Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Center for Performance Excellence opens

The Graduate School of Professional Psychology (GSPP) opened the Center for Performance Excellence (CPEX) May 6 to deliver sport and performance enhancement services to the community.

“GSPP is a leading school in delivering psychological services to the greater Denver community,” says Peter Buirski, dean of GSPP. “CPEX provides us with a vehicle for bringing psychological sophistication to schools in underserved communities though sport and performance enhancement.”

GSPP students already provide more than 10,000 hours of community service per year. Now, graduate students will also offer techniques to improve performance and promote success that can be applied to sports, academics and extracurricular activities.

Graduate students are already coaching sports teams at Denver Venture, a public charter school downtown.

“We are teaching the high school students personal and social responsibility through sport,” says Mark Aoyagi, director of DU’s sport and performance psychology program. “It is a winning combination where the high school students get a rewarding experience and our DU students gain hands-on skills as well.”

Johnathan Duff, a first-year graduate student in the program, says CPEX is a great way for him to get supervised consulting experience.

“I will be able to pick up clients and then discuss my applied work with my professors,” Duff says. “This is a huge benefit for students because supervisors in sport psychology are not always easily accessible.”

DU sport and performance psychology professors are all professionals in the field who have worked with youth, college, professional and Olympic athletes. While students learn to work with athletes, they also work with musicians, actors, speakers and anyone who needs performance improvement.

“We have grand plans for CPEX,” Aoyagi says. “We believe through the power and influence of sport and the performing arts wet can make an impact on society.”

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