Announcing a Proposed New Governance Structure for NASSM

by Damon Andrew, NASSM President and Bri Newland, NASSM President-Elect

As many of you know, the NASSM leadership has been exploring a governance restructure for nearly a decade. In 2013, then NASSM President Larena Hoeber appointed a task force of professional members – Bob Baker, Carol Barr, George Cunningham (Chair), Katie Misener, and Jim Weese – to explore options for structural and operational changes to the Society. The recommendations from that task force were advanced as Presidents George Cunningham, Laurence Chalip, and Lisa Kihl led the strategic planning efforts of the society over the next few years. In 2018, then NASSM President, Lisa Kihl, progressed the governance restructure effort as Chair of the NASSM Governance Task Force with professional members, Damon Andrew, Laura Burton, Milena Parent, Scott Tainsky, Nef Walker, and Mike Odio. Then one of this blog’s authors, Bri Newland, current President-Elect, took over as Chair from Lisa Kihl and have continued to lead the work of the task force – Mike Odio, Milena Parent, Damon Andrew, and Laura Burton, with Scott Tainsky as ex officio.

Current Situation & Issues

The current NASSM Executive Council functions as an operational board and has remained largely unchanged since its inception, though additional member-at-large positions have been added over time as operational needs grew along with the organization. As an operational board, the EC is composed of elected or appointed volunteers who learn and perform a variety of operational tasks throughout their terms of service. As NASSM grew, more positions were added to the Executive Council as a short-term strategy to meet the operational needs of the organization. Over time, this has resulted in a larger number of volunteers performing operational tasks on behalf of NASSM. However, the coordination of these operational tasks has increased, resulting in less time for proactive strategic governance by the Executive Council as the learning and performance of operational tasks has absorbed the efforts of its volunteer members. Moreover, long-term strategic planning for NASSM is challenging with the current structure of the Executive Council due to the limited terms of the leadership (i.e., president, president-elect, and past-president). Welcoming a new President each year, who must learn and perform a new set of operational duties in addition to leading the Executive Council, makes strategic leadership difficult. Past Presidents of NASSM have lamented that the wide variance of expected duties during the three years of total service is challenging. The President-Elect and Past-President years are primarily management-focused while the Presidency year is leadership-focused. Therefore, the current governance structure of NASSM with its operationally-focused Executive Council and short terms of service for officers actively works against the need for NASSM to be more proactive and strategic in its operation.

New Proposed Structure

Based upon the Executive Council and task force work referenced previously over the past decade as well as NASSM’s strategic plan, a strategic governing board paired with an executive director and personnel that perform operational duties would best serve NASSM as an organization, both now and for the foreseeable future. Thus, the current NASSM Governance Task Force has worked to develop a new governance model for the NASSM membership for consideration and vote. The following organizational chart illustrates the new structure (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Proposed NASSM Governing Board Structure

As noted in Figure 1, operational duties of the organization are proposed to be led by an Executive Director with the necessary experience to ensure the day-to-day operation of the organization is accomplished effectively. NASSM personnel, journal editors, and supporting standing committees with an operational focus would report through the Executive Director, who would report to the Governing Board. The Governing Board would include a President, Vice-President, and six officers who would serve longer staggered terms to support a strategic focus and the retention of organizational history, and the student representative would also serve on the governing board with a one-year term and optional renewals based on election outcomes. Moreover, certain standing committees with more of a strategic focus would report directly to the Governing Board, with the board enhancing communication through ex-officio service on those committees.

Next Steps & Call to Action

At the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) held during the 2021 NASSM Conference, the membership will have the opportunity to vote on the adoption of this new structure. To support the possibility that the new governance structure may be adopted, the current NASSM Governance Task Force has prepared accompanying drafts of the NASSM Constitution and Operating Codes to allow the organization to immediately shift into this new model if the motion passes. Moreover, the task force has also prepared a transition plan that respects the service terms of those elected to the Executive Council while ultimately transitioning the organization to the longer and staggered service terms of the proposed Governing Board over a few transitional years. In order to prepare for this vote, the membership will have the opportunity to review the proposed constitution and operating code. These documents are available on the NASSM website (for access, log in with your NASSM membership in the upper right corner). In anticipation of potential questions about the governance structure and the accompanying transition details, NASSM President, Damon Andrew, and President-Elect, Bri Newland, will be hosting three Zoom Q&A seminars to discuss the new structure and answer any questions from members prior to the AGM. The meetings will be held on the following days:

Thursday, May 13 from 3-4pm EST

Monday, May 17 from 1-2pm EST

Thursday, May 20 from 2-3pm EST

Your feedback is incredibly important to us. Therefore, we urge all members to review the materials and join us for discussion prior to the AGM so that you will be fully prepared to vote during the limited time available at the AGM.

