Dr. David Rausch, Teel Bivins Professor of Political Science at WTAMU, is to be honored as the faculty athletics representative of the school by the National Football Foundation. The honor is part of the 2012 NFF Faculty Salute Initiative, which is being used by the NFF to honor the substantial academic contributions of faculty athletics representatives all across the nation.
Aaron Mullane, former offensive lineman and recent graduate of WT, has received the recognition as a 2012 NFF National Scholar-Athlete. There are 15 schools in the country with National Scholar-Athletes. The NFF will honor the faculty athletics representatives from each of these schools.
Fidelity Investments has taken a large role in supporting the 2012 NFF Faculty Salute Initiative by sponsoring the program. Each of the faculty athletics representatives who are to be honored will receive a $5,000 donation from Fidelity Investments, which will be used to support the academic support services for student athletes.
“I will probably end up asking for the money to be sent to the Academic Support Coordinator so that it can be used for tutoring, or if they need to hire another study hall person. Just to get it involved with academics somehow,” Rausch said.
This financial gift is not the only benefit that the school will receive from the 2012 NFF Faculty Salute Initiative. The reputation of WT will also get a boost from this honor.
“Additionally, as with any recognition like this, the reputation of WT is enhanced,” Dr. J. Patrick O’Brien, president of WT, said. “Folks are reminded we have a superb athletic program at WT. Not only do we win on the field of play, but we strongly support the well-being of our student athletes and we pursue the highest level of academic integrity.”
In addition to the growth of the school, the reputations of both the College of Education and Social Sciences and the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice will be improved. This honor also brings to light the importance of the role of the faculty athletic adviser.
“Number one, it brings recognition to our University, national recognition to our University,” Dr. Eddie Henderson, Dean of the College of Education and Social Sciences, said. “And I think, importantly, it brings recognition to the role of the faculty athletic representatives.”
Every school in the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) is required to have a faculty athletics representative on staff. The faculty athletics representatives are responsible for the academic welfare of the student athletes in their respective schools. Rausch has been the faculty athletics representative for WT for the past 10 years. His responsibilities include going to meetings for the NCAA, giving the WT coaches yearly exams and maintaining the academic welfare of every student athlete at WT.
“It is a great honor for Dr. Dave Rausch to be recognized by the National Football Foundation as one of the top Faculty Athletic Representatives in intercollegiate athletics,” O’Brien said. “It is well deserved on Dr. Rausch’s part. He is a steadfast and tireless advocate for student athlete well-being at WT and for the maintenance of academic integrity.”
Dr. Rausch believes that being the faculty athletics representative for WT has changed him as a professor and that this change was for the better.
“I am much more understanding when a student has to miss for a school related event,” Rausch said. “And I don’t mean for just athletics. I mean for things like dance or band too.”
“Those students, because of the complexity of their schedules, really do require a significant amount of advising, and good advising,” Henderson said. “Someone who is sensitive to the requirements of their athletics and those responsibilities and try to help them build schedules where they can be successful. The most important thing is that it brings recognition to the role and Dr. Rausch has filled that role in an outstanding manner.”