ISU Named Program of Excellence
AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State athletics department’s CHAMPS/Life Skills program has been named a Program of Excellence by the 1A Athletics Director Association. The “Program of Excellence” is a lifetime award designed to recognize NCAA Division I-A programs that have established student-athlete welfare as the cornerstone of its operating principles. The award recognizes the ISU CHAMPS/Life Skills Program as one of the nation’s best student-athlete development programs. Iowa State director of athletics Jamie Pollard, senior associate athletics director for student services Davis Harris, CHAMPS/Life Skills coordinator Jamie Hurst and assistant athletics director for academic services Tommy Powell accepted the award on Iowa State’s behalf at a banquet Monday in Dallas, Texas.
“We are proud to accept this award on behalf of (ISU President) Dr. (Gregory) Geoffroy, David Harris, our staff and our student-athletes,” Pollard said. “We established earning this award as a major goal several years ago. Our CHAMPS/Life Skills program creates an environment for student-athletes that embody the goals and challenges set forth by the NCAA. Our staff and student-athletes participate in programs that meet the challenges of a changing world.”
Iowa State CHAMPS/Life Skills coordinator Jamie Hurst affirmed the opportunities provided by the program for Cyclone student-athletes.
“These programs give our student-athletes the chance to advance their knowledge in the areas of academic excellence, athletic excellence, community service, personal development and career development,” Hurst said. “It is all about becoming a well-rounded individual.”
During the 2007-08 year, ISU student-athletes participated in 18 personal development programs, 10 career development programs, and 48 community service projects totaling over 2000 hours of service. All of Iowa State’s athletics teams participated in each of the five commitment areas of the CHAMPS/Life Skills program. A unique partnership with the ISU ROTC program which provided leadership training to ISU student-athletes, the first annual student-athlete career fair, and the freshmen F-Series which featured an entire seminar on involvement in student organizations and on-campus activities were highlights of the programming provided by the ISU CHAMPS/Life Skills office in 2007-08.
“Programs like this demonstrate that we are considered more than a number on a uniform,” Iowa State golfer Eric Lindquist said. “The staff here is really dedicated to their goal of making you a better person beyond athletics.”
Iowa State student-athletes also enjoyed great success in the classroom by achieving a grade-point average higher than the regular student population for the past three semesters, averaging at least a 3.0 GPA by more than 50 percent of the entire student-athlete population for the past two years. In addition to their success in the classroom, the CHAMPS/Life Skills office encourages each student-athlete to plan for life after graduation and to be lifelong ambassadors of Iowa State.
“The academic achievements of our student-athletes as a whole underscore the value of the CHAMPS/Life Skills program,” Powell said. “But academic success and improvement are just a part of the learning process employed by our staff to help our student-athletes succeed after school.”
In the spring of 2007, the Athletic Academic Services office moved into the Rod & Connie French Athletics Academic Center which is located on the second floor of the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center. This academic center provides ISU student-athletes with a state-of-the-art facility consisting of a computer lab, private study rooms, private tutorial rooms, student lounge and a number of small group meeting spaces.
“As a former student-athlete, I know how valuable these types of experiences are to personal development,” Harris said. “That is why I am proud that the Division I-A Athletic Directors’ Association has recognized the work of our staff. We don’t just talk about becoming a better person, we have essential programs to help our student-athletes build for the future.”