University of Minnesota

Distinguished Lecture Archives

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Fall 2022

Wednesday, October 25, 2022

The Changing Landscape of College Sport & the Impact on Women

About the Lecture: Fifty years after the passing of Title IX— the 1972 landmark civil rights law—the landscape of intercollegiate athletics for women has changed dramatically. This panel of multidisciplinary scholars discussed the accomplishments of Title IX as well as the injustices, unevenness, and structural inequalities that persist, and what the next 50 years might look like for women in college athletics. In addition, panelists offered scholarly insights into many current sociocultural, political, legal, and policy changes, how the media covers these issues, and the impact on women in US college sports and beyond. Panelists were: Erin Buzuvis, J.D., is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and a Professor of Law at Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts. She researches and writes about gender and discrimination in sports and her publications have appeared in numerous law reviews and other journals. She has been quoted in such media outlets the New York Times, NPR, and Sports Illustrated. Dean Buzuvis also teaches courses on administrative law, employment discrimination, Title IX, torts and property. Dr. Victoria Jackson is a sports historian at Arizona State University. Jackson writes and speaks about the intersection of sport and society, exploring how the games we play (and watch) tell us much about the communities – local, national, and global – in which we live. Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Slate, Letras Libres (Mexico), El Universal (Mexico), Epoca (Brazil), The Independent (UK), The Athletic, and Sportico. Jackson has appeared on 60 Minutes to discuss American college sports and is a frequent podcast, radio, TV, and documentary film commentator. She brings a historian's eye to the project of designing future sports systems that are inclusive, equitable, and just. Jackson is also a former NCAA national champion and retired professional runner, and she would like for her ASU school record in the 5,000 meters to be broken as soon as possible. Dr. Ajhanai "AJ" Keaton studies how race and gender (in)equity shapes organizational structures, norms, and experiences. Keaton’s scholarship is interdisciplinary, as her examination of sport phenomena intersects with management, higher education, and sociological communities. As an interdisciplinary scholar, she has published in the following peer-reviewed academic outlets: Journal of Negro of Education, Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, and Journal of Sport Management to name a few. Her academic work is informed by the theoretical prescriptions of Black feminism, institutional theory, and critical theory. Dr. Elizabeth (Libby) Sharrow (they/she; M.P.P.; Ph.D. Political Science) is Associate Professor of Public Policy and History at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. They specialize in the gendered politics of public policy and how policy has shaped intersectional meanings of sex, race, sexuality, disability, and class in U.S. politics over the past fifty years. Dr. Sharrow is published in multiple peer-reviewed and public forums on the politics of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, LGBTQ+ politics, the politics of the family, gender and race in U.S. politics, and the politics of college athletics. Her book with James Druckman, Equality Unfulfilled (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press), explores the politics of policy coalitions organizing for gender equality in sport. She was recently awarded the 2021 Best Article Published in Politics, Groups, and Identities from the Western Political Science Association and the 2022 Best Paper in Education Policy and Politics Award from the American Political Science Association, for two papers on the history and impacts of Title IX. They are co-Principal Investigator on the National Science Foundation ADVANCE-funded, $1million grant, “MeTooPoliSci: Leveraging a Professional Association to Address Sexual Harassment in Political Science.” For this work, she and her collaborators received the 2019 Jane Mansbridge Award from the Women’s Caucus for Political Science. Their scholarship is also funded by the Social Science Research Council, the American Association of University Women, the American Political Science Association, the Myra Sadker Foundation, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association, among other funders. She is currently working to complete a second book on the political history of Title IX, and several papers on the politics of trans sports participation. Dr. Erin Whiteside is associate professor of Journalism & Electronic Media at the University of Tennessee. Her research uses a feminist approach to understand sports media practices, including the experiences of women working in sports media, as well as media coverage of women’s sports, and other topics central to the experience of girls and women in sports. Before entering academia, Dr. Whiteside was a publications editor for Major League Baseball, and an athletics communications director for Penn State University. She is the author of numerous articles appearing in a variety of publications, including Communication & Sport, Journalism, Mass Communication & Society, and the International Journal of Communication and Sport. Her recent work has focused on sports media practices and Title IX.[FULL-LENGTH VIDEO]

Fall 2021

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Surveillance of women in sport & why it matters: Multidisciplinary perspectives

