November 18, 2014
Three faculty members who interact with various aspects of the student-athlete experience at U-M shared insights into that process with members of the university's faculty governance system Monday.
Anne Curzan, faculty athletics representative; Barbara Brush, chair of the Academic Performance Committee; and Yago Colas, U-M's representative on the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics, addressed the Senate Assembly, which consists of faculty members elected from the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses.
Each spoke about their role in ensuring that student-athletes are given a full educational opportunity, that they meet academic performance standards, and regarding institutional control over intercollegiate athletics.
The presentation was the first of what Brush said is intended to be an annual meeting with faculty governance by the Academic Performance Committee, and had been planned since this summer.
Brush, the Carol J. and F. Edward Lake Clinical Professor of Nursing and associate professor of nursing, explained how the Academic Performance Committee is a subcommittee of the Advisory Board on Intercollegiate Athletics that monitors student-athletes to ensure they meet the academic standards set by U-M and the NCAA.
"We work very closely with the athletic department — and those in the athletic department who advise the students on their academics, as well as the coaching staff — to make sure the students are able to perform equally well in the classroom or the field or the court or wherever they may be," Brush said.
As the faculty athletic representative, Curzan not only is the liaison between the faculty and athletic department at U-M, she also is a university representative to the Big Ten and the NCAA. She is an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of English, professor of linguistics and professor of education.
Curzan discussed the various metrics by which the academic success of U-M's 800 student-athletes is measured, including figures for academic progress and graduation success, and also explained the policies governing classes that may be missed by teams traveling to games or meets away from the university.
Colas, associate professor of comparative literature and associate professor of Residential College, explained the role of the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics, shared his impressions of issues facing student-athletes, and discussed governance and faculty oversight of athletics.
COIA describes itself on its website as "an alliance of faculty senates from NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision schools" whose mission is "to provide a national faculty voice on intercollegiate sports issues."