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U of M Receives NCAA Grant to Help Prepare Student-Athletes for Careers

Contact: Gabrielle Maxey

April 18, 2014 - A research team from the University of Memphis has received a grant from the NCAA to develop a career readiness program for student-athletes.

The $10,000 grant was awarded to Dr. Tim Ryan, associate professor of sport and leisure management in the Department of Health and Sport Sciences; Bob Baker, director of the Center for Athletic Academic Services; Kelly Penwell, director of the Experiential Learning Lab; and Dr. Richard Irwin, associate dean of the University College. Irwin also oversees the Experiential Learning Lab, home to the University’s Academic Internship Program.

The U of M proposal was one of six selected from 137 applicants.

Student-athletes may be at a disadvantage in developing experiential learning opportunities due to heavy time demands on their schedules. These include practice and conditioning sessions, missed classes and travel time due to away games, required and non-required study hall hours, film sessions and team meetings. These hectic schedules leave less time for completing practicums, internships and working towards post-baccalaureate goals.

To help ease the transition from student to career, the U of M team will develop a four-stage program for student-athletes that includes entrepreneurship training, project-based learning, workplace readiness training, and a practicum with a community partner.

“We are thankful to the NCAA for their investment in our student-athletes’ futures and are excited about this project,” said Baker. “I want to thank Dr. Richard Irwin, Kelly Penwell and Dr. Tim Ryan for their willingness to be creative and to develop a project to help prepare our student-athletes for life after sport.

“This summer will serve as a pilot. Kelly Penwell has designed a comprehensive four-stage career readiness program for our student-athletes that will no doubt impact their professional development and give them an edge on their competitors in the job market once their sport career ends. The University of Memphis is fortunate to have such caring faculty and administrators who want the best for all students.”

To measure effectiveness of the program, participants’ career readiness will be measured before and after program participation.

Grant recipients will present their research at the NCAA convention in Washington, D.C., in January 2015.

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Last Updated: 4/15/15