About the Lecture: Within the last year, and particularly during the Tokyo Olympics, many issues related to women in sport arose including: drug testing, mental health, trans athlete inclusion and policy development, pay equity, mother-athlete policies, and uniform controversies. With interest in, attention to, and visibility of women’s sport in the current spotlight, the time is right to tackle the topic of continued and perhaps increased surveillance of women athletes and their bodies from a scholarly perspective. Surveillance is not a topic exclusive to privacy and the security industry, it is a social justice issue that involves questioning underlying power relations. This panel of notable multidisciplinary scholars explored the current environment of the women’s sport industry, provided historical context of the surveillance of women athletes, provided analysis of surveillance of intersectional identities, discussed ways in which surveillance practices play into the hands of privilege, and posited why it matters and how it impacts girls and women in sport. Tucker Center director Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi moderated this informative and lively discussion among experts from multiple scientific perspectives. Panelists are: Dr. Angel Brutus, a member of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s (USOPC) Mental Health Services Team as part of the Department of Sports Medicine. She also managed a private practice based in Atlanta, GA, where she provided clinical and sport performance services to individuals, teams, and organizations and served as a medical advisory board member and training facilitator for the Eating Disorders Information Network (EDIN). Dr. Brutus is a member of multiple committees within the Association of Applied Sport Psychology in which she co-chairs Nominations/Leadership Development and previously assisted with Professional Ethics and served as a mentor in the IGNITE program, a leadership program for BIPOC students and early career professionals from traditionally marginalized communities; Dr. Cheryl Cooky, a professor of American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Purdue University. Her research focuses in three areas: gendered media representations of sport; gender politics of sport and public policies; and how gender shapes sports experiences, cultural meanings, and organizational structures in sports. She is the co-author of No Slam Dunk: Gender, Sport and the Unevenness of Social Change (2018, Rutgers University Press). Her research is published in a diverse array of journals including Journal of Sex Research, Sex Roles, Gender and Society, American Journal of Bioethics, Sociology of Sport Journal, among others; Dr. Beth Daniels is a research fellow and full professor of psychology at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Her research focuses on gender, media, body image, and positive youth development. One line of her research focuses on how young people perceive sport images and how these images impact self-perceptions. Dr. Daniels is presently on the editorial board for Emerging Adulthood and was previously an associate editor for Sex Roles: A Journal of Research and a contributing editor for Psychology Women Quarterly; Dr. Nancy Lough, co-director of the Sport Research & Innovation Institute and a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Dr. Lough is a nationally recognized expert on sport marketing, corporate sponsorship, leadership development, and creating gender parity within sport organizations. She specializes in research with a focus on the economic value of women’s sport and marketing sport to women. She is the author of the Handbook of the Business of Women’s Sport and the Handbook of Sport Marketing Research, along with numerous scholarly publications. Dr. Lough serves as the chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Council at UNLV and as an advisory board member for the PGA Golf Management program; Dr. Ann Pegoraro, co-director of the E-Alliance, a national network for research on gender equity in Canadian Sport, and is the Lang Chair in Sport Management in the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics at the University of Guelph. Dr. Pegoraro's research focuses mainly on sport consumers, marketing, and communication, including how different forms of media are used to establish connections with consumers of sport at all levels from amateur to professional. Dr. Pegoraro’s research has been published in journals such as Sex Roles, Communication and Sport, American Behavioral Scientist, Journal of Sport Management, and Online Information Review. Her recent work in digital media is focused on analytics, gender, and diversity; Anna Posbergh is a PhD candidate and American Association for University Women (AAUW) Dissertation Fellow at the University of Maryland in the Department of Kinesiology, specializing in physical cultural studies. Her dissertation examines how protective policies are created, how they regulate women’s bodies in sporting contexts, and how different versions of “woman” are constructed. In 2019, she co-authored an opinion piece for the British Medical Journal on the medical and ethical ramifications of World Athletics’ (then the IAAF) controversial female eligibility policy. She is a 2019 recipient of the Olympic Studies Centre’s PhD Students and Early Career Academics Research Grant and has published in journals such as the Sociology of Sport Journal and Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health; Dr. Jaime Schultz is a professor of kinesiology at The Pennsylvania State University with an affiliate faculty appointment in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. An award-winning teacher and scholar, she has published nearly 60 articles and chapters, as well as six books, including Qualifying Times: Points of Change in U.S. Women’s Sport, Women’s Sport: What Everyone Needs to Know, and Women and Sports in the United States: A Documentary Reader. She currently serves as co-editor for the University of Illinois Press’s “Sport and Society” Series; Dr. Nefertiti Walker is the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer at UMass Amherst. She is also an associate professor of sport management in the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at the Isenberg School of Management. She received both her BA and MBA from Stetson University, and her PhD from the University of Florida. Her area of expertise is sport organizational culture. Specifically, she studies intersectionality, typically of race, gender, and culture, in sport. Dr. Walker is a North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM) Research Fellow and serves as a co-director for the Laboratory for Inclusion and Diversity in Sport (LIDS). Most recently, she founded the consulting firm Reculture, which creates multimedia content, research, and industry insights on the changing dynamics of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in sport culture. [FULL-LENGTH VIDEO]

Fall 2020

Monday, October 19, 2020
Black Women in Sport: Voices of Resistance & Athlete Activism

About the Lecture: In the 2020 socio-cultural-political moment in U.S. history, athletes in record numbers are using their power and cultural capital to impact social change. However, the voices and actions of Black women and Black female athletes often get erased, silenced, and marginalized in comparison to their White female and male counterparts, as they navigate the game-within-the-game—institutionalized racism, and multiple oppressions at the intersections of racial and gender stereotypes. The purpose of this multidisciplinary panel of experts was to highlight—currently and historically—the power, importance, and voices of resistance of Black women in the fight for social justice in society in general, and sport in particular. Panelists are: Dr. Nikki Franke (moderator), co-founder, Black Women In Sport Foundation, recently retired associate professor of Public Health and women’s fencing team Hall of Fame coach (46 years), Temple University, team member, 1976 and 1980 U.S. Olympic Fencing, National Foil Champion, 1975 and 1980 US Fencing Association (USFA); Dr. Akilah Carter-Francique, associate professor of African American Studies and executive director, Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change (ISSSSC), San Jose State University, past-president, North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS), current member, Laureus “Sport for Good” Research Council in the US, co-editor, Athletic Experience at Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Past, Present, and Persistence and Critical Race Theory: Black Athletic Experiences in the United States; Dr. Gyasmine George-Williams, assistant professor, University of La Verne, board member, Black Scholars Advisory Board and Black Faculty and Staff Association, faculty partner, La Verne Intercollegiate Athletics Committee, founder, GGW Consulting; Dr. Joyce Olushola Ogunrinde, assistant professor of Health and Human Performance and scholar activist, University of Houston; and Dr. Nefertiti Walker, chief diversity officer and vice chancellor for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, UMass Amherst, associate professor of Sport Management, Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management, Isenberg School of Management, research fellow, North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM), co-director, Laboratory for Inclusion and Diversity in Sport (LIDS), founder, Reculture. [FULL-LENGTH VIDEO]

Fall 2019

Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Celebrating the Career of a Groundbreaking Scholar: Professor Mary Jo Kane

About the Lecture: In 1993, the Tucker Center was established due to the vision of its first Director, Professor Mary Jo Kane. Over the past 26 years, her scholarship, teaching, mentoring and community outreach have shaped the landscape for sportswomen. And, her contributions throughout her 30-year career have influenced countless stakeholders who advocate for gender equity. Our annual Distinguished Lecture examined the arc of Professor Kane’s academic career as she was interviewed by U of MN Foundation Trustee, Shari Ballard. It was standing room only at this historic moment and celebration of the Tucker Center’s Founder who has lived the mission of making a difference in the lives of girls and women in sports.

