Webinar – Why choose Ohio University’s Online Master of Athletic Administration

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Learn more about Ohio University’s Online Master of Athletic Administration


Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and welcome to our webinar discussing Ohio University’s online Master of Athletic Administration. In this webinar today we’re going to discuss why you should seriously consider this program to advance your professional career. My name’s Sean Dove and I’m the senior enrollment advisor here for the Athletic Administration program. And with us today we also have professor Kelley Walton, who is the director of the program. Kelly would you like to you know tell our audience a little bit about yourself and you know how you came about to being a part of this program?

Yes sure! Thanks Sean. Yes my name is Kelley Walton. I’m the director o the MAA program. I’ve been in this role since January of 2019. I’ve been a professor in some way shape or form with Ohio University since 2012. My area of expertise in teaching is human resources and legal issues in sports. Prior to be to getting into academics, I worked for the Columbus Blue Jackets, an NHL team, for 10 years in both Human Resources. I was a head of HR for seven years and I was in the legal department for three years. My teaching in the MAA program is a variety of different courses that are either in leadership Human Resources sports and a variety of different things. I’m excited to be here today, thanks!

Thank You, professor Walton. You know one question that I hear a lot from students when I speak to them on the phone is the question of credibility. With an online program, a lot of that has to do with the program itself but more importantly the school that you’re getting this degree from. Ohio University is the ninth oldest university in the United States. It was founded back in 1804. We’re the first university founded to the west of the Appalachians, so we have a long storied history here, not just in Ohio, but as far as national prominence is concerned. Ohio University is one of the founding members of the MAC conference and specifically towards the sports administration Ohio University is renowned within the sports industry. As you can see here back in 1966, Ohio University founded the first graduate program dealing with the sports industry and that was the Master of Sports Administration program. Today that program is the premier program of its type in the nation and the great news here is that this program is the little brother of that program. A lot of faculty that teaches that program, also teaches in this program. And this program the main difference between the two is the sports administration program focuses on collegiate and professional sports whereas this program was the first in the nation. I believe we may still be the only one in the nation that focuses exclusively on the Interscholastic level. Meaning that this program is going to prepare you to become a high school or a middle school athletic director when you complete this program. The day after you graduate, you’ll be able to sit down at the AD’s desk and run with it. Professor Walton, you’ve given us a little bit about your background and credentials, how about the faculty that teach this program? I mentioned briefly that some of whom also teach in the MSA program but can you give us a little bit more insight as to you know who our students are going to be learning from as they go to the MAA program.

KELLEY: Yeah absolutely. I think the one of the most important pieces of our program is our faculty and what they bring to our students. We are one of the few online programs that integrates our on-campus faculty into our program, so at Ohio University you know we’re very fortunate we have some of the best in in the world in sports administration education. And we have usually every year five, six, sometimes seven full-time faculty who teach in our program. Our top professors that teach in our program are Scott Smith and Aaron Wright who both are experts and their area focus is Interscholastic Athletic administration. Both are phenomenal instructors there but we also have some of our other instructors like Brandan Wright who is one of the foremost experts on e-sports. He sometimes teaches our legal and risk class. We have a few other instructors who help with and teach some of our marketing courses. Anthony Reynolds who used to be an athletic director at the college level and those kind of just to give yo a few examples. But the other big plus that we have is our adjuncts all have experience in Interscholastic Athletic Administration. Some of them 20 or 30 years. So we have it. You know, Johnnie Evers, we have Al Kirkland, we have Mark Havers, we have Bill Bowers. We have a variety of of adjunct instructors who have 20 to 30. Bill Bowers has 42 years of experience when he started teaching with us in interscholastic athletics. So they’ve taught or they’ve been teachers and/or coaches and/or and athletic administration at the high school and middle school levels. So we have the academic content experts who helped build all of our classes and then we have the industry experts, which are your Interscholastic Athletic Directors. And we also have some current ones we have Bret Purcell, we have Ron Richardson, we have people who are current athletic directors as well. So there’s a lot of feedback that our students can get and a lot of interaction with people who are actually in these jobs today.

SEAN: That’s outstanding sounds like in addition to getting the book knowledge, they’re also getting real-world experience from the faculty they’re at actually done or continuing to you know do the work that their teaching. They’re are practicing what they preach.

KELLEY: So that’s exactly it. That is exactly our goal.

SEAN: Very good. Now a big thing that I hear from students, a key point of interest to them is our relationship with the NIAAA. In case those in our audience don’t know back in 2003 the NIAAA approached Ohio University because of our with the Master of Sports Administration program. The reason being that the NIAAA really focuses on Interscholastic administration. In case you don’t know the NIAAA stands for for the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association. And that’s the association that gives out credentials to athletic directors throughout the United States. At the time, there were no programs that focused on the interscholastic levels, so they partnered with Ohio University and we developed this program through the integration of the NIAAA coursework or the LTC credits. Professor Walton, can you discuss how you know the integration of the NIAAA coursework and you know how that fits into this program and what that means for our students?

