Athletic liaison program connects faculty and student-athletes at Centre
August 2, 2012 By Elizabeth Trollinger
Centre with a support system. Above, assistant professor of
biology and liaison to the volleyball team Brian Storz (seated,
second from left) watches a game in progress.
More than 500 Centre students are also athletes, participating in at least one of the 23 varsity sports offered by the College. The relationship between academics and athletics at Centre is strong—and the faculty liaison program ensures that it will remain so.
Every athletic team at Centre has at least one faculty liaison—a faculty member dedicated to supporting that particular team in whatever way he or she can.
“The program has been a great success,” says Associate Dean Beth Glazier-McDonald, the athletic liaison for both the field hockey and women’s lacrosse teams. “It’s a way to meet students out of the classroom, a way for students to see you as more than just a face at the lectern, so to speak.”
As athletic liaisons, faculty members do everything from cheering for their team at games and traveling to games at other colleges to helping advise students on how to balance academics with extracurricular activities.
“We try to help in ways that aren’t intrusive,” Glazier-McDonald says. “We want students to know that we’re there. That way, if there are issues, they’ll feel more comfortable coming to us about them.”
“Students can be both an athlete and a good student at Centre—we help and encourage that,” says Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry Kerry Paumi, liaison to the women’s soccer team. “It’s good for the College and good for students.”
“We tell our guys all the time, you can never have too many good people around, and Dr. Heath and Dr. Montgomery are great guys to be able to lean on for help if we need,” says Head Baseball Coach and Sports Information Director Mike Pritchard of the two liaisons to his team.
Faculty members who act as athletic liaisons are happy to be resources for students on athletic teams.
“At the beginning of semesters, I talk to them about how to deal with professors knowing they’ll miss class and other issues. This past year, I also met with students who didn’t have good progress reports or were struggling,” says Assistant Professor of Mathematics Lesley Wiglesworth, liaison to the men’s and women’s swimming teams. “Having been a swimmer at a liberal arts college myself, I could tell them how I balanced things and things that worked for me.”
“Some students want someone to talk to who can give them another perspective,” Glazier-McDonald says. “When there are issues on the team, faculty members can serve as a referee, in a good sense.”
“Knowing that they have a faculty member on their side is important—someone who will hear their side no matter what happens or what it concerns,” Paumi says. “I’m just there to do whatever I can do.”
The program has been beneficial not just for the student-athletes, but for the faculty and coaching staff as well.
“We have had a good relationship with Dr. Montgomery and Dr. Heath,” says Pritchard. “It is nice having someone to talk to if any issues arise on the academic side and also works well the other way if issues arise with baseball.”
“It’s good for faculty members to get a better feel for what actually is going on for students on athletic teams,” says Wiglesworth.
All in all, the athletic liaison program has given people from across the board at Centre a way to connect with each other.
“They’re a great group of women to work with and have been a great group to get to know,” Paumi says.
“I really enjoy getting to know the students outside of class in a completely different environment, and hopefully they feel the same way,” echoes Wiglesworth.
For more information about athletics at Centre, click here.
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Centre College, founded in 1819 and chosen to host its second Vice Presidential Debate in 2012, is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges, at 42nd in the nation, and ranks 27th for best value among national liberal arts colleges. Forbes magazine ranks Centre 34th among all the nation’s colleges and universities and has named Centre in the top five among all institutions of higher education in the South for three years in a row. Centre is also ranked fourth in the nation by U.S. News for its study abroad program. For more, click here.