Valparaiso University director of athletics Mark LaBarbera announced today that Elizabeth Conard has joined Valpo Athletics as the Assistant Director of Athletics for Academic Support and Student Services.
“Assisting each of our student-athletes to reach their full potential academically is an important piece of our mission as a department,” said LaBarbera. “Elizabeth's passion for learning, combined with her experience supporting Division I student-athletes at strong academic schools, will better enable Valpo Athletics to fulfill this aspect of our mission.”
Conard comes to Valpo after spending the last seven years at Ohio University. Most recently, she served as the Associate Director for NCAA Eligibility and Student-Athlete Success/Director of Life Skills. Conard functioned as the academic coordinator for football and softball, with responsibilities including tracking progress of continuing eligibility, conducting academic meetings with at-risk student-athletes, providing academic advising and registration assistance, implementing and evaluating academic success strategies and plans, and meeting with prospective student-athletes and their families.
In her role as Director of Life Skills at Ohio, Conard coordinated all career development, community service, wellness activities and workshops for student-athletes. She also was the staff advisor for the Bobcats’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
“I am thankful to Mark LaBarbera and Sarah Pruess for giving me this opportunity and am looking forward to getting started,” said Conard. “On my visit to campus, I could tell the staff shared the same passion about wanting to provide a well-rounded student-athlete experience and I knew I would fit in well with that philosophy. This position is a great opportunity for me to take what I’ve learned in my previous position and implement a new academic support program for Valpo student-athletes. I’m also excited to grow as a leader and help move the department forward.”
Conard started at Ohio University with the NCAA Eligibility and Student-Athlete Success office as an Academic Assistant in August 2012 and was hired July 2013 as an Academic Coordinator. She was promoted to Associate Director for NCAA Eligibility and Student-Athlete Success/Director of Life Skills in July 2017.
Prior to her time at Ohio, Elizabeth worked as a study hall monitor and freshmen football mentor in the Student-Athlete Services department at Central Michigan University while completing her undergraduate studies. She also has intercollegiate athletics experience in athletic communications, marketing and promotions, and recreational services.
“I'm eager to work with our staff, coaches and campus colleagues to further develop ways in which we support our student-athletes,” said Conard. “I look forward to meeting all of the teams and assisting them in reaching not only their academic goals, but also the personal goals they have set.”
Conard earned her bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University in integrative public relations in 2010. She went on to receive a master’s in sports administration from Georgia State University in 2012.