Canada Games Teaching Spotlight: Laura Cousens’ Major Games course comes home

NOTE: This is the first in a series of question and answer stories featuring faculty members who are integrating the 2021 Canada Games into the courses they teach at Brock University or the research they’re leading. For more information on Brock’s academic activities around the Games, visit

For more than two decades, Brock University Associate Professor of Sport Management Laura Cousens has been researching sport organization and community involvement across Canada and around the world.

Brock University Associate Professor of Sport Management Laura Cousens.

Through a Major Games Field Course she’s been teaching since 2014, Cousens brings students directly to the events, giving them a truly immersive experiential education opportunity.

With the 2021 Canada Games set to be hosted in Niagara, Cousens is integrating the Games into her upcoming Major Games Field Course.

What is your Canada Games-related course title, code and description?

SPMA 4P98 – Major Games Field Course: Observation and analysis of operations of a major sport event. Topics may include marketing, human resources, sponsorship, finance, venue management and strategic alliances.

Describe how you’ve integrated Canada Games-related material into your course.

The course will provide indirect opportunities in 2020 and direct opportunities in 2021. This summer, students are volunteering for the World Masters Athletics (WMA) Championships in Toronto. This provides students across campus with opportunities to gain experience in functional areas that will enable them to volunteer in more senior roles at the 2021 Canada Games.

Recent changes to the Major Games course were focussed on providing enhanced experiential learning opportunities for students volunteering at the WMA Championships and Canada Games. The course now offers a full-credit option for students seeking additional opportunities for professional development, pre-event experiential training at athletic events and senior positions at WMA.

A new webpage on the Sport Management website now highlights the volunteer opportunities available to students across campus. It explains the range of experiential options at WMA, eases the registration process and profiles graduates who have secured careers in event management after taking the course.

The webpage will be transitioned into the portal for course-based experiential opportunities available through this course to students looking for information about volunteer opportunities at the Canada Games.

Why do you think Canada Games presents such a good opportunity for students at Brock?

Employment prospects in event management are promising. Careers in the field have experienced exceptional growth as the diversity of opportunities for event managers has expanded. Career opportunities include those at sporting events (Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Pan Am Games, Ironman, World University Games, Children’s Games), fundraising and charitable events or managing trade shows and galas, among others.

After taking the Major Games course, Brock alumni have gone on to secure positions with the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Commonwealth Games, the North American Indigenous Games and with charitable organizations. Interestingly, the manager of administration for WMA took the first Major Games course we offered, which focused on the Ontario Winter Games in Muskoka in 2014.

Do you have any suggestions for ways your colleagues can use the Canada Games to enhance teaching and learning opportunities in their courses?

Numerous opportunities for student learning exist in collaboration with the event. Experiential opportunities in functional areas at the Games including marketing, event services, technology, medical, language services and volunteer recruitment, training and evaluation among others are available.

Leveraging the extensive research opportunities in the area of event management (over 260,000 peer reviewed articles published) enables students to investigate areas such as the economic impact of event tourism, security, environmental sustainability, revenue management, pricing, supply chain management, marketing, customer service, logistics, leadership, strategy, finance, brand management, sponsor activation, risk management, and human resources.

Offering case competitions, creating independent study opportunities, encompassing the Canada Games into course-based term papers or in-class discussions are some options available to faculty.

In my experience, inviting members of the Canada Games Host Society to speak about topics relevant to course-work or to be part of panel discussions on key issues such as gender, racism, cultural diversity or ethics have provided enhanced learning opportunities for students.

Once the Games are finished, how do you plan to continue using this new idea in your course?

The Major Games course has enabled students to volunteer at provincial, national and international sporting events since 2014 and will continue to be delivered in the foreseeable future.


For more information about the Major Games Field Experience Course, visit the course webpage.

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