Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MAY 20, 2013  Path to Graduation

  Step 1 - Assessment

The levels of academic preparation, educational orientation and career interests for all incoming student-athletes are evaluated. A staff learning specialist administers a variety of academic skills and career interest assessments. Individual academic support plans are then tailored to match a student-athlete's academic skills and career interests. Furthermore, all new student-athletes are required to participate in a University orientation, which includes assessment in mathematics placement and foreign language, among others.
  Step 2 - Skill Development

A comprehensive tutoring program of approximately 60 tutors provides one-to-one and small-group instruction. Student-athletes are assisted with study skills, problem-solving techniques and specific course material. Athletic Student Life Office counselors may recommend tutors or a student-athlete may request one independently.
The Study Skills Center provides student-athletes with assistance in college reading strategies and individual instruction for reading improvement. Meanwhile, the Thompson Writing Center offers a dynamic, positive atmosphere to help student-athletes generate ideas and strategies for writing assignments. Consultants help student-athletes organize papers, review grammatical basics, develop proofreading and library research skills, and design resumes. A learning specialist regularly conducts time management and study skills workshops. The staff's goal is to help student-athletes become independent writers and learners in the academic environment.
Understanding computers and having access to them on a regular basis are essential to today's successful student. The two Athletic Computer Centers, also located in the Prentice Gautt Academic Center, provide student-athletes with computer knowledge and access. The Athletic Computer Centers are open six days a week with extended hours offered during peak times.
The Kerr Foundation Foreign Language Center was established to assist student-athletes with speaking, listening, reading and writing in different languages. The Center, coordinated by a Modern Languages department instructor, offers a top-notch multimedia environment for all foreign language instruction.
Realizing the increasing role mathematics plays in society today, the Prentice Gautt Academic Center aims to help all student-athletes achieve an understanding of math and related topics in their course work. The Mathematics Center offers regular instruction for student-athletes placed in preparatory mathematics courses and tutorial consultation in all math and statistics courses.
At OU, non-athletic career preparation is enhanced through workshops in resume development, job search strategies, interviewing skills and graduate school preparation assistance. The Sooner Career Program is dedicated to educating student-athletes about the world of work and providing a transition from college athletics to their first careers. The program includes the OU Career Fair, career information seminars, opportunities for summer internships in various fields, an employment referral service and mentorship opportunities for graduating student-athletes.
Effective communication well is an essential skill in successful personal and professional interaction for OU student athletes. The OU Communications Center offers training for effective oral communication and media relations. A working media conference room featuring a stage and modern audio-visual systems is available in a state-of-the-art communications center.
  Step 3 - Counseling

Student-athletes receive caring, professional support from Dr. Gerald Gurney and his staff at all levels. This support may take several forms, including career choice, academic or personal decisions. Four professional athletic academic counselors are present to help student-athletes through the educational process.
Approximately one counselor per 100 student-athletes is available to assist the student-athletes with planning class schedules, choosing degree programs and setting personal and academic goals. Course attendance and course performance are checked a minimum of four times per semester for each student-athlete participating in the intercollegiate athletic program.
The personal health and nutritional needs of student-athletes are monitored by the OU Sports Medicine staff of physicians and certified athletic trainers. The Jefferson Dining Hall makes every effort to accommodate the special dietary and nutritional requirements of all OU student-athletes.
  Step 4 - Faculty Relations

The faculty guest program's purpose is to enhance the athletic department's relationship with the faculty and staff. Faculty members are selected to be guest coaches for the week in all sports throughout the academic year. During that time, the faculty guests are provided with a list of planned activities that are designed to give them an opportunity to experience various aspects of the athletic department's operations and introduce them to student-athlete lifestyles and expectations.
  Step 5 - Resident Life

Student-athletes reside in a variety of University housing environments, including the Sooner Housing Center. The Sooner Housing Center, managed by Athletic Student Life staff, is located across the street from Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. It provides a living environment that is conducive to the academic and personal development of student-athletes. The Sooner Housing Center was the winner of the 1998 President's Trophy for the outstanding housing center on the OU campus and was recognized for its contribution to academic excellence, innovative programming and campus diversity. The Sooner Housing Center was also selected as the President's Trophy runner-up in 1997 and 2000.
  Step 6 - Life Skills & More

OU is a member of the NCAA's Life Skills Program and is dedicated to contributing to the growth and development of student-athletes through academic excellence, athletic excellence, personal development, community service and career development.
The OU Athletic Student Life program places special emphasis upon recognition of outstanding academic performances by student-athletes. Scholar-athletes with a 3.0 GPA and above are recognized each semester at halftime of a football or men's basketball game. An awards banquet is held in the Spring to recognize scholar-athletes and special award winners.
Graduating student-athletes receive recognition prior to OU's graduation ceremonies in May at a reception. Each is given an "O" ring, representing their athletic participation and graduation from the University of Oklahoma. All scholarship student-athletes who exhaust their eligibility within eight semesters may receive an additional year of financial aid within a six-year period.
Student-athlete leaders from each sport comprise the Student-Athlete Advisory Board, which aims to improve communication with the Athletics Department and University administration regarding student-athletes' needs and concerns. The Student-Athlete Advisory Board developed a community outreach partnership with the Oklahoma Youth Center, a local residential facility for physically, mentally and sexually abused children.
The board also designs programs that encourage excellence in academics and social responsibility and serve to represent student-athletes on campus-wide committees.



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