Sarah Hébert (right) leads a competitor through warm-up stretches in preparation for the Special Olympics.Sarah Hébert (right) leads a competitor through warm-up stretches in preparation for the Special Olympics during an internship she served with its Ontario division as part of her MHK experience.

Sport management program earns high marks in global ranking

The UWindsor Master of Human Kinetics program in Sport Management deserves its spot among the world’s top-ranked graduate programs, says alumna Sarah Hébert (BHK 2016, MHK 2018).

SportBusiness, a global consulting and analysis firm, ranked the UWindsor program 21st in the world, second in Canada.

“The top 40 represents the true cream of the crop globally, and inclusion on our list in any position is an indication of a top-quality sports management program,” the publication said in a release.

Hébert, one of the alumni who participated in a survey that informed the rankings, says the dedication to experiential learning makes the program valuable to its students.

“In addition to the amazing faculty, the program provides you with very tangible opportunities to get involved in the world of sport,” she says.

She completed an internship with Special Olympics Ontario, combining her research with helping to organize sporting activities for children with intellectual disabilities.

“It was really incredible to be able to get practical skills at the same time you’re getting experience for your academic research,” says Hébert. “You’re basically living out your research project while you’re still in school.”

Those kinds of opportunities for placements and developing research skills is what enables the program to excel, says Jess Dixon, professor in the Department of Kinesiology.

“Internship is a big thing for us, about 80 per cent of our students complete one,” he says. “That provides a gateway to the industry once they graduate. But every student must complete an independent research project as well.”

Dr. Dixon says smaller classes and a low student-to-faculty ratio is another advantage, allowing instructors to get to know students as individuals.

“We can mentor our students and provide personal attention,” he says. “These personal touches are things you just can’t get in a larger program.”

Graduates go on to work in a variety of sport sectors, including with professional sports franchises and national/provincial/territorial sport governing bodies, sporting goods and apparel companies, municipal parks, recreation and culture departments, sport agencies, and academia.

Dixon notes the program is not new to the elite. In fact, UWindsor has placed in the top 40 of these rankings in 9 of the 10 years SportBusiness has published its rankings.

“This year we scored third highest for quality of teaching and fifth highest for best value for the money. We scored well on extracurricular support and industry networking, among others,” says Dixon. “This feedback validates and reinforces our curriculum and attention to student learning outcomes in the Faculty of Human Kinetics.”