Sport for Life and Brock University mobilize academic sport management research

Centre for Sport Capacity members are from left to right (front) Kirsty Spence, Shannon Kerwin, Julie Stevens, Laura Cousens; (back) Pat Reid, Cole McClean, Ryan Clutterbuck, Nick Burton.

Historically, there has been a divide between what happens in the corridors of academia and the reality of what goes on in the “real world”. That’s been true in the past for sport management research in Canada, and that’s why Sport for Life is partnering with the Centre for Sport Capacity (CSC) at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario.

“That divide is problematic, because sport management is an applied, practical profession as much as an academic discipline. Our centre is a knowledge mobilization hub, unique in the sport sector. This means we build foundations and work to translate current research into practical suggestions and applications,” says Dr. Julie Stevens, director of the CSC.

This motivation builds the foundation for CSC’s partnership with Sport for Life. The collaboration has resulted in the creation of a series of e-learning resources that will utilize the expertise and research of community sport organizations. The first course, focused on board governance, is part of a larger push to help Canadian sports organizations upgrade their operations. Other e-learning  courses are in various stages of development.

The project began when Dr. Paul Jurbala, Sport for Life’s Director of Knowledge, was a doctoral student in Brock’s Applied Health Sciences program. He approached Stevens with the idea of a multi-organizational partnership with the aim of mobilizing knowledge about Quality Sport. The Centre was less than a decade old, and growing fast. She decided to pull the trigger, and she feels the work they’ve done has been groundbreaking.

“I’m very excited about this project because one of CSC’s key mandates is community engagement, and our members have been excited to be able to translate their academic research into a form appropriate for the public,” says Stevens. Jurbala is similarly thrilled about the collaboration.

“So far Sport for Life has worked with individual experts, like professors, but now we want to look at building relationships with research centres such as Brock’s CSC and those in other institutions,” says Jurbala.

“Brock is certainly a leader in this area, and has one of the best Sport Management faculties in the country, so it’s been particularly great to develop a partnership with them. With our growing focus on Quality Sport and the leadership in sport organizations, this is a new direction for us. We realize we can’t have Quality Sport without quality sport organizations.”

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