New academic program pairs athletes, faculty
By Dan Kelly
This semester was the start of the Faculty Associates Program at UNCP intended to improve communication between student athletes and professors. A faculty member works with an athletic team over a semester or year.
The program was initiated by the Faculty Athletic Committee of Academic Affairs with the support of the Athletic department.
All of the varsity athletic teams are participating in something that is voluntary for both the teams and UNCP faculty.
“We think it’s a great opportunity. We think it’s a win-win situation,” Athletic Director Dan Kenney said.
The overlying goals of the program are outlined in a letter written by Dr. Jeff Frederick of the Faculty Athletic Committee and the History Department.
“The program was described with three goals in mind:
“Increase the understanding within the faculty community about the time demands of the student-athlete;
“Provide opportunities for student-athletes to be academically enriched and intellectually challenged;
“And increase the level of communication between faculty and coaches,” Frederick wrote.
These goals are to be reached through suggested activities like faculty attending a practice or traveling for an away game.
At the same time, the student athletes would understand the academic expectations placed on them.
“These might be things that all of us say, ‘Yeah, well I know that,’ but a faculty member has taken the time to tell student athletes that,” Kenney said.
The idea for the program stems from an article about a similar program that was implemented at Rhodes College and other small, private colleges.
Kenney said that the program is a means to expand the “Learning is Personal” slogan of UNCP even further as other smaller schools have.