Best,

Drs. Damon Andrew and Bri Newland

President and President-Elect, NASSM

A Foreign Territory of Opportunities: Experiences of a Sport Management International Student

Nina is a second-year PhD student at the University of Louisville. Her research focuses on establishing and maintaining sport partnerships in parasports and developing successful adaptive sports programs. A German Native, Nina is a Fulbright alumnus and has lived, studied, and worked in four countries.

November 14, 2017 – the day my life changed forever, and my biggest dream came true. I was in Arnhem, Netherlands, a senior in the International Business and Management Studies program at the Arnhem Business School. I was delighted to see an email informing me that I had been awarded the 2018-2019 Fulbright Scholarship. I opened the email and read it over and over again because I simply could not believe it. A few sleepless nights later (because I was so excited), I received another email from Fulbright Germany informing me that I had been chosen to pursue a master’s degree in Sport Administration at the University of Louisville (UofL). My journey of studying in the U.S. began here and continues to this day.

On my first day at UofL, I realized I was the only foreign student in the program. As a German who  completed my undergraduate degree with students from various regions of the world in both the Netherlands and Hong Kong, this was foreign territory to me. Classes were incredibly challenging in the beginning because I was unfamiliar with most of the sport examples discussed. I spoke with my professors and classmates and informed them that I could not relate to the class content with these foreign (to me) examples. That turned the tide and my professors and peers took extra time to expand and explain the examples used in class. Soon I was learning about sport in the U.S. and sharing my experiences of sport and life in other countries. Embracing the American sports world outside the classroom, I found myself on the court at United Centre, home of Michael Jordan and the famed Chicago Bulls, volunteering at the NCAA Men’s Final Four tournament! I was one of 72,000 people in the stadium and made lifelong friends through this experience.

At the NCAA Men’s Final Four tournament in Minneapolis

To immerse myself in the American sport culture and make the most of my time in the U.S., I decided to pursue an internship with the development department (Cardinal Athletic Fund) of Louisville Athletics. This internship gave me the opportunity to learn from some of the best development directors in the nation. I was able to work during football games and men’s basketball games, which provided me with a once in a lifetime experience and incredibly valuable connections. If I can give one advice to foreign students, it is to network. And guess what, turns out an accent is always going to be a conversation starter!

While my Fulbright scholarship fulfilled my lifelong dream of studying in the U.S. and pursuing a degree in Sport Administration (a goal from 5th grade), it was not the end of my journey in America. My professors opened doors for me that I did not think existed for a first-generation college student. Thanks to Dr. Mary Hums, I was able to stay at UofL, and am now pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, specializing in Sport Administration. My doctoral degree is funded by a University Fellowship.

Dr. Mary Hums and I during my master’s graduation ceremony, May 2019. She is my advisor and will be my dissertation chair

It is said that the U.S. is the country of opportunities, and I can confirm, that for me, it has been. Since starting my doctoral program, I have gained opportunities to teach and be involved in research projects. I have taught classes in Sport Finance, International Sport, and Issues and Ethics in Sport. This has given me valuable experience in lecturing, designing and grading assignments, and learning from student feedback. I have been involved in several research activities, such as preparing a grant proposal for International Sport Programming, and a study with my peers in the doctoral program examining college adaptive sport sponsorship and the role of cause-related marketing. Being involved with these projects has given me new skills in qualitative and quantitative research methods, grants and report writing, and working as part of a team. I have attended and presented at a variety of academic conferences, which has improved my ability to present in front of an audience and answer questions on the spot. Additionally, I have had the privilege of speaking with middle and high school students in various cities in Kentucky about the importance of intercultural and international exchange.

Speaking to High School students during International Education Week 2018 on behalf of Reach the World and Fulbright

If you are an international student thinking about studying or are currently studying in North America, I urge you to seek opportunities, dream bigger, and work harder because you will be rewarded with an experience unlike any other. To U.S.-based students, educators, and administrators, embrace the knowledge and nurture the talent of your international students. It will not only be valuable to them, but also to you.

Do you have any questions about studying in the U.S., my experiences, and or working with international students? Do not hesitate to reach out to me: nina.siegfried@louisville.edu 

Together, Apart or Somewhere in Between: Considerations for Managing Para Sport

By Darda Sales. The author is currently a PhD candidate at Western University in London, Ontario.

As a four-time Paralympian, coach, and PhD candidate, I have heard the statement ‘Sport is sport’ numerous times and I agree that the goals of sport are consistent for able-bodied and para athletes: enjoyment, competition, pushing oneself to be the best one can be at their chosen activity. However, to ensure sport and physical activity meets its intended outcomes and is beneficial to all participants, sport managers working in para sport need to be aware of the discussion surrounding segregation and integration.

