U-M, Women's Sports Foundation establish research policy center

Ann Arbor -- After a rigorous, yearlong process to select an institutional research partner, the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) has selected U-M to establish a joint research and policy center, the Women’s Sports, Health, Activity and Research and Policy Center ().

(Kathy Babiak PhD, Kinesiology Associate Professor of Sport Management, is one of the co-directors of the SHARP Center.)

The new center, which opens in January 2011 at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, is the first girls’ and women’s sports research partnership involving a university and nonprofit. The center will generate interdisciplinary research on issues related to women’s sports, health, gender issues and kinesiology.

According to the WSF, the center’s research will have a profound impact on the lives of girls and women, and will enhance existing and establish new relationships with policymakers, academia and women’s sports organizations. In addition, the center also will advocate for the benefits of athletics for positively influencing the lives of girls and women.

More than 20 universities nationwide submitted proposals for the center earlier this year. A task force consisting of experts in women’s sports research, sports business and collegiate athletic administration reviewed the applications. U-M was selected because of its excellent faculty in kinesiology and related fields; its history of support for women’s health and gender equity; its broad-based programs serving the needs of a diverse student body; and its nationally recognized graduate program and athletics department.

“Without a doubt, the partnership with the foundation represents an exciting opportunity for the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, the School of Kinesiology and the University of Michigan,” says President Mary Sue Coleman. “In addition, the center will be able to draw on U-M faculty researchers across campus to catalyze and advance research efforts in all areas related to physical activity for girls and women.”

Jared Wadley, U-M News Service

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