Ajhanai (AJ) Channel Inez Newton, a doctoral student in sport management, received the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport’s Gary Sailes Award in November. She also co-published “Being Black in a Sea of Color: AA Phenomenological Study Exploring Black Students’ Racial Experiences at AANAPISI and Emerging HSI” for the December issue of Journal Committed to Social Change on Race and Ethnicity.
“I learned that what you think is your best is not good enough. There’s always something you can do better, whether in a drill, in a game, or in life. You can practice harder, do it better, and accomplish more than you originally thought you could.” – SPM Alumna, Jamelle Elliott in UConn Today
UConn’s Department of Educational Leadership (EDLR) offers a rich and diverse curriculum that prepares both undergraduate and graduate students to be educational leaders in our ever-changing world. The “Courses and Curriculum” series highlights innovative courses within EDLR’s catalog that are changing the education game for the better.
In EDLR 3345: Financial Management in the Sport Industry, taught by Professor Laura Burton, Ph.D., is an undergraduate course which provides Sport Management majors with an understanding of the financial principles relevant to the sport industry. The course examines basic financial concepts and issues related to sport, and offers an overview of ownership, taxation, financial analysis, feasibility and economic impact studies within the sport industry.
Burton identified a need for this content and added the course to the curriculum, five years ago. While Burton’s research is centered around leadership in sport organizations and gender issues in sport, EDLR 3345 pushed her outside of her traditional area of expertise, offering a great opportunity and challenge. Having an applied math-based course helps to answer real-world questions within the sport industry, one that the students are benefiting from.
As sport organizations attempt to create a more inclusive space, in regards to social and gender identity, people in higher level positions are faced with some important questions. In what ways can professional sport organizations maximize revenue? And who benefits? What communities are disadvantaged? Burton explains how not only do students consider the financial impact of budget cuts within the sport industry, for example, but the social impact as well. Such a fundamental course provides students with the tools to build on their understanding of budgets and further develop these ideas in other related and unrelated fields.
By using practical applications and case studies, Burton is able to create real-life scenarios depicting real-life budgeting dilemmas. In one such budgeting case, Burton presents a $40,000 budget cut and challenges her students to make the cut in the most effective manner. The experiment suggests that such a cut would leave athletes without scholarships, slash salaries, and limit job availability.
One of the biggest challenges Burton says especially with a course that is math-related is helping students get over the “math-hating mentality.” Burton admits that there was a lot that she had to learn and continues to learn alongside her students. Within education, it’s easy to experience feelings of frustration and anxiety when learning something new, but she continues to push herself and her students and says,
“Sometimes we forget what it feels like to be the student and sit in the seat.”
The saying goes, “it’s all about who you know” and this fall, UConn’s Sport Management Program successfully facilitated an incredible night of networking with sport professionals, at their annual Career Night in Sport Event, for its fifth year.
Although the idea of networking comes hand-in-hand with any profession, the event strategically hosted 22 sport management program alumni including current graduate students, who are now working in the field as sport professionals. Through various breakout sessions in addition to the keynote speaker, alumna Jamelle Elliott, the event focused on diversifying the networking experience by exposing its students to recent graduates and current graduate students in the Sport Management program.
This year featured a new approach which included six break-out forums, in the following areas:
- Broadcasting and Journalism
- Finding a Career in Sport
- Graduation to Graduate School
- Navigating the Field
- Sport in Education and Community
- Women in Sport
Students were invited to participate in two forums that appealed to their professional interests. Allowing students to choose these sessions exposed them to working professionals who shared real life experiences, their roadblocks and lessons, while simultaneously connecting them with local alumni as a means to hone in on their networking skills.
Department of Educational Leadership’s Program Specialist, Danielle DeRosa alluded to these changes and how these forums made the night’s more intimate and informative.
“This year we decided to reformat the event and change the structure to reflect one that was used a few years back. This allowed students and alumni to interact with each other in smaller groups that more directly aligned expertise and interests. In looking at the event feedback, it seems like both students and alumni really enjoyed it!”
The event also included valuable lessons shared by Jamelle Elliot, UConn’s newly appointed Associate Athletic Director. Elliot spoke about the ups and downs that relate to sport stating,
“A career in sport is never guaranteed, but with a combination of hard work, dedication, and proper goal setting, you will get to where you want to be.”
It is events like these that help UConn’s students realize their true potential and further prepare them for a competitive industry. The program continues to strive to provide opportunities like this throughout the year and appreciates everyone who contributed in making this a successful event.
Please visit the Neag School of Education's Facebook page for photos from the event.
Associate Sport Management professor at Ithaca College, Dr. Rachel Madsen, had a very exciting opportunity this past February to travel to Pyeongchang, South Korea and volunteer at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Madsen, a 2010 graduate from the Sport Management and Women Studies doctoral programs, spent over two weeks in South Korea with 20 Ithaca College School of Business Sport Management students.
During her first ever Olympics, Madsen and her team worked specifically with the event operations department in seven different competition venues, interacting with fans, athletes and coaches to provide customer service.
She and three of her students volunteered in the skating rink that housed figure skating and short track speed skating. Because those are two of the most popular events in the Olympics, they are typically scheduled to air live during U.S. prime time, meaning very early mornings for Rachel and her team.
“Many days for us required waking up at 4:30 a.m. to catch a 5:15 a.m. bus to the skating rink. From 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., we managed the fans and other visitors to ensure that everyone had a positive experience while also staying safe and not interfering with the athletes,” she said.
When asked about one of the greatest experiences that she had during her trip, Rachel said it’s too hard to narrow it down to just one.
“We often came face to face with famous athletes and other VIP’s, such as IOC members and the Today Show hosts. We were able to attend history-making events as fans, which was a dream come true. The Korean Olympic Committee often provided free tickets for volunteers to attend events, as long as the event wasn’t sold out,” she said. “Additionally, as Americans, we were often treated like celebrities by Korean fans and volunteers. Many Korean fans asked us where we were from and when we said New York, they often wanted to take pictures with us.”
Though Rachel spent only 17 days in South Korea, her students were lucky enough to spend five weeks assisting at the games. In doing so, they were able to take part in a monumental worldwide event and appreciate the importance of embracing culture and diversity.
“The students really learned what it takes to put on an event of this size. When watching the Olympics on TV, it’s impossible to understand the incredibly complicated logistics of organizing, training, transporting, housing, feeding and motivating 20,000 volunteers,” she said. “Being part of a large volunteer staff also enabled them to interact and become friends with other volunteers from all around the world.”