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Dr. Sarah Hillyer and VoLeader students stand for a group photo while wearing matching orange tshirts. Children from the event stand or sit in wheelchairs with them.

Teaching and Training

At the University of Tennessee and abroad, the center teaches on topics including women in sport, service-learning, and sport for social change and leadership. Since 2015, directors Sarah Hillyer and Ashleigh Huffman have led a student-athlete leadership development program, VOLeaders Academy, in collaboration with Tennessee Athletics and the Center for Leadership and Service. In 2016, the VOLeaders Academy was named the Gold Award Winner for Athletics, Recreation, Physical Fitness, and Non-Varsity Sports by NASPA—Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Outside of Knoxville, CSPS staff deliver sport and social innovation trainings across the world, as well as engage youth and adult participants from dozens of countries in our culturally-grounded “Better World” curriculum through international workshops and sport and life-skills sessions. Since 2012, the center has collaborated with U.S. Embassies in the Philippines, Brazil, France, Egypt, Macedonia, Mexico, and New Zealand to provide training for hundreds of local leaders.

For their work empowering generations through education and training, Hillyer and Huffman received the 2017 Smart Award from Girls Inc. of the Tennessee Valley.