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
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
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.