Elevated Eagles

March 29, 2019

Note: This is the third part of a series on Emory University's program to denote achievement within its athletics department.   The first article focused on program as it relates to the Emory coaches and other atlhetic dpartment staff. The second article focused on the initiative from the student-athlete perspective. 

By Amy Bryant

One more prong of the integrity initiative at Emory includes recognition. While most athletic awards focus on performance, “Elevated Eagles” are spotlighted solely for their acts of integrity. Student-athletes who engage in community support and awareness are nominated by their peers and a winner is chosen by the SAAC each month.

For example, a recent Elevated Eagle was recognized for his extensive commitment to the Team Impact program, in which a sport “adopts” a young person with a disability. Many members of this student-athlete’s own team were unaware he was the catalyst for the team’s involvement until he was honored.

Another student-athlete earned the award for having a personal motto of “pride, discipline, and respect.” Teammates felt the player’s dedication to his words helped changed the culture of the team.

Award winners are recognized through media releases and a photo of the winner with a description of their act(s) of integrity is displayed in the athletics building. All the Elevated Eagles are then honored at our end-of-year athletics banquet. Along with celebrating the student-athlete, this keeps integrity in the forefront of people’s minds.

THREE MUSTS

Based on our experience in implementing a program for ethical reflection at Emory athletics, I believe there are three things that must be present to have success:

Support: Administrative buy-in and support are critical. The athletic director must be firm in his or her commitment to making integrity always come first in all decision-making.

Openness: The staff and student-athletes must have a growth/learning mindset. Coaches need to know that their job responsibilities include continual reflection and education. And all meetings must be seen as safe spaces to share ideas.

Compelling meetings: Discussions have to be meaningful and relevant, with good presenters who prepare probing questions. Experts should be available for certain topics. Preparation is key.

 

Amy Bryant has been Head Women’s Tennis Coach at Emory University since 2000. Her teams have won six NCAA Division III titles, with 13 appearances in the team championship finals. She was a member of the NCAA Tennis Committee from 2004 to 2007, serving as chair in 2007, and is currently on the Faculty Advisory Committee for Emory’s Integrity Project. She can be reached at: amy.bryant@emory.edu.

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