The Distance Learning Faculty Orientation that took place included many former faculty members. Pictured are: Mr. Donn Renwick, Dallas, a former Dean and Chair of Sports Management; Dr. Arthur Ogden, Demopolis, Ala., a former Dean of Academic Affairs; Dr. Lawrence Bestmann, Laguna Hills, Calif., a 34-year distance learning and international faculty member; Dr. Brian Wallace, Tallahassee, Fla., a former Chair of Sports Fitness; Dr. Roch King, Indianapolis, a former Chair of Sport Coaching; Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, Academy president and CEO; Dr. Craig Bogar, Spanish Fort, Ala., former Dean of Administration and Finance; and Dr. Glenn C. Snyder, former Dean of Student Services. Not pictured but in attendance were Dr. Bret Simmermacher, Roswell, N.M., a former faculty member; and Mr. Mike Spino, Atlanta, a long-time faculty member specializing in undergraduate studies.

Two dozen distance learning faculty members, residential faculty and five new teaching assistants gathered at the Daphne, Ala., campus for a training session on the United States Sports Academy’s academic programs to enhance the education experience for students.

The training, which took place Aug. 11-12, included a demonstration of changes to improve the technology of the online courses, an examination of new procedures designed to enhance academic integrity and better protect student identification and a review of critical changes to new academic catalogs and faculty handbooks.

In addition, distance learning faculty attended breakout sessions about doctoral dissertations, which they were encouraged to become involved in, and about the King-Devick Test, which is an easy, reliable and objective method for detecting on the sidelines if an athlete has suffered a concussion.

Besides the training, the faculty recorded new videos in the Academy’s studio that welcome students to the online courses when they begin. The Academy has more than 1,100 students in its upper-division bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral sports-focused, online courses.

Donn Renwick, a longtime distance learning faculty member and former Dean and Chair of Sport Management, said he was impressed with the enhancements to the online courses. Some of those included an automatic two-week notice sent to inactive students and their advisers to help them complete their courses on time, a greater emphasis of the more than 40 tutorials in the ACCESS online writing laboratory and a new and improved student portal to facilitate student interaction and the sharing of information.

“It seems much better and much more effective,” Renwick said.

Dr. Lawrence Bestmann, a distance learning and international faculty member for 34 years, agreed with Renwick.

“The 21st century has wrought many technological marvels of which the Sports Academy is on the cutting edge,” he said.

The training session was the first onsite training done since August 2009. Last year, the training was conducted as a webinar.

Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich welcomed the resident and non-resident faculty to the training session and challenged them to become even more involved in their students’ success given the downturn in the national and world economy.

“We are very appreciative to host so many of our non-resident faculty here,” Dr. Rosandich said. “Quite a number of you served as resident faculty at one point and still remain engaged with the university. We are appreciative of all your efforts to make the Academy’s sports education one of the best in the nation and the world for our students.”

Residential faculty, distance learning faculty and teaching assistants were all in attendance for the Distance Learning Faculty Orientation on Aug. 11-12 on the Academy’s campus to train and prepare to better serve students this fall.