Dr. Wendy Windsor is Director of Campus Recreation at Tulane University. Wendy’s first professional position was in the role of Associate Director of Recreational Sports at Texas A&M University, Kingsville (TAMUK). Following her tenue at TAMUK, Wendy held positions at Middle Tennessee State University, Louisiana State University, UCLA, and now Tulane University. Wendy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, a Master of Education in Health & Human Performance, and a Doctor of Education in Sport Management.
An active member of NIRSA for over 16 years, Wendy currently serves as the Chair of Faculty for the NIRSA School of Collegiate Recreation (NSCR). Wendy has also served as Chair of the NCCS Standards and Soccer Work Team committees, Chair of the Student Professional Development committee, member of the Leadership and Sustainable Communities Commissions, and held memberships on the Nominations & Appointments, Sport Club Championships, and NIRSA Annual Conference Program committees. Regionally, Wendy has been an active member of regional conference planning committees, raising over $80k in sponsorships and donations, and envisioned and co-founded the Southeast Collegiate Soccer Alliance (Organization for Region II Club Soccer). Wendy also served as Tennessee State Director in 2007 & 2008, hosting the Tennessee State Workshop and several state and regional extramural sport tournaments. Wendy presents at the state, regional, and national level and served as the keynote speaker during the 2016 Region VI Student lead On.
On campus, Wendy has been of major advocate of holistic wellbeing, serving as co-chair for the Healthy Campus Initiative and spearheading the Tulane Healthy Campus Summit. In addition, Wendy has influenced the campus community by serving on key divisional committees including staff development, strategic planning, International Partners Outreach, Black Faculty & Staff Council, Homecoming, the Judicial Hearing Board, and campus diversity committees. Wendy has also been recognized for her outstanding commitment and work ethic, receiving New Employee of the Year awards at three institutions.
In her spare time, Wendy is a huge supporter of Women’s Intercollegiate Athletes, and considers herself a connoisseur of fantasy football. Wendy enjoys spending quality time with family and friends, and making others laugh.
How have you advocated collegiate recreation’s value in higher education?
My role in advocating collegiate recreation’s value in higher education is two-fold. First, I’ve been involved in championing integrated wellbeing on campus. As the leader of Campus Recreation, I’ve found opportunities for alignment with campus partners to support and further strengthen wellbeing and mental health efforts for our community. I redesigned our strategic priorities to focus wellbeing at the core of our mission. Instead of our sole purpose being on the physical, we now strive to establish a collaborative and interdependent environment where the Division of Student Affairs creates more holistic wellbeing opportunities. Specific examples have been my involvement on the Healthy Campus Initiative (HCI) Steering Committee at UCLA, chairing the MoveWell Pod, co-sponsoring the Happiness Challenge with Counseling (CAPS), supporting the WorkStrong program, serving on the planning committee for the Tulane Healthy Campus Summit, implementing the Exercise is Medicine program, and co-sponsoring the Jed foundation work for suicide prevention. My most recent collaboration was with Tulane’s Department of Human Resources to create the EHIP program (Employee Health Improvement Program), emphasizing the collective efforts to improve the wellbeing of all involved in higher education to include facility and staff.
Second, I am a leader and advocate of equity, diversity, and inclusion on campus. The work of the NIRSA EDI Commission has provided a fundamental framework to follow in establishing a culture of inclusivity in the workplace. My direct engagement and encouragement of my team to establish Unified Sports, implementing an EDI work team, participating in the NIRSA 21-Day Equity Challenge, and supporting the You Can Play Campaign are recent examples of our transformational efforts. My role is to now ensure the continuity and stability of such initiatives by emphasizing the importance of EDI in our department missions and core values, and dedicating resources accordingly. My vision is to continue to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment with specific emphasis on establishing more equitable opportunities for participation in our programming via scholarships or waivers for fee-based offerings.
In alignment with the NIRSA strategic plan, what are three priorities that you would identify and believe NIRSA should accomplish during your time on the board and why are these most important?
1. Our growing role and importance within Higher Education and focus on mental health:
It will be essential that NIRSA continue to strengthen and highlight its relationship with other major associations to include ACPA, ACUHO-I, NASPA, NACA, etc. to further establish respect and recognition as higher education professionals. Efforts should be made on continual member-based education to highlight the intentional intersection, terminology, and common language used by our higher education partners to: 1) Allow us to articulate and translate the work we do to combat mental health on a more global level, and 2) Allow others to recognize our impact on student success through our holistic wellbeing platform. By focusing on member education and cross-association involvement and positioning, NIRSA can help dictate our perception as educators on our campuses. Taking advantage of shared resources such as publications, research, and webinars can also support these efforts.