Segregated Para Sport Opportunities:

Segregated sporting opportunities allow para athletes to be themselves without the impact of ableist views weighing in on them. In my experience, segregation provides opportunities to be with only those with similar experiences, and these segregated environments allow para athletes to build their self-confidence and skills in an environment set up to meet their particular needs. It helps them connect with others who share similar background experiences. It also allows para athletes to make mistakes, to stumble and fail in an accepting environment, with less concern of judgement or scrutiny. Intended or not, a lot of pressure can be placed on para athletes if they feel that they are being expected to live up to the same standards as able-bodied athletes (Wolbring, 2012). A segregated environment can relieve that pressure and allow para athletes to develop their own skills, at their own pace, and in their own way.

Integrated Para Sport Opportunities:

Alternatively, integration is the intermixing of para and able-bodied athletes (Howe, 2007).  In Canada, para sport has seen an increase in training and competitive opportunities when sports such as swimming and athletics began to be integrated in the 1990s. Integration allows for increased access to educated coaches and well-equipped facilities. It allows para athletes to challenge themselves alongside other athletes who are chasing similar goals and dreams, whether those other athletes have impairments or not.

Note of Caution: simply allowing para athletes into your program is not true integration (Berry, 1996). Thought and consideration needs to be given to include para athletes in a meaningful way into programs offered. Having a para athlete in a program continually struggling to keep up with their non-impaired counterparts or fitting into a prescribed program or sitting on the sidelines is not true integration (Berry, 1996).

The integration of para athletes needs to receive consideration and thought as to what works best for the functional level of the para athlete, where they are now, where they have the potential to get to, and a set plan on how to help them reach their full potential. Swimming Canada is an example of an organization that continues to put time, effort and resources into improving the integration of para athletes within their programming.

A Hybrid Approach:

A fitness center with both a general and a women’s only workout room is a comparable idea to the optimal training environment for para athletes.  The women’s only room allows women to exercise in a segregated environment with others with similar experiences.  Women’s only rooms tend to have smaller equipment to fit the smaller size of some women, and provides them with a comfortable, judgement-free environment. The general room, in which people of all shapes, sizes, genders, and experiences exercise, tends to have heavier weights and more equipment. Women are welcome to train in whichever environment works best for their personal comfort and training needs. Sporting opportunities for para athletes need to take on a similar thought process as not one environment, segregated or integrated, will always be the best fit for all para athletes.

Having experienced both segregated and integrated training and competition opportunities as a para athlete, I fully believe that there is a time and place for both environments. If sport managers recognize and accommodate this need, it can result in long term para athlete engagement and success within their programs.

Perceived Course Rigor in Sport Management: Class Level, Course Grades, and Student Ratings

During the last half-century, critics of higher education have disparaged institutions for their declining standards and lack of rigor.  The U.S. has slipped in educational rankings while popular culture has glorified the social aspects of college above the intellectual (Arum & Roksa, 2011).  Caught in the middle, particularly as higher education has adopted more business-centric models, are faculty.

By James E. Johnson, Robert M. Turick, Michael F. Dalgety, Khirey B. Walker, Eric L. Klosterman, and Anya T. Eicher. All authors are based at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.

During the last half-century, critics of higher education have disparaged institutions for their declining standards and lack of rigor.  The U.S. has slipped in educational rankings while popular culture has glorified the social aspects of college above the intellectual (Arum & Roksa, 2011).  Caught in the middle, particularly as higher education has adopted more business-centric models, are faculty.

While many faculty and administrators strive for high standards, worry over receiving poor student ratings may influence some faculty to lower their expectations/standards.  For example, the grading leniency hypothesis (Marsh & Duncan, 1992) suggests that faculty will inflate grades out of fear of retributional bias (Feldman, 2007) on student ratings. This stress could become amplified when tenure and promotion are at stake and student perceptions are the primary evaluative source for teaching performance.  In sport management, where some programs must combat the easy major label, this issue can become complex.  These beliefs are in contrast to the validity theory (Marsh & Duncan, 1992) that suggests students value a rigorous academic experience and rate faculty accordingly.

Unfortunately, an evaluation of rigor and its potential impact on course/faculty ratings is scarce.  For this study, rigor within individual courses was chosen so that instructor and course could be examined simultaneously.  Predictably, an operational definition of course rigor is elusive.  Removing the subjective nature of the term to objectively define and evaluate this construct is challenging.  Fortunately, Johnson et al. (2019) provided a definition that included the following five components of course rigor.

