• Brileigh Boyce

Faculty reps to bridge athletics and academics gap


Andrew Carter, Minot State University athletic director, invited faculty members to be a greater part of athletics this year. Each team chose at least one faculty representative for the student-athletes.

Representatives include Heidi Super, professor of biology, men’s and women’s cross country and track and field; Tawnya Bernsdorf, instructor of business administration, soccer; Melissa Spelchen, assistant professor of criminal justice, and Terry Eckmann, professor of teacher education and human performance, football; Jay Wahland, assistant professor of accounting and finance, men’s basketball; Kristi Berg, associate professor of business information technology, women’s basketball; Scott Sigel, associate professor of foreign language, and Paul Lepp, professor of biology, wrestling; Stuart Kelly, professor of philosophy, baseball; Heather Golly, associate professor of athletic training education, softball; Naomi Windburn, instructor of chemistry, men’s golf; MariDon Sorum, instructor of special education, women’s golf; and Maria Buchholz-Kermann, assistant professor of criminal justice, volleyball.

At one of the home volleyball games, Buchholz-Kermann high-fived the players as they came off the court and onto the bench.

“It was such a different atmosphere,” Buchholz-Kermann said. “It (the game) was very fast paced, but after the first five minutes, I started to get the hang of it.”

Buchholz-Kermann was excited about the opportunity to become more involved in the athletic life of student-athletes.

“This is such a great idea and hopefully, as it progresses, we can help fundraise for the team and do other things,” Buchholz-Kermann said.

“We wanted to bridge the gap between athletics and academics,” Dana Cordova, head volleyball coach, said. “The school has gone through a hard time with budget cuts and stuff like that and I think it’s made a lot of animosity. A lot of times the academic world sees athletics as the spoiled member of the family, so this is a way for athletics and academics to get on the same page. I don’t think athletics does a very good job of knowing what goes on in the academic world, and I think academics can learn a lot from what the athletes go through on a daily basis.”

Buchholz-Kermann serves as a liaison between Minot State’s volleyball team and Minot State’s faculty. If there is an issue with a player in a class, Buchholz-Kermann could speak with that colleague to help solve the problem.

In return, the volleyball team plans to shadow Buchholz-Kermann in order to better understand what goes on during her day as a professor.

“I think the only way the university will continue to grow and really live up to its potential is when both sides come together to serve the purpose of the university,” Cordova said. “We can’t have animosity, and I think if we can get to the point where they see our side and we see their side and we’re able to move forward, it’ll be great.”

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