PE degree program needs approval

By Dawn Panka

The department of physical education will soon have a new master’s program in sport management if it gains higher approval, a physical education professor said.

The Graduate Council approved the plan for the new specialization at the council meeting Monday, Professsor Keith Lambrecht said.

The program must wait for approval from the Board of Regents sometime in December or January, Lambrecht said. After gaining BOR approval, the program will go to the Illinois Board of Higher Education for approval.

“We hope to have the needed approval for the program by next semester, with the program beginning soon after,” Lambrecht said. “We don’t foresee any problems.”

The proposed program is a master’s degree in physical education with a specialization in sport management, Lambrecht said. “The program will prepare students to have management careers, such as athletic director or sport merchandising,” he said.

“This specialization is being added because of career options. Many PE majors are asked to fill leadership roles,” Lambrecht said. “Schools and clubs are hiring administrative people for these positions, but there is a need for people with a sport and business background,” he said.

The proposed specialization will require mostly courses that are already offered, while adding business classes and an internship, Lambrecht said.

“The College of Business has been able to be supportive of the specialization, since they are not as impacted at the graduate level as they are at the undergraduate level,” he said.

In 1980, there were 20 sport management programs in the United States; in 1990, there are 120, Lambrecht said. “But NIU is right on track with its timing,” he said.

“NIU is an ideal location for this type of program,” Lambrecht said. “It’s in a strategic location for internship spots with Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and St. Louis nearby,” he said.

“We should be very competitive with a number of schools for this type of specialization once the program becomes approved,” Lambrecht said.

The proposal had been planned over the past four years and fits the needs of many students, he said.

Lambrecht said the department of physical education requested a proposal for this type of specialization when he arrived in 1986. The first proposal was written in 1987, he said.

“It has taken four years because of both the curriculur process and the advance into a new field,” Lambrecht said. “It takes time to add the necessary classes and to educate people as to what the program is and how it fits into what we’re doing,” he said.

There are currently 12 to 15 people interested in this area of study, with an expected 25 to 30 involved per year in the future, Lambrecht said.