Fall 2018

Why Women Leaders Matter: Challenges & Opportunities for Female Head Coaches in Collegiate Sports

About the Lecture: Scholars and advocates of women’s sports have documented a troubling and unintended consequence of Title IX. In sharp contrast to the unprecedented gains in participation rates, the number of women occupying key leadership positions—particularly as head coach—has dramatically declined over the last four decades. At the intercollegiate level alone, the percentage of female head coaches has gone from over 90% in the early 1970s to 43% currently. Traditional beliefs and stereotypes about women’s leadership capacities in sports remain firmly entrenched in one of the most powerful institutions in our nation.
     Research indicates that having women as coaches matters. Young women need strong and confident same-sex role models who enhance their own self-esteem, and make it more likely they will go into the coaching profession. The U of M has a proud history of employing women in leadership roles. What can we learn from recent hires in the women’s basketball program, and are there specific strategies we can employ to reverse the current underrepresentation of female coaches? This panel addressed these and other critical questions as we explored the challenges and opportunities associated with being a female coach in Division I college athletics.

Fall 2017

Transgender Athletes: Challenging & Transforming Sport

About the Lecture: In 2015, former Olympic Decathlon gold-medal winner Bruce Jenner famously announced her gender transition to Caitlyn Jenner. This unprecedented cultural moment created a public dialogue around what it means to be transgender, and in particular, how such definitions and transitions challenge our notions and practices of sex, gender and athletic participation. More than any other institution, sport is seen as a highly gendered activity: We have “women’s sports” and “men’s sports” and never shall that gendered binary be crossed. So what does it mean when someone who has been identified at birth as “female” transitions to being and living as male (and vice versa)? And how do such realities challenge and disrupt the sporting enterprise? Because sport is built on the notion of an “equal playing field” there has been a particular resistance to male-to-female transgender athletes, beginning with Rene Richards’ deeply resisted attempt to compete on the Women’s Tennis Association tour in the 1970s. More recent examples of transgender athletes have included Kye Allums, the first openly transgender student-athlete to play Division I basketball [], and Minnesota native and transgender high-school student-athlete Zeam Porter, who testified before a Minnesota State High School League’s hearing as they shaped policy for transgender athletes []. On a national scale, those who oversee amateur and professional sports are adopting groundbreaking policies that determine who can play on which team and under what circumstances. As a result, a significant cultural shift is occurring: Transgender athletes challenge traditional beliefs and practices about sports as a “natural” extension of binary-based and biologically driven sex differences. These pioneering individuals are also challenging something more fundamental—the very essence of what it means to be, and to compete as, “female” and “male” in modern U.S. society. The 2017 Distinguished Lecture featured a panel of experts who examined these complexities from a variety of perspectives: A scholarly critique that highlighted research on transgender athletes and their attempts to gain equality in the sportsworld; an overview of policies that are being developed and implemented in college athletics; and the lived experiences and insights offered by a transgender former athlete.

Fall 2016

Paradox, Pitfall, & Parity: Where Have all the Women Coaches Gone?

About the Lecture: A puzzling paradox exists when it comes to women occupying sport leadership positions—particularly coaches. Two generations removed from Title IX, female sports participation is at an all-time high, yet the number of women coaches is near an all-time low. Research indicates that far from being less qualified, women are discouraged, impeded or locked out of coaching due to discriminatory beliefs, policies and practices. Tucker Center Associate Director Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi examines this “coaching paradox” by highlighting systemic gender discrimination, unfair double standards, and both explicit and unconscious gender bias in the hiring process. She will also address the significant implications that result from the dramatic decline of women in the coaching profession and offer strategies for recruiting and retaining females coaches. LaVoi is one of the nation’s leading scholars who has authored and collaborated on numerous research reports, scholarly journal articles, and book chapters—including the annual Women in College Coaching Report Card—and the groundbreaking edited book, Women in Sports Coaching. As an award-winning teacher and sought-after public scholar, Dr. LaVoi speaks on issues related to recruiting, hiring and retaining female coaches, and was recently named by Yahoo! Finance as one of the top “6 Women in the Sports Business World You Should Follow.” She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Alliance of Women Coaches and is a member of the teaching faculty for the NCAA Women Coaches Academy.

Spring 2016

Lessons on Leadership: Building Champions in Women’s Sports

Dynamic. Forceful. Grace under pressure. Confident in oneself and possessing the ability to inspire confidence in others. These are key characteristics that define great leaders. They are also attributes synonymous with great athletes, and one reason why we believe that sport builds leaders. Until recently that meant male leaders. In the wake of Title IX and the explosion of women’s sports participation, that belief has been challenged. One highly visible and successful arena where women’s leadership is on display is in the WNBA, specifically with the Minnesota Lynx and Coach Cheryl Reeve and superstar guard Lindsay Whalen who joined us for our spring lecture. These highly accomplished leaders shared their personal stories and experiences, their insights and strategies on what it takes to build leaders—and champions—not only in sports but in life.

Fall 2015

Have We Reached a Tipping Point in Women's Sports?: A Great Conversation with Pioneering Sport Scholars

The summer of 2015 saw many ground-breaking achievements by female athletes and women leaders in sports ranging from the U.S women’s soccer team winning the World Cup to Becky Hammon being named an Assistant Coach in the NBA. Such milestones prompted many to ask: Have we reached a tipping point in women’s sports? To examine this important question, two seminal and internationally known sport and gender scholars—Professors Pat Griffin and Mary Jo Kane—engaged in a Great Conversation for the Tucker Center’s Fall Distinguished Lecture. Kane and Griffin’s work as pioneering researchers and advocates for women’s sports provided insightful, thought-provoking and instructive lessons that help us understand the current landscape and the future of women’s sports.

