Achieving a Gender Neutral Environment
Courtesy: Western Illinois Athletics  
Release: Tuesday 07/10/2012
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Department of Intercollegiate Athletics: Gender Equity, Title IX and Achieving a Gender Neutral Environment

Introduction | Historical Perspective | Principles and Assumptions | Title IX Compliance | Gender Equity Compliance

Gender Equity Report Fiscal Year 2013 (November 2013)

This update and revised plan of action summarizes all progress to date relative to the institution's continuing commitment to achieve gender equity and a gender neutral environment in intercollegiate athletics at Western Illinois University. Also included is information regarding the state of the University’s compliance with Title IX.

At the end of the 2003-04 academic year, a broad-based campus committee finalized the first working draft of Western Illinois University’s Strategic Plan, Higher Values in Higher Education. Since the offering of the first draft, the philosophy and expected outcomes of the strategic plan have been the cornerstone in the decision making processes throughout the University. The introductory paragraph to the Strategic Plan clearly defines the University’s goals, expectations, and four core values.

In an emerging global community, universities must educate students so that they uphold standards of civility and civic responsibility and continue learning after graduation. Western Illinois University will prepare its students and graduates to contribute to the global community as it grows and changes. The preparation will be rooted in the values that our university embraces: academic excellence, educational opportunity, social responsibility, and personal growth.

The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics functions cooperatively within the campus and is clearly and integral part of the University’s vision and mission. Further, the Department’s stated mission and its operating structure are fully embedded with the fabric of the University’s strategic plan. Higher Values in Higher Education identifies eight areas of primary focus, and within each of the eight sections more clearly defined objectives, goals and priorities are highlighted. One of these objectives is a commitment to Campus Life, with an identified goal “To create a campus environment that supports a wide range of student interests and provides opportunities for leadership development and personal growth.” Intercollegiate Athletics has a profound impact on the lives of students and the campus atmosphere and the learning environment. Higher Values in Higher Education addresses this essential priority to campus life stating that Western Illinois University will “Support an NCAA Division I varsity intercollegiate athletics program that is committed to broad-base participation opportunities, promotes academic achievement, maintains financial stability, and demonstrates strict adherence to the NCAA operating principles related to governance and rules compliance, academic integrity, equity and student-athlete welfare.”

In support of the University’s strategic plan and in cooperation with the NCAA, during the 2004-05 academic year, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics conducted its second cycle NCAA Division I Certification Self-Study. This study provided an opportunity for an in-depth review of the institution’s commitment to NCAA Division I standards and expectations, in addition to reviewing the continuing commitment to its Gender Equity plan. The self-study report was submitted in Spring of 2005. After a review by the NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification in May 2005, the NCAA Committee reaffirmed the University’s second-cycle certification with a status of Certified.

Beginning with the 2005-06 academic year, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics was moved into the Division of Student Services, with direct reporting to the Vice-President for Student Services. The organizational shift was a conscious and thoughtful process. The expected outcome of the realignment emphasizes student success. The Division of Student Services is clearly well positioned to support intercollegiate athletics and provide the necessary resources and structure to ensure a continuation of providing the very best possible student-athlete experience.

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