Dr. Jonathon Edwards is bringing a new and exciting course to the recreation and sports studies faculty at the University of New Brunswick.
RSS 4032 Event Management grants students the opportunity to gain experience planning and organizing sporting events on campus.
This class was initially created by the former assistant dean of kinesiology Cynthia Stacey, who has since moved on to her current position as dean of Renaissance College. Edwards, who holds a PhD in the field of sport management from the University of Alberta, has taken the reins of the course, which is being offered for the first time this semester.
“The faculty of recreation and sports studies focuses primarily on the business side of kinesiology,” said Edwards. “We have offered a second-year programming course for several years, and we thought that this would be a natural transition when it comes to learning how to plan and implement events and programs.”
Although the course does feature in-class lectures, the focus is primarily on experiential learning through hands-on interaction with the sporting community.
“Our goal is to help students boost their resumes by giving them the hands-on learning that employers are searching for in today’s job market,” said Edwards.
This semester, the RSS students have joined forces with the Red Bombers football team. The class will be running the show at their next three home games and any potential playoffs matches. They also played a large role in planning UNB’s Homecoming game, which took place Sept. 27.
“Our students take on a number of roles at the football games on a rotating basis,” explained Edwards. “For example, one week they could be working on communication through Twitter feeds and other social media outlets, then the next they’ll be setting up and taking down for the game, or coordinating the volunteers.”
Edwards also aspires to maintain a professional atmosphere throughout the class, by utilizing situations that would actually occur within the sports management field.
“Rather than having an informal in-class discussion following Homecoming, for example, we instead held a mock executive meeting where we went over what worked and what didn’t. This allowed the students to understand how the debriefing process works within the business world.”
While the main emphasis of the course lies within the experiential settings, the students are also encouraged to improve upon their written communication skills through a number of assignments.
“Our largest assignment is to create an event management plan that will be given to the Red Bombers management team at the end of the year. This will include suggestions for Homecoming — mapping out everything from ticket sales to marketing and sponsorships.”
Students are also responsible for creating a number of press releases for the team, which can be found on the Red Bombers website each week. This assignment is graded based on how well they are articulated and the clarity of the overall message, as well as the usage of specific “catch phrases” that are used within the industry.
Finally, each student also submits a five-page log following each game which includes what went well and what could use improvement at the event, as well as what they have learned thus far from the experience.
As the course facilitator, Edwards aspires to help his students develop a host of skills in the areas of leadership, management, communication and organization.
“I hope that the students will come out of the course with the understanding that event management is not comprised solely of the big picture, highlight-reel type roles,” said Edwards. “In actuality, there are so many small logistical issues that managers have to deal with, such as how to handle volunteers who do not show up at their designated time. How will they ensure that the tasks are still handled in a timely and organized manner?
“I believe that the Event Management course will grant students the skills necessary to deal with these issues and to become more marketable in the competitive field of Sports Management following graduation.”
In its first year, the course is relatively small, with around eight students. The class is primarily made up of upper-year RSS students; however, it is open to any student with an interest in event management. The course is also a component of the combined MBA in Sports and Recreation Management graduate program.
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