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January Term course teaches leadership skills in the Bahamas

December 11, 2015

For the fourth year in a row, a group of Drake University students will travel to the Bahamas over January Term for a leadership course on the high seas.

Leadership at Sea is a blend of classroom and experiential learning focusing on leadership development, team building, and seamanship. Twenty students and two faculty members will participate in the course highlighted by a trip aboard the Liberty Clipper—a U.S. Coast Guard licensed gaff-rigged, square-masted sailboat that becomes their classroom as they take command of the ship on the Caribbean Sea.

Another important tradition is the students’ support of the Bahamas Marathon and Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K. Approximately half the students participate in the marathon while others serve as volunteer to staff water stations and coordinate race logistics. This will be the fourth year that Drake participates in the marathon.

“We are delighted to again take part in race weekend by participating in the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure and the Marathon Bahamas,” said Tom Westbrook, professor of leadership studies and director of the leadership concentration at Drake University. “It is a wonderful way for our students to learn of the history and culture of this wonderful island nation. It is one of the highlights of our time in Nassau."

Also during the trip, scheduled for January 12-23, students will learn from officials from the American Embassy and Bahamian government, meet with faculty and students at the College of the Bahamas, complete a historical tour of Nassau, and tour a major cruise liner. The course will teach students to apply leadership in a new environment, to work in teams, to communicate and manage conflicts, and to sail.

This year’s trip is led by Westbrook and Jennifer Tran-Johnson, Drake University’s assistant dean of student support.