Dr. Tim Baghurst, associate professor in health and human performance, has been awarded a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) grant totaling nearly $20,000 to fund a research project supporting international student-athletes. Baghurst was among six teams selected across the country to receive funds through the NCAA Innovations in Research and Practice Grant Program, which is designed to enhance college athletes’ psychosocial well-being and mental health.
Baghurst will collaborate with Stephanie Coca, learning specialist and English as a Second Language (ESL) consultant for OSU Athletics Student Services, on this project. Together, they will develop, implement and evaluate an entry-level academic orientation course specifically designed to educate and aid incoming international student-athletes. The course will provide students with the tools necessary to be effective in the classroom and daily life.
“International student-athletes represent a large portion of the student body,” Baghurst said. “Oklahoma State University is no exception, where 348 international student-athletes from 59 countries have matriculated through the university over the past 25 years, the majority within the past decade. Unfortunately, many international athletes arrive on American campuses in sporting and academic environments where little support is provided.”
The goal of this course is to create a positive experience in which students receive the support they need to successfully integrate into a new culture, sports program and academic environment. Topics covered in program may include communicating with professors, understanding university expectations, engaging with the community, taking online courses, avoiding plagiarism, making financially responsible decisions, effectively managing time and dealing with discrimination.
At the conclusion of the program, Baghurst and Coca will develop a “How-To” manual to aid other NCAA institutions interested in adopting the course. The guide will include general assistance and justification for proposing the program to university administrators as well as the course syllabus, lesson plans and evaluation tools.
Baghurst and Coca will present their findings at the 2020 NCAA Convention in Anaheim, California.