Athletic Academic Support Program The most important team that UNC Wilmington fields is the Student-Athlete Academic Advising Team (SAAAT), a cooperative effort between the Director of Academic Support Programs and the athletic department.
The efforts of SAAAT allow the university to maintain a high academic standard when it comes to student-athletes. There are three reasons why student-athletes at UNCW perform well. The main reason is the student-athletes themselves. UNCW prides itself on recruiting high school athletes who perform well in class. Once these student-athletes get to UNCW they are pushed by coaches who monitor performance in the classroom on a continuous basis and demand academic excellence. Finally, UNCW student-athletes have an excellent set of academic support programs to help them when needed.
SAAT features three main components: (1) advising, (2) academic support and (3) study enhancement.
The first component is advising, with six faculty advisors who only have student-athletes to counsel. The student-athletes will be counseled by these advisors during their freshman year. They may wish to continue into their sophomore year if a major has not yet been decided. Once a major is declared, they will be given an advisor in the department of that major.
The faculty advisors have many duties. The first responsibility is to assist student-athletes in all areas of academic advising, including course selection, career planning and honors placement. The second responsibility is to assist with registration and promote a four-year plan toward graduation. They must also monitor student activities, such as adding and dropping courses and mid-term and end-of-the-semester grades. Another important job is to ensure that every student-athlete makes a successful transition to academic life. Advisors also prepare student-athletes for life after graduation by providing opportunities for development in the areas of academic and athletic excellence, community service and personal and career development. Perhaps most importantly, advisors must assume a personal interest in the progress of the individual as a student, an athlete and a person.
The second area of concern for SAAAT is the area of academic support, particularly the tutoring program. A student-athlete may be referred to the Learning Center by a coach or faculty advisor, or may seek tutoring on one’s own recognizance. The Learning Center interviews the student-athlete and, as with all students at UNCW who seek tutoring, assigns a tutor within 24 hours. The Learning Center submits daily reports to the SAAAT coordinator who then informs the coach and advisor of the progress.
Academic support is bolstered by career services. The career services department performs many important functions, helping student-athletes with the building and maintenance of resumes and honing practice skills needed to land jobs.
The final area of the SAAAT program is study enhancement, highlighted by study tables. Study tables are conducted five nights a week for four hours each night. To guarantee a smooth transition for freshmen student-athletes, they must attend these study tables year-round during their first year on campus. Coaches set up policies for upperclassmen and determine any additional standards they wish to have for their freshmen.
With the SAAAT program in place, student-athletes at UNCW will continue to flourish and will become a model for other schools in North Carolina, the southeast and across the nation.