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Kevin Wall named to new dual-reporting position between Athletics, Academic Affairs
Kevin Wall named to new dual-reporting position between Athletics, Academic AffairsMarch 19, 2009Jemeli Tanuijetanui@syr.edu
Kevin M. Wall has been appointed director of student-athlete support services in a new dual-report role aimed at increasing collaboration between Syracuse University’s Athletics Department and Academic Affairs — especially SU’s schools and colleges — in order to enhance student-athletes’ overall learning experience.
In his new role, Wall will report to SU Director of Athletics Daryl Gross and Sandra N. Hurd, associate provost for academic programs.
Wall’s dual-reporting position was created to help implement new student-athlete support initiatives recommended by a task force convened last year by Vice Chancellor and Provost Eric F. Spina and Gross to explore means of improving student-athletes’ academic experience. The Student-Athlete Advising Task Force examined collaboration, cooperation and communication between academic advisors in the schools and colleges and student support services staff in the Athletics Department, and made recommendations for working together more effectively to deliver quality academic support to student-athletes.
“This is an exciting day for the entire University as we recommit ourselves to the academic success of our student-athletes,” says Spina. “The successful collaboration between academic affairs and the Athletics Department sets the stage for close coordination that will pay huge benefits for student-athletes and for the academic ideals we hold as an AAU research university. I am thankful for Daryl’s commitment to academic success for our students, and appreciative of the values and commitment that Sandy and Kevin bring to this collaboration.”
The task force’s recommendations included developing a comprehensive academic plan for each student-athlete and a process for communicating plan changes; creating personal success plans for at-risk student-athletes; forging more collaborative relationships between Athletics and all schools and colleges; holding regular coordinating meetings of all academic affairs units that provide support to student-athletes; and educating faculty about the unique needs of student-athletes.
The five-member task force, led by Michael Wasylenko, professor of economics and senior associate dean of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, included representatives from athletics, faculty and administration.
Wall’s new job will include implementing the task force’s recommendations, which Spina, Gross and Hurd have accepted as the right path to make a real difference in the academic lives of student-athletes. All agree that the close collaboration between Academic Affairs and Athletics, illustrated by Wall’s dual reporting status, and a commitment to the long-term success of student-athletes, are critical to the success of this initiative.
“I think this is an exciting step forward that will facilitate increased collaboration as we continue to explore creative new ways to support our student-athletes academically at SU,” says Hurd. “Kevin and I will bring together resources from across the University to make sure our student-athletes have access to the academic experiences that will prepare them for the future.”
“Kevin’s commitment to academics is superb,” said Director of Athletics Dr. Daryl Gross. “His leadership, passion for academics, knowledge and work ethic has equipped him with the skills to foster and enhance the opportunity for our student-athletes and to maintain our goal of having our student-athletes graduate with a quality education. The collaboration with Academic Affairs will enhance our efforts to consistently have our student-athletes incorporated into main-stream campus academia.”
Wall agrees that the collaborative nature of his new job will make a big difference in speeding up change. “In terms of support services, things will be more streamlined, while more doors will open up for our student-athletes as they are provided coordinated support for their academic and personal success,” he says.
Wall brings unique qualifications for this new role due to his strong background in both academics and athletics, first as an SU alumnus, and in his career. He earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in 1994, and a master’s degree in health and physical education from the School of Education in 1996. He was a member of the cross country/ track team from 1990-95, during which time he was named most improved runner, and was co-captain of the 1994 team. He started working at SU in 2000, first as an academic advisor at University College, then moving to the athletics department to take on a job as a student-athlete development coordinator.
“My interest in student-athletes’ success is also very personal-having been a student-athlete here at SU and knowing that success is achievable makes me want all of our student-athletes to experience the same thing,” Wall says.
Wall also serves as a team advisor for swimming and diving, men’s and women’s rowing, field hockey, ice hockey and women’s soccer.