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John Kolb ’79 is serving as the first faculty liaison for the women’s soccer team.

Athletics Launches New Program To Connect Faculty With Student-Athletes

In an effort to connect Rensselaer faculty and student athletes on the playing field, the Department of Athletics has launched the Academic & Athletic Liaison Program, which is designed to enhance the relationship between faculty, coaching staff, and intercollegiate athletics.

Faculty members who serve in the newly created program will have an opportunity to gain firsthand insight into the challenges of being a committed student-athlete. As mentors, faculty members will work with students to provide them with strategies on how to balance their academic responsibilities with athletic endeavors, tips on effective methods for class participation, and ways to seek academic assistance. The program also aims to create increased communication with faculty as a way to facilitate teamwork and minimize challenges and conflicts.

“This is a new approach for athletics, and our concerted effort to provide opportunities to augment the student-athlete experience,” said Jim Knowlton, director of athletics. “Ideally, when a faculty member formally volunteers with a team, he or she will meet with the head coach to discuss ideas that can best serve the team. We hope that the level of their role and participation will increase in ways that benefit our student athletes, and our faculty. This program will also work to support the CLASS initiative, which is focused on providing students with a greater sense of belonging and community at Rensselaer, and instilling intellectual curiosity outside of the classroom.”

The program is serving all 23 intercollegiate sports: baseball, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country and track and field, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s hockey, men’s golf, men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, softball, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis, and women’s tennis.

To offer support for the women’s soccer team, John Kolb ’79, vice president for information services and technology and chief information officer, is serving as the team’s first faculty liaison. Kolb has been part of the Rensselaer community in a variety of responsibilities for more than 20 years, and has taught courses in the schools of Engineering, Science, Management, and in the IT program. He has also played soccer, and serves as a licensed coach and licensed referee in New York state. Additionally, his daughter, Kristi Kolb ’08, played soccer for four years and also served as captain for her last two years.

“The athletic liaison program provides an additional contact for our student athletes as they pursue excellence on the field of play and in the classroom,” said Kolb. “The liaison can facilitate better communication and better integration with other programs to accommodate a variety of student interests. By providing academic and career advice, the liaison program integrates well with the mission of the Institute by promoting a culture of success for our students.”

Knowlton also noted that the program is looking for additional faculty liaisons who will feel comfortable in reaching out to embrace the opportunity to participate.

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 4, Number 19, December 10, 2010
©2010 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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