KELLEY: Yeah definitely. So the NIAAA and really all of the you know the state associations as well, are extremely important to to Ohio University, as well as to our students. So you know the NIAAA is the leading authority on continuing education and professional development when people are in the field but it’s not at a master’s level that they give. They do classes and they do courses and they continue to make sure that athletic directors are aware of you know the laws that they need to be aware of: how to do facility management, of how to give the foundation but what they found was that that’s not enough to prepare somebody to be an athletic director and that’s why they came to Ohio University to work with us. And so we use some of their materials in our courses, so they’ll have a course like an LTC 501, which is a very basic introductory course which is required for the basic certification of a registered athletic director. A registered athletic administrator which is the base certification that you can get. So 501 is an LTC course that NIAAA provides for their membership in different courses and those kind of things. What we’ve done with NIAAA is we’ve worked with them to incorporate some of those items into our courses so you know it is seven weeks condensed, three hour course. You know a very small portion might be this LTC 501 or 502 materials, but we use it as foundational because it’s important and it’s relevant and it is and it’s some of the best information that’s out there. So we coupled that. Pulled that together with our academic content and when people leave our program, they have earned credit for six different LTC leadership training courses through the NIAAA. So we tell the NIAAA what courses that we’ve used in our program and they’re able to get credit for that just by doing our program as well we ensure that when they graduate from our program they have met the needs for the basic certification. Their RAA. The Registered Athletic Administrator certification, so when they graduate they can apply for that immediately and that’s something that a lot of employers look for to see to have that base knowledge on certification as an athletic director.

SEAN: Outstanding. Thank you professor Walton. One of the great things about this program in addition to it being an online program is the flexibility that it affords our students. The way it works is, you only take one class at a time but each class is only 7 weeks long, so you’re able to complete two classes every semester. By going year-round with this program, you’ll be able to complete the program in the two year time frame. All the classes are 100% online with the exception of our Athletic Leadership Forum, which we’ll discuss here in just a moment. But with the program it’s flexible as possible for you. There’s never a required time that you’re ever required to be logged in. There are. Any lectures always recorded for you, so you can go back and review those at your convenience. The way the course structure is set up that is throughout the week, you will have various discussion boards that you will need to post to and most assignments they are due on the Sunday evening around midnight. That’s how the class structure works. The class week begins on Sunday night at midnight and runs you to the next Sunday night at midnight. There will be exceptions here and there based upon the course of the individual professor but that’s the generalized format that you can expect the program. Our typical student in this program is spending between 12 to 15 hours a week on their studies. Some more some less. It’s going to depend on the student and the actual subject matter that you’ll be doing you know learning during that time frame. Now actually on professor Walton, could you go ahead and describe a little bit what the students can expect at the Athletic Leadership Forum?

KELLEY: Yeah, thanks Sean. Our Athletic Leadership Forum is one of the most important pieces in our program. It gives students an opportunity to come to campus for a couple of days and spend some time with faculty and with each other. Our current format is that we have three cohorts. There’s a new cohort that starts each semester and so when you take this program you take these classes with a cohort, with a group of people who are going through this program with you and it’s really important to get to know them and you’ll get to know them a lot online, but it’s a great opportunity to get to network with not only them but to other cohorts as well as faculty. And we bring in some athletic directors as well, who are alumni and those kind of things. So this Athletic Leadership Forum, it’s kind of a blend of course work for the summer course that you’re taking as well as building the leadership skills out of our students because everybody who’s taking this is wants to be in a leadership role and we just think that you can’t get enough of those different leadership principles and ideas. And some of those things are done really well in person. We’re in the process of changing our athletic leadership forum a little bit, as well as, you notice here on the bottom of the slide it says you know our slogan is the best student centered learning experience in America and we take that seriously. It’s not just a line. It’s not just a tag line to try to get your interests. We really believe that and so every year we work to make our courses better. We work to make our leadership forums and symposiums better. And all those different kinds of things that we’re trying to do to build our students. To build them up. To build their values so that when they graduate they’re ready to take that job and our Athletic Leadership Forum is one of those important pieces and it’s a great opportunity for people to connect with Ohio University. I think one of the reason that people. You know online programs is. There’s a lot of them and a lot of them are good, but I think a lot of people choose Ohio University because they want that connection to a university and to a group of faculty members and that’s what that leadership forum does. We spend a little bit of time taking them up and down Court Street, which is a story historical important piece of Ohio University and in our war if you will, but as well we spend some time taking them around some of the facilities and back school when you look at our convocation center which is where our basketball is held we look at Peden Stadium and there’s a whole new Athletic Student Center there. We give them a tour of our campus and campus facilities as well so it’s a good tie to Ohio University and then as well when the students are there we are working hard to make sure that that the value that they get out of that weekend is that they come away as being prepared to be better leaders.

