Fifty years ago, ten colleges in an athletic conference decided also to collaborate academically to build on the strengths they had in common. They formed ACM.
In a nod to those roots, and to strengthen student learning both in the classroom and on the playing field, the ACM colleges are convening a conference on “Intentional Integration of Academic and Athletic Programs” at Coe College on November 6-7.
“The ACM colleges are all schools that care passionately about the whole student, and are aware that the learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom,” said Marie Baehr, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Coe College, who is one of the conference organizers.
Baehr noted that there is wide participation in sports at ACM colleges and that student-athletes are a significant part of the student population. “The purpose of the colleges’ athletic programs is to make opportunities available to their students,” she said, “and integrating academics and athletics as much as possible just makes it a better learning environment for the student.”
The conference will bring together faculty, athletic directors and coaches, and academic and student life leaders from the 14 ACM colleges for a series of interactive panels and discussion groups. The focus will be on finding ways that the colleges, both individually and as a group, can:
- Strengthen ties and understanding between faculty and coaches on the campuses;
- Find and strengthen the areas of student learning where overlap occurs in both the classroom and through participation in sports; and
- Create new and innovative ways to increase the overlap between academics and athletics both in and out of the classroom, in support of the colleges’ liberal arts missions.
Robert Malekoff will be the keynote speaker for the conference. Dr. Malekoff is Assistant Professor of Sport Studies at Guilford College and senior advisor to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s College Sports Project. He has also served as the facilitator for the Integration Institutes sponsored by the College Sports Project, and as director of athletics at the College of Wooster and at Connecticut College, associate director of athletics at Harvard University, and as lacrosse and soccer coach at Princeton University.
The conference will build on discussions about the integration of academic and athletic programs that were held on the ACM campuses during the spring and summer. Those gatherings included a wide range of faculty, athletic staff, and college administrators. Dr. Malekoff’s White Paper synthesizing the issues and ideas raised in those campus discussions in now available on the conference website in the readings section.
Visit the conference website for complete information.