2016 NIRSA School of Collegiate Recreation — Level I
presented by Life Fitness

May 22-26, 2016 • Grapevine, Texas

About The School

The interactive NIRSA School of Collegiate Recreation, presented by Life Fitness, provides a broad range of material designed to enhance a new professional’s management and problem-solving skills.

Experienced recreational sports faculty members have developed the course curriculum, designed the program schedule, and will lead sessions that provide participants with opportunities to practice, discuss, and refine the professional skills necessary for success.

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Registration for The School is $695

Please email us at education@nirsa.org to get on the waitlist.

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The Faculty: Learn from the Pros

The Faculty of NIRSA’s School of Collegiate Recreation boasts decades of collective experience in managing campus recreation programs.

Each faculty member’s background and institutional affiliations offers a unique perspective on the profession’s challenges and trends.

Faculty members are selected by the current faculty chair, and approved by the NIRSA Board of Directors. In order to offer a dynamic mix of perspectives and experiences to the faculty, two faculty members are selected annually to serve three-year terms.

Applications are currently being accepted for The School of Collegiate Recreation faculty members and are due by January 15, 2016. Learn more about the qualifications and apply by downloading the application.

Todd started his undergraduate career wanting to work at Disney World. Then he discovered the Outdoor Program at Illinois State University and spent the four years after finishing his commercial recreation degree working in outdoor recreation. When Todd returned to school at Southern Illinois University, it was for a master’s degree in recreation resource administration. Ten years later, he once again returned to the classroom for a Certificate in Adult Education and Organizational Structure at Portland State University.

Prior to leaving for his undergraduate internship, he was asked by a would-be mentor, “What do you want to do after graduating?” Todd’s reply—“A job like yours”—was met with a surprisingly flippant, and not all that encouraging, response. But that exchange did lead to a campus-based career at five universities building programs, facilities, and departments. Todd has been a student employee at three recreation centers, the coordinator of two Outdoor Programs—at James Madison University and at Portland State—and the Associate Director of Operations and Student Development at Portland State.

Active in NIRSA for the last five years, Todd has presented at the NIRSA Annual Conference four times and served on the NIRSA Assembly for two years. During his tenure in outdoor recreation, he was on the Board of Directors for the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE) where he served as the vice president for two years. His co-authored chapter on the “Dimensions of Outdoor Recreation Programs” is included in Human Kinetics’ Essentials for the Professional – Outdoor Program Administration: Principles and Practices.

After 26 years in recreation, Todd’s best learning possibly happened while working in a chemical dependency treatment center where he taught people how to trust and live life with others again. Or it may have happened as a kid working in the family construction business and taking on more responsibilities than would be considered appropriate today. It is also possible it took place during his years as a professional kayaker teaching people to master their boat and enjoy the outdoors. Of course, as he is well aware, it could also happen tomorrow!

Alison Cross—known as Ali—is the Interim Director at the Virginia Tech Department of Recreational Sports, a department that provides extensive exercise options for the “2015 Fittest College in America” as named by Active Times. After growing up in Alabama, Ali began her career in fitness and recreation at the University of Southern Mississippi while earning a bachelor’s degree in sports medicine. She has since spent the latter half of her life in Blacksburg, Virginia as a Hokie; she earned her master’s degree in clinical exercise physiology with the Human Nutrition Foods and Exercise Department at Virginia Tech. Her latest achievement is being selected as a faculty member for NIRSA’s School of Collegiate Recreation. She is committed to building positive relationships and teams, and strongly believes in the power of exercise for health, happiness, and cognitive function.


Yvette Kell, known as Vetty, is the Director Campus Recreation at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. She began her career in collegiate recreation as an undergraduate intramural official at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She then did her graduate work at Sam Houston State University as an intramural graduate assistant, receiving her Master of Arts in kinesiology. Her first professional position was as the Coordinator of Fitness and Aquatics at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. From there she went on to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to serve as the Assistant Director of Facility Operations. She was later promoted to Director.

