Earlier this month, NIRSA Executive Director Pam Watts traveled to Nashville, TN to represent the Association and the campus recreation profession on the American Council on Exercise’s (ACE) Industry Advisory Panel. This panel meets annually to dialogue and collaborate regarding the current state of the physical activity industry.

The 12 panelists were comprised of representatives from various sectors, ranging from medical/hospital-based fitness to academics and researchers to CEOs. The esteemed group sought to share their knowledge and real-world experience to keep ACE informed of trends, opportunities, and initiatives related to their mission. NIRSA members will be well familiar with the importance of such work as it draws several parallels with the work of our own Assembly.

The panel consisted of in-depth conversations regarding skills for executives in the field, competency-based content, and creative formats for education of providers of physical activity. These discussions were interspersed with fitness or movement breaks, putting the values of both ACE and NIRSA to practice.

NIRSA re-engaged with ACE at an executive level in 2012 through mutual involvement with the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA), where representatives from both NIRSA and ACE served on the Board of Directors. NIRSA’s involvement with ACE keeps our Association at the table with a prominent group in shaping the physical activity industry.

In the context of the Industry Advisory Panel, NIRSA was able to give insight to ACE and represent the segment of the physical activity world that our members strive to impact each day. Being present at such a cross-industry table provides NIRSA with an opportunity to build relationships with other organization executives serving on the panel. This supports the Association’s objective to increase collaborations with organizations that will expand the reach of campus recreation and wellness.

Serving on the panel, Pam was particularly struck by the discussions surrounding career mastery, continuing education, and professional licensing. The discourse over what considerations were most important—and why—had distinct parallels with the Association’s own work in evolving NIRSA’s eight Core Competencies and its drive to shift educational content to be competency-based.

Pam’s involvement in the panel gave her a chance to advocate for the mission and values of NIRSA to other main players in the field of physical activity. It also allowed her to participate in a think-tank environment conducive to the continued successful, forward-thinking leadership of NIRSA.

  • To learn more about NIRSA’s partnerships with organizations like ACE that strengthen our strategic values, visit the NIRSA website or contact Erin O’Sullivan, NIRSA’s Executive Communications, Advocacy, and External Affairs.
Administrative Assistant to the Executive Office at |

Rebecca Reeves is currently the Administrative Assistant to the Executive Office at NIRSA