NIRSA’s Research Agenda identifies critical areas within collegiate recreation that could benefit from research. The agenda was first adopted in 2011 as a framework to support various goals within NIRSA’s Strategic Plan; namely, to increase the quantity and quality of research that supports the profession and to provide members with meaningful opportunities for scholarship, research, and professional development. Over the years, the agenda has been used to guide the selection of NIRSA Research Grant recipients, and in support of research by members through the Peer-to-Peer Projects program.

In 2016, the NIRSA Research & Assessment Committee was charged with revising the agenda and a work team with the following members was formed:

  • Austin Anderson, PhD, MPA Southern Indiana University
  • Anne Wilkinson, PhD, CRSS, Temple University
  • Sandi Carlisle, EdD, Northern Illinois University

Over the course of several months, the work team surfaced a list of potential agenda topics by reviewing journals from comparable associations as well as their respective research agendas (if present). Topic items were further delineated and presented to members during a roundtable discussion at the 2017 NIRSA Annual Conference. The discussion that followed was used by the full Research & Assessment Committee to develop the final research agenda that was adopted by the NIRSA Board of Directors in March 2017.

The most significant revision to the agenda is its intentional alignment with NIRSA’s Strategic Values and Core Competencies. Each agenda item is tied to one or more values or competencies, reflecting the Association’s intention to promote research in these areas. Such research could help inform best practices for using the competencies as a professional development model or inform the work of the various commissions and communities of practice that support NIRSA’s Strategic Values.

The purpose of the Research Agenda has grown over time to encompass a broader perspective regarding the significance of research in the collegiate recreation field. In looking forward, this perspective will better serve the needs of the Association and the profession.


  • For more information, please contact NIRSA Research Coordinator Ruben Guzman.
Assistant Professor of Kinesiology and Sport at University of Southern Indiana | NIRSA Profile

Austin Anderson is currently an Assistant Professor of Kinesiology and Sport at the University of Southern Indiana.