SEAN: Thank You Professor Walton. Am I correct that the Leadership Forum typically takes place during the last week of June every year?

KELLEY: Uh that is how it is that right now. Correct okay. That’s right and again so we always try to make things better and continue to improve for our students. We’re in the process of determining if that’s the right time for our students. Right now our last few cohorts have said that’s the best time for them because many of our students are either current athletic directors and/or teachers and coaches and so the summer time mid to end of June tends to be a good time for them. Most of them are out of school by then and have the ability to to travel to campus. SEAN: Thank you Professor Walton. As we mentioned before this program was founded back in 2003 and then in 2008 it went online for the first time. What that means to you as a prospective student is um we’re not new to the online game. We have worked out all the kinks as far as learning from an online program. A lot of schools recently have been going online. That seems to be the new trend or you know that’s the future of a lot of education. So you’re going to see more and more schools offering programs online, but many of them are still working out the kinks. They don’t know necessarily how to best meet the needs of their students and still effectively educate them. You know on the subject matter that you’re looking to you know gain from the program. With this program you’re going to have several layers of support as you’re going through it. One of the concerns that a lot of people have with taking online programs is: What do I do if I need help? I don’t want to be stuck out here by myself I’m gong to be sitting here at my computer. I don’t understand this concept. What can I do? Ohio University you know with that history that we have and you know doing this for so long we have learned what are, what is optimal for our student is to make sure that you have what you need. Through the whole enrollment process you’re going to have a dedicated enrollment advisor that’ll take you from that first phone call to gauging your interest in the program, providing the information that you need and we’ll walk you through the entire enrollment process. Our job is to make sure that your application is a strongest possible and present you in the best light to the admissions committee going forward, so you’re going to have that support at the you know the onset of your Ohio University experience. Then once you get accepted into the program, you’re going to have a student support specialist. His name is Mike Walden or one of his associates. They are going to work with you from that day you get accepted, all the way to the day you graduate. He’s basically, I like to refer to him as your education concierge. Anything that you need, let Mike know. He’s going to help you get to orientation. He’s going to help you get registered for classes every semester. He’ll let you know your textbook information that you to get for the courses. If there is ever an issue or anything that comes up reach out to Mike, he’s there for you. He will help you arrange you know your travels and getting up to Ohio for the Athletic Leadership Forum. You’ll also if you want to participate in the graduation ceremony which you will be invited to do so will help you you know make those arrangements for that as well. So you’re going to be covered the entire way through the program with the support and that’s in addition to the faculty and the support that you are going to get from Professor Walton and the rest over faculty years. So you’re going to be well covered as you get to this program. As you can see on the screen here the requirements in order to get into the program and it’s pretty obvious there. There are three opportunities that you can start this program on an annual basis. We have our spring semester which usually starts in early January. Our summer semester will begin typically mid May and then our Fall semester starts in August. A question that we typically get from applicants or people that are interested in the program is with regards to the athletic administration or coaching experience on this experience. It does have to be at a high school or a middle school, however it does not have to be necessarily a paid position. If you’re a volunteer coach for a high school and an assistant football coach that experience will count for you as long as you’re able to get a letter of recommendation from that school’s athletic director. All right as we close up here Professor Walton, any anything that else that you’d like to share with our audience today?

KELLEY: Yeah I think I just want to make sure that our prospective students understand the unique value that Ohio University brings to our MAA students. We have faculty that have expertise in a variety of areas that give a great academic foundation for our students. We also have adjunct faculty who work with our students, who are currently Interscholastic Athletic Directors and/or athletic directors who have 20 to 30 years of experience who bring a lot to our students. I think it’s important that they understand our relationship with the NIAAA and how important it is that those materials are provides some good foundational work for some of our courses but that our courses are master level courses. We use the the NIAAA’s LTC s as good foundational materials and in a seven week course you know somebody’s going to get they’re going to get a lot of content from our instructors and that those LTC’s provide a good foundation. It’s not the only part of it. It’s actually a pretty small part some of some times but it’s a good foundational piece and important piece and that that connection with the NIAAA and ensuring that were. We work with them to make sure you know they’re the governing. You know they’re the ones who know what people are doing they have over 20,000 members. They know what athletic directors are doing today and we work with them to make sure that our students, when they graduate have the knowledge skills and abilities and as well a certification. The ability to apply for the NIAAA’s RAA certification when they graduate. You know we’re a unique blend of academic practical and that connection with the NIAAA that I think is really important to make sure that students are prepared for a career in Interscholastic Athletic administration.

SEAN: Thank you Professor Walton. Ladies and gentlemen if you have any additional questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. You can either respond to your enrollment advisor. Their contact information would have been in an email that was emailed or obviously emailed to you or you can give them a call and their email signatures will have their direct line that raised directly to their desk. If you cannot find that information appropriately reach out to us at the numbers listed here or give us an email. We’re here to assist you any way that we can. Thank you for your interest in Ohio University and we look forward to speaking with you soon.