Photo by Sho Kitamura

A new Sports, Society and Technology (SST) program is scheduled to launch in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts (IAC) in 2014. The program will allow students and faculty to work together to study and understand sport in the context of both historical and contemporary cultures.

“The Sports, Society, and Technology program is an interdisciplinary initiative that combines sports studies with multiple academic fields. The distinctive interdisciplinary focus of SST brings together faculty and students who are interested in linking sports studies to science and technology, engineering, urban studies, computer analytics, physiology, health and medicine, media studies, business management, law and the social sciences,” said Dr. John Smith, a postdoctoral fellow in Sports, Society and Technology who is helping to lead efforts to get this program established.

The program will introduce students to the extensive literature on sport as a mass cultural phenomenon, an industry and as a career path through a curriculum designed to include hands-on field experiences. The curriculum will also help train and prepare graduates to go on to work successfully in the sports industry, health-related fields and other related professions.

According to Smith, the faculty within the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts were unanimous in their thoughts on the SST program being as inclusive as possible so that they would be able to bring in as many students from across campus who may be interested in these types of classes. The interdisciplinary component is one of the most important, as it will bring in the thought process of and lead in the learning and understanding of topics in these courses.

The program was started after discussions between IAC Dean Jacqueline Jones-Royster and IAC Associate Dean John Tone focused on the creation of a Sports Studies program at Tech that would include a wide appeal of challenging classes that appealed to students all across campus.

The creation of the program was then made possible after a generous endowment was made by Dr. Homer Rice, the former Georgia Tech Athletic Director, to the Homer Rice Chair in Sport, Society and Technology. This donation has allowed Tech to begin and continue to search for and hire a distinguished scholar in the field of Sports Studies to be the Homer Rice Chair, teach courses and direct the program as a whole. Tech is currently conducting a nationwide search for this faculty member, according to Smith.

The SST program currently offers the following courses: Foundations of Sports Studies; History of Sports in America; Sociology of Sports; Sports Economics; Sports Psychology; Sports, Science and Technology; Soccer and Global Politics; Sports and Stadia; Legal Issues in Sport Management; History of Martial Arts and The Olympics in Asia.

With its current offerings, the faculty and administration involved with SST program have goals to expand the course offerings, create a larger and academically rigorous curriculum, and establish a minor program.

“In order to build the most distinguished Sports Studies program in the country, Georgia Tech aims to expand its curriculum, hire tenure-track faculty, secure major research grants, develop a student-internship program and host international conferences and special events,” Smith said.