Fiscal resiliency to achieve student success and institutional sustainability
Podcast | Collegiate Athletics and Esports

Higher Ed Advisor: Iowa Wesleyan University connects academics and athletics to be a student-ready institution

Welcome to Higher Ed Advisor, the Baker Tilly podcast series where we speak with higher education industry leaders about practical and proactive guidance to help colleges and universities protect and enhance their value.

We welcomed the President of Iowa Wesleyan University (IW or the University), Christine Plunkett, and VP for Advancement and Athletics, Derek Zander, to our podcast for a discussion on the impact that connecting academics and athletics has on student success.

From restructuring debt to be a more fiscally sustainable institution to opening a student success center and partnering with the local Southeastern Community College, IW’s enrollment and retention strategy focuses on understanding and embracing the background of its diverse and underrepresented student body, being a student-ready institution and fully supporting students, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Plunkett and Derek demonstrate how the athletic department and student success center work together to champion student athletes and how the coaching staff educates and mentors them on and off the field. The community-oriented environment also engages non-athletes in IW’s sports to invigorate campus-wide pride.

We discuss why IW transitioned from the NCAA to NAIA to benefit their students and how name, image and likeness (NIL) and esports are challenging athletic administrators to think outside of the box and compliance departments to lead education and policy facilitation.

Interested in more higher education podcasts on student success, collegiate athletics and other trending topics?

Over 75% of the University’s Iowa resident students are student athletes. And over 55% of the total student body are student athletes.

Meet this episode’s guest speakers
  • Christine Plunkett, MBA, President, Iowa Wesleyan University
  • Derek Zander, Vice President for Advancement and Athletics, Iowa Wesleyan University
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College and university NIL readiness assessment

Compliance departments are navigating NIL in real-time as student athletes are already signing deals. Evaluate your institution's preparedness to address challenges, develop policies governing NIL that comply with your state's regulations and support the success of your student athletes.

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