BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - As the building of the academic success system for student-athletes continues in Bakersfield, Athletics Director Jeff Konya has announced the hiring of Dena Freeman-Patton as the program’s first Associate Athletics Director for Academics. Patton will oversee the academic advising and other academic programs geared towards student-athletes at CSUB.
“We are absolutely thrilled in adding Dena to our athletics family; she has work experiences and a proven skill set relating to academic services that will certainly translate well to our student-athlete’s academic pursuits and our overall university academic mission.” Konya said. “She comes very highly-recommended to us from the industry leaders in the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics and her administrative peers across the nation.”
Freeman-Patton comes to Bakersfield from Georgia State where she spent the last five years as associate athletics director for academic support for all student-athletes while also serving as the academic advisor for the Georgia State football program.
“I’m very excited about opportunity to be a part of a program that is growing and has the potential to be one of the better programs in the country, Freeman-Patton said. “I think CSU Bakersfield has the components in place for a great academic support program, we just need to put it all together and make sure we have the right support for the student-athletes in Bakersfield”
Under Freeman-Patton’s supervision, Georgia State student-athletes increased the department’s cumulative grade-point average to record heights, and maintained a GPA of above a 3.0 for each of the past 10 semesters. In addition, the APR rates for the department have reached all-time highs in nearly every sport.
Before her stint at Georgia State, Freeman-Patton was associate director of academic support and career development at Maryland from 2005 to 2007, and served as academic coordinator for the football program at NC State from 2002 to 2005.
Freeman-Patton lettered in basketball at Liberty University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in sports management in 1996. She added a master’s degree in sports administration from Georgia State in 1999. She says her time as a student-athlete really helps in her job duties as she understands the challenges and needs facing student-athletes.
Now in Bakersfield, Freeman-Patton will be surrounded by familiar faces as she worked with Roadrunners men’s basketball head coach Rod Barnes during his time at Georgia State as well.
“I enjoyed my time with Coach Barnes and I am excited to work with him again,” she said. “We had great success at Georgia State building the academic program for men’s basketball; we had some challenges but we also finished with a 100-percent graduation rate during his time there.”
Freeman-Patton is an active member of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics and previously served on the organization’s board of directors. She currently serves on the N4A Ethics Committee, was the chair of the Life Skills Committee and chaired the organizing committee for the N4A regional conference in 2012. She is also an active member of NACDA and NACWAA.
In Bakersfield, Freeman-Patton will oversee the academic advising as well as the academic success coordinators located in the recently-opened Kegley Center for Student Success on campus. She will also have several sports-supervision responsibilities and serve as a member of the athletic department’s senior staff.