UMSL adding new degrees in organizational leadership, sport management

by | Nov 6, 2019

The Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development approved the new degree programs, and students can begin enrolling in both as soon as Spring 2020.
Students walking through Quad

Beginning in the Spring 2020 semester, UMSL students will be able to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership and a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management. The Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development approved the two new degree programs.(Photo by August Jennewein)

The University of Missouri–St. Louis continues to expand its degree offerings to meet the needs of a changing work force.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development approved UMSL’s plan to add a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership and a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management. Students can begin enrolling in both programs as soon as the Spring 2020 semester.

“UMSL is committed to evolving to serve the interests of our current and future students,” Interim Chancellor and Provost Kristin Sobolik said. “We want to unlock opportunities to pursue exciting careers and help students get ahead in the jobs they already have. These new degrees in organizational leadership and sport management will accomplish that, opening pathways for students to better their lives.”

The BA in Organizational Leadership is a degree completion program designed for adult learners who might have an associate degree or some college credit and are looking to bolster their careers while already in the workforce.

In many cases, those students might have found their career advancement stalled because they lack a bachelor’s degree. The interdisciplinary program will help open up new opportunities.

It will be housed in the College of Arts and Sciences as part of the Department of Sociology, but advising will come from UMSL NOW – Nights, Online, Weekends. The degree can be completed 100 percent online, though students will have the option of taking classes on campus should they choose.

The program will be grounded in social science with elements from several existing degree programs. Like a business degree, students in organizational leadership will learn management fundamentals, but the BA will be more flexible and tailored to adult learners with emphasis areas such as community studies, information systems, criminal justice, corporate communications, business management, supply chain management and health communication.

“As the economy expands and evolves, demanded for educated employees who have both topic-specific knowledge and leadership skills will grow along with it,” said Associate Teaching Professor Jim Craig, chair of the Department of Sociology. “As a St. Louis anchor institution, UMSL has an obligation to help address that demand. The BA in Organizational Leadership does just that by providing students with the knowledge, skills and credentials to advance in a rapidly changing economy. This program is good for students and good for the region.”

The Office of Admissions has had frequent requests for a major in sport management over the past several years as participation in athletics, at every level from youth sports up through NCAA athletics, has seen steady growth.

Last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics identified sport management as a field with tremendous growth potential in the coming decade because of the increased need for specialized support for sport-related groups and organizations due to that increased participation.

The new degree program is designed for undergraduate students seeking training in organizational, logistical and managerial aspects of sports.

It will be housed in the College of Education’s Department of Education Sciences and Professional Programs but will be run in conjunction with the College of Business Administration. The degree will provide students with knowledge and skills necessary for a variety of athletic and business management roles with professional athletic organizations, intercollegiate athletics, youth sports programs, sports public relations, marketing, media and merchandising. Some people who earn degrees in sport management go on to work as sports agents, directors, managers or analysts.

The program will meet standards set by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation. Currently, Missouri has one COSMA-accredited program, and none exists in the St. Louis region.

“With the growth of the sports industry in the St. Louis region and beyond, graduates from UMSL’s sport management degree will be equipped with in-demand skills relevant for future success and employment in a growing sports industry,” said Assistant Professor Timothy Makubuya, the interim coordinator of the sport management program. “Our newly designed degree offers a unique and interdisciplinary approach to the field of sport management. Students will be able to utilize on campus and industry-wide opportunities in St. Louis for internships and field experiences in multiple areas of sport. Unlike many programs that allow students to complete internships during their final year, our program will allow numerous micro internship opportunities through the program.”

Makubuya believes the immediate support of sports organizations such as the St. Louis Blues, St. Louis Football Club, Gateway Grizzlies and Go! St. Louis will help ensure students receive firsthand exposure to the dynamics of the sports market.

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Steve Walentik

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