This is a critically important area. It’s a subject of extensive conversation in college athletics and higher education, how to correlate the diversity of student and student-athlete populations with leadership ranks. It’s a topic that many people are focused on. – Val Ackerman, BIG EAST Commissioner
On Tuesday, the BIG EAST Conference announced the formation of a conference-wide Diversity and Inclusion working group. This group will be examining the current diversity environment in intercollegiate athletics while creating a strategic roadmap for the Conference’s Presidents and Athletics Directors.
“We’ve been talking about this within the BIG EAST in an informal way,” Ackerman tells CollegeAD. “This was part of the process to formalize developing a strategic roadmap.”
The working group will review policies, initiatives and best practices among BIG EAST member institutions and other athletics conferences as well as develop strategies designed to enhance the athletics-related diversity and inclusion efforts already underway on BIG EAST campuses.
“It’s incredibly important for the BIG EAST to advance diversity and inclusion within our 10 member schools athletic departments.”
The D&I working group roster represents a broad cross-section of athletics department and university personnel from all 10 BIG EAST schools and includes the following:
–Sonya Hopkins, Associate Director of Academic Support, Butler University
–Christopher M. Whitt, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, Creighton University
–Carolyn Lewis, Associate Athletics Director for Business and Financial Affairs, DePaul University
–Rosemary Kilkenny, Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity, Georgetown University
–Adrienne Ridgeway, Executive Associate Athletic Director, Academic Services & Student Programs, Marquette University
–Jill LaPoint, Deputy Athletic Director/Senior Woman Administrator, Providence College
–Nancy Kaplan, Ph.D., Associate Provost/Student Development for Athletes Program, St. John’s University
–Jim Semerad, Senior Associate Athletics Director/Internal Operations, Seton Hall University
–Malcolm Grace, Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance and Student Services (Basketball), Villanova University
–Nathaniel Lie, Head Women’s Soccer Coach, Xavier University
“This group is a great cross section of both athletics and institution personnel,” notes Ackerman. “It’s an energetic group that wants to see change in a constructive way.”
The working group will also include representation from the BIG EAST Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. DePaul senior and track and field student-athlete Rutendo Chimbaro will serve in that role for 2019-20.
This story first appeared in The NightCap, CollegeAD’s evening newsletter. The NightCap delivers the day’s college athletics news in simple bullet points, giving you what you need to know in just a few lines. Get The NightCap today.