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Wingate revamps MASM program, shifts to online format

by Luanne Williams

Wingate University is revamping its Master of Arts in Sport Management to address specific industry needs and meet students where they are, both in terms of geography and educational level.

A white male stands at a podium at a college.

“Working in sports, especially communications, you don’t necessarily get to choose where you work, which means you don’t get to choose where you live as you advance your career,” says Jake Levy, a Wingate MASM student now working as director of communications and broadcasting at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. “I loved the Charlotte area, but had to venture north into the Midwest to follow the best career options for me. The online program allows me to finish taking classes without hesitation in following a job or opportunity that will also help me down the path to achieve my professional dreams.”

Started in 2007 and located for the past five years at Wingate’s Ballantyne campus, the MASM program will transition to a fully online format this fall and offer two concentrations: sport marketing, and athletic administration and compliance. Students will take eight-week courses and can complete the 32-hour, graduate-level program in as few as three semesters.

Certificate programs in the two concentrations, at 11 credit hours each, are also an option.

“The certificate is a good fit for someone looking to boost their career or gain entry into a new area without a full master’s degree,” said Dawn Norwood, MASM director.

She said the online master’s program will be convenient, quick and accessible via computer, tablet or mobile phone.

“The courses will be offered through Canvas. We’ll offer synchronous classes so there will be a lot of interaction between professors and students as well as peer-to-peer,” Norwood said. “Another key is that each online course will be integrated with Zoom video conferencing, so students will be able to join classes via mobile devices.”

The ability to “do class on the go,” is especially important to high school coaches and athletic administrators, many who seek a MASM degree in order to advance to the collegiate level, Norwood said. She said about half of the students in the program have just completed their undergraduate work.

“We take students from any background, straight out of college, already in the workforce, looking for a career change, whatever. We don’t require a sport management undergrad degree to be accepted into our program,” she explained.

Instructors will offer “live office hours,” so that students can click in for help at designated times outside of class. MASM had already begun transitioning to online, offering a handful of classes via the Internet for the last several semesters.

Alumnus Cornel Cheron, who graduated in 2018, said learning online worked well for him.

“I had a couple of courses that I took that were online and I learned just as much as I did when taking a standard course. The professors ensured that we got an effective learning experience through the coursework they provided,” said Cheron, a stadium operations assistant for the Carolina Panthers who considers becoming a Wingate MASM student the best educational decision he’s made. “It’s unbelievable how many situations I’ve come across at work that I studied during my time in the program.”

He worked an internship in guest relations with the Panthers while a MASM student.

Dawn Norwood

Norwood said Wingate’s shift to an online program will not change its experiential learning focus. Students in the Sport Marketing track will receive hands-on training with TicketReturn, one of the industry’s most popular ticketing software platforms. During public relations and social media courses, they’ll practice live-Tweeting sports events.

Those in the athletic administration and compliance concentration will take advantage of training modules designed by athletic directors who are in the trenches of athletic/academic advising. They will also get a healthy dose of the NCAA compliance manual and how to apply it. And the MASM program will continue its partnerships with Charlotte-area teams to help students land internships with the Hornets, Knights and Checkers, as well as area colleges. Norwood is also working with sports organizations on a plan to earmark internship slots for members of the military.

“The program is very efficient and covers a wide range of topics without much fluff,” Levy says. “I learned a lot of different skills and theories on a practical level with real-world applications, and throughout my professional career I have utilized those skills on almost a daily basis.”

Starting MASM classes while he was working as a graduate assistant for Wingate’s Athletic Communications office, Levy had to leave the program when he moved to take a full-time job. Now that the program is going online, he has re-enrolled to finish his degree.

“I want to thank Dr. Norwood and the entire faculty for being so great to work with. My jobs require a lot of nights and weekends, and I've moved twice since leaving Charlotte pursuing new opportunities,” Levy says. “It would have been easy for them to give up on me or forget about me, but they haven't. The passion that I felt when I was in classes two years ago is still there today and, especially since most of our communication has been electronic, I'm confident that passion will transcend through the online format and impact graduate students' lives in a truly positive way beyond the degree.”

In revamping its MASM program, Wingate has also modified admissions requirements, increasing the minimum GPA but eliminating the need for entrance exams such as the GRE or the GMAT.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with at least a 2.9 cumulative GPA and submit a personal statement, a resumé or curriculum vitae and three letters of recommendation. If they already hold a master’s degree, their GPA from undergraduate and graduate work must average at least 2.9.

May 28, 2019

  • sport management