On The Cover
Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe '96
concludes his official visit to Vietnam
on Dec. 18, 2012.
2012 Distinguished Alumni Awards
The Success of the Barry Athletics Model
Campus Democracy Project
Spring 2013, Volume 18, Number 1
The Gold Standard
The Barry Athletics model enables student-athletes to excel in the classroom, in the community and in sport
By Whitney Sessa
For many student-athletes, success is measured by layups, goals, shots under par and other game-related victories. But for Barry’s studentathletes, success is defined not just by accomplishments in sport, but also by achievements made in the classroom and in the community. “As part of Barry’s School of Human Performance and Leisure Sciences (HPLS), the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics (ICA) advances human potential through the integration of body, mind and spirit in pursuit of excellence,” said HPLS dean Dr. Darlene Kluka. Barry’s most accomplished studentathletes are also quick to credit ICA for carefully cultivating an environment that places an equal emphasis on athletics, academics and community service. “I was called to be more than just an athlete, or just a student, but to be a leader, a voice, a volunteer, a tutor, and so much more,” said Grace Collins ’12, a four-year starter for Barry’s women’s softball team and one of three finalists in the 2012 Division II category for the NCAA’s “Woman of the Year.”
Collins, who, as the top graduating senior, became the first Buccaneer to win Barry’s President’s Award, was also named the Professor Emerita Neill Miller Scholar Athlete of the Year. Standout men’s golf player Daniel Stapff ’12 was named the men’s choice for the third consecutive year and also earned Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar honors for the second time. The ICA, which has been in existence for 29 years, includes the University’s 12 intercollegiate programs, head and assistant coaches for each sport, and about 200 student-athletes. The ICA has achieved prominence with more than 60 percent of its athletes earning GPAs of 3.0 or higher for the last eight semesters, and, in 2012, 45 Barry student-athletes were recognized by the Division II Athletic Directors Association as recipients of the association’s 2011-2012 Academic Achievement Awards, a program that recognizes the academic accomplishments of student-athletes at the NCAA Division II level. During the 2011-2012 academic year, several individual teams were also recognized for their academic excellence: Barry’s volleyball team was selected to receive American Volleyball Coaches Association Academic Award honors; men’s golf earned Golf Coaches Association of America All-Academic honors; women’s golf posted the 17th highest cumulative GPA in the nation, according to the National Golf Coaches Association’s Top 25 list, which included NCAA Division I, II and III schools; softball finished 12th in the NFCA All-Academic team rankings; women’s tennis earned a spot on the ITA Academic Honor Roll; and men’s and women’s soccer earned an NSCAA academic team award.
The strong emphasis on academics was set into place in the 1990s, said Mike Covone, Barry’s Athletic Directors. With the support of Barry coaches and HPLS administrators, Dr. Jean Cerra, former dean of the School of HPLS, and the late Professor Neill Miller, former HPLS assistant dean, implemented an academic monitoring model to track student-athletes’ performance in the classroom, monitor absences, enforce mandatory study time, athletically suspend student-athletes who violated class attendance policies, and institute a peer tutoring program. Today, this model has evolved, although its basic tenets continue to guide the department, said Maritza Ryder, HPLS assistant dean. The “academics first, athletics second” mentality is evident in many aspects of the department, she said. Hierarchically, the department is housed within the University’s Division of Academic Affairs, under HPLS, which weaves academics and athletics throughout policies and procedures that guide the ICA. In addition to housing athletic facilities, Barry’s Health and Sports Center is home to the School of HPLS, including dean, faculty and staff offices, classrooms and learning/research laboratories.
From the moment a student-athlete joins Barry Athletics, the department examines his or her academic records and designs a “success plan” that includes required study hours and monitors academic program milestones. Student-athletes are also encouraged to meet with their academic advisers at the beginning of each term to devise class schedules that reduce conflicts with athletic obligations and their customized study plans. Rather than enforcing general study hours, the department specifically requires studentathletes to work with experienced tutors in the Learning Center labs. “Student-athletes genuinely appreciate that there does not need to be a conflict between their dual roles or aspirations,” Ryder added. Barry Athletics’ academic monitoring model has also been improved since its inception through the use of technology, Ryder said. Traditional strategies used to keep student-athletes on track academically, such as enforcing study hours and class attendance, have been enhanced through the SAAR (Student-Athlete Academic Reporting) web application, developed by Barry’s Division of Information Technology. The app allows the department to receive biweekly feedback from professors regarding a student-athlete’s performance in class. Perhaps one of the most unique features of Barry Athletics’ academic monitoring model is that it incorporates community service opportunities. Through the BucTutor system, select student-athletes have the chance to tutor other studentathletes and share their experiences. “Barry student-athletes are always striving to make the community better for everyone, bringing pride and success to the University through all avenues,” says Collins. “The culture of the Barry student-athlete is one that is overpowering, life-changing and inspiring to take part in.”