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Student-athletes face a unique set of challenges and circumstances as they participate in Division I intercollegiate athletics. In addition to the enormous investment of time and energy, each student-athlete must adhere to strict NCAA guidelines regarding academic eligibility while balancing their athletic and academic pursuits. The Division of Academic Support Services, in collaboration with the Department of Athletics, has developed a comprehensive support and resource program to help maintain this balance. The Student Development for Athletes program provides a wide range of services from the recruiting stage through graduation.

Over the past decade the Student Development for Athletes program has received national recognition as a best practice from three different organizations. First in 2005, St. John's University was one of five institutions nationally to receive the National Basketball Association's Player Development Service Award. The award sponsored by the NBA recognized programs and individuals who provided innovative educational programming and support services with special focus on assisting men's basketball student-athletes. In 2008, the Student Development for Athletes program was recognized by the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) as an exemplary practice for its holistic approach to meeting the needs of the student-athlete population. NACADA showcased the Student Development for Athletes program in a Best Practice Monograph entitled Advising Student-Athletes: A collaborative Approach to Success, published in 2008. Finally in 2012, the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A) recognized the Student Development for Athletes Program by presenting Director of Academic Support Eric Rienecker and Assistant Director, Academic Support for Student-Athletes Victoria Laemmel with the N4A Model Practice Award. The N4A Model Practice Award is given annually to the university or college that displays best practices in academic programming for student-athletes. Programs are judged upon innovativeness and use of creativity, recognition, effectiveness, measurability as well as applicability of the best practice. St. John's received commendation for its Faculty Engagement Program creating ways for faculty members to become more familiar with the student-athlete experience at the University.

The Student-Athlete Center for Excellence opened in August 2007. Located in Carnesecca Arena the newly renovated area serves as the home for the Student Development for Athletes program. The space, which is convenient and easily accessible for student-athletes, boasts a 54 seat study center, four private tutoring rooms, meeting space for leadership groups and special events and an area to facilitate small study groups and review sessions. The center is open from 9am-10pm to accommodate the needs of the student-athletes and their demanding academic and athletic schedules. The center also houses all services related to academic support, leadership development, sport psychology, nutrition, counseling services and community service.

The mission of the Student Development for Athletes program is to assist student-athletes in realizing their educational and athletic potential. Utilizing the Developmental Advising Model, each student-athlete will be expected to achieve his/her highest level of educational capability. Through the provision of a range of services, each student-athlete will receive the necessary support to be successful life-long learners, capable of success inside and outside of the classroom. Our student-athletes will be well-equipped to use their academic experience and appreciation of Vincentian character and values in their post-collegiate, professional, and personal endeavors.

The program focuses on five key areas: Academic Support, Career Development, Personal Development, Leadership and Community Service.

The Academic Support program assigns each varsity team an Athletic Academic Advisor. Each advisor serves as a key contact for student-athletes seeking academic assistance and helps the student-athletes navigate the academic community. The advisor works closely with their assigned students to monitor their academic progress throughout their four years.

The Career Development Program provides personalized assistance to student-athletes throughout their four years at St. John's University. Our student-athletes gain the skills necessary to make appropriate career decisions from freshman year through graduation by attending workshops and one-on-one meetings with a Career Counselor.

Numerous leadership opportunities exist for student-athletes at St. John's, ranging from team and campus positions to national leadership involvement. Student Development for Athletes works with each team to help develop programs to enhance leadership development, including the selection and training of Student-Athlete Orientation Leaders, SD101 Peer Educators and Community Service Coordinators.

The personal development commitment builds a foundation for a well-balanced lifestyle for student-athletes by encouraging emotional well-being, personal growth and effective decision-making skills.

It is important at St. John's University student-athletes develop an understanding and appreciation for the Vincentian mission of this institution. Each member of the Student Development for Athletes team encourages student-athletes to put their knowledge of the Vincentian mission into action through community service activities. Each team is provided with opportunities to perform community service throughout the year as a group or on an individual basis.


Dr. Nancy S. Kaplan, Associate VP for Academic Support: x6899

Eric Rienecker, Director, Academic Support for Student-Athletes: x5687

Frauke Davidow, Director, Leadership Development for Student-Athletes: x6979

Ray Howell, Associate Director, Academic Support for Student-Athletes: x1459

Frank Peluso, Assistant Director, Academic Support for Student-Athletes: x6736

TBD, Assistant Director, Academic Support for Student-Athletes: x5546

Joanne Zissel, Administrative Assistant, Student Development for Athletes: x2643

Fr. Richard Rock, Campus Minister for Athletics: x5058

Mark Armiento, Sports Psychology and Counseling Consultant: x6899

Cheresa Fewell, Career and Internship Advisor, University Career Services: x6031

Lauren Marino, Nutritionist: x7984

Roger Du, Graduate Assistant

Alyssa Rusch, Graduate Assistant

Grace Kramer, Graduate Assistant

Emily Cubbage, Graduate Assistant

Gavriel Franco, Graduate Assistant

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