Deep Bench of Academic Teammates

Deep Bench of Academic Teammates

Our classrooms are filled with students who carry aggressive academic loads and many who add additional organizational commitments on top of their coursework. Nearly 8 percent of our 5,800 undergraduate population are scholar-athletes and they have practice, competition season, travel days, and off-season training. We have a dedicated cohort of athletic academic counselors who meet in-person with the scholar-athletes to help fulfill USD’s commitment to academic excellence for all of our students.

USD expects scholar-athletes to meet the same academic standards as the entire student body. In addition, they must also comply with NCAA ‘Progress Towards Degree’ and minimum GPA requirements. In short, scholar-athletes must maintain above a 2.0 GPA while staying on pace to graduate in no more than five years. Scholar-athletes must be full-time students who take 4-6 classes each semester and classes in summer when possible. Professors in the first weeks of a new class are used to getting presented with the team’s travel letter and competition schedule to see how much class time that athlete risks losing. Did you know that you have allies in the Athletic Academic Support Team who help to ensure scholar-athletes are looking over your syllabus and schedule so they have the greatest chance for success in your class?

The Torero Athletic Academic Support Team encourages athletes to review each new syllabus by way of a “syllabus map” on which the athletes identify your attendance and test make-up policies, the assessment breakdown of class activities, any specific class expectations (presentation dates, comprehensive final, etc.), and also to gather and remember names and contact information of classmates who they can call for study partnering.

Most teams have study hall requirements as well. Athletes are expected to log four, six, or eight hours each week of study hall based on a combination of team and individual GPA requirements. These expectations are reevaluated each semester. Our campus provides dedicated spaces in the Sports Center 2nd floor. Spaces range from the computer lab, quiet room, tutor room (with tutors available from 5-10pm Sunday through Thursday both on drop-in and appointment basis), and some teams have their supervised study halls held in their own designated spaces. For the students to fulfill the 4/6/8 hours/wk of study time, time spent with their professors during office hours (they’ll provide a form for the professor to sign to document the visit) or work on their group projects are credit toward the weekly total.

The Athletic Academic Support Team (Ron Valenzuela, Kenslow Smith, Kendall Marvin and Greg Camarillo) aim to assist scholar- athletes’ transition to new academic and social communities, develop sound academic and career goals, make informed and responsible decisions while developing into well-rounded young adults.

When one decides to become a collegiate scholar-athlete, it’s inevitable that he or she will need to successfully manage missed class. Student-athletes understand that there are no automatically excused absences for participants in athletic contests and that they are always responsible for any missed material or course content during their absence.  Student athletes are advised to discuss with each of their professors well in advance of their particular conflicts regarding making up out-of-class assignments, missed lab work, written and oral assignments, pop quizzes, tests, exams or other mandatory elements of the course.  It is our hope that acceptable arrangements between the professor and student can be made to accommodate conflicts. Athletic Academic Support is willing to assist in any way, including proctoring quizzes or exams. 

The academic journey of our athletes is being well-shepherded by the Athletic Academic Support Team, led by Ron Valenzuela. The athletic academic support team often reaches out to professors around the 4-6 week period of each term seeking feedback on a scholar-athlete’s course performance and if he or she is meeting the professor’s expectations. The feedback is very helpful in supporting scholar-athletes and can help highlight areas in need of improvement.

Every professor is a valuable player on the field of their challenging and exciting academic practice. Recognizing the teamwork involved will perpetuate each toward victorious achievement in their collegiate experience. The USD faculty play a huge role in creating such a positive experience for our scholar-athletes, allowing them to live up to the athletic department’s mission of winning in the classroom, winning on the playing field and winning in the community. 

begin quoteThe USD faculty play a huge role in creating such a positive experience for our scholar-athletes, allowing them to live up to the athletic department’s mission of winning in the classroom, winning on the playing field and winning in the community. 
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