  • Critical Thinking
  • Challenge
  • Complex Material
  • Time and Labor Intensive (Quantity)
  • Production of Credible Work (Quality)

From those five components, Johnson et al. created seven questions designed to be included in tandem with student rating questionnaires.  Johnson et al.’s work provided the template used to conduct our study of sport management courses.

Methodologically, our study investigated 830 students in 69 sport management courses over the span of four years to determine if course ratings (i.e., student evaluations), course grades, and course level were related to course rigor.  The seven rigor questions developed by Johnson et al. were added to existing student ratings and strongly supported through a factor analysis.  Course ratings were distributed at the end of each semester and included three groups of questions that assessed the instructor, the course, and perceived rigor.

We found that the strongest correlations with course rigor occurred for course and instructor ratings.  Moreover, when predicting course rigor only the overall ratings scores (combined instructor and course scores) and course GPA were significant.  As overall ratings increased so too did the perception of rigor.  As course GPA decreased, rigor perceptions increased.

The pragmatic implications of this work are noteworthy for faculty and administrators.

  • While rigorous coursework may result in lower mean course GPAs, course rigor appears to be appreciated by students. So, the more rigor, the higher student ratings – provided work is appropriate for class level and content area.  This finding supports the validity theory (Marsh & Dunkin, 1992).
  • Because sport management students reported higher instructor, course, and overall ratings when perceived rigor increased (and mean course grades decreased), the grading leniency hypothesis (Marsh & Dunkin, 1992) does not seem to apply.
  • The fear of retributional bias (Feldman, 2007) should be minimized based on our results. This conclusion does not mean that individual students will not provide negative ratings or engage in retributional behaviors on occasion.  Rather, it means at the course level the mean scores over time indicate that if faculty engage in designing and implementing courses with the five elements of rigor, their mean course ratings will likely be improved.

 

Click here for full research article in Sport Management Education Vol. 14, Issue 1.

 

 

References

Arum, R., & Roksa, J. (2011). Academically adrift: Limited learning on college campuses. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Feldman, K. A. (2007). Identifying exemplary teachers and teaching: Evidence from student ratings. In R.P. Perry & J.C. Smart (Eds.), The scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education: An evidence-based perspective (pp. 93–129). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Johnson, J. E., Weidner, T. G., Jones, J. A., & Manwell, A. K. (2019). Evaluating academic course rigor, Part I: Defining a nebulous construct. Journal of Assessment and Institutional Effectiveness, 8(1-2), 86-121.

Marsh, H. W., & Dunkin, M. J. (1992). Students’ evaluations of university teaching: A multidimensional perspective. In J.C. Smart (Ed.), Higher education: Handbook of theory and research (Vol. 8, pp. 143-234). New York, NY: Agathon Press.

Meeting NASSM: Conference Manager Role

In the Spring of 2020, the NASSM Blog highlighted different individuals with NASSM leadership roles. We hope you enjoyed getting to know them and learning more about NASSM. For our final feature, we asked Stacey Warner to answer some questions about her role as Conference Manager (Note: These interviews were conducted in early February.):

Current faculty position:  Professor at East Carolina University (ECU)

How long have you been at this institution?:   10

Where are you from?:  Central PA

What are your primary responsibilities in your role with NASSM?  I serve as the conference manager for our annual conference. I oversee various aspects of the event including securing future sites, scheduling, budgeting, event operations, and securing & working with sponsorships, exhibitors, and advertisers.

What made you want to get involved with NASSM?   My mentors (Drs. Dixon, Chalip, and Green) did a tremendous job of role modeling the importance of service to the profession.    The environment at ECU, which has a motto of Servire or “to serve”, only further reinforced that. Success for me in this profession is about being able to balance and contribute strong research, teaching, and service.  NASSM offered an arena where I felt like I could serve and my skill set could contribute to the profession.

How do you hope to contribute to NASSM through serving? I feel that the NASSM annual conference should be a strong, healthy, and welcoming place for all sport management researchers and educators. I want to be a part of building and contributing to that type of culture and community.  I know there are Sport Managements colleagues out there that have felt like NASSM is their “home conference”.   I’m someone that wants to listen to those that haven’t felt that yet, understand why, and improve/fix what we can to make the annual conference feel like it’s the conference for all who haven’t found that home yet. The NASSM Conference can’t be everything for everyone, but my hope is it continues to be the conference that Sport Management researchers and educators look forward to going to meet new colleagues and exchange ideas.

What do you think are the biggest challenges NASSM faces?  Leadership, governance, & service.  We are an organization that continues to grow and is very dependent upon voluntary service. We’re very fortunately to have an organization full of gifted leaders and managers who always seem to step up each year, but as the organization grows so do the time demands. So I think restructuring and governance are the biggest challenges (and opportunity!) that NASSM faces.

