Project Description

NIRSA Elections
NIRSA Elections

Candidate for Region V Regional Representative

Cody Mikl
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Biography/Summary Resume

Cody has been Assistant Director of Facilities at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities since 2013. He has been employed in collegiate recreation since working front line positions as a sophomore in 2003. During this time, the Recreation and Wellness Department experienced a period of great growth. Cody was active in opening an artificial turf/dome facility in 2012, a $60 million facility expansion in 2013, and moving the turf/dome facility in 2017. In 2009 Cody served on a stadium advisory committee that successfully advocated for regular recreational student use of the new TCF Bank Football Stadium. He has done a lot of work locally with the Department Advisory Board, multiple University Senate Committees including Finance and Planning, Educational Policy, and Student Affairs, and served as Chair of the Student Representatives to the Board of Regents.

Cody earned his undergraduate (2006) and master’s (2008) degrees from the University of Minnesota and is currently near completion for a PhD. Cody has spent over 50 hours in workshops and dialogue circles to receive basic and advanced equity and diversity certificates. He strives to be an effective ally and help create equity for students on campus by recognizing and removing bias, exclusion, and barriers.

During his career, Cody has been highly involved with NIRSA at the regional and national levels by serving as a state student representative, helping host multiple conferences, and serving on the National Campus Championship Series Assessment Committee, Assessment Committee, Facilities Committee, and Nominations and Appointments Committee. He is also a School of Recreational Sports Management Level I and II graduate. He has presented at the NIRSA Big Ten Conference and National Conference.

Cody lives in Minneapolis, MN with his wife of twelve years Mollie, and two-year-old son Dev. He loves to run and any activity that gets the adrenaline pumping.

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?

Collegiate recreation is unique within higher education because of its broad and positive impact on the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of students. Our offerings have far-reaching appeal, and roughly 75 percent of students interact with collegiate recreation. This impact and appeal coupled with our resources and expertise create a tremendous opportunity to partner with other units on our campuses such as counseling, international, or disability services for even greater impact. NIRSA’s facility reports show that, like my campus, many collegiate recreation departments are emerging from a season of construction and expansion. As departments are able to turn their attentions from facility design and construction, we must elevate our quality of service to match those significant investments. We still have room for growth to serve even more of our campuses. Every single member of our communities should benefit from what we have to offer. We have to be persistent and creative about identifying and removing barriers so everyone feels welcome.

NIRSA as a national association plays an important role to handle the broader responsibilities of advancing our profession which no single member or institution can do on its own. Examples of this include endorsing the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity in signing the Vision for a Healthier America and the Personal Health Investment Today Act. We should continue to expand our partnerships with organizations of complementary expertise such as ACHA, ACPA, and NASPA around shared interests. Examples of those collaborations include endorsing the “Health and Wellbeing in Higher Education: A Commitment to Student Success” statement and the Okanagan Charter. NIRSA is doing a wide array of work and I want to help our membership increase its awareness so it can contribute to and benefit from those efforts.

Education and sharing best practices will always be a core function of this association and makes our membership stronger. The development of core competencies was a great step for NIRSA to provide structure around the knowledge, skills and abilities that are critical in campus recreation. The basic, intermediate, and advanced levels for each of the eight core competencies provides a very useful framework for developing staff into the best practitioners they can be. We must remain responsive to our evolving environment and continue to look for ways to improve the effectiveness of our profession.

As your Region V Representative, I commit to exerting the energy necessary to serve you well. I will frequently push and pull information and ideas from our region members and state professional and student representatives. I will build strong relationships with the Member Network team through continual communication, meeting at the national conference, summer leadership meeting, and monthly meetings throughout the two year term. I will work very closely with the Region V student representative and learn as much as possible from the incumbent Region II, IV, and VI representatives. The Member Network will have momentum for work they would like to complete and I’m excited for the new ideas to come.

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 feel a debt of gratitude to this association for how it has helped me develop into a better professional, and I am compelled to help advance it into the future. My NIRSA involvement began in 2005 through attending a Lead On at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I began to see the value of our field and deepen my appreciation for the significance of our work. As a graduate student I was very honored, encouraged, and motivated by receiving the William Wasson Student Leadership and Academics award. My experiences as a student have led me to advocate for opportunities for students to get involved. I led a group of students to the Lead On in Omaha in 2008 and South Dakota State in 2010, and played a large role in hosting the 2009 Lead On in Minneapolis.

I am a graduate of the NIRSA School of Management Level I and II. The continuing education I received from those events has been invaluable, and I formed many important friendships with the colleagues I met there. I have served extensively in a variety of roles within NIRSA including the State Student Representative, National Campus Championship Series Assessment Work Team, Facilities Committee, Research and Assessment Committee, and Nominations and Appointments Committee. I have also attended and helped host many NIRSA events at the local, regional, and national levels including two Facilities Institutes, four Big Ten Conferences, and eight national conferences. I have presented at the Big Ten Conference, shared my master’s research through a poster presentation at the national conference, and presented at the national conference. I highly value the free exchange of ideas and information within our association and I see a major role for the regional representative as being a catalyst for creating opportunities to connect and share.

My involvement with NIRSA has given me an understanding and appreciation for what the association accomplishes. My experiences have prepared me to know how to continue the work, serve Region V, and keep this association moving forward. I have built many relationships within the association which are important to facilitate communication and collaboration. I have served in campus governance writing resolutions, reports, and have presented to the Board of Regents. Those experiences have helped me better represent the views and interests of others and influence decision making on an executive level.

Please share your ideas for engaging volunteers and identifying leaders in your region.

If given the opportunity to serve Region V, I would commit my term to diligent communication and doing what it takes to support improving campus recreation at our institutions. My enduring positive attitude will be an asset as the Region V Representative because enthusiasm is contagious and creates a culture of engagement. Region V is large in terms of land area but also lowest in population. Therefore, what we lack in proximity we must make up for in communication. I believe we can be even more proactive with planning and marketing our events and opportunities to increase their quality and participation among the great institutions, professionals, and students in our region. The Region V page on the NIRSA website, monthly Region V Newsletter, and NIRSA Connect are great methods for communication. We already have a set rhythm for hosting regional and state conferences but I believe we can improve on identifying sites and dates sooner to improve engagement. I would also like to create systems of communication that will help future representatives such as a list serve and database of institutions in our region, recreation departments, and staff contacts. Many smaller institutions do not keep up a NIRSA institutional membership and miss a lot of communication from the association as a result. Maintaining a database will help us continue to reach out to those colleagues and find ways for them to participate. Making time for persistent communication and proactive planning can be tough on a day to day basis, but knowing the importance of these activities can serve as the motivation to follow through.

Region V also has an incredible legacy of experienced professionals who have graciously served NIRSA at the highest levels and are a great resource. State representatives and state student leaders are also important network assets as potential future leaders. Those positions keep our region productive and communicating effectively about opportunities for engagement. The students in our region are also immensely capable and they consistently exceed expectations. Our region must continually identify, recruit, and encourage leaders into the various elected and volunteer opportunities within the association. As members show interest we have to find ways to capitalize on that energy and engage in further involvement. I also want to be creative about forming sustainable recurring structures and practices to continually accomplish the various position responsibilities. As your representative, it is essential to set others up for success and that will be a strong focus of mine, so serving our association is less daunting. There is no shortage of volunteer and leadership opportunities within NIRSA for commissions, committees, work teams, and hosting events so we should be encouraging all members who show the ability and interest.

NIRSA Elections: Cody Mikl