In the wake of the athletic scandal at UNC, professor Roberto Quercia is taking initiative to target the academic progress of student-athletes at a younger age.
Quercia, chairman of the department of city and regional planning and the winner of the 2013 C. Felix Harvey Award, will use the $75,000 prize to develop a coaches academy through the Bridges 2 Success foundation.
The award, given annually, honors professors whose work focuses on innovation.
The coaches academy will integrate the four core values of Bridges 2 Success, which are protection, affection, connection and correction. Bridges 2 Success is a program focused on preparing athletes for higher education.
This year’s Harvey Award project proposals were based on technology, economic development, arts and culture and improvement of K-12 public education, said Scott Ragland, a spokesman for the Office of University Development, in an email.
“For the 2013 award, the competition focused on innovative engagement and outreach,” Ragland said.
Quercia said the coaches academy includes a curriculum to provide middle-school and high-school coaches the tools to better prepare their student-athletes for college.
The curriculum will include workshops, conferences, online courses and face-to-face instruction focused on athletes’ physical health, psychological development and academic readiness.
Quercia said he wants to develop a curriculum to address education component issues. He also said many middle and high school coaches do not have college degrees, so this program will help coaches be better informed on how to help the students.