Yvette took a year off from her work in collegiate recreation in 2010 to pursue a lifelong dream to live abroad. She spent a year outside Seoul, South Korea teaching English to high school freshman and sophomores. She returned to the United States in 2011 to act as the Director of Campus Recreation at Morehead State University, and most recently moved to St. Louis, Missouri to serve as the Director of Campus Recreation for Centers, LLC at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Yvette has been a member of NIRSA since 1995, served on numerous committees, attended a number of conferences, been a part of extramural tournaments, and genuinely loves being a part of the NIRSaA community. She is very excited to be a part of the NIRSA School of Collegiate Recreation faculty!

Chris Morris is currently in his third year at Florida State University where he serves as the Director of Campus Recreation. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Alabama—where he double-majored in history and political science—and he attended graduate school at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas where he received a master’s degree in sports management and served as a graduate assistant in intramural sports.

After graduate school, Chris was able to match his energy and excitement for student development with his first professional position; he served as the Assistant Director for Intramural & Club Sports at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio at a time when the entire department was in the midst of a shift to a more student-centered leadership model. Chris spent almost a decade at Ohio University, progressing to become the Director of Intramural & Club Sports and an associate director. His next professional chapter was a unique one since he was able to transition into the world of finance—but with a decidedly collegiate twist.

Chris was hired by American Home Bank—now Bank of America—as a vice president in the Business Innovation Group to lead a partnership between Collegiate Financial Services and NACDA—the NIRSA of collegiate athletics. This joint venture was designed to be an all-inclusive relocation program for coaches and administrators transitioning from one institution to another and included financial planning, retirement services, housing services, etc. Tired of the bottom-line driven approach of the finance world, it was during the Austin, Texas NIRSA Annual Conference that Chris decided to make the jump back to collegiate recreation. He was hired by North Carolina State University in 2008, where he served as the Director of Campus Recreation for three years prior to moving to the Sunshine State.

Throughout his career, Chris has been an active and engaged NIRSA member who has been honored with multiple Horace Moody and National Service Awards. He has served on numerous committees—including many NIRSA Conference Program and Pre-Conference Development committees—and chaired the Flag & Touch Football Rules Committee. His involvement with the Association began as an undergraduate student official and as an evaluator for officials at NIRSA regional and national events. This eventually led to his serving on the tournament administrative staff at dozens of extramural tournaments and events as well as to his hosting four state or regional conferences, four regional tournaments, and five national tournaments.

Chris is very passionate about student development and about intentionally-designing opportunities for all members of a university community to “find what moves them” in the wide variety of opportunities that we facilitate as collegiate recreation professionals.


Christie Stewart is the Associate Director for Healthy Lifestyle Programs at Georgia Tech, and is responsible for GIT FIT, intramurals, sport clubs, and outdoor recreation programs. She has been a member of the campus recreation staff for seven and a half years, and is passionate about infusing health and wellness into the campus community as well as providing student development opportunities within collegiate recreation to improve the profession.

Christie received a Bachelor of Science in movement science from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Education in clinical exercise physiology from the University of Georgia. Most recently, she received her doctorate in educational leadership from Mercer University.
Prior to coming to Georgia Tech, she worked as the Assistant Manager for Corporate Sports Unlimited managing corporate fitness programs in the Atlanta area.

She began her tenure at Georgia Tech as the Assistant Director of Fitness before moving into the Associate Director position. Christie’s areas of interest includes engaging students, faculty, and staff in healthy lifestyle habits on campus and serving as the co-chair of Georgia Tech’s campus health coalition. She is also engaged in student development at Georgia Tech, serving as the lead within the recreation department for student leadership development.

Christie has been involved in NIRSA throughout her career, serving on the Fitness Institute Program and Fitness Committees. She has also presented at numerous state, regional, and national conferences. This is Christie’s first year as part of the NIRSA School of Collegiate Recreation’s faculty.

