Derek Van Rheenen



179 Chavez Student Center



As Director, Derek provides leadership in support of student athlete development through individualized and tailored academic support.


Derek earned his Ph.D (1997) in Cultural Studies, his Master’s degree (1993) in Education, and his undergraduate degree in Political Economy/German (1986), all from U.C. Berkeley. Derek joined the faculty in 1997. He coordinates the Cultural Studies of Sport in Education (CSSE) M.A. Program in the Graduate School of Education. The M.A. investigates the ways in which institutionalized sport both conflicts with and complements the educational mission of American secondary and post-secondary schools. As a Chancellor’s Public Scholar, Dr. Van Rheenen also teaches several undergraduate courses at Berkeley.

Derek’s research interests include cultural studies of play, games and sport, the connections between sports, learning and schooling, and the role of intercollegiate athletics in the American university system.

His publications include “Out of Bounds: When Scholarship Athletes Become Academic Scholars” (book with Jabari Mahiri), “The Educational Dilemma of Academic Support for NCAA College Athletes: Playing the High-Stakes Game of Advising to the APR,” “Becoming REGS: The Impact of Institutional Sport Elimination on Division I Student Athletes” (with Vincent Minjares, Nick McNeil, and Jason R. Atwood), “A Century of Historical Change in the Game Preferences of American Children” and “Boys Who Play Hopscotch: The Historical Divide of a Gendered Space.” Derek has also participated in the production of several documentary films.

As an undergraduate at Berkeley, Derek earned Academic All-American honors and played professional soccer for several years following graduation. Derek was inducted into the CAL Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.