Conference Overview & Goals

ACM/FaCE Conference on the Intentional Integration of Academic and Athletic Programs

November 6-7, 2009 at Coe College

Nearly 50 people from 11 ACM colleges and the consortial office participated in the conference. The conference was structured with a keynote address and a series of panels, breakout discussions, and reporting-back sessions to engage faculty, senior athletic staff, and academic and student life leaders in identifying strategies that ACM colleges and the consortium can adopt to:

  • Strengthen ties and understanding between faculty and coaches;
  • 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 liberal arts mission.

In the conference proposal, the planning committee identified two distinct, but related elements of collaboration that will lead to innovation:

  • At the institutional level, to create a collaboration among faculty, coaches, and students to craft ways through which:
    • Student learning can be intentionally built into athletic programs, and
    • Athletic contexts can be intentionally built into academic offerings.
  • At the ACM level, using the work developed at the 14 member institutions:
    • Choose two or three strategies that can and will be developed by all ACM schools so it can be published as an "ACM" initiative, by ACM and the member institutions.
    • Create a list of possible strategies schools could use to strengthen the bond between academics and athletics.

The most important outcome of the conference and overall collaboration will be strategies for integration between athletics and academics that are embraced by faculty and coaches at all ACM member institutions, both academically and athletically, for implementation.

Next Steps: Solutions by Theme

In the final Breakout Session, participants split up into four groups to discuss four thematic areas (or "Big Ideas") to maximize the educational value of a liberal arts education, focusing first on the integration of academics and athletics:

  • Theme A: Determining how to define an integrative institutional mission, with divisional missions, including explicit missions for athletics, aligned with institutional mission, embraced by all, and assessed.
  • Theme B: Creating informal and formal communication methods and models that include all constituencies, and assessed.
  • Theme C: Creating orientation programs — broadly defined — for new hires, for students, ongoing, and assessed.
  • Theme D: Come up with tactics to bring the athletic strengths to the classroom and to bring the academic strengths to athletics — best practices.

Each group drew up a list of next steps or action items in its thematic area and reported back to the entire conference with a summary of the group's discussion and next steps.

See the Conference Proceedings for more information.