Experiential learning has been widely used to impact student engagement and provide opportunities to apply theory to practice (Bower, 2013). Sport management faculty regularly use experiential learning in event management, sales classes and internships (Charlton, 2007; McKelvey & Southall, 2008). In addition, educators often include leadership development within their student learning outcomes (COSMA, 2014; MacKie, 2014). This study examines the effectiveness of leadership development activities implemented in an experiential event management course. A case study approach was selected to demonstrate in-depth development and analysis of the course and the integration of strengths-based leadership activities. Students completed the StrengthFinder assessment (Rath & Conchie, 2009), the Strengths Awareness Measure (Schreiner, 2004), and the Strengths of Self Efficacy Scale (Tsai et al., 2014). Significant increases in strengths awareness were reported along with generally high self-efficacy scores. Students reported positive perceptions of the experiential learning experience and increased levels of engagement.
Joanne Williams and Heidi M. Parker are with the School of Business, University of Southern Maine, Portland, Maine.