Sports Management Faculty
Dr. Diane Para, Program Director/Professor
Dr. Para is in her 27th year at SUNY Canton and prior to becoming Program Director and lead faculty for the Sports Management program in 2010 served as Director of Athletics for 18 years. Dr. Para also served as Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs while Director of Athletics. She was awarded the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2016.
Dr. Para designed and wrote the Sports Management program and oversees all the curriculum development for the program. In addition, she teaches many of the upper level program courses. During her time as Athletic Director, Para was co-creator of the Northern Independence Conference while an NJCAA program and served as its first commissioner. While the program was a member of the NJCAA, Dr. Para served on the Region III Board of Directors and served as Chairperson for the Region III Women's Volleyball and Men's Ice Hockey committees.
Dr. Para successfully directed the schools transition from a two-year athletic program to a four-year athletic program as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). She also oversaw the transition of the men's ice hockey team from a two-year program to a four-year program as a member of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) and led the development of a strategic plan for membership into the NCAA. In addition, Para orchestrated the college's re-branding efforts in becoming the Roos.
During her tenure she led efforts for program expansion which included the addition of women's volleyball, men's baseball, and men's and women's cross country and led the push for major facility improvements which included a new turf field, baseball field, and softball field, and served on the design team for the College's new 40 million dollar athletic facility. In addition, Dr. Para was committed to developing and fostering an academics first athletic program earning much respect from campus faculty. According to Dr. Para, "we worked very hard to make sure the right message was delivered, the right policies were in place, and the right decisions were made to ensure the balance of academics and athletics remained healthy, successful, and rewarding for our student-athletes."
In 2007, Dr. Para was awarded the prestigious Presidential Meritorious Service Award for her efforts and outstanding dedication to the college. While Athletic Director, Dr. Para also served as the women's volleyball coach and softball coach for numerous years earning Coach of the Year honors twice for volleyball and twice for softball. Leading the softball program into four year competition, Coach Para led her team to back to back Sunrise Conference regular season titles and Conference Tournament titles earning bids to the NAIA Division I National Championships in 2010 and 2011.
Dr. Para brings this wealth of experience to the classroom. As an educator, Dr. Para believes in the value of experiential learning both in and out of the classroom. She has developed working relationships with professional organizations to provide opportunities for students to put theory to practice and gain valuable hands on experience. "Any career in Sports Management is people driven. Getting our students involved in activities outside the classroom in real life events will help deepen their learning, strengthen learning outcomes, and build important people skills. They also provide a unique experience to network with professionals in the field and to show case their own capabilities."
Dr. Para is a member of the North American Society of Sport Management (NASSM), the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators (NACWAA), and Women in Higher Education. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Ogdensburg Boys and Girls Club where she also volunteers as mentor.