SRU was the first university in the nation to receive an accreditation through COSMA (Commission on Sport Management Accreditation) in 2010 and the program is currently up for renewal.
“The process is very intense,” Robertha Abney, associate professor of sport management, said. “You start as a candidate and go through the process of submitting a proposal. If approved, the real process begins.”
According to Abney, the preparation alone can last up to a year. In this process the gathering of documents is done simultaneously with evaluation by COSMA. New courses are added, the curriculum is examined, and other various changes may be made.
“New updates have been made and that consists of curricular changes. Perhaps new courses, looking at rubrics; we try to align our curriculum with what COSMA lists as their national standards,” Abney said.
When first accredited in 2010, the sport management department had made changes to the curriculum. In regards to classes, the course “Leadership in Athletics” was added. Besides courses, the department underwent other curricular changes that also improved the program.
“We had to reduce the number of volunteer hours,” Abney said. “We used to require 200 hours which is higher than other institutions and now we require 120. We also used to offer 2 practicums, now we offer four.”
Students are not omitted in these modifications, however, and play a small role in how the university may add courses. According to sport management professor and department chairperson Catriona Higgs, the students were offered a say in the selection of feasible new courses.
“Courses were also a result of exit interviews with students,” Higgs said. “So we use assessment tools required by COSMA to improve our program as well.”
COSMA stands not only as an accreditation commission, but can be beneficial in way of representation for the university. When looking for exquisite sport management programs, a COSMA accredited program is of high regard.
“We can use this as a recruiting tool, being the first program,” Abney said. “We also become somewhat of a model for other programs.”
Equally as important to receiving accreditation is the coveted re-accreditation. First in receiving this as well, Higgs was especially excited for this award.
“Both accreditation and re-accreditation are really important,” Higgs said. “We are hopeful that we will also be the first program to be re-accredited as well.”
The accreditation by COSMA will be finalized and given in Spring 2018.