Albert Bimper, associate professor of ethnic studies and a senior associate athletic director for diversity and inclusion at CSU, has been selected by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education as one of its 15 Emerging Scholars across the nation.
Not bad for man who, as a teenager, was uncertain of the reality of going to college and had no idea what “Ph.D.” means.
CSU, though, changed Bimper’s path when he was offered a football scholarship. And even though he was an outstanding offensive lineman for the Rams – good enough to play a season in the NFL and earn a Super Bowl ring with the Indianapolis Colts – it was his introduction to higher education that completely changed his life.
Finding a scholarly path
“When I was done playing and went to Purdue for my graduate studies, I was convinced I wanted to be a football coach, but I discovered that wasn’t my lane,” said Bimper (B.S. Health and Exercise Science, ’06), who earned a master’s degree from Purdue and Ph.D. from Texas prior to returning to his alma mater in 2013. “I can still have an impact in the athletics world, touching the lives of our student-athletes, but I can also connect that work to my scholarship, which is really important to me.”
Bimper’s impact at CSU can’t be understated. He’s quickly become a campus leader in a number of areas while remaining a respected teacher and researcher.
“While this award recognizes Dr. Bimper’s outstanding achievements in scholarship, I am most impressed with so many of his intangible qualities that make him truly stand out as a deeply caring mentor, a disciplined scholar, and an incredibly affable teacher and colleague,” said Joon Kim, chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies. “The department truly values his contributions in so many areas and in incalculable ways. I would struggle to think of another scholar who may be more deserving of this award than Dr. Bimper.”
In fall 2017, Bimper was one of four panelists speaking about civility in a polarized society for the College of Liberal Arts’ Great Conversations discussion-in-the-round.
Bimper has had a notable influence has come in athletics, where he has worked to create transformative learning opportunities while fostering an environment in which a commitment to diversity and inclusion is the standard. Among his contributions:
- Helping boost the John Mosley Student-Athlete Mentoring Program, a collaboration between athletics and the Black/African Cultural Center that pairs current student-athletes with former CSU athletes who graduated and entered the work force. The highly regarded program is one of just a handful across the country.
- Overseeing the Denver Broncos Sports Management Institute, an academic program that gives students a chance to learn about the sports management industry. The unique program currently has more than 130 students and offers classes from several colleges across campus.
- Establishing the Green and Global program, an outreach program that gives student-athletes a rare chance to do service learning in another country. The program began last year when 13 students joined Bimper and Blanche Hughes, vice president of student affairs, in Jamaica for a two-week community service and education trip. Bimper and a new group of Rams will head back to Jamaica this summer, and plans are already in the works for a trip to Costa Rica in 2019.
‘Cares deeply about students’
“Albert is a scholar who cares deeply about students and about making a difference in their lives and in the life of the University,” Hughes said. “He is creative, caring, intelligent and believes that education can change the world. I am inspired every day by getting the opportunity to work with him and to be his friend. He is so deserving of this recognition, and we are lucky to have him at Colorado State University.”
Bimper, 34, is just getting started. In addition to a busy home life with his wife, Nsisong, and three children, he’s writing a book that explores the experiences of black college athletes in the sociocultural climate of the 21st century at the complex interface between intercollegiate athletics and higher education.
“I appreciate this award because I’m in a very different space from where I thought I would be when I first came to CSU to play football,” he said. “Colorado State is a special institution and one that I’m forever grateful to be a part of. I’m glad to represent CSU as I know I’m only one of many in athletics and across campus doing all that we can to simply leave this place better than we found it for the next generation.”