An opportunity to foster well-being: Envisioning an administrator’s role

The administration took a positive step toward addressing the unique needs of student-athletes with the recent hiring of Carolyn Miles as coordinator of student-athlete well-being and physical education. Filling the vacancy in the athletics department with an individual who has a background in student well-being and nutrition is a good initial move toward addressing the increasing need for a greater focus on issues that plague student-athlete well-being on campus. In addition, Miles has the opportunity to concentrate on the well-being of the entire student body through her involvement in the broader physical education program, an opportunity which we hope she will take advantage of.

Miles will perform a critical function with regard to the well-being of student-athletes by serving as a liaison between athletes, the Health Center, the deans’ office and other resources on campus. To successfully accomplish this, Miles should meet with team members, team captains and coaches in order to understand the Williams community and the specific needs of student-athletes here. While coaches and captains have the most intimate knowledge of the issues that their teams and athletes face, Miles has the ability to pull together resources from coaches, the Health Center, the nutritionist, the Student Athletics Advisory Committee and the athletics department as a whole to keep athletes informed about their well-being, nutrition and safety. Establishing a genuine relationship with student-athletes will be critical to Miles’s success in her position, and we hope that she will work to establish a relationship with student-athletes that is less formal and more hands-on than the typical administrator-athlete interaction. She has already expressed interest in this initiative, and we hope that the College and the athletics department aid her in making this adjustment as quickly as possible.

Further, as coordinator of physical education, Miles has the opportunity to enhance the well-being of students on campus more broadly. While the well-being of student-athletes has received considerable attention on campus, the physical education program serves as an opportunity for all students to learn about fitness and well-being. The creation of this new position opens doors for improving the well-being of non-athletes by helping them design fitness plans, make informed decisions about nutrition and critically evaluate their own well-being, among many other opportunities.

Miles’s new position provides an ideal opportunity for the College to address the well-being of all students on campus. While her current position is not precisely formulated, the athletics department has the ability to develop the position to address concerns about health and well-being, and Miles’s background in student well-being serves as a promising beginning for such development.