Earlier, I reported that 84% of Marshall students in grades 7-12 participated in our athletics program last year. Those numbers are a source of pride, as we believe the benefits of a well-rounded liberal-arts education include participation in both athletics and the arts.

With the launch of a formal review of our athletics program this fall, we are hoping to set the bar even higher.

During the recent Back to School Nights, I explained briefly how this review fits into the recently adopted Strategic Plan. In a nod to the importance of the process, the review will be led by an external facilitator from the Twin Cities, Anne Peterson. Anne works at the Governance Group, which has worked previously with Marshall at our Trustee Annual Retreat in 2010.

The review will answer the following Guiding Questions:

  • How can the sports program be integrated into the overall strategic direction of the school?
    • How is “excellence” defined for our athletic program?
    • What is the ideal profile of a Marshall student athlete?
  • How does Marshall reconcile the two conflicting goals of participation and competitiveness?
  • Should there be differentiation between the goals of the Middle and High School sports programs?
  • How many sports teams should Marshall offer, in what sports, and in what format?
  • What is the school’s role in supporting the sports program?

The review work will be coordinated by a small steering committee consisting of parents, students, coaches, faculty, and administrators. In October, they will solicit feedback from the wider community through surveys and focus groups. We will put an all-call out for parents to join in the focus groups, as we want to hear from as many voices as possible in the process.

What better time than Homecoming Week to kick-off this important process of self-reflection and program improvement!