Sport management as an academic discipline requires a balance of theory and practice through endowing students with knowledge, critical thinking skills, and expertise (Cuneen & Parks, 1997). Professionals call for students being “prepared” for the demands of the sport industry through the acquisition of a quality education and a significant amount of hands-on experience before entering the work force. Researchers have recommended utilizing experiential pedagogical strategies to not only provide the hands-on engagement but also to challenge students to use their knowledge for the public good (e.g., Bruening, Madsen, Evanovich, & Fuller, 2010; Chalip, 2006; McKelvey & Southall, 2008; Pauline & Pauline, 2008). It also supports the recent trend to educate students in the world beyond the confines of the college campus. Boyer (1996) noted engaging outside the confines of campus will not only give students hands on experience but also, cultivate a student’s cognitive and moral development, which is often underestimated in higher education.
Gina Pauline and Jeffrey S. Pauline
Sport management programs continue to focus on developing innovative pedagogical strategies to prepare students to enter and successfully navigate the rapidly evolving, highly competitive sport industry. One effective tactic is to integrate experiential learning projects into the classroom. This paper describes a collaborative three-year partnership involving a sport management program, athletic department, and corporate sponsor. The relationship provided scholarships for the program, internship opportunities, research funding, and an experiential learning project. Specifically, the lead author applied the metadiscrete experiential learning model developed by Southall, Nagel, LeGrande, and Han (2003) to a client based sponsorship activation project for an upper-level sport marketing course. The paper offers a blueprint and specific recommendations for faculty who wish to develop a client-based collaborative effort that can provide a hands-on learning experience for students and generate programmatic resources, research possibilities, student scholarships, and funding opportunities for an academic program. Such projects can further prepare students as well as enhance the fit between sport management programs and the sport industry.