Fall 2014

Brave new world: The impact of "reform" on big time college athletics
with panelists Sandy Barbour, Erin Buzuvis, and Beth Goetz

With many changes, reform efforts, and pending legal decisions having an effect on college sports—from unionization, to pay-for-play, to conference realignment—the world of college sport is rapidly and inevitably changing. The panelists discuss issues such as: What are some problems with the current model of college sports? With some cases decided but some still pending, what do these legal changes mean for institutions, administrators, and student athletes? And what are the implications of these decisions for women's sports and Title IX?

Fall 2013

The Tucker Center at 20: Honoring our Legacy & Celebrating our Achievements
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Robert H. Bruininks, Jerry Fischer, Mary Jo Kane, Nicole M. LaVoi, David Madson, Michael Wade

This lecture brought together some of the key individuals who were instrumental in the Tucker Center’s inception; others who gave it form with support for a director, staff and physical space; and finally, the Tucker Center’s Director and Associate Director described through the breadth and depth of the TC’s accomplishments and impact over our 20 years of research, education and outreach.

Fall 2012

"Women and Sport Leadership: U.S. and International Perspectives"
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Sally Shaw, PhD, and Janet Fink, PhD

In 2012, Tucker Center Fall Distinguished Lecture featured Dr. Janet Fink (UMass Amherst) and Dr. Sally Shaw (University of Otago, New Zealand) speaking on "Women and Sport Leadership: U.S. and International Perspectives." Despite an increase in female participation as athletes, there continues to be a trend in the decline of women in positions of power in sports. The Tucker Center brought in two experts in the field to discuss this phenomenon and offer ways to turn things around.
[FULL-LENGTH VIDEO | FLIER |Presentation PDFs: Sally Shaw | Janet Fink]

Spring 2012

"Title IX at 40: Changes, Challenges, and Champions"
Monday, April 23, 2012
Peg Brenden, JD, Judith M. Sweet, MS, MBA, and Deborah Brake, JD; Rayla Allison, JD, moderator

As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the landscape of sports for girls and women has undergone dramatic and transformative change. One of the most successful pieces of civil rights legislation in this country, Title IX has allowed record numbers of females to engage and succeed in sport participation at all levels of competition. In spite of such gains, numerous myths and stereotypes about Title IX remain and challenges to the federal law threaten to reverse progress. To honor the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the Tucker Center assembled this trio of champions who have changed and challenged the landscape of sport for females and who will discuss the impact of this groundbreaking legislation from their respective positions of expertise and experience.

Fall 2011

Girls & Women in Sport and Physical Activity Conference held in lieu of lecture

Spring 2011

"The Female Athlete and Concussions"
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Diane Wiese-Bjornstal, Ph.D., Jill Brooks, Ph.D., and Aynsley Smith, Ph.D., R.N.

Recent research findings in multiple academic disciplines have sparked a much-needed national conversation about the rising incidence, severity, and consequences of sport-related concussions. This conversation has also raised our awareness, increased our educational efforts, and spurred policy changes. Unfortunately, the vast majority of concussion-related research and public dialogue have centered on male athletes, specifically at the professional level. Yet concussions—and their devastating consequences—affect athletes in all sports and at all levels, regardless of gender. This has prompted scholars to ask: Do gender differences exist in sport-related concussion risk, symptoms, outcomes, and recovery? To address these critical questions and issues, nationally recognized experts will discuss the latest research about what is known and not known regarding the impact of concussions on female athletes. Strategies for future research, as well as educational and prevention efforts, will also be examined. 

Fall 2010

"Reducing Obesity among Minority Females: The Critical Role of Physical Activity"
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Beth Lewis, Ph.D., Daheia J. Barr-Anderson, Ph.D., M.P.H., and Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D.

Over the past three decades, the prevalence of obesity has dramatically increased in American adults and children, with the highest increases among minority females. Negative consequences that stem from being dangerously overweight—increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and some cancers—are an enormous public health concern. Research also indicates that patterns of being overweight established in young adulthood lead to the same outcomes in adulthood; this relationship is particularly problematic for minority females. Nearly half of African American (46%) and Latina (42%) girls aged 12-19 are overweight or obese, compared to less than 30% of White girls. Among adults, 80% of African American and Latina women are considered overweight or obese. To address this national epidemic, weight gain prevention efforts for girls and women of color are urgently needed. In this lecture, a trio of prominent University of Minnesota scholars discussed the latest research on the critical role that physical activity plays in obesity-prevention strategies and policies as well as evidence-based, culturally appropriate approaches toward increasing physical activity among women and girls of color.

Spring 2010

"Are Women Aging Successfully? New Thinking and Research about Gender and Physical Activity"
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Mariah Burton Nelson

The world’s population is rapidly aging. By 2030, the number of U.S. citizens over 65 will be nearly twice what it is today and a large majority will be women. This gender difference in longevity has significant implications for women’s health, well-being, and quality of life. Scholars and advocates argue that older women are disproportionately affected by ageism and that cultural factors pressure many aging women to focus more on appearance versus physical health, more on face-lifting than weight-lifting. Mariah Burton Nelson, an internationally known author, journalist, and speaker on gender and sports and the Executive Director of the American Association for Physical Activity and Recreation, challenges us to ask how women can positively embrace growing older and simultaneously resist the detrimental societal forces which may negatively impact their lives. A provocative thinker and writer, Nelson will provide an inspirational look at how women can reframe ageism and redefine “successful aging.” She will discuss the latest research pertaining to personal behaviors that contribute to maintaining and enhancing physical ability, cognitive function, vitality, and joy as we grow older. She will also explore how we typically think and speak about aging and our own aging process, and encourage us to include stories about hope, humor, health, and happiness.

