UW – Madison Launches Online Master of Science in Sports Leadership

22 October 2021

The link between educational leadership and the world of sport is not always obvious.

But chat a bit with UW-Madison’s Peter Miller, and it quickly becomes clear why the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis (ELPA) at the School of Education is launching a new MSc in Sports Leadership program ( MSL).

“At UW-Madison, we are uniquely positioned to leverage the university’s world-class academic and athletic resources to prepare dynamic athletic leaders,” said Miller, faculty director of the new program which is at. both a professor in the Department of Education, Leadership and Policy Analysis, and chairman of the UW Athletics Council.

Like most faculty members, Miller spent thousands of hours during his young adult life in a classroom setting, first earning an undergraduate degree in sociology at Notre Dame University. He followed up this work by earning a master’s degree in education from the University of Portland and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy from the University of Utah in 2005.

It is the time Miller has spent outside of the traditional classroom, however, that he highlights as the most influential of his life.

“Being a student-athlete at Notre Dame has without a doubt been my hallmark learning experience of my entire teaching career,” said Miller, who played men’s basketball for the Fighting Irish for four seasons, co-captain. of the team 1996-97. “My trainer, John MacLeod, was that source of wisdom who approached coaching as a way to prepare us for life.

To further emphasize the value of quality leaders in sports, Miller notes how high school and college students typically move through many classes each day, often changing teachers and professors at the end of a semester.

Pierre Miller
Professor Peter Miller is the Faculty Director of the new MSc in Sport Leadership program. A former student-athlete himself, Miller is a faculty member in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis and chair of the UW Athletic Board.

“But with a coach, you often build a longitudinal relationship with that person, often over four years,” he says. “It can have a significant influence on a student, good or bad. The MSL is designed to produce effective sports leaders who can help ensure that more people have great and impactful experiences. “

The new program is flexible and fully online to accommodate students with busy lives throughout Wisconsin and across the country. It was approved by the UW System Board of Directors at its June 2021 meeting and is currently accepting applications from students wishing to enroll in the summer of 2022.

One of the many benefits of the program is that it is hosted on a campus that is home to an enduringly successful UW sports department, with a range of highly regarded sports teams, coaches and Badgers administrators. Likewise, the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis is housed within the UW-Madison School of Education, which has consistently been ranked among the best in the country for the past two decades.

“There are a number of sports management programs across the country, but what sets our program apart is its emphasis on sports leadership,” says Sara Jimenez Soffa, MSL Program Specialist. “The knowledge, guidance and mentorship offered by ELPA faculty members and their expertise in this area is invaluable. “

The new program will give students important insight into a variety of sports leadership areas, such as: sports administration; framing; justice in sport; legal and financial matters; and sports psychology, to name a few. Graduates of the program will be prepared for leadership positions in athletic programs at all levels, from Kindergarten to Grade 12 and youth programs, colleges and universities, and professional organizations.

The program consists of 30 credits, including nine compulsory courses. The required courses are: ELPA 700 – Field experience in educational leadership; ELPA 710 – Introduction to the intercollegiate administration of athletics; ELPA 750 – Coaching Athletics 1: Daily practices of the best leaders; ELPA 751 – Leadership and justice in sport; ELPA 752 —Coach as a teacher: Master the teaching practice on and off the field; ELPA 753 – Psychology and sports coaching; ELPA 754 – Running a Championship System: Badger’s Sports Leadership; ELPA 755 – Coaching Athletics 2: A Bell Cow Way; and ELPA 777 – Synthesis Seminar on Higher and Post-Secondary Education. Students will also have the option of taking an elective course in Kinesiology or a related field.

“We believe the MSL is unique in that it harnesses both practical and scientific knowledge about leadership in athletics,” said Miller, who is also the UW-Madison faculty representative at the Big Ten Conference and the NCAA, the governing body of college athletics. . “It offers a way to develop and impart academic knowledge about sports leadership and allows students to explore several careers associated with sports leadership. “

Although the MSL program is only just beginning, ELPA has a long history of helping to prepare leaders in the world of sport, including: UW athletic director Chris McIntosh (MS, 2019); Sean Frazier, Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics at Northern Illinois University (MS, 2015 and currently working on a PhD); Chicago Bears vice president of player engagement LaMar “Soup” Campbell (MS, 2016); and UW – Platteville sports director and assistant chancellor Kristina Navarro (PhD, 2012).

“Athletic leadership is a growing aspect of educational leadership,” says Miller, whose first job after graduating from Notre Dame was as a basketball teacher and coach in Montgomery, Alabama. “We have many students in our teacher training programs and graduate students across the School of Education who are already working in schools and are involved in sport in one way or another. I think this program will help people interested in sports leadership in different ways – whether one wants to get into sports administration, professional sports leadership, coaching profession, serving on the local board of directors Little League or better understand how sports and academics can work together to positively shape the lives of young people.

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