New master’s program targets sports fanatics

By Lauren Lavelle

Sports lovers, advocates and students of all majors and minors are encouraged to take part in Rider’s newly introduced Master of Arts in Athletic Leadership program this fall.

Just recently approved by the New Jersey State Department of Education, the 36-credit graduate program consists of three required core courses, two internships and seven athletics-oriented electives. These classes include Current Issues in Sports Psychology and Athletic Media and Communication.

“The goal of the program is to provide its graduates with knowledge in areas such as leadership, policies and governance, ethics, coaching development and sports psychology,” said Dean of the College of Continuing Studies Boris Vilic. “The fairly unique feature of the program is the fact that it includes meaningful, hands-on internships and opportunities to shadow NCAA Division I professionals.”

Designed for students wishing to delve deeper into the overall meaning of sports and sports management, the master’s program gives them the opportunity to go beyond the simple sports team and truly understand every element of the athletic field.

“We started working on the program in response to current student demand,” said Vilic. “As Rider added more sports-related academic programming, it became evident that students enrolled in those programs wanted an option in order to stay at Rider. While we have done extensive market research to confirm there would be student demand for the program, it is certainly gratifying to see student interest.”

Along with the need for a more extensive sports program, the courses open many paths for undergraduates still searching for solid careers, according to psychology professor and chair of the Continuing Studies Academic Policy Committee Gary Brosvic, who is also the director of the new program.

“There is widespread interest in this program within the athletic and academic communities, and every aspect of this program was developed from scratch,” said Brosvic. “Now, more than ever, there is a need for programs that create transition pathways for rising seniors to complete graduate courses during their senior year that allow them to enter their careers with comprehensive preparation.”

The program is also an addition to Rider’s growing College of Continuing Studies and “is housed within the College of Continuing Studies, which is Rider’s driving force for implementing multidisciplinary education programming for traditional undergraduates, adult learners and distance learning,” said Brosvic.

There are several opportunities for students to thrive and make the most of their experiences through the program.

“I believe that the program will provide considerable opportunities that will, in turn, make the program successful,” said Brosvic. “There’s the ability to provide up to six credit hours for prior professional experience as a full-time coach or athletic administrator, and there is also the 4+1 Program for current Rider students, where qualified rising seniors can earn up to 15 credit hours toward the master’s program by taking five graduate level courses as part of their undergraduate requirements.”

Overall, faculty and administrators are looking forward to teaching the courses and learning more about the world of sports management.

“I truly look forward to working with faculty, staff, coaches, trainers and students to make the program grow,” said Vilic. “This is Rider’s first program that integrates academics and athletics so we are very excited about its future.”

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