Fall 2009

"Facing Off Over Facebook: The Impact of Social Media on Women's Sports"
Monday, October 19, 2009
Marie Hardin, Rachel Blount, Angela Ruggiero

Over the past 30 years, scholars have documented numerous ways in which traditional sport media marginalize and sexualize female athletes. Into this vast—and influential—media landscape appears the recent and exponential explosion of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Will this technological paradigm shift challenge or reproduce the ways in which female athletes are traditionally portrayed in mainstream sport media? Will the unprecedented popularity of social media—and the alternative “ways of knowing” it provides to traditional media—fundamentally alter how we view women’s sports? Panelists with diverse experiences and perspectives faced off, taking on these important and largely unexplored questions as we move into the Age of New Media.

Spring 2009

“You Gotta Be Tough”: Challenges & Strategies of Female Coaches in Youth Sports
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Dr. Michael Messner

Over the past 30 years, girls’ increasing participation in youth sports has been nothing short of revolutionary. During this same time period, few women have become head coaches in youth sports and when they do volunteer, they are often relegated to the position of "team mom." To address this "leadership gap," sport scholar Michael Messner examined a Southern California community’s youth soccer, baseball and softball leagues. His research asks the following questions: What are the barriers preventing women from coaching youth sports? What challenges are faced by the few women who do coach? What strategies do these women develop to survive—and sometimes thrive—as youth sports coaches, and what can we learn from their strategies? Messner explores these questions and outlines why recruiting and supporting female coaches is so important for our families, our communities, and our children.

Fall 2008

Minnesota Female Olympians: Stories, Experiences & Inspirations
October 22, 2008
Janis Klecker, Carrie Tollefson, Shani Marks & Dr. Doug Hartmann

The Tucker Center celebrates the participation of female athletes at all levels. This Fall, we are proud to celebrate an elite group of sportswomen in our midst. The 2008 Distinguished Lecture will feature a trio of Minnesota’s finest female athletes—Track & Field Olympians Janis Klecker, Carrie Tollefson and Shani Marks. The performances of Olympians inspire and captivate our imaginations. But the Olympics are not only about medal counts and wins and losses. They occur within a complex set of issues related to gender, class and race. To provide context for this complexity—along with acknowledging the accomplishments of our featured Minnesota Olympians—U of M Professor of Sociology, Doug Hartmann, will critique the Olympics in general and the Beijing Olympics in particular. He will share his own experiences of his travels to China followed by a discussion with our featured panelists in which we will learn about their life stories, experiences and inspirations.


Spring 2008

The 2007 Tucker Center Research Report
Developing Physically Active Girls: Challenges, Opportunities, and Solutions

Drs. Nicole LaVoi, Barbara Ainsworth, Margaret Duncan, & Diane Wiese-Bjornstal

April 22, 2008

The Spring 2008 Distinguished Lecture highlighted the The 2007 Tucker Center Research Report: Developing Physically Active Girls. Using a panel presentation format, the report’s authors—Barbara Ainsworth, Margaret Duncan, Nicole LaVoi, and Diane Wiese-Bjornstal—provided an overview and summary of key findings and recommendations. The 2007 Tucker Center Research Report is a 10-year update of the ground-breaking 1997 President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Report, Physical Activity & Sport in the Lives of Girls. The purpose of the initial report, as well as the 10-year update, was to ask respected scholars in academic fields of study ranging from exercise physiology to sport psychology, to share the latest research findings about how involvement in sport and physical activity enable girls to reach their full potential.


Fall 2007

Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies: Barriers and Solutions to Girls' Physical Activity Participation
Dr. Maureen Weiss
October 16, 2007

Decades of research indicate that positive physical and psycho-social benefits are derived from participation in physical activity. Such benefits include a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and osteoporosis, as well as increased self-esteem, cognitive development, and quality peer relationships. Unfortunately, far too many girls do not receive these benefits because physical inactivity is significantly higher among females than males and because declines in physical activity are especially steep for adolescent girls. So why are girls less physically active at the exact moment when they have the most to gain physically, socially, and psychologically? This presentation addresses these issues in depth. Professor Maureen Weiss, an internationally known scholar, educator, and public advocate, examined patterns related to—and barriers preventing—girls' full participation in sport and physical activity. In the Tucker Center's Fall 2007 Distinguished Lecture, Professor Maureen Weiss, an internationally known scholar, educator, and public advocate, examined patterns related to—and barriers preventing—girls’ full participation in sport and physical activity. The author of over 100 scholarly articles and co-editor of four books on youth sport, Dr. Weiss has served as President of three professional organizations and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education. She has also received numerous professional awards, including the Honor Award for Exemplary Service and Leadership from the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport. Professor Weiss offered research-based, practical solutions to the alarming trends associated with adolescent girls’ involvement—or lack of involvement—in physical activity.

Spring 2007

Sex vs. Athletic Competence: Exploring Competing Narratives in Marketing and Promoting Women's Sports Kristin Bernert, Regina Sullivan, Mary Jo Kane, Heather Maxwell
April 17, 2007

The Tucker Center Spring 2007 Edie Mueller Distinguished Lecture, Sex vs. Athletic Competence: Exploring Competing Narratives in Marketing and Promoting Women's Sports, was held Tuesday, April 17, 2007 at Cowles Auditorium in the Hubert H. Humphrey Center on the West Bank of the U of M Campus. The presentation featured a dynamic panel of experts with diverse professional, educational, and research-based backgrounds who share a common interest in women’s sports. These distinguished panelists examined various philosophies and strategies surrounding the ways in which collegiate and professional women's sports are marketed and promoted, as well as the effectiveness of those strategies in light of innovative research being conducted by the Tucker Center.


Fall 2006

From the Locker Room to the Press Box—Women’s Sports in the 21st Century
Christine Brennan
October 10, 2006

The Tucker Center Fall 2006 Edie Mueller Distinguished Lecture, "'Best Seat in the House': From the Locker Room to the Press Box— Women's Sports in the 21st Century", was held October 10, 2006 at the Weisman Art Museum on the U of MN's East Bank Campus. The lecture was given by Christine Brennan, a sports columnist for USA Today, guest commentator for ABC News, Fox Sports Radio, ESPN, and NPR, as well as best-selling author. Brennan has blazed a pioneering trail for women sports journalists. She has witnessed the impact of Title IX first-hand and shared her insights about the progress yet to be made for female athletes and sports journalists. Brennan also highlighted the role of her father in giving her the support and confidence she needed to excel in the pre-Title IX world of sports.

