The myth that students don't like their teachers is just that. In fact, Case Western Reserve University student-athletes welcomed a select few of its national renowned faculty to their team this year and the rookies are good!
The Athletic Department unveiled a Faculty/Staff Advisory program this fall, which is aimed at enhancing the overall experience for Case athletes on the playing field and in the classroom. Faculty and some staff members are individually paired with varsity athletic teams. The men's soccer and track and field (men & women) programs are still looking for a match. The other 17 teams have their advisor in place.
"The program has been one of the highlights of our year," said Athletic Director Dave Diles. "Our student-athletes are connected to a supportive and caring member of the university community, and consistently reference the positive contributions made by their advisor. I'm grateful for the interaction and support our student-athletes, coaches and staff have received from involved faculty and staff advisors."
The activities between the advisors and their teams have included meals, attending athletic events and help with recruiting prospective student-athletes. The new friends of the athletic department also have been able to help with select academic matters and with finding internships/co-ops.
Iwan Alexander, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Case and the cross country team's representative, traveled to the 2006 NCAA Cross Country Championships in Cincinnati to root the Spartans on to a 10th place finish. He also has planned a postseason pizza party with the team.
"I have a long history of following my own kids across the nation to swim meets and did that for over 15 years, so it felt good to see them compete," said Alexander, whose daughter, Kelly, was an all-American swimmer at Case (1998-2002). "I thoroughly enjoy being around such motivated student-athletes."
Connie Crihfield, a nurse practitioner and information systems coordinator at the university's health center and longtime supporter of Case women's basketball, participated in a charity event with her team. She recently joined the Spartans at the 2006 Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Northeast Ohio Race for the Cure.
"It was great to have Connie out there walking with us in the three-mile breast cancer event," said senior guard Dana Dempsey. "To have a team representative like Connie that shows she supports us as athletes and as young women really means a lot."
Jim Hurley, an assistant dean at the Weatherhead School of Management and football advisor, worked with Head Football Coach Greg Debeljak to retain a player this season. One of his players was thinking about leaving school because he was a pre-med major and not doing well with his GPA.
"Jim advised our player that switching to a business major would give him an opportunity to still be involved with a medical career (hospital administration, medical sales, etc.) with out having to leave Case,"
explained Debeljak. "The student took his advice and is excited to still be part of the university."
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