School creates two new majors

Abi Luempert

The School of Exercise, Leisure and Sport will offer sport administration and recreation, park and tourism management as two new majors beginning next fall.

Sport management, recreation management and tourism management were previously areas of focus for students who were majoring in leisure studies and concentrating in recreation and sport management.

Leisure studies will no longer be a major, and therapeutic recreation, which had been another concentration under leisure studies, will be deactivated because of low enrollment, said Wayne Munson, director of the school.

Aaron Mulrooney, associate professor of leisure studies, said that making sport administration its own major was a sensible move because many of the classes offered for recreation and sport management had little to do with sport management.

“The majority of the classes are recreation based. It’s no secret,” Mulrooney said.

The plans to make sport administration and recreation and park and tourism management majors have been in the works for a couple of years and come in response to student and industry needs, Mulrooney said.

“We did the best we could with what we had, but the industry is demanding more focus on sports and student feedback showed a desire for more sports-oriented classes,” Mulrooney said about sport administration.

Under the current curriculum of leisure studies, Mulrooney said only three classes directly relate to sports.

The new sports administration major will include four brand new classes and two modified classes, said Mark Lyberger, associate professor of leisure studies.

“Even though there is lots of overlap with recreation and tourism classes, there were specific needs that were not being met in the capacity that would enhance career opportunities,” Lyberger said.

The specialized classes will help to meet students’ distinct interests in sport administration. The major also will include a built-in business minor.

Students also will have 14 credit hours to take electives, in which Mulrooney advises them to concentrate on an area that will help them with their career path, such as marketing.

Current students have the option of staying enrolled in the current leisure studies program or switching over to the new sport administration or recreation, park and tourism management majors, Mulrooney said.

A 2.5 GPA will be required for sport administration majors, up from the 2.25 GPA that is currently required of leisure studies majors. Mulrooney said he doesn’t think the higher GPA will affect enrollment.

Lyberger said the higher GPA will “enhance the quality of the program.”

When looking at how to enhance the program, Lyberger said the major influence was from students and industry leaders’ responses to the needs assessment, but the faculty also took into consideration the chance to have an accredited program.

Kent State is one of the first universities in the country to offer sport administration as a major, Lyberger said.

Accreditation, along with being one of the first, gives the program exposure and visibility, he said.

Sport administration is separate from anything athletics does, except when it comes to sharing facilities, Munson said. There is a common stereotype that sport management majors deal directly with sports and are destined to become high school athletic coordinators, he said.

Mulrooney said “sport administration offers a whole variety of career opportunities beyond pro sports.”

Many career opportunities for sport administration majors, including sports marketing, sporting goods buyer, events manager and fitness club operations director.

Contact College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services reporter Abi Luempert at [email protected].