NCAA honors CSU for efforts to increase diversity, inclusion

CSU was honored by the NCAA for its efforts to increase diversity and inclusion at the recent NCAA Convention in Washington, D.C. Pictured, from left, are NCAA President Mark Emmert; Sharon Brummell, a member of the NCAA’s Minority Opportunity and Interests Committee; John Morris, CSU’s interim director of athletics; Albert Bimper, CSU’s senior associate athletic director for diversity and inclusion; CSU President Tony Frank; and Kim Ford, NCAA director of minority inclusion.

CSU’s efforts to increase diversity and foster an environment of inclusion were rewarded Friday when the NCAA presented President Tony Frank with the NCAA and Minority Opportunities Athletic Association’s Award for Diversity.

The award, first presented two years ago, was presented by NCAA President Mark Emmert during a ceremony at the annual NCAA Convention in Washington D.C. The award celebrates colleges or athletics conferences that embrace diversity and inclusion initiatives in ways that may include hiring practices, programming activities, professional development and community service.  Initiatives can involve specific departments or offices on campus, or center on a university’s or athletics conference’s efforts as a whole.

Impactful steps

“Many NCAA member schools are embracing diversity and inclusion on campus; however, Colorado State has taken several proactive and impactful steps,” said Bernard Franklin, NCAA executive vice president of education and community engagement and the chief inclusion officer.  “We commend CSU and its staff for their actions to positively impact all of their student-athletes and further educate their general student body and staff on the importance of inclusion.”

CSU has created several programs that center on educating student-athletes and staff about the benefits of inclusion.

Program honors CSU pioneer

The John Mosely Leadership Program honors John Mosely, CSU’s first African-American student-athlete in the 1940s. The program is a collaboration between athletics and the Black/African American Cultural Center, developed to serve underrepresented and underserved student-athletes by engaging them in a structured, multi-level mentoring program.  The program strengthens personal and interpersonal skills, promotes academic success, increases leadership opportunities and creates a sense of belonging and connection to the campus and surrounding community.

The athletic department also created a program for its female student-athletes called Rambition, which focuses on fostering overall personal, professional and leadership development through community engagement, educational opportunities and networking opportunities.  Athletics has also engaged in programs focused on understanding body image and healthy relationships for female student-athletes.

The athletics department also developed a Council for Diversity and Inclusion to discuss issues and strategies which address diversity and inclusion needs among student-athletes, coaches and athletics staff.

New programs making a difference

In 2014, the department hosted the inaugural Diversity Summit in the Rockies. The event gathered faculty and researchers from campus and nationwide to share ideas about research related to diversity in intercollegiate athletics. Student-athletes, coaches, athletics administrators, professors and the general student body were invited to attend various sessions and joined in conversations focusing on why diversity matters.

In addition, CSU hired Dr. Albert Bimper, a former all-conference football player at CSU, to serve a dual role as an assistant professor of Ethnic Studies and senior associate athletic director, interacting with university senior administrators who work with diversity and training initiatives.

“We are honored to have the NCAA and MOAA grant such a prestigious recognition to Colorado State University for our collective efforts to champion diversity and inclusion,” Bimper said.  “Colorado State’s commitment to promoting an inclusive community is central to the hallmark of our land-grant heritage. Although the growing challenges to achieve inclusive excellence are vast and complex, we are steadfast in our belief in the strength of diversity and fostering an inclusive, affirming environment that fuels our success.”