Return On Inclusion and Northwestern Announce Partnership

Return On Inclusion (ROI) offers online diversity and inclusion courses designed for college athletic departments.

EVANSTON, Ill. – Northwestern has announced a partnership with Return On Inclusion, which delivers online sport-specific diversity and inclusion education to coaches, administrators and staff in college athletic departments.

"Through a collaboration with Return On Inclusion, our staff and coaches will embark on a journey to enhance the skills necessary to uplift and serve our diverse family of stakeholders, including student-athletes, coaches, staff, and community members," Combe Family Vice President for Athletics & Recreation Dr. Derrick Gragg said. "This intentional step will play a pivotal role in laying the foundation to support our steadfast commitment to the pursuit of comprehensive excellence."

Divided into six self-paced online modules, Return On Inclusion's comprehensive diversity and inclusion training is designed specifically for college athletic departments. Participants receive instruction on a variety of topics, including:
  • Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Foundations
  • Cultural Competence & Managing Relationships
  • Overcoming Bias, Microaggressions & Covering
  • Unpacking Racism, Anti-Racism & Privilege
  • LGBTQ+ Inclusion & Gender Stereotypes
  • Inclusive Leadership & Strategic Plan Development
"As the department of Athletics and Recreation, we are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive community that fosters belonging and celebrates authenticity," Senior Associate A.D./Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Maria Sanchez said. "Return On Inclusion is a game-changing platform that will afford us an opportunity to enhance core competencies while establishing a baseline that will launch continued efforts for growth and development. Together, we will leverage the leadership of the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee (JEDI) to move through each module with purpose."

Instruction in all six modules is provided by ROI founder Nevin Caple, a national thought leader on diversity, inclusion and belonging in sport. The curriculum was developed by Caple in collaboration with the ROI advisory board – a diverse collection of college athletics administrators and scholars from around the country.

"We are excited to welcome Northwestern to ROI! As the first Big Ten school to join ROI, Northwestern is setting a new standard for inclusive leader learning and development throughout the conference," Caple said. "These efforts have a holistic impact, equipping coaches, administrators and staff with the skills necessary to navigate challenging situations and support student-athletes across social and cultural differences. I commend Dr. Gragg and his leadership team for their commitment to moving the work of inclusion forward."

Since its launch in October 2020, ROI has emerged as an industry leader, helping athletic administrators, coaches, and staff at institutions and athletics organizations at all levels of competition develop the inclusive leadership skills necessary to support student-athletes across social and cultural differences. Participants who complete all six modules earn the ROI Inclusive Leader Certificate.

ROI and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) recently announced a groundbreaking partnership to advance diversity and inclusion in college athletics. NACDA endorsed the ROI platform for individual and department-wide use for NACDA and affiliate members across the country.

Caple hopes to set a new standard when it comes to how administrators and coaches are trained on diversity and inclusion topics in college athletics.

"DEI is a learned skill set. We don't just show up one day knowing what to do. It takes time, practice, and commitment just like learning a sport or anything of importance," Caple said. "This is our opportunity to provide a resource that will make us better humans, center the experiences of our student-athletes, and improve college athletics for generations to come."

For more information, visit

About Return On Inclusion
Return On Inclusion™ (ROI) is a sport-specific diversity and inclusion education platform dedicated to developing inclusive leaders and fostering a culture of belonging across social and cultural differences. Our self-paced modules standardize learning methods, deepening our commitment to helping every coach and athletic administrator develop the skills and competencies necessary to support student-athletes and achieve inclusive excellence in programs, policies and practices.

The ROI Advisory Board includes national thought leaders in college athletics who have made significant contributions to fostering inclusive teams and programs. Board members include: Board Co-Chair Kim Doran, Board Co-Chair John Square (George Washington), Kyle Chilton, Clyde Doughty (Bowie State), Jessica Duff (Smith), Jaide-Hinds Clarke (Richmond), Katie Harbert (Oregon), Noah Knight, Yannick Kluch (VCU), Maria Sanchez (Northwestern), Whitney Johnson (BYU).

Visit or follow @ROInclusion on Twitter for more information.

Return On Inclusion Press Contact: Kyle Chilton • • 801-372-2080