New academic challenge program partner announced
November 1, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, IND. — Since College Bowl Inc. suspended its academic challenge program in June 2008, a group of volunteers has been looking for a new partner to offer that kind of student competition to ACUI members. Last month, the Board of Trustees approved an agreement identifying National Academic Quiz Tournament, LLC (NAQT) as ACUI’s new partner.
Gail Ferlazzo, Iowa State University, led the group of volunteers in investigating various options for academic challenge programming. This included a thorough survey of ACUI members and former College Bowl players, interviews with four potential partners (including a College Bowl Inc. representative), and three months of thoughtful deliberation. The board decision comes in time for most ACUI regions to set up an academic challenge weekend as part of their recreation and leisure activities in early 2010.
“The past year’s conversations have been very productive and collaborative as we explored the dynamics of a potential partnership,” said Michelle Smith, ACUI director of educational programs and services. “In the end, NAQT just fit better than our other options.”
Volunteers approached their research using international, regional, and campus perspectives, hoping to find a partner aligned with ACUI’s mission while preserving the game-play format that student participants came to love. Once the programmatic elements were in place, personnel and customer service were addressed, and finally financial details were settled.
“Program team members felt like NAQT and specifically President Robert Hentzel offered the most consistent product package and alignment with what the members disclosed on the initial survey,” Ferlazzo said.
There are many advantages for campuses and regions; foremost among these is that it should cost less for teams to join in the program. Additionally, NAQT will offer ACUI members a discount, and member campuses will have the opportunity to host high school tournaments. Lastly, NAQT will share revenue with the Association for sales to member campuses.
ACUI is currently seeking regional volunteers, and a program team leader at the international level to launch this new relationship with NAQT. The international position and a description of potential duties are available from http://www.acui.org/volunteer.
“I’d like to thank not only Gail and her team of volunteers who conducted the interviews but also the regional directors and former College Bowl coordinators who provided feedback, ideas, and information about the future of the program,” Smith said. “There is a lot of heart still left in this program.”