CoSIDA Introduces Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship Program in Partnership with the Knight Commission

CoSIDA, in partnership with the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, is introducing a Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship program designed to encourage a greater understanding of how those in athletics communications offices at all levels can become effective champions for diversity, equity and inclusion in college athletics.

“This is a new and exciting concept that helps us as an organization continue to address and prioritize diversity and inclusion issues in our profession and the workplace,” said 2021-22 CoSIDA President Cindy Potter, Senior Deputy Director of Athletics, Columbia College. “We appreciate the support from the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics which allows us to provide specialized training and develop impactful leaders in diversity issues and allies for our profession.”

The new initiative begins February 10 with the first of six virtual presentations and culminate at the 2022 CoSIDA Convention with a class recognition ceremony. Each presentation will focus on a broad-based concept with an overview of the issues, to pinpoint concerns and areas of improvement and provide tools and knowledge for participants to better engage with and be a champion for diversity and inclusion at their institution.

“I’m extremely excited about CoSIDA’s partnership with the Knight Commission to form the inaugural CoSIDA Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship class,” said Denise Thompson, Associate Athletics Director, Communications and Creative Services who chairs CoSIDA’s Racial & Social Justice Initiative. “This unique opportunity provides athletics communications professionals education on leadership, diversity and inclusion, empowerment, and more. Learning from a wide range of industry leaders, it is the goal of the Racial and Social Justice Initiative that all participants become effective champions for diversity and inclusion!”

Sessions will focus on leadership, mentorship, diversity and inclusion in the workplace and insights into how athletics communicators can educate and empower student-athletes to use their voices and platforms to bring attention to diversity issues. The program faculty will include highly regarded thought leaders from within college athletics and outside the industry.

“We are pleased to sponsor this important CoSIDA initiative,” said Amy Privette Perko, CEO of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. “CoSIDA’s Fellowship program will help achieve the goals the Knight Commission advanced in its “Achieving Racial Equity in College Sports” report. We appreciate this synergy and commend CoSIDA for their leadership.”

The inaugural class of 16 CoSIDA members is a diverse representation of communication and creative professionals. Selection was based on ethnicity, gender, age/experience, divisional representation, HBCU representation and senior-level administrative representation. There is no cost to participate in the program.
Selected by members of the Racial and Social Justice Initiative, the 2022 class includes: Kelvin Queliz (Brown), Andrew Roberts (Southwestern Athletic Conference), Stayson Isobe (Northern Arizona), Mark Cohen (TCU), Sarah Finney (Seattle), Sarah Kirkpatrick (Holy Cross), Nicole Sasu-Twum (Delaware), Bridgette Robles (Richmond), Shelby Hild (Texas A&M), Zach Lawson (Oregon), Justin Wilson (Atlantic Coast Conference), Ryan Davis (Missouri Valley Conference), Michael Hawkins (Francis Marion), Emily Dorko (Adelphi), Shalyn Moore (Elizabeth City State) and Ashleigh Jones (DePauw).

Fellowship Class Overview
A year-long comprehensive educational series for select members of CoSIDA designed to provide insights into diversity and inclusion issues, values and opportunities for communication professionals in college sports. The program is a partnership between CoSIDA and the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics and will encourage a greater understanding of how those in athletics communications offices at all levels become effective champions for diversity and inclusion in college athletics.

The Fellowship requires a total commitment to the program schedule that includes six presentations with additional post-session work assignments. Fellows must make a commitment to try and attend all session presentations. Graduates of the Fellowship class will be honored at the 2022 CoSIDA Convention.

Learning Objectives
Where We Are: A broad-based introduction and overview of issues, concerns and opportunities regarding diversity and inclusion in college athletics.

Leadership: Learn how to be an agent of change. Instruction on how to step forward in your athletics department or conference office and promote programs and priorities that focus attention and provide solutions for issues that impact student-athletes, staff and the profession.

Mentorship: Develop an understanding of the values of mentorship with staff and student-athletes in your athletics department and with colleagues in the profession.

Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace: Training to help better understand fundamental strategies and policies that enhance and shape diverse hiring practices for the profession.

Empower Student-Athletes: Insights into ways athletics communication offices can play a meaningful role in guiding student-athletes into understanding how they can use their voices and platforms bring attention to issues related to diversity.