Dream NASSM destination: Hawaii

Stayed tuned for all NASSM news on Twitter at @NASSM or on the website at nassm.org.

Meeting NASSM Series: Executive Committee Secretary Role

In the following months, the NASSM Blog will be highlighting different individuals with NASSM leadership roles. We hope you enjoy getting to know them and learning more about NASSM.

This week’s highlight is NASSM’s current Secretary, Dr. Leeann Lower-Hoppe.

Current faculty position: Assistant Professor a The Ohio State University

How long have you been at this institution? 3 years

Where are you from? Cincinnati, Ohio

What are your primary responsibilities in your role as EC Secretary? The NASSM Operating Codes provides a helpful comprehensive review of the Secretary role. To summarize, my primary responsibilities include: assisting the NASSM President, maintaining records of all Society meetings and Constitutional and Operating Code changes, recording Society meeting minutes, and serving as a voting member on the EC.

What made you want to get involved with NASSM? Servant leadership as a philosophy guides my research, teaching, and service. I believe it is a responsibility of the membership to serve your national association. Through supporting the internal operations of NASSM I seek to advance our field, professionally develop, and expand our network.

How do you hope to contribute to NASSM through serving? NASSM has a wonderful legacy of leadership. It is a privilege to serve on the NASSM EC with outstanding professionals in the field of sport management. I hope to embody the professionalism of the EC, contribute new perspective and ideas, promote the voice of the membership, support the NASSM President, and increase the efficiency of the Secretary role.

What do you think are the biggest challenges NASSM faces? As NASSM President Bob Heere outlined in his recent holiday message to the NASSM membership, we are in the process of exploring a new governance structure. This has been a significant topic of discussion within the EC and has the potential to produce positive change within the organization. However, I anticipate the process of proposing a new governance structure and potentially moving forward with restructuring the board will be a challenge – howbeit a worthy challenge.

Dream NASSM Destination: Chicago, IL – great city!

Meeting NASSM Series: The President Role

In the following months, the NASSM Blog will be highlighting different individuals with NASSM leadership roles. We hope you enjoy getting to know them and learning more about NASSM. Our first post highlights our current and past-presidents. Presidents are elected for three year terms, where they serve as President-Elect, President, then Past-President, each with their own roles and responsibilities.

 

Lisa Kihl, Ph.D., Past-President NASSM

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Dr. Lisa Kihl

 

Current faculty position: Associate Professor, School of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota

How long have you been at this institution? 17 years

Where are you from? Australia

What are your primary responsibilities in your role with NASSM? Past president roles- conference manager and chair NASSM governance working group.

What made you want to get involved with NASSM? Networking, learn about the field, colleagues encouraged me.

How do you hope to contribute to NASSM through serving? Mentoring students and junior faculty; assisting with the implementation of the strategic plan, and aiming to create a more inclusive and supportive association.

What do you think are the biggest challenges NASSM faces? Current governance system and addressing the wide array of membership needs.

Dream NASSM destination: Turks and Cacaos

 

Bob Heere, Ph.D., President of NASSM

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Dr. Bob Heere

Current faculty position:  Professor, Department of Management & Director of Sport Entertainment Management

How long have you been at this institution? About 20 months

Where are you from? The Netherlands, I received my PhD at Florida State University

What are your primary responsibilities in your role with NASSM?  To represent our society in our interactions with our stakeholders and oversee the governance of our Society

What made you want to get involved with NASSM?  Sport management is a small niche, and our boats rise and fall together with the academic tides. Supporting our Society is a crucial component of our service and directly benefits our own careers. I never saw it as a choice, but as a necessity.

How do you hope to contribute to NASSM through serving?  As the president, first and foremost, I try to make myself available to everyone engaged with NASSM, answering any questions they have, or supporting the initiatives they bring forward to our Society. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is stay out of the way of the people who champion certain initiatives. On my end, I have been focused on increasing our transparency in decision making, increasing the engagement of our members, help our committees refocus on their primary responsibilities, and building or modifying the relationship with our partners. For example, we just signed a new partnership with the International Association for Venue Managers (IAVM), and were able to renegotiate our contract with Human Kinetics, which will alleviate the financial burden of our members to carry on that relationship.

What do you think are the biggest challenges NASSM faces? Right now, NASSM is at a crossroads, and its biggest challenge is adjusting its governance structure to the changing demands of scholarly life. The implementation of such a change impacts everything and holds back other initiatives. This restructure has been advocated for, for over a decade, and we are finally able to explore its implementation because of increased sponsorship revenues, and decreased journal subscription costs.

