Sports make an entrance in classrooms

Photo Courtesy of Ivan Allen College

One of the many reasons that Tech was recently ranked ninth in the entire nation according to Washington Monthly Magazine’s 2013 National Universities Rankings—not to mention one point behind Harvard and ahead of Yale and Princeton—is because of the innovative and changing curriculum according to the happenings in the outside world.

Yet again, Tech proved it is ahead of the game—no pun intended—with the development of the Sports, Society and Technology (SST) program.

According to the History, Technology and Society school’s website, the SST program will be officially launched in 2014. Its interdisciplinary focus incorporates both sports studies and science, history and contemporary applications and national and international analyses.

It will also utilize a variety of professionals and professors in numerous disciplines to contribute to the curriculum.

Dr. John Matthew Smith, an Assistant Professor of Sports History and hired faculty to develop the SST program, alludes to the universality of the courses by saying, “Students from any major can participate. For example, my History of Sports in America course is open to all students and has no perquisites. We are interested in attracting students from all over campus to SST.”

More courses are constantly being added to the curriculum during its rapid development. Currently, the following courses will be available for study in the near future: Foundations of Sports Studies; Sociology of Sports; History of Sports in America; Boxing, Race, and American Culture; Baseball and American Culture; Sports Economics; Legal Issues in Sports Management; Sports Psychology; Soccer and Global Politics; Sports, Science & Technology; Sports & Stadia; History of Martial Arts and The Olympics in Asia.

Although sports courses and similar programs are offered at other universities nationwide, none have quite the high-tech capabilities and resources available at Tech.

Not only is our institute home to a variety of experienced researches and valuable technological tools, but it is also located within a major city at the center of an international sports network.

Tech has the unique potential to connect with major sports corporations just outside the borders of our campus.

For instance, Smith hosted Braves General Manager Frank Wren in his Sports Foundations class to give a speech on his experience working in the competitive and business-oriented world of professional sports.

“There is no other sports studies program in America located in a city like Atlanta,” Smith said.

The program has already made efforts to reach out to notable citizens of Atlanta and developing partners that provide promise for the program’s growing success and outside collaborations.

Their diverse community of students, faculty and industry stakeholders was evident last April during their “Sports, Society and Technology in the 21st Century” inaugural summit. The event featured a networking reception, speeches from the Ivan Allen College Dean and involved faculty and honored the contributions of Homer Rice.

The SST program is also different from the typical types of programs at other schools through its unique emphasis on critical analysis. Courses offered do not simply emphasize the memorization of past statistics or the testing of objective information.

Rather, the SST program asks students to think diagnostically regarding sports as an industry and cultural phenomenon, as well as to scrutinize the significance of sports in terms of local, national, and global relevance.

Classes hope to incorporate intensive research initiatives, practical experience, and knowledgeable guest lecturers that will prepare graduates for a variety of professions in any realm of sports industries.

“The future of SST is promising. We are in the process of getting the program approved as a minor…Although the SST program’s home is in the School of HTS, I would like to see greater collaboration [campuswide],” Smith concluded.