The University of Maryland Puts Student-Athlete Feedback First With RealResponse


The University of Maryland boasts a nationally renowned athletics program, which encompasses more than 550 student-athletes across 20 intercollegiate sports. The institution’s current tagline is “Fearlessly Forward,” a mentality the athletics department embodies in its efforts to evolve the Terrapin student-athlete experience.

Maryland Athletics’ leadership is laser-focused on supporting student-athletes in all realms—in and out of the classroom, personally and professionally. Players have access to a breadth of resources, including programs that guide them through the transition into college and others that prepare them for successful postgraduate careers.

A key pillar of this transformation? Amplifying student voices.

A more expansive approach to addressing mental health

In the post-pandemic environment, protecting student-athlete mental health has been a growing concern across higher education. And it’s one Maryland Athletics is committed to addressing in innovative ways.

“Mental health means something different to everyone, and it addresses a whole range of issues, from mental wellness to performance,” said Dr. Sue Sherburne, Executive Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator at the University of Maryland.

Leadership has been intentional about democratizing support beyond just the school’s counselors and sports psychology unit. “We’re trying to work as a team, with our mental health providers, to ensure that our coaches and administrators are all aware of what our students are dealing with,” said Colleen Sorem, Deputy Athletic Director and Chief Operating Officer for Maryland Athletics.

In order to create a truly student-centered experience, Maryland Athletics needed a way to go straight to the source.

Taking Terps’ Feedback to heart

In July, 2019, Maryland Athletics introduced RealResponse (internally known as Terps’ Feedback), to serve as an always-on channel for capturing student input and concerns.

“Feedback is one of the ways we’re trying to enhance our entire student-athlete experience. The RealResponse platform is instrumental in helping us gather that feedback both collectively from teams and individually from students,” said Dr. Sherburne.