Institute for Educational Initiatives: Strategic Plan
The Mendelson Center for Sport, Character & Culture
The Mendelson Center offers a research-based, developmentally-oriented approach to building moral character through sports. Its mission is to advance the research on character development through sports and provide educational opportunities for coaches, sport leaders, and school administrators to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to be effective character educators in the sport context.
There is a great need for the services offered by the Mendelson Center. Sports, even in Catholic schools, often do not display the values and virtues on which their inclusion in the co-curriculum is justified. Moreover, recent research has demonstrated that the culture of athletics is often characterized by academic underachievement, lack of institutional commitment, and a host of attitudes that impede athletes from taking full advantage of the educational opportunities at their disposal.
Not only is there concern in sport circles about the quality and direction of athletic programs, character education is now a national priority. Well-trained coaches can have an impact on students' character well beyond what is possible in the classroom. In light of these challenges and opportunities, we believe it is crucial to capitalize on the unique resources available at Notre Dame to combine the best scholarship on sports and moral development into high impact programs and educational opportunities.