After much feedback over the years from students who desired an increased focus on the values and practice of leadership and service, leadership development programs and service programs were brought together to form the Center for Leadership and Service in 2012. Formerly a part of TeamVOLS/Student Activities and Student Orientation and Leadership Development (SOLD), these two areas are now joined in their mission to educate and engage all students to lead and serve the global community.
While the creation of our office is a fairly recent development, UT is no stranger to a long history of leadership and service. Between 1993 and 1999, exploration of leadership and service programs began in coordination with the Dean of Students Office. An emerging leaders class was instituted in 1996, and hopes of an expanded leadership program began to take shape. In 2000, the director of orientation secured a graduate assistant position to assist with orientation and to further explore leadership programming and the development of an official leadership program. During the same year, the director of orientation and the associate dean of students were directed by the vice chancellor for student sffairs to develop a leadership program, giving further support to the growing need to provide formal leadership training/programming to students. In 2001, an assistant director of orientation was hired along with two additional graduate assistants to assist with further creating and establishing the leadership program and supporting the existing orientation programs. Since fall 2001, what was originally known as the Leadership Development Office has undergone significant change (in both name and staffing) as well as significant growth in the number of programs offered and students served.
Similarly, the TeamVOLS Volunteer Center and the UT Dance Marathon event were both instituted in the early to mid ’90s and were advised by the Office of Student Activities. TeamVOLS was created in August 1993 to promote the Volunteer spirit and actively involve students in civic engagement. After the first Alternative Spring Break trip was held in the Spring of 1993, a growing need and desire for service programming emerged and has been supported ever since. In 1995, a local Dance Marathon Committee was created on campus through a joint effort of UT students and representatives from East Tennessee’s Children’s Hospital.
We are grateful for all of those who have served these areas in the past and helped to create the center we have today. We look forward to continuing to grow the leadership and service offerings housed in our area, and we welcome the continued involvement of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni.