Cara McFadden organizes programming, presents at NIRSA conference

The assistant professor of sport and event management played a prominent role in the collegiate recreational sports organization’s April conference, serving as program chair and facilitating five presentations and workshops.

During the closing session of the 2016 NIRSA Annual Conference & Recreational Sports Expo, Assistant Professor Cara McFadden (center) was recognized for her outstanding service as the event’s program chair. Also pictured are NIRSA President Stan Shingles (left), assistant vice president at Central Michigan University, and Demond Pryor, director of campus recreation at the University of Toledo. Pryor will serve as program chair for the 2017 conference.
Cara McFadden, an assistant professor in Elon University’s Department of Sport and Event Management, organized four days’ worth of programming for the 2016 NIRSA Annual Conference & Recreational Sports Expo

As program chair for the 2016 conference, McFadden coordinated the event’s education sessions, collaborating with the local conference host committee, NIRSA board of directors, NIRSA headquarters staff, and other involved stakeholder groups. In all, more than 2,500 individuals attended the event held on April 3-6 in Kissimmee, Florida.

During the conference’s closing session, she was recognized for her outstanding service and was presented a plaque from NIRSA President Stan Shingles, assistant vice president at Central Michigan University.

In addition to her leadership role, McFadden led or co-led five presentations and workshops regarding research and professional development. McFadden’s presentations included:

  • “Women Leading Women” – A pre-conference workshop for women co-presented with Mila Padgett of University of South Carolina Aiken
    This workshop provided women with the opportunity to connect with other leading women in NIRSA to learn strategies for developing confidence, self-renewal and reinvention.
  • “New Directions: Student Leadership in Collegiate Recreation”
    This session offered an overview of a published New Directions in Student Leadership volume focused on student leadership in collegiate recreation. The presentation highlighted leadership development models and recent research reports linking recreation programming with the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership (MSL).
  • “How Higher Education Administrators Perceive the Role of Club Sports in Recruiting and Retaining Male Students” – Co-presented with Tony Weaver, associate professor and department chair of the Sport and Event Management Department, Elon University
    In this session, McFadden and Weaver discussed the honors thesis research of Drew Forte ’15, highlighting the Elon graduate’s study that illustrated how club sports are used at institutions to recruit and retain male students. Weaver served as Forte’s mentor and McFadden participated on the thesis committee.
  • “50 Years of College Student Leadership Development: A Conversation with Susan R. Komives” – Co-led a discussion highlighting Susan Komives with Stacey Hall of University of New Hampshire
    In this session, McFadden and Hall interviewed Komives, a leading scholar in student leadership development, about her nearly 50 years spent advancing student leadership.
  • “A Practical Approach to the Collegiate Recreation Student Employee as Student Leader” – Co-presented with Julia Wallace Carr of James Madison University
    This session focused on promoting student leadership development in collegiate recreation work environments, and the presenters shared information on moving theory into practice.

McFadden participated in a session highlighting Susan R. Komives (right), a leading scholar in student leadership development and author of several books highlighting leadership. Komives is professor emerita of student affairs at the University of Maryland.
Abigail Dalton ’17, a sport and event management major, also had a research poster accepted at the conference. It was titled “Case Study Analysis of a First-Year Summer Experience.”

McFadden has been actively involved in NIRSA for more than 15 years, presenting and serving the association in various leadership positions. Previously, she has served as a member of the organization’s Assembly, committee member for the Research and Assessment Committee, faculty for the National School of Collegiate Recreation, and co-chair for the Leadership Commission.

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