Harwood-Rom to lead Academic Support for Razorbacks

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Melissa Harwood-Rom has been named the associate athletic director for academic support for the University of Arkansas Athletic Department, Vice-Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long announced Wednesday. "I am pleased to announce that Melissa Harwood-Rom will continue to serve the University of Arkansas and the Razorbacks as the associate athletic director for academic support," Long said. "She has done an incredible job since taking the position on an interim basis. Melissa has received strong support from coaches and administrators in the athletic department and faculty and staff across campus. "She has the right mix of concern for the academic well-being of our student-athletes and has demonstrated the strength and ability to hold them accountable and responsible. She also has the knowledge and experience to lead our academic support staff. We are fortunate to have Melissa on our team." Harwood-Rom begins her 20th year at the University this summer, serving in a variety of academic and student-athlete affairs positions. Most recently, she was the associate athletic director for student life in the previous women’s athletics department. "I love this university and have since I stepped on campus as a freshman," Harwood-Rom said. "I have no doubt that my student experience at Arkansas molded and challenged me and gave me a deep appreciation for what the student experience can and should be." Harwood-Rom now oversees academics for all 19 Razorback athletic teams, and will manage the staff of the Bob and Marilyn Bogle Academic Center. She will also serve as the liaison for the athletic department to the campus assisting with academic relations. "I look forward to this opportunity and new challenge of providing all our Razorback student-athletes with the support they need to meet their academic goals and potential," Harwood-Rom said. "I thank all who have entrusted me with this very great responsibility." First named an associate athletic director in 1991, Harwood-Rom joined Arkansas in 1989 as an academic counselor for women’s athletics. Among her first accomplishments was the creation of the Lady Razorback Academic Excellence program in the fall of 1989 to recognize the academic achievements through semester honor rolls. A veteran NCAA peer reviewer, Harwood-Rom served on six site visits of Division I institutions as well as a member of the University of Arkansas’ own self-study and certification efforts. An alumna of Arkansas, she earned her degree with honors in English in 1979, and has completed a pair of master’s degrees. Her first was in English from Oklahoma State, followed by her second in economics at Washington State. While at Washington State, Harwood-Rom worked with the Academic Development Center as a part of the central advising area which worked with student-athletes. Assisting mostly with football and men’s basketball players, she designed and monitored study hall work for Cougar athletes. Her husband, Dr. Curt R. Rom, is a professor of horticulture at the University and a past president of the UA Faculty Senate.