Staff Contacts

Mr. Kurt Dunkel - MS

Program Director

Kurt Dunkel

Mr. Kurt Dunkel received his Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Shippensburg University. As a student athlete, Kurt was a team captain, a two-time PSAC place-winner, and a two-time All-American javelin thrower – finishing second at the NCAA Championships in 1997 and 1998. He has worked in the local community as a mental health counselor and family therapist at his private practice. He also worked at SU as a mental health counselor and professor in the Academic Success Program (ASP) before taking over the role of Program Coordinator in the Academic Support for Student Athletes Office (ASSA).

Kurt has led on a variety of initiatives to improve the academic performance and persistence of SU student athletes. For example, Kurt has restructured the format of the mandatory study hall program to increase accountability and to include more instruction/guidance on group study. Study hall monitors have been trained to serve as tutors for individual and small groups. These tutors provide generalist study skills support as well as content specific support. The office provides advising support, workshops, and a comprehensive academic orientation program for incoming and first year student athletes. Mr. Dunkel created the first every comprehensive student athlete support services guide and also developed the office’s first ever service learning group called Raiders Serve. Kurt also has an interest in performing and presenting research on a variety of academic support initiatives.

Shippensburg University student athletes continue to see graduation rates and an Academic Success Rate (ASR) which is well above the National Average. SU student athletes have persistence rates and QPA’s which are higher than the general SU student body. In 2014 Shippensburg University Athletics broke its all-time record with 141 PSAC Scholar Athletes. Ship has had numerous PSAC Champion Scholars, Regional Academic All-Americans, National Academic All-Americans, and multiple NCAA degree completion scholarship winners. In 2014, SU saw fifty percent of its student athletes earn at least a 3.0 semester QPA and one quarter of student athletes earned Dean’s List.

Kurt has taught a variety of both undergraduate and graduate courses at SU and has a strong interest in the holistic personal development of college students. Kurt believes in the philosophy of Division 2, which places an important emphasis on the balance between academics and athletics. Kurt has presented on various topics related to academic support services, mental health, and wellness at regional, national, and international conferences.

Mr. Dunkel remains personally involved with SU athletics as a part time assistant coach of track and field – a role has held since 1999. Kurt has coached 220 conference placewinners, 29 conference champions, 77 NCAA provisional qualifiers, 18 All-Americans, 18 school record holders, eight PSAC Championship record holders, one Academic All-American, and a NCAA National Champion.

Kurt is the father of two young boys, to whom he devotes a great deal of time. In addition he enjoys, travel, the outdoors, exercises, reading, cooking, and photography.

Rianna Grissom

Grad Assistant


Rianna Grissom is a 2014 graduate from Edinboro University with a B.S. in Psychology and minor in Communication Studies. While there, she was active on campus as an undergraduate researcher, Psych Club Secretary, writing tutor, and Honors Program mentor. She also served as a student assistant for the Department of Nursing for four years. Here at Shippensburg University Rianna will be pursuing a M.S. in Psychological Science. Her interests include cooking, traveling, and all the adventures that come along with it!

Carolyn Smith

Student Support Assistant


Carolyn Smith is from Westminster, Maryland and will be working in the office for the Academic Support Services for Student Athletes. She is a senior, majoring in psychology with a minor in coaching. Carolyn is a member of Tau Kappa, PSI CHI, Psychology club, SAAC, and is a captain of the Ship Women’s soccer team. In Carolyn’s free time she enjoys hanging out with friends, cheering on her fellow Raiders, and looking forward to graduating in May with the class of 2015!