Athletics takes focus on diversity and inclusion online

October 8, 2020 – University of Wisconsin-River Falls Athletic Director Crystal Lanning has announced that UWRF Athletics is partnering with Return On Inclusion™ (ROI) as part of an on-going effort to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for its student-athletes.

“Though there is a great focus on diversity, equity and inclusion right now across the country, it has been a focus for our Athletics Department as a whole for a while and something we see as a priority,” said Associate Athletics Director Kellen Wells-Mangold. “The ROI program meets our needs right now in that we can’t bring experts to campus to help us focus on these things, but we can utilize this platform to learn and grow as a department for the benefit of our staff, student-athletes, and campus community as a whole.”

The UWRF Athletics Department was honored with the NCAA and Minority Opportunities Athletic Association's 2019 Award for Diversity and Inclusion and has continued to serve as a model for universities seeking to enhance opportunities for people of diverse cultures, backgrounds and experiences.

Divided into six self-paced online modules, Return On Inclusion provides comprehensive diversity and inclusion training designed for college athletic departments. Participants receive instruction on a variety of topics including cultural competency, overcoming bias, microaggressions, racism, privilege, LGBTQ+ inclusion, gender stereotypes and inclusive leadership.

Instruction is provided by ROI founder Nevin Caple, a national thought leader on diversity, inclusion and belonging in sport. The curriculum was developed in collaboration with the ROI Advisory Board – a diverse collection of college athletics administrators and scholars from around the country.

"I am thrilled to share ROI with the community I care so deeply about,” Caple said. “We should all have access to the tools we need to do our jobs most effectively. I hope ROI will serve as a catalyst for many institutions to prioritize learning for coaches, athletics administrators, and staff as they embark on their inclusive leadership journey."

As coaches and administrators complete the training, they will be better equipped to support and mentor student-athletes from diverse social and cultural backgrounds. Participants who complete all six modules earn the ROI Inclusive Leader Certificate.

“UW-River Falls Athletics is grateful to have such outstanding campus partners in our Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Office,” Wells-Mangold said. “They helped make this program possible. We look forward to them joining us in meaningful discussions about how we can continue to support all of our student-athletes and staff so everyone can show up as their authentic selves in an environment that is welcoming, safe, and inclusive.”

For more information about Return On Inclusion, visit Email if questions about UWRF’s diversity and inclusion programs, practices and policies.

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