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Cara McFadden named NIRSA president-elect

Beginning May 1, the associate professor of sport management will oversee the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association, widely considered the leading resource for professional and student development, education and research in collegiate recreational sports.

With nearly two decades of experience as a collegiate recreation professional, Associate Professor Cara McFadden adds a new role later this spring: president of the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association, more commonly known as NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation. With a membership of more than 4,500 individuals, the association offers professional development, educational workshops and networking opportunities to those active in the collegiate recreation profession.

Associate Professor Cara McFadden

Following a vote by NIRSA members and the organization’s board of directors, McFadden was named president-elect in a Feb. 5 news release. Her term begins May 1.

“I am excited and humbled to serve our association as NIRSA’s president-elect and to be a member of our board of directors for the next few years once my appointment begins in May,” McFadden said. “Our organization is truly one that models the importance of collaborative partnerships with the goal of creating healthy communities worldwide.”

McFadden has been actively involved in NIRSA for 18 years, serving the association in various leadership positions. She has served as a member of the organization’s Assembly, member for the Research and Assessment Committee, faculty for the National School of Collegiate Recreation, and co-chair for the Leadership Commission.

In 2017, McFadden and her frequent collaborator, Don Stenta, were presented NIRSA’s Annual Service Award for their leadership as co-editors of the “Student Leadership Development through Recreation and Athletics” sourcebook. Her past efforts also include organizing four days' worth of programming for the 2016 NIRSA Annual Conference & Recreational Sports Expo. More than 2,500 individuals attended the event in Kissimmee, Florida.

“We have an opportunity to thrive as an association by engaging in action on our campuses, our communities and the world,” McFadden added. “We will accomplish this by living out our strategic values: Leadership, Health & Wellbeing, Service, Sustainable Communities, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, and Global Perspective.

“I believe our role and responsibility is to pay attention to the diverse higher education and institutional goals while being an integral part of the contemporary university environment. We will cultivate timely and accessible learning opportunities for our members, partners in higher education and others outside the walls of campus recreation through substance, reach and relevancy.”

As part of her application for the presidential position, McFadden outlined a number of her aspirations, objectives and goals.

A regular presenter at professional conferences, McFadden has lectured and shared research on topics relating to leadership, college student development, assessment, student engagement, and survey development and validation methods.

On campus, McFadden is the adviser for the Sport Management & Media Living Learning Community on Sloan Hall’s second floor.


Since its founding in 1950, NIRSA membership has grown to comprise nearly 4,500 dedicated professionals, students and businesses, serving an estimated 8.1 million students. NIRSA bills itself as a leader in higher education and the advocate for the advancement of recreation, sport and wellbeing. For more information, visit https://nirsa.net/nirsa/.

Tommy Kopetskie,
2/7/2019 4:10 PM