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Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation (APER) Mission, Vision, Goals & Guiding Principles



APER facilitates the wellness, transformative learning, and success of the whole student through physical activity.


Physical activity is essential to human development and thus an integral component of a Mills College liberal arts education.  As Mills College physical educators, coaches, and recreational specialists, we enrich lives by providing rewarding experiences, knowledge and skills that motivate and enable students of differing abilities to incorporate sound health practices and physical activities into their daily lives.

By providing challenge and support, we enable students to learn how to: take responsibility and make educated choices, discover and care for their whole selves, transcend perceived limits, compete with others to maximize their potential, and become leaders and contributors in a community.



The goal of the Athletics program is to provide undergraduate student-athletes with high quality intercollegiate competition that places highest priority on development of the whole person.


The goal of the Physical Education program is to foster in Mills students a lifelong positive, healthy lifestyle by providing quality professional instruction in physical activities, fitness, health and safety.


The goal of the Recreation program is to provide students, faculty, staff and alumnae with facilities, equipment, programs and social opportunities that will facilitate stress reduction, social engagement, and enjoyment of a wide variety of lifelong wellness activities.


Guiding Principles

All three of the Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation programs are viewed as essential in a department that strives to serve the entire Mills community with its wide range of needs, abilities, and interests. In support of the mission and values of Mills College, the Division of Student Life, and the NCAA Division III, APER utilizes the following Guiding Principles:


1.    Success

            Success is a journey which brings out the best in oneself and provides meaningful living. Success means different things to different people. “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.” (John Wooden) 

2.    Transformative Learning

Transformative learning occurs when individuals change their psychological, convictional, and behavioral frames of reference by critically reflecting on their assumptions and beliefs and consciously implementing plans that bring about new ways of defining their worlds. (Mezirow 1997, Clark 1991).  APER strives to facilitate individual growth that is transformative.

3.    Comprehensive Learning

Provide opportunities for broad-based education and success. (NCAA Division III Attributes, 2010)  APER supports student-athletes in achieving academic success, and their engagement in a wide variety of educational experiences. 

4.    Wellness

Wellness is a self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential. Wellness is positive and affirming, holistic and multi-dimensional, encompassing both lifestyle and environment.  Wellness incorporates physical, intellectual, social, emotional, spiritual and occupational dimensions. (National Wellness Institute) 

5.    Competition

Competition provides ample and powerful opportunities for challenging and supporting student-athletes to help them actualize their capacities. Competition is about bringing out the best in each competitor. Sportsmanship, which is fair and respectful conduct toward all participants, officials and supporters, is therefore considered an essential component of healthy competition.

6.    Leadership

Leadership is a process rather than a position. Everyone has a leadership capacity and can lead in different ways. Leadership includes understanding of self, others, and community, and acceptance of responsibilities inherent in community membership. 

7.    Social Justice

Social justice is premised in full and core level inclusion. Social justice recognizes and addresses the disparities in power, resources, inclusion, and agency. It goes beyond addressing oppression and privilege at the personal and interpersonal levels, and focuses on transforming the institutional and cultural levels. It embraces people across their multiple identities, including gender/s & gender identity, gender expression, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, citizenship status, age, disability, and religious/cultural/spiritual identities. APER supports engagement in thoughtful social change to help bring about a socially just society.