. We are in the process of achieving this goal right now, but already, the results are evident: brothers are more interested in participating, people are more considerate of others’ values, and more importantly, the tenets of Love, Honor, and Truth are making a loud, and righteous, comeback within our chapter.
The Fraternity began its partnership with George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Public Health (GMU’s CAPH) in 2005 for the purpose of conducting an independent, scientific analysis of the LEAD Program. Six national evaluations have been conducted since that time, each further proving the impact of the program and providing insights for the program’s continued development. The intent of this partnership is to evaluate the efficacy of the LEAD Program. The evaluation has several goals: to gain insights about the impact of the Sigma Nu experience and, more specifically, that of the LEAD Program; to learn how LEAD Program participants differ from LEAD non-participants; and to learn strategies that will improve the implementation of the LEAD Program.
What’s Your LEAD Story?
Brothers are more interested in participating, people are more considerate of others’ values, and more importantly, the tenets of Love, Honor, and Truth are making a loud, and righteous, comeback within our chapter.
The data is in and the results are clear – LEAD is a proven effective program when it comes to helping the Fraternity achieve its crucial mission. The statistics and responses highlighted above tell a national story about the impact of providing our members with the necessary skills and venues to have honest conversations about what it takes to be an ethical leader – in the chapter, on campus, in the classroom, in the community, and beyond the college years. What’s your LEAD story?
Have an idea for the LEAD Program, question about this research initiative, or want to share your LEAD story – send us an email, email@example.com, or let us know in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
I was the LEAD chairman in both my first and second semester as a brother of Sigma Nu, prior to taking that role the active brothers has not seen the program in use and it was starting from scratch. It was hard to implement a new culture with my youth and inexperience being held against me. LEAD is an amazing program but brothers have to buy in and unfortunately some locations do not wish to do more than have a Sunday meeting and a good time. I fear for the future of my chapter now and as an alumni eagerly await to find out who will take the reins and bring us back on the right track.