A faculty member in Applied Indigenous Studies who is an advocate for college athletes will have additional opportunities to pursue her personal and academic interests.

NAU President Rita Cheng announced that Alisse Ali-Joseph has been appointed as the university’s new faculty athletic representative, a position mandated by the NCAA to ensure student-athletes maintain balance between academics and athletics.

“Alisse’s interest in the transformative power of collegiate athletics will bring a unique insight to this role,” Cheng said. “She understands that for many students participating in athletics is what makes education feel more accessible and gives them the skills to succeed in life.”

“The faculty representative plays a crucial role in a lot of different areas from student-athlete welfare to supporting our students academically,” said Lisa Campos, vice president of intercollegiate athletics. “Ali-Jospeh’s academic passions are going to fit well with things we are trying to do with our department.”

As Ali-Joseph played tennis at U.C. Davis, she noticed very few other Native Americans in college sports. She decided to study this phenomenon at the University of Arizona, where she earned a master’s and Ph.D.

“Playing tennis provided a wonderful opportunity for me to get an education. I wondered why there are so few Native Americans pursuing a sport in college and how we could change that,” Ali-Joseph said.

As a member of the Choctaw Tribe, Ali-Joseph wants to encourage Native American high school students to pursue college athletics. In her new role, she looks forward to supporting all student-athletes at the collegiate level.

“I have experience on many levels that will help me working with the administration, the coaches and most importantly the student-athletes,” said Ali-Joseph, who has a passion for seeing more student-athletes graduate from college.

Ali-Joseph will fill the spot vacated by Deborah Craig, an associate professor and Athletic Training Education Program director, who held the faculty athletic representative position for two years.