Dream NASSM destination: Frisco, TX, so I don’t have to travel and I can share with our members who amazing this city is when it comes to sport 😊

 

 

Stay tuned for future “Meeting NASSM” blog posts about other NASSM leaders…

The Experience of a Sport Management Instructor-Practitioner

A common practice among sport management programs, having practitioners as adjunct instructors are opportunities to provide particular expertise or more offerings than the current pool of professors and lecturers can provide on their own. This interview with Nikki Stewart from East Tennessee State University (ETSU) Athletics provides insight into that experience as a practitioner-instructor.

What is your current role, both as a practitioner and as an adjunct?

Currently, I am the Assistant Athletics Director of Academic Services at ETSU, and Issues & Trends in Sport Management adjunct instructor for both the graduate and undergraduate ETSU Sport Management programs

What do you most enjoy about having both of those roles?

As an assistant AD of Academic Services, I enjoy having a direct line to kids, my previous role (as a professional academic counselor), I only saw my advisees twice a year, but in this role, I see kids all day long. I enjoy investing in those students on a daily basis. In my role as an adjunct, I enjoy being able to teach again. I taught sport management at my previous institution, and while I’m currently teaching only online, it has allowed me to get back to teaching. I love having conversations with students. I get to hear their perspective on what is going on in sport. Every four or five years, the ways students think about the issues changes. I enjoy listening and discussing those issues with each group of students.

How do you see being an adjunct intersecting with your role as a practitioner?

It allows me to give first-hand, real-time, fluid opinions on what’s going on, because I deal with it on a daily basis. The students respect that. It’s great also to speak to non-student-athletes as well. A lot of the issues in sport are happening in college athletics. Whether it is TV rights, getting people through the gate, the different ways inventory is created, the laws being created in California, to all the crises in sport. All of that affects me day to day. While they can read an article about what’s going on, I also can say, “this is what happened to my team yesterday, this is what I’m dealing with right now.” I think that brings a unique perspective to the students.

What efforts do you make to bring your knowledge in as a practitioner to the classroom, and vice versa?

Like I said before, bringing in that real-time knowledge helps inform a class such as issues & trends. There is that insider real-time understanding I have that can help students understand how these issues are affecting the sport industry, because I’m living in it. In terms of the classroom to my role as a practitioner, I have to say I get really excited about to talk about these issues. I am a big nerd, so the classroom is a fantastic way to engage with these issues. It’s an avenue I don’t get as a practitioner, to have the time and space to discuss these issues with an engaged audience. We can get very narrow-focused on the athletics side, but by being both a practitioner and an instructor, I can see both ends of the higher education and athletics perspective. And by doing that, I think it helps our ability to best serve our student-athletes.

What do you wish sport management programs knew better or more about in regard to the sport industry?

That programs would understand how fluid everything is, how much things change. Week by week, things can change substantially. How quickly you have to adapt. It’s hard to convey until you are in it. Any opportunities to have field experience, even in each class, some opportunity to experience how adaptable you have to be. Experiencing failure, and learning how to grow from it while in the field can really help students. Articles and books are great, they give a great foundation, but taking that knowledge and “getting your butt kicked” in the field is what will help in the long run.

 

The interview was conducted by Dr. Natalie L. Smith, Assistant Professor in the Sport & Recreation Management Program & Graduate Programs Coordinator at ETSU. You can find her on Twitter @NatalieLSmith. She is always looking for blog post ideas and writers for this blog.

New to NASSM Conference: Guide to Maximizing Your Time

By Natalie L. Smith (East Tennessee State University) & Kerri Bodin (University of Ottawa)

Great choice! You are headed to NASSM’s Annual Conference for the first time, and we’re sure you’re excited to learn new things and meet new people. But we’re guessing this is also somewhat intimidating. As one of the largest and oldest conferences in our field, the NASSM Annual Conference can be somewhat overwhelming for first time attendees. Here is a friendly guide to the conference itself:

First thing first, read the program schedule ahead of time. Pre-plan what presentations you want to go to. Make sure to build in breaks to let your mind process all the information. You do not have to try to go to every session available. When you do go to sessions, ask questions during the sessions, this is an opportunity for researchers to hear suggestions or new ideas that may improve or build on their current research. If you want to speak to the presenter afterward, make sure to go outside the room to do so, as the presentation timeline is tight.

Reach Out Early: If a topic or a person really sparks your interest from the program schedule, reach out to them and ask for a meeting or simply say you look forward to seeing them at the conference. Those scheduled break times are a great time to chat for 20 minutes in a centrally located area. Be flexible about it, some of these more senior NASSM members have dozens of old friends to reconnect with as well as committee or leadership responsibilities.

Add the app. Be sure to download the Attendify app then search NASSM for the official 2019 NASSM conference app (sponsored by Sports Travel Academy. Event Code: nassm19) or click here.