Spring 2006

The Professionalization of Youth Sports and its Special Impact on Girls
Dan Gould
April 24, 2006

The Tucker Center Spring 2006 Edie Mueller Distinguished Lecture, "The Professionalization of Youth Sports and its Special Impact on Girls," was held April 24, 2006, in the Cowles Auditorium in the U of MN's Hubert H. Humphrey Center. This lecture was given by Dr. Dan Gould, Director of the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports and Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the Michigan State University. American youth sports has become increasingly professionalized and this professionalization is characterized by a focus on participation as a means to an end (e.g., college scholarship), single sport specialization, intense year-round training, private coaching, elite teams, and an increased importance placed on winning. Dr. Gould spoke to an SRO audience about this paradigmatic shift and the ramifications for young female athletes in light of research on elite athlete talent development, the role of parents in youth sports, the psychological development of champion athletes, and burnout in young athletes.

Fall 2005

Protecting Title IX From Emerging Threats: What's Fact vs. Fiction Got To Do With It?
Rayla Allison, Deborah Larkin, Mary Jo Kane, Nicole LaVoi
October 24, 2005

A panel of experts examined recent developments that threaten to reverse the unprecedented progress and achievements that have occurred in the wake of Title IX. Panel members were: Rayla Allison, a Title IX attorney from Minnesota State University, Mankato; Deborah Larkin, a nationally-known expert and advocate for Title IX and former Executive Director of the Women's Sports Foundation; Mary Jo Kane, a nationally-known scholar who has published extensively on the social and political implications of Title IX; and Nicole LaVoi, a sport psychologist and the Tucker Center's new Associate Director, who moderated the discussion. The panel addressed legal issues that have had a major impact on Title IX compliance, the numerous myths and misrepresentations surrounding Title IX (e.g., Title IX forces schools to drop men's sports), and 2005 guidelines from the Department of Education that undermine female athletes by making them prove they are interested in playing a particular sport in order to receive that opportunity. Specific strategies to safeguard Title IX were also presented.


Earlier Distinguished Lectures


An Unprecedented Moment in Women's Athletics: The Story Behind the Cinderella Season at the U of MN
Pam Borton, Laura Halldorson, Mike Hebert
April 11, 2005

This panel presentation was held at the Coffman Memorial Union Theater. Head coaches Pam Borton, Laura Halldorson and Mike Hebert discussed the unprecedented U of MN success story in women's athletics during the 2003-04 season when the volleyball and basketball teams went to the Final Four, and the hockey team captured the National Championship.

A Revolution in Women's Sports. Part of the Great Conversations Series
Mary Jo Kane, Donna Lopiano
October 11, 2004

As part of the University's "Great Conversations Series" at Ted Mann Concert Hall, in the fall of 2004, two of this country's leading figures in women's sports looked back on the hard-won accomplishments of Title IX and discussed their hopes and dreams for the future. Mary Jo Kane is Professor and Director of the University's Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, the first interdisciplinary center of its kind in the country. She was joined by Donna Lopiano, Executive Director of the Women's Sports Foundation, which ensures gender equity in athletic activities. A member of the Softball Hall of Fame, Dr. Lopiano was named one of the 100 most influential people in sports by Sporting News.

Shattering Myths About ACL Injuries in Female Athletes: Risk Factors, Intervention and Recovery
Elizabeth Arendt, Diane Wiese-Bjornstal, Sara Wiley
April 19, 2004

Three prominent scholars and educators from the University of Minnesota explored the physical and psychological risk factors for ACL injuries, as well as highlighted physical and psychological interventions which aid female athletes in their recovery: Elizabeth Arendt, MD, faculty member in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and one of the premier scholars in the country on ACL injuries, has served on the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, received numerous grants from the National Institute of Health, and serves as the Director of the Sports Medicine Institute at the U of M; Diane Wiese-Bjornstal, Ph.D., is a sports psychologist in the School of Kinesiology, and has published extensively in the area of psychological recovery from injury, is a fellow in the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology, is a certified consultant in sport psychology, and has conducted research with the Sports Medicine Department at Mayo Clinic; and Sara Wiley, CSCS, is the Associate Director of Strength and Conditioning for U of M athletics, having earned her Masters Degree in Human Performance from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and now working at the U of M with women's basketball, volleyball, soccer, softball, crew and swimming and diving. The Tucker Center was proud to co-sponsor this event with U of M Athletics.

Homophobia in Sports: Breaking Barriers by Breaking the Silence
Jenny Allard, Esera Tuaolo, Andrea Zimbardi
October 15, 2003

One of the most pervasive—and overlooked—issues in sport involves homophobia and the ways in which harmful stereotypes put gay athletes at risk. Three prominent speakers shared their own histories about coming out and being out, exploring the challenges and complexities surrounding homophobia, and suggested strategies for a more inclusive sports world: Jenny Allard, Harvard softball coach and winningest active Ivy League softball coach shared her experiences as a coach and strategies for coaches and administrators; Esera Tuaolo, former professional athlete achieved fame as a 280-pound nose tackle who played for 9 years in the NFL, shared his story of playing professional football while hiding his sexuality to his teammates, coaches, and the public; and Andrea Zimbardi, former SEC honor-roll student and senior captain of the University of Florida’s softball team, shared her experience of being removed from NCAA championship-bound and being forced to watch from the sidelines wondering what went wrong. She discussed her pending lawsuit against her school and how other athletes might benefit from her experience.

