Policy Guiding Principles for the Implementation of the National Network of Athlete Friendly Universities

Guiding Principles for the Implementation of the National Network of Athlete Friendly Universities

National Network of Elite Athlete Friendly Universities


James Cook University, recognising the challenges faced by Elite Athlete students, is keen to provide necessary support to these students in order to ensure that they can more readily and more successfully combine their academic and sporting aspirations while studying at our University.

This document seeks to detail the flexibility and systems that are required, to attract and support these students through the development of guiding principles. JCU is willing to review these principles in line with its existing policies, to identify opportunities to tailor the documentation to highlight the specific needs of the elite athlete population and/or to develop new systems where there is currently no documentation in place.

For JCU to successfully adopt these guiding principles and implement them to the benefit of the Elite Athlete student, the support provided to the student and the commitment of the University will be evident within policy documents. This will then inform and guide the behaviour of staff across the University network, and provide leverage for discussions and negotiations within individual schools and/or faculties.

Guiding Principles

The following guiding principles identify the key areas where Elite Athlete students require support to be able to successfully integrate their academic and sporting aspirations.

It should be noted that this submission and subsequent agreement will apply to the Cairns and Townsville Campuses of JCU only.

University Commitment

Nominated Staff Contact

The appointment of a specific staff contact person, Dr Glenn Deakin, to support these Elite Athlete students was seen as critical by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of University Services, Dr Stephen Weller.

With the support of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor it is intended that Dr Deakin will effectively liaise with various members of staff of the University and within the Faculties to help implement a range of support services to our Sport Scholarship holders and Elite Athlete students:

  • Negotiation with relevant Faculty Registrars/Schools to hold pre-enrolment interviews with formally identified prospective Elite Athlete students to provide advice and guidance on academic planning and course selections as well as any cross institutional study or credit transfer.

  • Facilitation of access to our very successful mentoring program which is tailored to meet the needs of specific target groups.

  • Ongoing monitoring of student progress including advocating for Elite Athlete students within the University environment at all levels.

  • Provide support in negotiating flexibility to meet academic requirements

Contact Officer’s Details

Dr Glenn Deakin

Senior Lecturer
Institute of Sport and Exercise Science

Ph: 40421610

Flexible Study Options

The University will consider how it can further develop policy documentation to integrate the Elite Athlete student’s requirements listed below:

Assessment related needs  

  • Ability to negotiate assessment deadlines based on sporting related travel commitments – The Contact Officer will meet with each individual athlete and then liaise directly with the Faculties/Schools to ensure assessment deadlines meet the needs of the athlete.

  • Ability to sit exams externally under exam conditions, within the athlete’s environment - Some flexibility already exists at JCU to sit exams under external conditions. Once again, the Contact Officer will liaise with the Examinations Manager and the relevant Faculty personnel to ensure assessment schedules do not interfere with the athlete’s elite sporting commitments.

  • Flexible attendance levels for Elite Athlete students at lectures and tutorials as a result of attendance at major sporting competitions and training – The Contact Officer will liaise with teaching staff to ensure that lecture materials are made available to the students and that tutorial requirements are relaxed in accordance with this document.

Enrolment related needs

Where practicable and within constraints for academic and accreditation requirements, the following options can be considered by the Faculties/Schools:

  • Flexibility with tutorial and practical timetables to accommodate Elite Athlete student’s sporting commitments.

  • Extensions of the maximum time required to complete subjects/courses due to reduced study loads.

  • Flexible leave of absence including extensions in time allowed to complete subjects where required, due to selection for major sporting competitions such as the Olympic Games.

  • Aspects of cross-institutional enrolment study options and requirements including extensions of enrolment and/or subjects students are able to complete by cross-institutional study.

  • Intensive (block mode) study alternatives.

Course related needs

Elite Athlete Students will be given access to materials (where possible) for classes, lectures, tutorials or practicals that may have been missed due to elite sporting commitments.

Program entry

To continue to promote the University Pathway College Program as an alternative method for entry to JCU programs.

Signed by  _____________________________________           Date  _________________