Intentional Integration of Academic and Athletic Programs

Overview of the Project

In 2008-09, ACM celebrated the 50th anniversary of the consortium, which had its roots in an athletic conference. Within the ACM, there were ongoing discussions involving presidents, academic deans, and athletic directors contemplating the development of an ACM athletic conference and about ways to determine the common elements in linking academics and athletics at ACM colleges.

For a variety of reasons, the consortium's Board of Directors decided to table the concept of an athletic conference for future consideration. Discussions continued, however, about maximizing the educational value of ACM athletic programs, and the idea emerged to initiate meaningful conversations among faculty and coaches to foster stronger connections between the traditional academic programs and the athletic programs at the ACM colleges.

Implementing specific strategies at all ACM member institutions to increase integration of academics and athletics could help to inform prospective students and their parents that academics and athletics are not separate entities at ACM colleges, which could benefit the colleges and their faculty and student athletes. Implementing such strategies could also lead to a unique and powerful model for higher education of programs where – through conversations, implementation of plans, and mutual respect – athletics and academics truly work in concert with each other to increase student learning.

Campus Conversations

During spring and summer 2009, preliminary campus conversations about integrating academic and athletic programs were held at ACM colleges. The conversations involved faculty, athletics staff, and administrators, and were generally focused on encouraging dialogue across the campuses, on describing the campus climate regarding integration of academics and athletics, and on identifying strengths and challenges on each campus in moving toward greater integration of academics and athletics.

Robert Malekoff: "Thoughts About Academic-Athletic Integration"

As a resource for the ACM Conference on the Intentional Integration of Academic and Athletic Programs, Robert Malekoff, wrote a white paper, "Thoughts About Academic-Athletic Integration," in which he discussed the results of the ACM campus conversations within the broader context of efforts to integrate academics and athletics. Dr. Malekoff, who delivered the keynote address and was an active participant in the conference, is Assistant Professor of Sport Studies at Guilford College.

Conference on the Intentional Integration of Academic and Athletic Programs

November 6-7, 2009 at Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

A conference, supported by the ACM FaCE Project, was held at Coe College on November 6-7, 2009, to build on the campus conversations and to identify steps that the ACM members, individually and collectively, could take to enhance the integration of academic and athletic programs.

Planning committee for the FaCE proposal and conference:

  • Marie Baehr, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, Coe College;
  • John Chandler, Director of Athletics, Coe College;
  • Lynn Franken, Dean of the College and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Beloit College;
  • Susan Ashley, Dean of the College, Colorado College; and
  • H. Scott Bierman, Dean of the College, Carleton College

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