2. BIPOC support, recognition, and advocacy efforts:
In alignment with its EDI strategic priority, NIRSA must continue to be intentional and fluid in its BIPOC advocacy. The establishment of the caucus is a start, but to generate increased trust and respect of BIPOC members, NIRSA must provide consistent and transparent resources and support for the community. Through the work of the History & Legacy Task Force, it’s my hope that appropriate recognition of our BIPOC pioneers will begin to occur, allowing for enhanced understanding of NIRSA history and roots. However, a larger critical analysis must occur on current offerings and opportunities to discover the gaps or barriers present that prevent BIPOC involvement and advancement within the association. Are we offering accessible opportunities? Are we investing in the development of BIPOC students and professional members? Are we celebrating the success of BIPOC members? These questions, as well as many others, must be addressed by allocating resources or benchmarking efforts to capture the needs and concerns of NIRSA BIPOC members.
3. Resurgence of purpose and passion for collegiate recreation:
According to the NIRSA vision, we are the premier association of leaders in higher education who transform lives and inspire the development of healthy communities worldwide. As a result of both the COVID-19 pandemic and social justice movement, higher education—to include collegiate recreation—is not healthy. Many collegiate recreation professionals have been furloughed, laid off, or simply lost their “why.” Relying on our strategic value of service, NIRSA will need to give back to its members post COVID by providing the needed resources to redefine and rediscover our work. With the importance on networking and professional growth, opportunities will need to be created that generate unity, excitement, and purpose for the collegiate recreation field. More than ever, NIRSA will need to create the infrastructure to assist members with reestablishing their priorities around wellbeing for both themselves and respective programs or departments. The call for service will be outlining the new normal for collegiate recreation.
What attributes, experiences and knowledge could you contribute to the NIRSA Board of Directors that speak to the competency based requirements?
Experiences & Knowledge
As a NIRSA member in Regions II, IV, and VI, the diversity of opportunities, uniqueness and breadth of experiences, and extent of my professional network provides a well-rounded perspective to serve as my fundamental framework. Being actively engaged in each region allowed me to gain an understanding of the different challenges shared by members, providing a solid pulse of the industry at both a regional and national level. To be able to speak on behalf of NIRSA members will serve me well as NIRSA President.
Being employed at both public and private institutions, land grant and research-based institutions, rural and urban-based colleges, and universities ranging from 10,000-40,000 in student enrollment allows me to speak on the different priorities and objectives outlined throughout our industry.
Throughout my career, I have been intentional about selecting opportunities that highlight my strengths and talents. Some specific examples include:
Creativity, Vision, & Passion: As the NIRSA Region II Soccer Director, I transformed my love and passion for collegiate club soccer into a new governance structure that transitioned from a two-person crew to the Southeast Collegiate Soccer Alliance (SCSA), defined by state divisions led by emerging NIRSA leaders. In addition to hosting the regional tournament, the organization was responsible for regional communications, creating league schedules, producing weekly scores and results, and ensuring player eligibility & compliance. Since inauguration, the SCSA has sustained continual success, achieving status and recognition as a non-profit agency.
Decision Making & Instinct: As Chair of the NCCS Standards Committee, I led a work team charged with reviewing, assessing, and enforcing compliance and player guidelines, and approving status verification for student athletes involved in the NCCS Championship Series. During my tenure, I was responsible for researching and presenting to NIRSA Headquarters new standards and recommendations for NCCS participation. As chair, I was also responsible for articulating the facts and findings of each case and leading the group through dialogue until decisions were obtained. In addition, I relied on my instinct and expertise to make tough decisions within a limited timeframe when adjudicating on-site appeals during tournament play.
Persuasiveness/Woo: My ease of connectivity and social intelligence allows me to form genuine relationships with others. Within NIRSA, this has been best displayed through my network with external corporate partners and sponsors. From my time as Tennessee State Director and NIRSA regional extramural flag football and basketball tournament host, to serving as chair of sponsorships for the Region IV and VI conferences, I’ve individually solidified over $100k in sponsorship dollars throughout my career. This ability of establishing mutual respect with others has allowed me to position myself into roles of influence. This contribution could be essential as NIRSA works towards increased partnerships with higher education associations and other external agencies.
Throughout your career you have had to respond to adversity and challenging times. Please provide an example of growth and how you can draw upon that instance to successfully navigate your NIRSA Board experience.
While serving as a member of the NIRSA Nominations and Appointments Committee for Region II, I was charged with overseeing the Region II Member Network meeting where elections for the new Region II Vice President would occur. Afraid of disclosing my visual impairment out of fear of perceived weakness, I decided to not delegate or ask for assistance in reading the provided election script. In trying to read without revealing my disability, I failed miserably and struggled through the execution of the election process. Being hesitant to apply for even the Board of Directors until now, I’ve since learned that my talents outweigh any obstacles or perceived barriers my disability may bring, as I now look to share my story as a source of strength and inspiration. As NIRSA President, I would look to continue this resiliency and not let perceived setbacks divert me from our desired outcomes.