CSUN Athletics Partners with Penn’s Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education to Examine Student-Athlete Experiences and Success

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – Cal State Northridge and the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education have joined forces to participate in an important education project to determine student success for women and students of color who participate in athletics at CSUN.

Historically, African American and Latino student-athletes have been underrepresented in higher education, and women in intercollegiate athletics. The project, which will be conducted at CSUN, will focus on the student-athlete experience in three main areas. They include campus engagement, athletics, and academic success.

This project is aligned with the CSUN Athletics Department’s “Comprehensive Excellence” agenda, according to Dr. Brandon Martin, CSUN’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics.

“Our most important pursuit is the academic success of CSUN’s student-athletes,” said Dr. Martin. “Gaining in-depth insights into the experiences of student-athletes who represent diverse backgrounds is consistent with the athletics department and the University’s commitment to student success. It is indeed an honor and a privilege to partner with my colleagues at Penn and Dr. Frank Harris III on this significant project.”

Dr. Shaun R. Harper, founder and director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the Penn Graduate School of Education, will oversee a research team that will participate in each step of the study. Dr. Harper is a national authority on race and equity in education and recently completed a comprehensive 50-state policy report on access and equity for Black undergraduate men at public colleges and universities for the Congressional Black Caucus.

“CSUN Athletics is pursuing important insights into the experiences of student-athletes who enhance the University’s diversity,” said Dr. Harper.

Dr. Harper and his research team will spearhead the project with Dr. Harris, an Associate Professor of Postsecondary Education at San Diego State University.

Dr. Harris, along with two researchers from the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education, will be among the leaders on gathering data on this project.

“I commend Dr. Martin and his colleagues for their commitment to ensuring that women, Latino and African American student-athletes at CSUN have rewarding and well-rounded undergraduate experiences,” said Dr. Harris. “The insights that emerge from this project will not only help to strengthen the student-athlete experience at CSUN but may also result in a set of promising practices that can be incorporated at other athletics programs across the country.”

The project will gauge the experiences of women and male students of color who participate in CSUN Athletics through focus groups with student-athletes that volunteer. Based on the findings, the research team will offer ways for CSUN administrators to enhance student success and the quality of their undergraduate experience. Finally, the group will analyze the extent to which women have opportunities to thrive as student-athletes at CSUN.

“The implications for student success from this report cannot be overstated,” remarked Dr. Elizabeth Adams, Associate Vice President of Undergraduate Studies at CSUN. “Not only will it allow CSUN to help our most academically vulnerable student-athletes to succeed, it will also aid us in overall student success. Ultimately, this study can have a profound impact on the success of the CSUN athletic program and on the University as a whole.”

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