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Measuring the Yard Lines: A Discussion on Student Learning Outcomes and Assessment in Sport Management

James Weiner

Student learning outcomes and assessment of those outcomes have become standard in almost every accreditation, reaffirmation, and most annual reports for accrediting bodies. Additionally, outcomes and assessments are vital to continuous improvement of sport management programs. This interview was conducted with an expert on outcomes and assessment at the national level, who can provide insight from an expert on the “outside looking in.” The purpose of this interview is to discuss broader standards in educational assessment and how those standards can be applied specifically to sport management. This resource is most useful for those early in the process of outcomes and assessment creation, those who may not already have Commission on Sport Management Accreditation and training opportunities, or those who simply want to improve their classes.

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Introduction to the Special Issue on Accreditation and Assessment in Sport Management Education

Elizabeth A. Gregg, Jason W. Lee, and Heather Alderman

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Specifications Grading in the Sport Management Classroom: Breakdown of the System and Reflections Upon Implementation With Relation to Outcomes Assessment

Tracy A. Trachsler, Erin Morris, and Tara Q. Mahoney

With increased interest in outcomes-based assessment in sport management programs, the Specifications Grading model can be implemented within individual courses to facilitate the process. Specific requirements that are articulated at course onset with explicit directions, samples of high-scoring work, and access to evaluation rubrics can set students on the path for achieving measurable benchmarks. Thus, the submissions become objective expressions of learning instead of a points-based bargaining tool. Implemented into an Introduction to Sport Management class, the model provided opportunities for consistent engagement with assessment tools in which students had agency and multiple chances to focus on improving the assessment to meet the benchmarks. The instructor reflected upon the experience, noting administrative elements to change to assist the overall implementation of the system but discovered that the Specifications Grading model centered the students in the learning process while providing meaningful outcome data for assessment purposes. Recommendations are provided for faculty interested in implementing it in their own classrooms.

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Student Perceptions of Program Quality: The Value of the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation in the Strategic Development of Sport Management Curricula

Nicole Sellars, Christopher Atwater, Christopher Corr, and Christina Martin

A routine critique of programmatic accreditation in the academic discipline of sport management is the tangible return from investment in specialized accreditation. As the sole accrediting body offering programmatic accreditation in the field of sport management education, the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA) provides members with a systematic outcome-oriented approach to assist in the development of holistic sport management undergraduate and graduate degree programs. A strategic emphasis on professional competencies’ (e.g., Common Professional Components) and student outcomes’ assessment positions COSMA to be of unique value to accredited programs, specifically in the area of curriculum development. Utilizing direct student feedback, this study examined student perceptions of a sport management undergraduate curriculum at a COSMA-accredited institution. Results indicated that undergraduate students found COSMA-accredited sport management courses to be enjoyable, relevant, and of practical value. Findings are illustrative of the significance of programmatic accreditation through COSMA to the sampled institution in both systematic curriculum development and student perceptions of quality.

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Framing Course Content on Diversity and Inclusion: Varying Outcomes From Teaching on Disability in Sport Management

Molly Hayes Sauder and Jaime R. DeLuca

Diversity and inclusion are identified as necessary for enhancing the sport industry. Undergraduate sport management programs play an important role in educating aspiring sport professionals with respect to these topics. However, the literature indicates that sport management education can improve with respect to this work. Therefore, the purpose of this instructional technique review is to discuss two comparable teaching activities that sought to incorporate diversity and inclusion education into the content area of disability and sport-related compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Student feedback showed that despite similarities between the activities (i.e., active engagement with the Americans with Disabilities Act as it pertains to sport facilities), students had substantially different reported learning outcomes related to diversity and inclusion. This review is thus designed to illustrate the importance of deliberate framing decisions in the sport management classroom, which can have a transformative impact on students’ learning around diversity and inclusion content.

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Historically Black College and University Faculty’s Perception of Commission on Sport Management Accreditation and Perceived Barriers

Rennae Williams Stowe and Charles Crowley

Program-level accreditation ensures that students will be equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in a career that is based on industry standards. Numerous researchers have reported the cost and benefits of pursuing specialized accreditation in different disciplines. There is a dearth of research related to specialized accreditation at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in general and none specifically for sport management accreditation. Therefore, this study aims to fill the void of research on the perception of the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA) by faculty and administrators at HBCUs. The researchers were given permission to utilize an existing survey. Results of this study found that the top benefits of accreditation were accountability for program improvements and recognition as a superior (elite) program/institution. Cost and redundancy were reported as major barriers to COSMA. Although HBCUs must deal with fewer resources and a lower budget than most predominantly White institutions (PWI), they are evaluated using the same accreditation standards as PWIs. Therefore, if HBCU sport management programs are going to seek accreditation with COSMA, they must be understood within the context in which they are operating—and how that may be different from PWIs.

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Curriculum Representation in Programs Accredited by COSMA

Jennifer VanSickle, Katharine A. Burakowski, and Emily Dane-Staples

The curricular content of sport management degrees has been scrutinized and criticized by internal and external stakeholders. Before specialized accreditation, individual institutions decided the content of their degrees. Accreditation established a baseline of curricular content known as the Common Professional Component. To add to the body of literature on undergraduate sport management curricular development, this study analyzed the content of accredited sport management programs and the impact of institutional forces on that content. Despite institutional differences, results show consistency across the curricula of accredited programs, with experiential learning, management concepts, and sport marketing appearing most frequently.

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Women and Members of Socially Diverse Groups in a Sport Management Program: Key Lessons From Creating and Leading a Student-Led Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Club

Sullivan Murphy, Dawn E. Trussell, Mackayla Petrie, Brooklyn Groves, and Shannon Kerwin

This manuscript shares insights on the process of creating and operating a student-led equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) club centered in a sport management program through five reflective stories (i.e., three students and two faculty members). Sport Helps Everyone Make Allies is a student-led EDI club created at one of the largest sport-management-specific degree programs in North America. Based on critical reflections from the five stories, we identify key lessons for the creation and management of student-led EDI clubs: (a) resisting the chilly climate, (b) EDI initiatives within hierarchal systems, (c) EDI initiatives and the challenges of performative allyship, (d) EDI initiatives as agents of change, and (e) the essential role of faculty. By sharing our insights and reflections, we hope to help future social-justice-focused student groups navigate the development of a student-led EDI club.

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Career Authoring in Sport Management: A Four-Step Assignment for Career Development

Dominique C. Kropp, Sarah E. Tackett, and Christopher M. Brown

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Top-Ranked Higher Education Institutions: An Investigation of the Sport Management Academic Discipline

Kurt C. Mayer, Alan L. Morse, and Yash Padhye

The current exploratory study determined the prevalence of the sport management academic degree being offered in top-ranked institutions as based on U.S. News & World Report rankings. A focus on the differences of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees being offered, or not offered, was placed on national universities and liberal arts colleges because of the prevalence of these institution types and their educational settings. Additionally, the study aimed to determine if relevant indicators predicted a sport management degree being offered at a top-ranked national university and liberal arts college. Results indicated significant differences, with sport management degrees being offered at a higher frequency in national universities than liberal arts colleges. However, the sport management degree was largely not offered by the majority of top-ranked institutions. Notably, ranking, enrollment, and public/private institutional status did not predict sport management degree offerings at a liberal arts college. However, a national university had an increased likelihood of offering a sport management degree as enrollment increased and ranking increased (i.e., moved closer to 150). Altogether, the project highlighted that while the sport management academic discipline has certainly grown since its inception, growth has not really occurred at top-ranked higher education institutions, especially liberal arts colleges.