Jill Sturts received her undergraduate degree in physical education and sports management from Baldwin-Wallace College—now known as Baldwin-Wallace University—and her master’s degree in sport administration from Bowling Green State University. Her first position following graduate school was at Ashland University in Ohio where she served as the Assistant Director of Programs. Jill then decided to go back to school to pursue a PhD with a concentration in recreational sports at Indiana University. In addition to her course load, she taught and conducted research as she worked towards her doctorate. She is currently a visiting lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies at Indiana University. In addition to her course load, she taught and conducted research as she earned her doctorate. She served as visiting lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies at Indiana University. Jill is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at Virginia Wesleyan College.

Jill has made multiple presentations at the state, regional, and national levels. She publishes regularly in areas of pedagogy, physical activity, and recreational sport, and is a member of the editorial board for the Recreational Sports Journal. She has been a recipient of NIRSA’s William N. Wasson Student Leadership and Academic Award, an Indiana Recreational Sports Association scholarship, and an Ohio Recreational Sports Association scholarship. Jill is committed to student development, designing intentional learning environments, and connecting research to practice.



Fees Early Bird Regular Onsite
Professional from a Member Institution $999 $999 $999
Professional from a Nonmember Institution $999 $999 $999
Student Member from a Member Institution $999 $999 $999
Student from a Nonmember Institution $999 $999 $999
Retired/Emeritus Member $999 $999 $999
Associate Nonmember-Not Exhibiting $999 $999 $999
One Day Registration (members only):
Professional Member $999 $999  $999
Student Member $999 $999  $999
Associate Member $999 $999  $999

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Schedule of Events

*Subject to change. Attendance at all sessions is required. Please note that a considerable amount of group work takes place outside of this schedule and typically occurs in the evenings after sessions have ended.

6:30pm – 7:00pm School Check-In

7:00pm – 8:30pm Opening Session and Network Group Connections

8:45am – 12:15pm Sessions

12:15pm – 1:15pm Lunch (provided)

1:15pm – 1:45pm Break

1:45pm – 5:00pm Sessions

6:30pm – 8:30pm School Social (light appetizers provided)

8:45am – Noon Sessions

Noon – 1:00pm Lunch (provided)

1:00pm – 1:30pm Break

1:30pm – 5:00pm Sessions

8:45am – Noon Sessions

Noon – 1:00pm Lunch (provided)

1:00pm – 10:00pm Network Group Case Study Work

8:45am – Noon Network Group Case Study Presentations

Noon – 1:00pm Lunch (provided)

1:00pm – 10:00pm Network Group Case Study Presentations

4:00pm – 5:00pm Closing Session

6:30pm – 8:30pm Banquet and Recognition Ceremony (dinner provided)

TownePlace Suites Dallas DFW Airport North/Grapevine


$179/night + tax


Attendees can make reservations by calling 1-817-421-6121 and requesting the NIRSA rate, or by using the NIRSA Reservations link. Reservations need to be made no later than Friday, May 6th to confirm the discounted group rate. Roommate matching will become available with the opening of registration.

Area Airport

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport – DFW

Airport Phone: +1 972 973 3112

Hotel direction: 3.8 miles N

    • Airport shuttle service, on request, complimentary
      Shuttle Phone: 1-817-421-6121
    • Estimated taxi fare: $35 USD  (one way)

Click here for additional transportation information.

About The School Level I

The School of Collegiate Recreation is where campus rec pros acquire tools and connections they need to advance their careers. It’s offered as Level I and Level II tiers.

The Level I experience is designed for recreation professionals with one-to-five years of full-time work experience. The full-time experience does not need to be in recreational sports.

Those who have more experience in the field may attend, but must understand that the sessions are geared to their less-experienced colleagues.

For more information, contact NIRSA Director of Professional Development, Kristen Gleason.

Interested in sponsorship opportunities? Email Heidi Cleary to discuss options. Call 541-766-8211.
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