CWU News

CWU Athletics to Expand Diversity and Inclusion Training with New Partnership

CWU football players prepare to take the field.

CWU Athletics has partnered with Return On Inclusion (ROI) to enhance the department's diversity training.

Central Washington University Athletics is looking to enhance its commitment to diversity and inclusion by partnering with Return on Inclusion (ROI), a national training program designed specifically to help college athletic departments improve their inter-cultural relationship-building skills.

ROI is an online-based, sport-specific education model that offers comprehensive diversity and inclusion training. The six-part program focuses on developing more inclusive leaders and creating a culture of belonging by bridging social and cultural differences. CWU Athletic Director Dennis Francois believes the ROI partnership will help Central coaches and administrators at all levels.

“We are always looking to broaden our reach with student-athletes of all backgrounds, and this platform will give our department the tools we need to gain a better understanding and awareness of cultural differences that have been barriers in the past,” Francois said. “This initiative will further strengthen our commitment to our department’s core value of diversity and inclusion, and it will help us build stronger relationships with current and future generations of Wildcats.”  

The ROI training is delivered in six online modules that are intended to help athletic organizations relate to today’s student-athletes. The training modules focus on topics such as diversity, inclusion, and belonging foundations; cultural competence and managing relationships; unpacking racism, anti-racism, and privilege; and LGBTQ+ inclusion and gender stereotypes.

The instructor for each of the sessions is ROI founder Nevin Caple, a national thought leader on diversity, inclusion, and belonging in athletics. She developed the curriculum in collaboration with college athletics administrators and scholars from around the country. 

Upon completion of the training courses, CWU Athletics staff can expect to establish standardized learning methods and expectations to build cultural competence; learn the value of inclusive practices, policies, and programs to increase opportunities for stakeholders and prioritize the needs of student-athletes; and develop the skills to lead inclusively across social and cultural differences.

The ROI partnership also will help solidify CWU’s status as a welcoming institution and one of the most diverse higher education institutions in Washington state. 

“Any time we can bring more people together and learn to be more understanding of one another’s differences, the Wildcat community stands to benefit,” said Kandee Cleary, Central’s vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

About Central Washington University: CWU is located in Ellensburg, Washington, and is among the most diverse higher education institutions in the state. CWU has been honored with the prestigious Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award in seven of the past eight years.

Media contact: David Leder, Department of Public Affairs,, 509-963-1518.