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.
Serving on NIRSA faculty team is a great way to contribute to the association, network with members, and learn. To learn about the School and faculty roles and responsibilities, check out the Faculty Guide. Applications are accepted annually. Visit the Get Involved area to get application information.
Ali Cross serves as the director of recreational sports and a member of the student affairs leadership team at Virginia Tech. In this capacity, she provides leadership to 38 full-time and 600+ part-time employees, two indoor recreational facilities, 20+ acres of outdoor recreation space and several recreational programs. She is committed to building positive relationships and teams, and strongly believes in the power of exercise for health, happiness, and cognitive function. She co-instructs the Human Nutrition Foods and Exercise skills course “Mindfulness and Movement” which uses the Koru Mindfulness practices and Chi Running principles to teach students a lifetime skill to promote well-being.
Ali has also served on several committees, task forces and work teams including: Keystone Advisory Committee to build a co-curricular experience for Virginia Tech students, Co-convener for the director’s leadership circle to build community amongst the division of student affairs’ director cohort, member of the Task for for a Healthier Virginia Tech community. Some of her favorite achievements were serving as the race director for the 3.2 Run in Remembrance and launching the How of Happiness support group. She is a facilitator for Discovery Learning, Inc Change Style Indicator and for Gallup’s StrengthsQuest.
Originally from Mobile, Alabama, Ali earned her bachelor’s degree in Sports Medicine at the University of Southern Mississippi. 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. With VT Recreational Sports, Ali served as a graduate assistant, fitness coordinator, assistant director for fitness and wellness, associate director for programs and now the director.
She attended her first NIRSA national conference in 1998 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and has been an engaged member of the association since then. She attended the NIRSA Level 1 school in 2003, and Level 2 in 2008. She is passionate about the development opportunity the NIRSA School of Collegiate Recreation provides to professionals in campus recreation which is why she is honored to be a member of the faculty team.
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!
Christie Stewart currently serves as a member of the Applied Physiology faculty in the School of Biological Sciences at Georgia Tech. She is the co-coordinator of the required health and wellness course and teaches within the program. Prior to moving into her faculty role at Georgia Tech, Christie was the Associate Director for Healthy Lifestyle Programs at the Georgia Tech Campus Recreation Center, responsible for GIT FIT, intramurals, sport clubs, and outdoor recreation programs. She 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.
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 third 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.
Chad has worked in collegiate recreation for the past 15 years. Chad has served in the Campus Recreation Departments at the University of Maryland, University of North Carolina Asheville, University of Central Florida, and presently serves as a Director of Sun Devil Fitness & Student Activities and Conference Services at Arizona State University.
In his current role, he provides leadership, management, and direction for all recreational facilities, inclusive programming, student staff development, and outdoor adventure programs at all Arizona State University Campuses and provides direct leadership for Sun Devil Fitness and Conference Services at the West Campus. Chad has also served as an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University, the University of Central Florida, and the University of North Carolina-Asheville. He earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration and Leisure Sport Management from Elon University, as well as an M.S. in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management from Clemson University.
Currently serves as Director of Campus Recreation at Elon University. Larry has fourteen years of professional experience in collegiate recreation, including seven years of classroom teaching experience at Towson University and the University of Vermont.
A NIRSA member since 1999, he has presented at several state, regional, and national conferences and has served on a variety of NIRSA committees. Larry is also a StrengthsQuest facilitator and has led more than 25 Strengths sessions over the last five years, including the 2016 J. Michael Dunn Student Professional Development Preconference Workshop.