Spotlight on Learning
Courtesy: Teri LaJeunesse  
Release: Monday 02/19/2007
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Courtesy: WIU Visual Productions Center
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Athletic Training students gain hands-on experience by shadowing...

Educational Opportunity

Western Illinois University values educational opportunity and welcomes those who show promise and a willingness to work toward achieving shared educational goals. We are committed to providing accessible, high quality educational programs and financial support for our students

Academic Excellence | Personal Growth | Social Responsibility

Every arm of a university provides access to learning. While student-athletes benefit from opportunities such as on-court instruction and competition, the wisdom of a mentoring coach, and off-the-court life experiences, intercollegiate athletics provides real life opportunities for students all across Western Illinois University.

Department of Broadcasting
Students enrolled in the Department of Broadcasting at Western are given the opportunity to experience on-the-job training outside the classroom by working a multitude of athletics events. Student productions are an integral part of providing the Western Illinois community with quality coverage of nearly every intercollegiate sport.

“Real life experience is the only way to truly find out if you can make it in this industry,” said Brock Wissmiller, senior broadcasting major and play by play announcer for the women's basketball team. “There is no way that a classroom setting can provide the same type of experience you get being with a team all season, traveling on the bus with them, and doing your part to make it a successful program.”

That real life experience cannot be recreated in a laboratory and provides students with a better resume when they look for a job after graduation.

“The spontaneity of working a live sporting event has given me the opportunity to work in an exciting, fast paced setting side by side with other professionals,” added Wissmiller. “From that experience, I feel I am prepared to enter the real world for work, because I have been tested in a real world setting while still in school.”

The athletics department is proud to have the broadcasting department's WIUS-FM and wiutv3 as integral members of its Western Sports Network.

"It is a mutually beneficial relationship," said Assistant Athletics Director Jason Kaufman. "The broadcasting department is a wonderful asset to the university community and to fans all around the world who are able to view or listen to games on-line through the Western Sports Network. As much as the students are providing us with a service, we are hopefully providing them with an environment in which they can learn and excel at their craft."

Athletic Training Education Program
Another field of study on campus that benefits from the opportunity to gain real life experience through intercollegiate athletics is Athletic Training. Students looking to become athletic trainers are required to complete 800 hours of training over five semesters, most of which are done by shadowing Certified Athletic Trainers at team practices or contests.

“The opportunity that is provided to the Athletic Training Education Program through the experience of working with athletics teams provides us with real life experiences that the students would not be able to obtain in the classroom,” said Renee Polubinsky, Assistant Professor and Curriculum Director of the Athletic Training Education Program. “Without these experiences, it would be like going through medical school but never being allowed to work with live patients.”

The Total College Experience
Whether it is a broadcasting student preparing for a job with ESPN, an athletic trainer earning hours toward certification, a pep band member rallying the crowd in Western Hall, or an Army ROTC Cadet firing the cannon after every Leatherneck touchdown, many people are engaged in athletics without being student-athletes themselves, gaining a total college experience in the process.

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