University of Vermont

The Honors College

Message from the Dean - April 2012

Abu Rizvi

UVM is abuzz with the news that the men's basketball team has earned its first NCAA tournament win since 2005. This follows on the heels of the Catamounts capturing the NCAA championship in skiing. Success in Division I sports may seem far away from the pursuit of academic quality. But at UVM, where varsity athletes have won six straight America East Academic Cups for academic performance, it's not surprising that star athletes are thriving in the Honors College. They're not only on the basketball team and skiing teams, but also compete in track and field, swimming, ice and field hockey, and other sports.

Honors College athletes include basketball forward Luke Apfeld, a junior English major, who starred in the win over Stony Brook that secured the America East Conference championship. Business major and Catamount guard Sandro Carissimo, a sophomore, stood out in the victory against Lamar that brought the team face-to-face against North Carolina in the next round. Brother and sister Caitlin and Scott Patterson are both pursuing engineering degrees. Scott, a sophomore, a Junior National Champion, was the Ski Racing magazine's 2010 "Male U.S. Junior Nordic Skier of the Year". Caitlin, a senior, was the same magazine's 2010 "Female U.S. Junior Nordic Skier of the Year." She is working with Prof. Britt Holmen on her honors thesis, "Calibration of a Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer and a Perspective on the Importance of Vehicle Emission Testing Procedures."

There are several reasons why Division I athletes can combine a rigorous training and game schedule with academic pursuits. Athletes have vaunted time-management skills: they almost must be efficient in time use to be successful and this efficiency has been honed over many years of balancing training with academics. Athletics at UVM also has required study times for varsity members. Moreover, the flexibility that priority registration allows solves many scheduling problems.

Nonetheless, you might suppose that a rigorous athletic schedule would detract from academic performance. Richard J. Light, author of Making the Most of College, found that engaging in co-curricular activities has little effect on grades (though the effect could be slightly negative for Division I athletes, something we haven't observed at UVM). He noted that co-curricular activities add substantially to student satisfaction and that varsity athletes were among the most satisfied students on campus. Thus it is quite possible to combine an honors education with varsity athletics and rewarding for students to do so.

Congratulations to our varsity athletes as they succeed in the classroom and on the field.

I hope you enjoy this issue of our newsletter. I look forward to hearing from you.

Last modified April 04 2012 02:08 PM