Burns earns doctoral degree

Burns, Jodi

Jodi Burns, an academic advisor in the Advising Center, has earned her doctorate in sports management with a focus in sport leadership.


            She earned her doctorate in education from the United States Sports Academy based in Daphne, Ala.


            Burns' thesis, “Team Sport Effectiveness: Athletes' Perceived Servant Leadership Characteristics of the Head Coach and Winning Percentage,” was inspired by her interest in leadership and her time coaching volleyball.


            A hall-of-fame player herself at Clarion University, Burns coached men's volleyball at Juniata College before coaching women's volleyball at Clarion for eight years.


            It was through coaching that Burns decided she wanted to enter the area of academic advising/coaching. She earned a Master of Arts degree in student affairs in higher education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania before deciding to get her doctorate in sports management.


            Burns drives her car for more than three hours each day while commuting from her home in Shippenville to the Bradford campus. While driving, she listened to books and podcasts about leadership, becoming particularly interested in “servant leadership,” in which a leader casts him- or herself as a servant to helping his team -- athletic or otherwise.


            “You take out the ego when you're the leader,” she said.


            For her thesis, she chose to examine how teams respond when coaches embrace servant leadership. To study this, she surveyed athletes for eight NCAA Division II women's volleyball programs about their coaches. She asked the players to rate their coaches in four areas that are critical for servant leadership: love, empowerment, vision and humility.


            She then compared athletes perceived servant leadership characteristics of their head coach with team winning percentages. Although significant predictors of relationships between the two were not found, it was determined that the athletes perceived humility as the characteristic least embraced and employed by their coaches.


            Among the members of her doctoral committee was Dr. Warren Fass, associate professor of psychology at Pitt-Bradford.


            Burns has been at Pitt-Bradford since 2014. In addition to advising students, she is an academic coach for at-risk students and teaches freshman seminar at Pitt-Bradford.


            Previously, she worked at Clarion University for 20 years, where she spent time as the interim director of the advising center, teaching freshman seminar and sport management courses and working as the outreach coordinator for the TRIO Educational Talent Search program.


            She is married, has five children, and continues to coach volleyball camps and clinics.