BERKELEY - Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour announced Thursday that she is forming a task force that will bring together a broadly representative group of faculty, staff, students and alumni to identify and examine the key factors that play a role in the academic achievement of Cal’s student-athletes. The group will also be asked to offer recommendations for changes in policies or practices that would help ensure success for all 850 student-athletes in 29 intercollegiate athletic programs.
“The University of California, Berkeley prides itself on its comprehensive excellence across a wide range of academic, cultural and social campus offerings and activities.” Barbour said. “While our broad academic scores reflect the outstanding work of many of our student-athletes, some sports have performed at a level that is inconsistent with Berkeley’s standards and values. Although it is clear that improvement is already underway, it is imperative that we make sure we have properly identified the issues, diagnosed the challenges and set success strategies that are on target.”
Barbour will ask the task force to provide a summary of its findings and a series of actionable recommendations to assist the campus in maximizing academic performance of student-athletes and the overall quality of their campus experience. The task force will deliver its final report to Barbour and Faculty Athletics Representative Robert Jacobsen.
While the task force members will be asked to participate in determining the details of its mission and scope, Barbour expects its work to include an examination of:
- Academic expectations and performance of student-athletes
- How student-athletes describe their experience as athletes on the Berkeley campus, and what impact this has on their performance and future engagement with the campus
- Resources allocated to student-athlete support and how they compare to conference and national peers
- How athletic administrators and other department personnel can most appropriately and effectively support student-athlete academic success
- The role of coaches and administrators in supporting student-athletes in their academic pursuits
- The role and responsibility of faculty in supporting student-athletes in their academic pursuits
- The role of the student-athlete admissions policy and procedures
- Support and other services provided by the Athletic Study Center (ASC)
- Collaboration between the ASC, coaches and athletic administrators
Professor of Anthropology Meg Conkey, the current chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee to the Athletic Study Center and a past recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence, has agreed to chair the task force, which is expected to begin its work in January 2014 and produce a report by June 2014. A full roster of the task force, currently in the confirmation phase, will be shared in January.