Gustavus Adds Sport Management Major, Two OthersThe College faculty elevated the relatively new Sport Management minor, along with the more established Ancient Greek and Latin.
Posted on March 4th, 2024 by

The initial Sport Management class. The field of study launched as a minor in 2023, and will debut as a major this fall.

The Gustavus faculty recently approved the addition of a Sport Management major to the College’s curriculum, elevating the year-old minor and giving Gustie students a broader range of potential career paths in a growing and evolving field.

The faculty also approved new majors for Ancient Greek and Latin at its February meeting. The new Ancient Greek Studies major is a cultural area studies major with a language component and a re-envisioning of a previous major. The new Latin major is a re-envisioning of a previous major as well. 

Sport Management’s new designation will provide immediate benefits to some students, including Rachel Kawiecki ’25, an Exercise Physiology major and Sport Management minor who will be part of the inaugural class for the Gustavus Master of Athletic Training program that will launch this summer. “I majored in ‘ExPhys’ because I wanted to go the athletic training route, but then Hayley [Russell, Health and Exercise Science Department Chair] recommended that I do the Sport Management minor to get the administration side of it and have more options for jobs,” said Kawiecki, whose long-term goal is to be a director of sports medicine. “Since this got approved for a major we’ve figured out a way for me to fit in all the necessary courses during my last three semesters here.”

Russell said that Gustavus having such a diverse range of faculty expertise around sports means the new major will be academically robust and broad right away. Russell’s background is in sports psychology; Jeff Owen ’92 is an expert in sports economics; Tommy Valentini ’02 earned his PhD in kinesiology and has extensively studied moral education in and through sports; Kate Aguilar’s research and teaching has focused on the history of race in sports and its impact on society; and Sara Wolter ’02 studies gender in sports communications. “We all approach this subject from a variety of perspectives,” Russell said, “and we can focus on different things from what other programs offer, such as ethics, diversity, and socio-cultural aspects of sport.”

With the approval, the College will now recruit an additional high-level instructor for the program, but that person will be joining an already established area of study. “We started with the minor last fall because we realized we could do it without having to hire a new specialized sport management instructor,” Owen said.

The career possibilities for this major are consistently expanding as more people incorporate sports and wellness into their everyday life. “Between things like sports journalism and social media, broadcasting, sports analytics, business, sales and marketing, and NCAA or international sports, there’s a whole range of jobs you can be involved in,” Russell said. “And there are very few liberal arts colleges that offer this field.”

Owen cited the number of Gustavus alumni who have established careers in the sports world, which will provide strong connections and internship opportunities for future Sport Management majors. “We already have a built-in alumni base in this area even though we don’t even have any alums from the program yet,” he said. “It’s a growing major at state schools, and with our liberal arts program, we have a different pitch for students.”

Lauren MacLean ’24 is one beneficiary of that approach. The senior is leveraging her Sport Management minor toward a graduate degree in sports psychology, specifically around performance-related transitions between recreational and competitive and youth and adult sports. “The transitions to and from those levels, and how that impacts athletes, are what interest me the most,” she said. “I’d love to eventually open my own practice working with athletes one-on-one on different performance aspects, or on anything in that realm of sports. Given the research opportunities and the wide range of classes I’ve had at Gustavus, I feel better about how I understand this entire area.”



Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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