‘Life in the Balance’
Drew Bogner, Ph.D. graduated from Kansas Newman College in 1979, returned to Newman as a faculty member in 1987, and served as provost from 1991 to 2000. He is now president of Molloy College in Rockville Centre, N.Y., and has served as chair of the NCAA Division II Presidents Council since 2009.
In the interview that follows, Bogner speaks on the rationale and value of the DII “Life in the Balance” initiative, and his role in its creation.
Q: How did the Life in the Balance initiative come about?
A: We, as the presidents of DII schools, met to discuss what makes DII distinctive from DI or DIII. From that emerged the Strategic Platform (see page 6) and the knowledge that what separates us from other divisions is balance. We want our students to maintain a balance between athletic, academic and rich collegiate experiences, which can include participation in campus clubs or community service. We talked about those ideas, then referred it to legislative committees to define the specifics of Life in the Balance, and from that we developed this program.
Q: What role did you play in that process?
A: I was part of the discussion about Life in the Balance, and met with the constituent groups within DII — the coaches, athletic staff, student-athletes, administrators, and others — to build support for the program and see what changes needed to be made. Once we arrived at consensus, we then looked at the program and decided how to implement it.
Q: Why did you and other university presidents push for this? Why was it important to you?
A: As I said this is how we define what DII is and how we help students have balance in their lives. There are also economic factors to save schools money. But the main thing is we wanted to be proactive and say this is who we are, this is what we expect from students, these are our values, and this is how we do things. And, we will hold ourselves accountable for these things.
Q: Do you think your experience at Newman University and the institution’s mission and values had an influence on the initiative and your role in it?
A: I was there four years as a student, and 13 years as faculty and administrator, so I truly developed a large sense of my values and commitment to service at Newman. As chair of the council I wasn’t shy about talking about values and the ideas behind the program. I think these values are in my bones.
Q: What role do you play now regarding Life in the Balance?
A: We’re now in Phase II of the program. I spoke with all the groups again to build support. Now we’re looking at how we measure the program’s success and continue to refine it to help support our Strategic Platform.
Q: Other than promoting balance for students in terms of their athletic, academic and community engagement, does the program offer other benefits to students?
A: In DII, students have the opportunity for athletic financial aid so they can come to our schools, but the aid they receive based on athletic ability doesn’t have to get in the way of their academics. And, we know that many of those students blossom when they come to our institutions, so Life in the Balance gives them an opportunity to become better students and to succeed in life.
Q: Does the program offer other benefits to Newman?
A: Newman is still new in DII, so in some ways this is melding the value system Newman already has with the values of DII. I think this helps Newman, in that the university can use Life in the Balance to further the Newman mission and the impact the university has on students and the community.
Tags: DII, Drew Bogner, Kansas Newman College, Life in the Balance, Molloy College, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division II Presidents Council, Newman University, Rockville Centre