Practical Tip: If you are presenting, bring a flash drive and presentation remote (via @DocJamesWeiner)

What Are All These Events? (This only covers events with a social component or opportunities to learn more about NASSM)

Past-President’s Workshop (Wed 4:00-6:00pm, Nottoway, 4th Floor) – Every year, the past-president hosts a workshop on a different topic.

Opening Reception (Wed 7:00-9:00pm, Armstrong Room) – The first event of the evening, this is the time to chat with someone new. You see your colleagues and friends all year long, now is the time to engage with peers elsewhere in the field. Use the drink line as an excuse to chat with the person behind you. Meet new people in groups of 2 if you’re too shy to go on your own. This is a very unstructured time, so use it to have new conversations. Dress code: Business casual usually.

NASSM 101 (Thurs 8:30-9:15am, Napolean A1) – A great way to learn about NASSM itself and  how to get involved.

NASSM Annual General Meeting (Fri 4:00-5:00pm, Napoleon BC) – Learn about the state of NASSM, keep informed of changes, updates, and general concerns. Become more familiar with NASSM’s Executive Council. Every member is welcome to attend!

WIN (Women in NASSM) Meeting (Fri 5:30-7:00pm, location TBD) – An unofficial but long-standing event that brings together any woman in NASSM interested. A great way to meet new people.

Diversity Breakfast (Sat 7:00-8:00am, Napoleon B1) – Hosted by the Diversity Committee, an informal breakfast to network and chat with those interested in diversity topics. Everyone is welcome, even if you don’t do diversity research. Again, another great way to meet new people.

Founders’ Awards Night (Sat, Cocktail Reception 6:15-7:00pm, Dinner 7:00-9:00pm, Napoleon Foyer & Ballroom) – A more formal affair that includes a cocktail reception beforehand. The cocktail hour is another great opportunity to meet people (seeing a trend?).

What are all these committee meetings on the schedule?  Sounding a bit too much like a mafia boss, “eh, don’t worry about it.” Maybe you’ve noticed on the event schedule a few meetings such as “Executive Council Hand over” or the “SMEJ Editorial Board Meeting.” They are for folks on those boards or committees. Go ahead and ignore those parts of the schedule (unless you are on that board or committee!), but also take note of any committee that sparks your interest. Reach out to the chair and ask about opportunities to get involved. You can find standing committee chairs’ contact information here and the Executive Council here.

What do I wear? This for me, is always the toughest. Maybe as a former sports business professional or maybe as a woman, I always stress about dress code. I’ve found NASSM attendees dress in a range from full business to, what I call, outdoor recreation business casual (outdoor shirt short-sleeved button down). The Founders’ Awards Night tends to be more formal, the opening reception not as much. Everyone has a different opinion on this, but I will say, wear things that make you feel confident and comfortable, so you can focus on the exchange of ideas.

What is happening for students? That student board works hard for you, so take advantage of their efforts. I found student events is where I met future collaborators, new friends, and I’ve heard for some, future colleagues. Check out the student events here.

One last piece of advice: Not every conversation leads to a collaboration or a job offer, but every conversation at NASSM is worth having. Your To-Do list will always be there and your presentation will never be perfect. Instead, use this time to be curious, to engage, and to be inspired. The combined intellect, passion for research, teaching and/or service, makes for an invigorating several days.

Authors: Natalie is an Assistant Professor of Sport & Recreation Management at ETSU in Johnson City, TN. She attended her first NASSM conference as a PhD student in Austin in 2013. Kerri is a PhD student at the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Ontario. She attended her first NASSM conference as a Master’s student in Denver in 2017.

Thank you to @Matt_Huml, @markaslavich, @morrsport, @ChadMcEvoy, @TimDeSchriver for your assistance in providing advice to first-timers!

How Do We Help Our Students Arrive, If We Don’t Know Where They Started?

by Chris Barnhill (research conducted with Andrew Czekanski and Adam Pfleegor)

Dr. Christopher Barnhill is the Sport Management Program Director and Associate Professor at Georgia Southern University. Dr. W. Andrew Czekanski is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Recreation and Sport Management at Coastal Carolina University. Dr. Adam G. Pfleegor is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Sport Science at Belmont University.

In the summer of 2005, not long after my wife and I moved to Manhattan, Kansas, we experienced what has to be one of the most frustrating conversations of our marriage. I was in my new office in the Kansas State athletic department while Amy was driving back from a job interview in nearby, Riley, Kansas. She called from her cell phone desperately hoping that I could give her directions home. Unfortunately, I was of no help.

