Eric Legg

Eric Legg

Parks, Recreation, and Tourism/College of Health

2013-2014

Curriculum Recommendations for Sport Management Students in a Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Department

Faculty Mentor: Mary S. Wells - Parks, Recreation, & Tourism/College of Health

 

Sport management degree programs are housed in a variety of academic departments, including many that are contained in departments of parks, recreation, and tourism (Edwards & Peachy, 2010). Despite being housed in departments whose emphasis is on recreation, many undergraduate students in these programs are more interested in career in sport as entertainment (e.g. – sport management careers for professional sport teams) rather than sport as participation (e.g. – sport management careers for community recreation programs) (Schwab et al., 2013). This apparent conflict may create a perceived uncomfortable fit of the sport management program within the department (Chalip, Schwab, & Dustin, 2010; Dustin & Schwab, 2008a, 2008b; Edwards & Peachey, 2010; Gibson, 2008; Howard, 2008; McDonald, 2008; Wellman & Rea, 2008).

Thus, if the program is to remain within a parks and recreation department, it is important for the program curriculum to be both authentic to the overall department focus, while also meeting the needs and interests of its students. The purpose of this project, therefore, is to provide recommendations to the department related to the required curriculum for undergraduate majors who chose sport management as their emphasis area.

 

There will be two tangible outcomes that will be created for this project. First, the project will result in a manuscript to be submitted for publication to an education journal in the park and recreation field (Schole). Second, the project will result in recommendations to the department on required curriculum for undergraduate majors who choose sport management as their emphasis area. The project will use four sources of data as a basis for making recommendations. Specifically, the sources of data will be: 1) survey data from undergraduate students majoring in sport management in programs housed in departments of parks and recreation at seven universities, 2) survey data from graduates of sport management in programs housed in departments of parks, and recreation at seven universities, 3) benchmarking data from other universities with sport management in programs housed in departments of parks, and recreation 4) semi-structured interviews with sport management students at the University of Utah.

 

The Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism is currently undergoing a review of its emphasis areas and the undergraduate coordinator has requested these recommendations. Therefore, although there is no guarantee of adoption, there will be immediate benefit to the department in providing additional information to help guide that decision making process. Further, if published, the information may help guide other departments who are challenged with similar issues. In addition, although this particular project is subject area specific, it may reveal insights to other departments who struggle with similar “uncomfortable fits” of student career interests within the department. The project will be assessed both by the department and through journal peer review.