Athletics Working Group Announcement

April 25, 2012

Dear Emerson community,

I recently announced that beginning in 2013–14, Emerson College will join the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), whose membership includes highly selective colleges and universities: Babson College, Clark University, Coast Guard Academy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, Springfield College, Wellesley College, Wheaton College, and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Our NEWMAC association will offer our student-athletes the opportunity to develop their capacities for leadership, excellence, and collaboration in association with a distinguished group of institutions.

In anticipation of our NEWMAC membership, I have established an Athletics Working Group whose purpose will be to develop a strategic plan to strengthen our athletics program in support of our educational mission. In order to complete successfully its work, the Working Group should:

  • Develop a philosophy statement and role of the athletics program at Emerson College, including non-intercollegiate and fitness programs;
  • Meet with students, faculty, and athletics staff to assess program strengths and areas of improvement;
  • Review intercollegiate athletics, non-intercollegiate, and fitness programs with respect to facilities and operations needs;
  • Assess intercollegiate recruitment and enrollment strategies; and
  • Develop short and long-term strategies to improve the athletics programs, especially the student-athletic intercollegiate experience.

Intercollegiate athletics, club sports, and fitness programs represent an important aspect of Emerson College undergraduate life. Intercollegiate athletics competition, in particular, should aid the educational experience.

At their best, athletics broaden, rather than narrow, the educational experience. They contribute to the emotional and personal growth of student-athletes. They help student-athletes to make choices and to take responsibility for those choices; student-athletes increase in confidence as they grow in competence; participation teaches flexibility, adaptability, and how to work and get along with others. Athletics teaches student-athletes to be leaders––on, as well as off, the playing fields and arenas––thus preparing them to assume their roles as effective citizens of the larger society after they graduate.

During the last several weeks, I have met with student-athletes in groups and individually, many of whom expressed their disappointment and frustration with their intercollegiate athletics experience.

All of them arrived at Emerson with the hope of making a positive contribution to the College, and now many of them will graduate with a sense of lost opportunities, dashed hopes, and diminished pride. Inadequate resources and a lack of support are cited as key areas for improvement.

Ron Ludman, Dean of Students, has agreed to chair the Working Group.  We will announce the group’s membership soon.

The Working Group, which will begin its work in the Fall Term 2012–13, will submit its report to me no later than February 1, 2013.