If you are familiar with this region, you know that most towns in the area are separated by a sea of wheat with no major highways. Smartphones did not yet exist and GPS was not common. She needed my help, but all I knew is that she was surrounded by wheat fields and a few windmills. Essentially, I knew she was somewhere in Kansas. I knew the destination she was trying to find but without knowing her current location, any advice was useless.

It’s impossible to draw a map to Point B without first knowing the location to Point A.

As faculty, it is our duty to be familiar with the knowledge and skills students must acquire to be successful in the sports industry. Many of us worked in the industry and regularly communicate with industry partners or advisory boards. Additionally, there is some great literature exploring industry and faculty perspectives of student outcomes (e.g. Barnes, 2014; Mathner & Martin, 2012; Schwab et al., 2013). We know the location of Point B. In Barnhill, Czekanski, and Pfleegor (2018), we attempted find Point A by gathering data from students at 12 undergraduate programs on their first day of Introduction to Sport Management.

Data About Sport Management Intro Students

Getting to know sport management studentsThe results of our study provided a complex picture of the students we are educating. Sport management students have high academic aspirations. More than half of the students surveyed desired to obtain an advanced degree and were heavily involved in their campus communities. However, their college GPA is lower than the general population. This might be explained by some of the demographic information in the sample. A majority of students identify as having a middle-class background, but many students come from lower or upper-class backgrounds. Graduation rates are significantly higher for students from higher socioeconomic backgrounds than for students who come from middle and lower socioeconomic classes (Snyder, de Brey & Dillow, 2010). This often stems from differences in resource allocations for K-12 schools, as well as less access to mentors with college experience (Institute for Research on Poverty, 2017).

When looking at racial and gender demographics, we found sport management programs generally have more White and Black students than the general undergraduate population, but few students from other populations (Snyder et al., 2019). Similarly, women are woefully underrepresented in our discipline. Literature consistently indicates diverse classroom environments improves learning outcomes (Gurin, Dey, Hurtado, & Gurin, 2002). While the current imbalance in representation represents an opportunity for growth by making our programs more welcoming to students from underrepresented populations, it also puts an emphasis on faculty to bring diverse viewpoints to the classroom.

The final section of our study explored students’ perceptions of their own abilities relative skills/knowledge. Scholarship consistently indicates sport management students are naïve to the realities of the field and have unrealistic expectations for their careers (Barnes, 2014; Mathner & Martin, 2012; Schwab et al., 2013). This may be because sport management students are primarily attracted to the discipline by their passion for sport. Participants in the study were generally unaware careers available in the sport industry. Our study also indicated students are overly confident in their own abilities. As a whole, the sample indicated beliefs that their skills and knowledge related to the industry were above average despite the fact that they had never taken a course related to sport management. Unrealistic career expectations not only impact student learning, they also have negative consequences after graduation (Bush, Bush, Oakley, & Cicala, 2014).

As sport management educators, we have a duty to prepare students for the industry to hope to enter. We must continue to be aware of and adapt to an ever-changing destination. However, we must also be keenly aware of the various jumping off points from which our students begin their journeys. We hope, if anything, this study provides a picture of the undergraduate student population and begins a conversation about curriculum design in undergraduate sport management programs.

Read the entire study here in the April 2018 edition of the Sport Management Education Journal

Barnes, J.C. (2014). What becomes of our graduates?: New employee job transition and socialization in sport administration. Sport Management Education Journal, 8, 27–34.

Barnhill, C.R., Czekanski, W.A., & Pfleegor, A.G. (2018). Getting to know our students: A snapshot of sport management students’ demographics and career expectations in the United States. Sport Management Education Journal, 12, 1-14.

Bush, A. J., Bush, V. D., Oakley, J., & Cicala, J. (2014). Formulating undergraduate student expectations for better career development in sales: A socialization perspective. Journal of Marketing Education, 36(2), 120-131. doi:10.1177/0273475314537831

Gurin, P., Dey E., Hurtado, S., & Gurin, G. (2002). Diversity and higher education: Theory and impact on educational outcomes. Harvard Educational Review, 72(3), 330-366.

Institute for Research on Poverty (2017). Poverty Fact Sheet: Falling Further Behind: Inequity in College Completion. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Mathner, R.P., & Martin, C.L.L. (2012). Sport management graduate and undergraduate students’ perceptions of career expectations in sport management. Sport Management Education Journal, 6, 21–31.

Schwab, K.A., Dustin, D., Legg, E., Timmerman, D., Wells, M.S., & Arthur-Banning, S.G. (2013). Choosing sport management as a college major. SCHOLE: A Journal of Leisure Studies and Recreation Education, 28(2), 16–27.

Snyder, T. D., de Brey, C. & Dillow, S. A. (2019). Digest of Education Statistics 2017 (NCES 2018070). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.