Linking Sport and Youth Development: Race, Space, and Gender
Doug Hartmann, Kathy Jamieson, Matthew Taylor
April 9th, 2003

A thought-provoking panel of experts was assembled to discuss the influence of sport and youth development and ways in which race, gender, and geographic location mediate their sport experience. Three nationally known experts presented and engaged the audience to discuss how sport affects all our children so that we can develop sporting environments that promote positive youth development: Doug Hartmann, Department of Sociology at the University of Minnesota, explored the possibilities and problems of using sport-based programs for social intervention aimed at young urban men of color; Kathy Jamieson, University of North Carolina-Greensboro, focused on the implications and relevance of elite sport programs for adolescent Latinas; and Matthew Taylor, University of Wisconsin-La Cross, shared his latest research involving African American youth and their relationship to sport. The Distinguished Lecture Series was held at Cowles Auditorium on the West Bank of the Minneapolis campus.

Five Life Lessons from the Playing Field: "How Sports Are Transforming Women, Girls, and Society
Mariah Burton Nelson
October 16th, 2002

Due to popular demand, the Tucker Center invited renowned author, athlete, and professional speaker Mariah Burton Nelson to return for her second Distinguished Lecture. In 1996, Nelson educated and entertained an SRO crowd while discussing her controversial and ground-breaking book, "The Stronger Women Get, The More Men Love Football." Her fifth book, "We Are All Athletes," is hot off the press, and on this 30th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, Nelson used sports stories, current events, inspirational video, audience participation, and lots of her trademark humor to explore the five most important ways that sports are changing women, why administrators and legislators are still fighting over who gets to play, and why all of us should think of ourselves as athletes. The lecture was held at Cowles Auditorium on the West Bank of the Minneapolis campus.

Emerging Faces and Visions of Sport: Female Athletes with a Disability
Karen DePauw
April 2, 2002

The Spring 2002 Distinguished Lecture was given by Dr. Karen DePauw at the Weisman Art Museum. Dr. DePauw is Dean of the Graduate School and Professor at Washington State University, Pullman, WA, and is well known for her professional contributions to the discipline of adapted physical activity and disability sport. She has co-authored several textbooks, numerous chapters in books, and has a well-established scholarly record in the areas of adapted physical activity and disability sport. Her recent papers have addressed topics of inclusion, sport and marginality, and disability studies. She has been a frequently invited keynote speaker for national and international conferences. She has served on the Editorial Board and as reviewer for several scholarly journals in her discipline, and recently completed a term as Editor of Quest. Dr. DePauw has been very active in her discipline-related organizations serving in leadership positions for the International Federation for Adapted Physical Activity (e.g., President), USOC Committee on Sports for the Disabled (1981-1992), International Paralympic Committee Sport Science Committee.

Eating Disorders and the Female Athlete
Craig Johnson, Scott Crow, Vanessa Seljeskog, JoAnna Deeter
October 24, 2001

The Tucker Center's 12th Annual Borghild Strand Distinguished Lecture, held at the Cowles Auditorium at the Hubert H. Humphrey Center, featured a panel of experts focusing on female athletes and eating disorders. Participants on the panel were: Craig Johnson, Director, Eating Disorders Program, Laureate Psychiatric Clinic and Hospital; Scott Crow, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Eating Disorders Clinic at the University of Minnesota; Vanessa Seljeskog, Associate Athletic Director, Macalester College, whose experience includes working with cross-country and track & field athletes, including 9 All-Americas and 3 National Champions; and JoAnna Deeter, of the Northwest Athletic Club, and former track and field standout at University of Notre Dame. The panel discussion, offered at a time of unabashed media and cultural celebration of near-starving female bodies, provided a forum for education and learning about disordered eating and athletic females.

A Hero for Daisy
Mary Mazzio
April 17, 2001

In partnership with Women's Intercollegiate Athletics, the Tucker Center screened "A Hero for Daisy" with filmmaker Mary Mazzio. The over-flow event took place at Cowles Auditorium in the Hubert H. Humphrey Center. Heralded by The New York Times as "a landmark film," "A Hero For Daisy" is an inspirational 40-minute documentary about two-time Olympian and Title IX pioneer Chris Ernst, who galvanized her rowing team to storm the Yale athletic director's office in 1976 to protest substandard conditions. Nineteen women athletes stripped, exposing the phrase "Title IX" emblazoned in blue marker on their bodies. Carried by all of the major international news outlets, the impact of the demonstration was immediate and national in scope, shocking the nation and bringing attention to Title IX as well as to issues of equality for all women in sport. The film includes interviews with Massachusetts Senator John Kerry (Yale '66); legendary football coach and former Yale Athletic Director, Carmen Cozza; President of the U.S. Rowing Association and Yale Rowing Coach, David Vogel; and many of Chris' former Yale and Olympic teammates. Director Mary Mazzio, herself an Olympian on the 1992 Olympic Rowing Team, made the film for her daughter, Daisy, as well as for other girls and boys, to showcase an ordinary woman with extraordinary courage. Mazzio attended Boston University's graduate film production program and is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and Georgetown Law School. She is a recipient of numerous awards including the 2000 Women's Sports Foundation Journalism Award, the Henry Luce Foundation Fellowship and the Rotary Foundation Graduate Fellowship.

Images of Women, Sexuality and Nationalism: What's (Olympic) Sport Got To Do With It?
Lisa Disch, Susan Brownell, Mary Jo Kane, Pat Griffin, Doug Hartmann
October 4, 2000

