Education: B.S., communications management, Missouri State University; M.P.A., policy analysis, Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Professional background: Cromer Peoples joined the UA in 2014 after spending four years at Indiana University and previously working for 11 years at the NCAA national office. She provides strategic direction and oversight of several UA athletics department initiatives and was named 2015 Nell Jackson Administrator of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators.
Why did you get into the sports administration business? There is absolutely no other enterprise like college sports, which operates at the four-way intersection of the transformative power of higher education, the responsibility to make values-based decisions, the competitive opportunities of sport and the aspirational expectations of a passionate fan base.
What do you consider to be your biggest career break? During my tenure at the national office of the NCAA, I worked in national policy development that required engagement of campus leadership, athletics directors, faculty, coaches, commissioners and student-athletes from across the country. At the time, I had no idea how valuable the network I developed would become and how many opportunities would result from those conversations and contacts.
The best advice you ever received is? Work hard, be solution-oriented and be known for the results you deliver, not just the people in your network.
What’s something unique about you that not everyone knows? My first day of college was the subject of a documentary short film focusing on the transition of a teenager from a small town to a “big” campus.
How will your industry change in the next decade? Like other industries, college athletics is facing evolving revenue models, generational forces and the changing impact of technology on workplace performance and human engagement. We will see change in just about every aspect of our enterprise, including how we physically and mentally train our student-athletes, how we raise revenue to support our sports programs and how we engage our fans and supporters.
What was the biggest factor that led you to pursue a job at Arkansas? I was drawn to the opportunity by the strength of our campus leadership and the chance to work in the Southeastern Conference. However, most importantly, I took the position because I wanted to contribute to the development of young people and the advancement of education in my home region.
What are some of the biggest issues on your plate these days? What gets the most attention from you? While we’ve always valued student-athlete feedback, recent events across the country have heightened our awareness of a changing landscape for our coaches and student-athletes. Now, more than ever, we are directly engaging our student-athletes in decision-making and leadership within the athletics department. At the same time, our coaches and staff are adapting to a new generation and to shifting standards of protocol that are often very different from their own personal experiences.
What is the bottom-line motivator for you when it comes to your career? We must live up to the proud tradition and strong identity of Razorbacks throughout our state, and we must deliver a student-athlete experience that fosters individual growth and achievement.
What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry? Do exceptional work, take the initiative to build your own network and be resilient.
Favorite cause or charity? Ozark Literacy Council and Dress for Success.
How do you maintain a work/life balance? I don’t worry about maintaining “balance,” as that seems not only elusive, but also fleeting, if ever accomplished. Instead, I seek to live a “fully engaged” life, defined for me by the priorities of faith, family, career and community and understanding that there will be ebbs and flows of time and energy, but the key is to stay connected to each priority.
What do you want the Arkansas athletics department to accomplish in the next year? Higher graduation rates and more championships.