Craig Decker, RCRSP2017-12-14T19:14:28+00:00

Project Description

NIRSA Elections
NIRSA Elections

Candidate for Region II Regional Representative

Craig Decker, RCRSP
West Virginia University

Biography/Summary Resume

Craig got his start in campus recreation as a student employee at Indiana University. Craig has been a member of Region II since 2006 when he became a Graduate Assistant at the University of Florida. Through his next four professional positions he has over a decade of experience in the best region within NIRSA!

Currently Craig serves as the Associate Director at West Virginia University. Working at WVU comes after stops at Florida Atlantic University, the University of Florida, and the University of Virginia. Through his different roles he has had responsibilities for daily facility and technology operations, facility maintenance projects, business administration, and has overseen undergrad, graduate, and professional staff. He has served as the State Director from both West Virginia and Florida and presented at national and regional Conferences. Craig is also a graduate of the 2013 School of Recreational Sports Management, Level I.

Through serving on various department, divisional, and university committees he has strived to be a reliable team member making mission-driving decisions. An avid coffee drinker, he promotes Starbucks’ “Third Place” philosophy and the fact that campus recreation programs and facilities can be the “Third Place” for students. With this mindset, he attempts to provide the best experience he can for students and the WVU community.

When he’s not in the office, Craig likes to enjoy outdoor opportunities in and around Morgantown, read, and be at home with his wife Rachel and their dog Blake.

What do you see as opportunities in collegiate recreation and our Association? How would you collaborate with the Member Network team to address these issues?

As campus recreation professionals, we all encounter a different set of circumstances on our campuses and the Association’s role is to help equip the members with the skills and resources to be productive professionals on our campuses. As the Region II Regional Representative, I would strive to ensure NIRSA serves the membership through all the avenues at our disposal. I would like to focus this answer on three opportunities I believe will have an impact on our future: financial management, sustainable programming, and ongoing education.

As most of us know, the funding levels at our institutions are changing. Potentially, we are experiencing budget cuts and budget freezes, paired with the focus on finding opportunities for revenue generation. We all got into this field for different reasons, and I bet budgeting was not high on that list. We need to ensure our membership is prepared to deal with the changing landscape of higher education funding. How do we stay relevant in the campus environment? How do we balance our student focus missions with generating revenue to alleviate the burden on student fees?

Through the lens of shrinking budgets, we have had to focus on programming initiatives. How are we being stewards of our positions and focusing our programming on being mission-driven and impactful? Our field needs to continue the work of assessment started by our colleagues. We need to analyze and use the feedback received to ensure we are telling our story and creating sustainable programs and services. We need to ensure our focus is on our impact on the health and wellbeing of our campuses. By ensuring our programming is done in a responsible way we can ensure we are setting ourselves up for success in the long term.

Ongoing education is important because our Association needs the membership to be well informed and to challenge our current level of understanding. To live up to NIRSA’s mission of being leaders in higher education, we need to make sure our educational opportunities are providing the foundation to advance development for all. We need to continuously cultivate the skills necessary to produce at a very high level in a very competitive environment. The acquisition of these skills need to be fostered in the right incubator focusing on becoming conscientious business enterprises.

As the Region II Representative I would strive to create a positive environment within the Member Network. As a team, we would work to tackle the opportunities outlined above. I would like to continue the work being done to ensure we are financially stable as a region. The committees put in place by current leadership are going to be a great way to ensure we are being good stewards of our resources and planning for the recruitment of future support. To accomplish one’s goals, a leader needs to enlist the assistance of a very high functioning and valuable team. The team will need to respond to the issues and serve our constituents who voted us into the positions of leadership. I look forward to partnering with the Member Network and the membership of Region II.

In describing your contributions to NIRSA, identify how your involvement and experiences meet the position criteria and qualify you to serve NIRSA in this role.

I am currently serving as the State Director for West Virginia. This is my second opportunity to serve as a State Director and the second state I have been fortunate enough to serve. Through my experience serving as the State of Florida Director from 2012–2014 and now, I have had an opportunity to work with a team to advance the Association on a local level. These opportunities have been a wonderful experience, affording me the opportunity to create many relationships. As a state director, I have had the opportunity to co-host and plan a handful of state workshops. The success of these conferences helps to ensure the educational and networking opportunity is not lost to anyone in our state. In addition to those experiences and serving on NIRSA and extramural committees, I have had the chance to lead with a team and accomplish the goals set forth. Through the School of Recreational Sports Management, I could see the impact great educational leadership can have in one’s professional development. Also, I saw the high-quality professionals in our field and the importance of good representation to our future colleagues. I have valued these experiences and feel they have prepared me well to serve the region’s membership.

Please share your ideas for cultivating leaders in your region.

My idea for cultivating leaders in our region centers on having energy, staying focused, and being supportive. We need to have the energy level to show how captivating our field is to encourage future leaders to accomplish all we set out to do. We need to ensure meetings and events are focused on specific topics to ensure engagement through the process. Our focus needs to bring results to the specific tasks so individuals see work being accomplished. To show our support, we need to continue the work of previous leaders to ensure newcomers are learning how to navigate the field and while they are attending their first conference. To foster the engagement we are looking for, we need to make sure individuals feel welcomed and are not lost while attending conferences and events. Additionally, our support needs to be through our fiscal resources to ensure the idea of being involved is not only an option for the well-funded. Utilizing scholarships, we can make sure we are cultivating all potential leaders and removing any hurdles that might be present

NIRSA Elections: Craig Decker, RCRSP