In collaboration with the MacArthur Interdisciplinary Program on Global Change, Sustainability, and Justice, the Tucker Center presented a panel discussion, "Images of Women, Sexuality and Nationalism: What's (Olympic) Sport Got To Do With It?" at Cowles Auditorium in the Hubert H. Humphrey Center. The panel members, all internationally recognized scholars, represented a variety of academic perspectives: Lisa Disch, Department of Political Science, University of Minnesota, specializes in political theory with a research focus in third party politics and feminist theory; Susan Brownell, Department of Anthropology, University of Missouri, focuses her research on China, rituals of state, and uses of sport and the body; Mary Jo Kane, Director, Tucker Center, University of Minnesota, examines media representations of women in sport and the impact of Title IX; Pat Griffin, Social Justice Education Program, University of Massachusetts, addresses in her research heterosexism/homophobia in professional and intercollegiate athletics as well as in higher education; and, Doug Hartmann, Department of Sociology, University of Minnesota, the panel moderator, explores race, culture, and social change, focusing on sport and popular culture in the U.S. The panel event overlapped the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, and the Games served as the crucial point of departure and focus. Panel participants explored the relationships between sport and social processes—focusing especially on gender and sexuality—around the world as a way to recognize and conceptualize the social, cultural, economic and political significance of sport and the Olympic Games in the contemporary, postmodern age. The panel was part of a larger, seven-week MacArthur Program workshop entitled "The Cultural Politics of Sport and the Olympic Games: Comparative and Global Perspectives" which examined the ways in which race, gender, nation and sexuality are implicated in sporting practices and institutions given the fact that sport culture, especially that of Olympic sport, is so often understood in an abstract, universalistic fashion.

Making a Difference: Vision, Courage and Work
Shannon Miller
April 11, 2000

Shannon Miller, Head Coach of the Canadian Women's Hockey Team, Silver Medal Winners during the 1998 Winter Olympics, gave the 11th Lecture in the Distinguished Lecture Series in the A. I. Johnson Great Room at the new Gateway Center. During her lecture, "Making a Difference: Vision, Courage and Work," Ms. Miller shared the experiences which guided her on her international journey toward excellence. According to Miller, "your vision is what pulls you along; it's what you compete and sacrifice for. Successful people have a vision. Successful people make a difference." Along with her Olympic success, Shannon Miller coached the Canadian women's national team which captured a fourth consecutive gold medal at the Women's World Ice Hockey Championships in 1997.

The Emergence of Female Athletes as Role Models and Pioneers
Ann Bancroft
October 19, 1999

Minnesota native and Polar Explorer, Ann Bancroft, gave the 10th lecture in the Distinguished Lecture Series in the Hubert H. Humphrey Center. Bancroft was the first woman in history to travel to the North and South Poles. In 1986, she traveled 1,000 miles from the Northwest Territories in Canada to the North Pole as the only female member of the Steger International Polar Expedition. In 1993, she led the American Women's Expedition, which she founded, to the South Pole. Ms. Bancroft's expeditions have enabled her to experience teamwork and leadership under extreme hardship, shatter stereotypes about females, and educate people about the importance of discovery. Bancroft reflected on these experiences and shared her insights about the emergence of female athletes as role models and pioneers.

Confronting the Triad of Violence in Men's Sports
Michael Messner
May 3, 1999

Michael Messner, Associate Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California, explored the inner dynamics of boys' and men's sports in order to illuminate some of the reasons for this correlation. In particular, he drew from his own research to outline the interrelationships among men's violence against women, against other men, and against their own bodies. Professor Messner also raised questions about educational and therapeutic interventions with male athletic teams and programs.

The Role of Women in the Olympic Movement
Anita DeFrantz
November 16, 1998

Anita DeFrantz, International Olympic Committee (IOC) board member and President of the Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles, gave her lecture on the role of women in the Olympic Movement at the Hubert H. Humphrey Center's Cowles Auditorium. A member of the 1976 and 1980 Olympic teams, DeFrantz is the first woman ever to be elected as Vice-President of the IOC and was named one of the 100 Most Powerful People in Sports by the Sporting News. DeFrantz gave the audience a framework of the history of women's athletics and the Olympic Games through stories of her own involvement as an athlete and an Olympian. As Vice-President of the International Olympic Committee she was able to further enhance the audience's understanding of the Olympic Games, the progress we have made, and the barriers that still remain.

The Body in Question: Women, Girls, and the Sport Media
Margaret Carlisle Duncan
May 11, 1998

Margaret Carlisle Duncan, of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, spoke at the Weisman Art Museum. Professor Duncan, an internationally recognized scholar on the media's treatment of female athletes, delivered a presentation entitled, "The Body in Question: Women, Girls, and the Sport Media." Her lecture examined the changing images of gender in the sport media, looking at past portrayals of women athletes and female bodies, outlining significant trends, and highlighting future possibilities.

Lessons from the Playing Field
Donna Lopiano
October 20, 1997

Donna Lopiano, Executive Director of the Women's Sports Foundation gave the Edith Mueller lecture. Her subject was "Lessons from the Playing Field." in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, Dr. Lopiano's lecture addressed the impact of Title IX on gender equity for women and girls in sports.

Heroes, Hopes and Level Playing Fields
Judy Mahle Lutter
November 20, 1996

Judy Mahle Lutter, founder and president of Melpomene Institute and author of "The Bodywise Woman," gave her lecture on "Heroes, Hopes and Level Playing Fields."

The Courage to Compete
Mariah Burton Nelson
March 6, 1996

Mariah Burton Nelson, author of "The Stronger Women Get the More Men Love Football," gave her lecture "The Courage to Compete" to an audience of 300 at the Cowles Auditorium in the University of Minnesota's Hubert H. Humphrey Center.

Breakthroughs and Barriers for Women in the Outdoors: Colors of the Wind
Karla Henderson
November 30, 1995

Karla Henderson, Professor of Leisure Studies and Recreation Administration at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, lectured on the meanings of the outdoor experience for girls and women in her presentation "Breakthroughs and Barriers for Women in the Outdoors: Colors of the Wind."

Keeping Young Bones in an Aging Body
Barbara Drinkwater
April 27, 1995

Barbara Drinkwater, Research Physiologist at the Department of Medicine, Pacific Medical Center in Seattle, WA, and ACSM Citation Award winner, represented the Center's focus on Exercise Science with her lecture entitled "Keeping Young Bones in an Aging Body."

The Thrill of the Grass: From Competitive Youth Sports to Lifelong Physical Activity for Girls and Women
Maureen Weiss
February 1, 1995

Maureen Weiss, Department of Exercise and Movement at the University of Oregon and Editor for Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, lectured on the psychosocial aspects of sport and physical activity.