Modern Day Leaders course is designed to help students lead in all areas
There is no set game-plan for the game of life, but becoming a “modern day leader” can assist in overcoming any obstacle. For more than a decade, former Temple coach and Hall of Famer Fran Dunphy and Lynne Andersson, associate professor of human resource management, taught the Fox course “Management, Theory & Practice: From the Locker Room to the Board Room.” This spring, the course returned to Fox under the direction of Dunphy and Angelise Stuhl KLN ’14, STH ’16, CEO and sports director of PhiladelphiaSportsDigest.com.
Together, they developed a new theme, focused on students analyzing their leadership skills to become the next generation of “Modern Day Leaders.” On the basketball court, in the workforce and in life, a good leader has a charismatic draw. The characteristics they possess can create an atmosphere of teamwork, confidence and accomplishments.
“Having the opportunity to work alongside Coach Dunphy has been an honor and an experience that I will never take for granted,” Stuhl says. “I’m blessed to have Coach as both a colleague and close friend. He is extremely humble and can’t do enough to help those in need. He is the definition of a true leader.”
Throughout the semester, students in the course were visited by prominent local business leaders, including Michael Lomas, the senior regional manager at Under Armour; Patrick Guise, a Fox alumnus and co-owner and chief visionary officer of McCormick Taylor civil engineering firm; and Joe Lunardi, an ESPN college basketball analyst famous for his “bracketology.”
“Coach and I wanted to bring in as many speakers as possible that would correlate to our weekly class theme,” Stuhl says. “We felt that this would allow our students to hear different perspectives on leadership and life, but more so, enhance the students’ professional networks to numerous industry leaders.”
In March, classes moved online in response to COVID-19. While all teachers, students and staff have been adjusting to the virtual learning platform, the Monday night class taught by Dunphy and Stuhl continued to operate business as usual in the sense that all students in class were required to tune in visually from 5:30 p.m.- 8p.m.
The class consists of 18 students, ranging from freshmen to seniors. Like many seniors across the country, the nine enrolled in the class were disappointed that they would not have the chance to return to campus, reconnect with classmates and walk at graduation.
“I wanted to think of one last prominent speaker, one last positive memory that they could all takeaway from this situation and would always remember,” Stuhl says.
On April 5, Stuhl sent Jimmy Rollins, former Philadelphia Phillies shortstop and 2008 World Series champion, a professionally written direct message on Instagram, inviting him to surprise the class via Zoom. It was, essentially, a virtual cold call.
That following Monday, Dunphy invited Raheem Mapp, director of operations for Temple’s men’s basketball team, to sit in on the class. Stuhl and Mapp ironically conversed about the Phillies and Mapp mentioned he was friends with Rollins as he previously was a Phillies bat boy. Just like that, a connection was made.
“Raheem reached out to Jimmy and passed along his contact and the surprise was scheduled,” Stuhl says. “It was so hard to keep it a secret, but seeing the class reaction when J-Roll popped on the Zoom was something I will never forget.”
Rollins spent 45 minutes talking with the students about leadership advice, his role models, and of course, the famed 2008 World Series rain-delay game. The 2007 National League MVP took time to answer everyone’s questions and provided insightful responses. The class was in awe.
“The fact that the students got to hear 16 weeks worth of wisdom from Coach Dunphy and then end it with Jimmy Rollins, a World Series champ, is just amazing,” Stuhl says. “I was ecstatic it all worked out. I think I can speak on behalf of the class, in that, J-Roll’s surprise visit is one we will all cherish.”