STORRS, Conn. - Student-athletes at the University of Connecticut have achieved academic success over the decades through hard work, sacrifice and a willingness to put in the time it takes to compete on the Division I level and graduate from one of the country’s top public research universities.
UConn’s Counseling Program for Intercollegiate Athletes has been an invaluable resource for student-athletes since its beginnings in the early 1980s under its first director Dr. Donald Kinsman. It was formed to ensure student-athletes at UConn are given every opportunity to earn an undergraduate degree while competing athletically at the highest level.
The basic mission of CPIA remains unchanged over the years. However, as time has passed by, student-athletes face more and different types of challenges constantly. They require increased and more specialized services and UConn continues to expand ways to meet those needs.
With this is mind, the program at UConn will now be known as the “Student-Athlete Success Program.”
“The life of a student-athlete is more challenging than ever,” said UConn Director of Athletics David Benedict. “The services that UConn offers to our student-athletes are very diverse and deep. The new name of Student-Athlete Success Program more accurately describes what is offered by the very talented staff of that office.”
“Our program has continued to change and grow on a constant basis,” said Student-Athlete Success Program Director Ellen Tripp. “We felt our old name had become outdated and did not reflect our current mission statement or services. We thought it was important to change the name of our program to accurately reflect all the services our program encompasses.”
The Student-Athlete Success Program is a comprehensive support program, which works with all student-athletes to provide individualized academic support, skill and career development as well as community service and leadership opportunities. The leadership of the program works closely with Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Dr. Sally Reis to ensure that the student-athlete population is consistently reaching a high level of academic success.
The average grade point average of UConn student-athletes has consistently been over a 3.0, evidence of the strong commitment that all members of the Division of Athletics make to academic excellence. Many UConn student-athletes are involved in various enrichment programs offered by the University, such as the Honors Program, Individualized Studies and the Study Abroad program. Student-athletes have diverse academic interests and are represented in all of UConn’s schools and colleges.
The Student-Athlete Success Program has a holistic approach starting in the recruiting process and concluding well after graduation. Academic centers function as places for student-athletes to receive individualized academic support, as well as a place where they can learn, grow and celebrate their successes. Student-athletes are empowered to become independent, successful and active learners and there is a commitment to developing them into strong leaders as they graduate from UConn and enter the next phases of their lives.
The staff of the Student-Athletes Success Program has grown over the years as the demand on student-athletes increase on a national basis. Thanks to a partnership with the SBM Foundation, Inc., a full-time Community Service and Student Development Coordinator was hired in 2013. Through the SBM, student-athletes are offered the opportunity to participate in community service activities within the University and local towns. The SASP staff works with various offices on campus to ensure students are receiving the support needed to be successful, contributing members of UConn. In 2016, a full-time Tutoring Coordinator was added to run the tutoring program and also work with a specific cohort of students.
The Student-Athlete Success Program offers career development workshops on resume writing and networking. This past fall, there was a “Husky To Husky” career fair that featured former student-athletes who are now succeeding in various businesses.
SASP has collaborated with Morgan Stanley to provide financial education workshops for student-athletes. In addition, there have been special educational sessions such as “Mentors in Violence” and “Branded as a Leader” for all student-athletes. In April 2016, the center partnered with ESPN to provide programming for female student-athletes on “The Great Pivot” – to prepare for life after college.
“Husky Leads” is a new program started this fall, which is a year-long leadership training program for student-athletes who have been identified as potential leaders.
The Student-Athlete Success Program will use the strong tradition of its past with the new ideas of the future to ensure that future generations of Husky student-athletes are able to achieve at their highest levels possible.