Blog

  • Ryan Hyndman – The Importance of Data Management and Information Literacy Skills

    Do you want to learn hard skills that could provide a comfortable lifestyle and a productive attitude? My experience with data management and information literacy throughout my independent study has not only been a complete culmination of my studies at Brock, but it has also taught me practical skills. I was able to learn hard skills such as spreadsheet analysis with crosstabs and gain knowledge of industry standards for economic impact assessments from both professionals in the field and academic supervisors. I found developing these skills to be rewarding in the short-term while also providing a financially comfortable path for the future. This combination of exposure has led me to a newfound confidence to join the work force and pursue what I am passionate about.

    Hello! My name is Ryan Hyndman, and I am currently a fourth-year Sport Management student with a minor in Economics here at Brock University! During my last term here at Brock, I had the opportunity to conduct an independent study (SPMA 4P99) under the supervision of Dr. Julie Stevens. A major component of this individual study revolved around a research project in partnership with non-profit organization, Community Researchers (CR).

    The Centre has a Memorandum of Understanding with CR where students work on projects to support sport and recreation organizations. CR pairs student researchers with organizations who are looking to have a complementary research study done. Because of my love of sports and my involvement with the Centre for Sport Capacity (CSC), I was paired with non-profit organization, Play On! Canada.

    Play On! Canada organizes and stages large-scale street hockey tournaments across Canada and claim to be the largest experiential sports festival in Canadian history. To back this up, they hold the world record for the largest street hockey tournament in terms of participants! My first step was to meet with Play On! and determine what they wanted to have studied about their organization with a needs assessment meeting.

    Once, this was completed we came out of the meeting with three objectives for this study: Quantify the economic impact of their events, quantify the social impact of their events, and determine if there is interest in an attendee online portal. From there I worked with the partners to create a survey that effectively asked questions about these three topics. Dr. Stevens provided great guidance here as she helped with the structure of questions, wording of answers, and introduced me to resources that made the survey writing process much smoother.

    When the survey was released to the public, it was open for 10 days and closed with over 600 responses! Now came the hard work. I mapped my analysis and the relationships I wanted to examine. This was an important step because with such a long project, it was crucial to have a plan to stay on track and make sure deadlines were met. In addition to the objective questions, we also asked demographics-based questions of respondents. This gave me a baseline to conduct analysis and develop crosstabs to demonstrate the relationship between two or more variables. For example, when asking attendees what their interest level was in an online portal, I was able to dissect the data and report the demographics for the various answers (i.e., 20% of respondents that answered “significant interest” in an online portal identified as a woman).

    The economic impact section was a little more difficult. Play On! was interested in studying how much additional spending was brought to communities because of their events. For this, I sat down with Michael Harker, Executive Director of CR, to develop a plan of how to report this. Next, we gathered feedback from Play On! and I gathered feedback from Dr. Stevens on how to move forward.

    It was from here that Mr. Harker introduced me to the Province of Ontario’s Tourism Regional Economic Impact Model (TREIM). TRIEM is a program that generates economic impact information such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), jobs created, and taxes generated based on detailed visitor spending data. Because we had asked spending related questions, we had this information and were able to generate these values for an average Play On! event.

    Specifically, this part of the project was interesting to me because having a minor in economics, this was one of the first times I was able to combine the knowledge I was able to learn from my Economics courses and combine it with the knowledge I had gained from Sport Management courses!

    Mr. Harker throughout the process repeated to me that some of the work I had been doing for this report, some organizations would pay thousands of dollars to have done. Upon some basic research, I found this to be true as Americans for the Arts, a non-profit arts advocacy organization, begins their prices for customized economic impact assessments at $3,500 USD. So, not only was I working on a project that combined my two academic interests, but this project also taught me data management and information literacy hard skills that could one day lead to a good paying job.

    Building spreadsheets, analyzing data, writing reports, does not sound like interesting work, and I’ll be the first one to admit that, but there is something about the whole process that feels very rewarding. From watching the responses come in one by one, to making charts, to identifying relationships, there is a sense of completion and productiveness that made me feel like an industry professional. I still have a long way to go to get to that point, but I feel that this project and the skills I learned throughout the process helped effectively prepare myself for careers that I hope to pursue.

    If I could leave one piece of advice for students moving forward, it is to seek opportunities to gain exposure to elements of an industry that you are passionate about and pursue them. Plain and simple, without this independent study, my data management and information literacy skills would not be as developed as they are today. Learning how to use TREIM and practicing crosstabs are just a couple of the many practical skills I used, and I can say without a doubt, this experience has opened the door for me to be able to develop applicable capabilities to bring value to potential employers. Although I hope to apply this experience to the sports industry, these skills are highly transferable to almost all industries and I highly recommend that anyone looking to gain a competitive advantage expose themselves to similar professional development opportunities!

    If you are interested in connecting with the CSC, visit the CSC website for any placement/volunteer positions or directly reach out by submitting an. A CSC team member will be happy to follow up with you.

    Categories: Blog, Students

  • November Member Showcase – Cullum Brownbridge

    Background:

    I have lived in Niagara for over 12 years now. In 2017, I graduated from McMaster with a Bachelor of Science in their Psychology, Neuroscience & Behavior (PNB) program. Following that, I began my masters here at Brock, where I worked with Dr. Curtis Fogel on looking at risk literature in football and rugby, in terms of the use of protective equipment and the risk compensation effect. I played both rugby and football when I was in high school. I know I was not as confident when it came to engaging in contact in rugby, but when I was playing football and had the equipment on, I felt more protected. So, I wanted to see if this was a shared phenomenon with others and see if there were consequences for this increased sense of safety (for example, engaging in riskier behaviour such as a bigger, more forceful hit).

    In terms of esports, it was something that I’d been following since my first year at McMaster, mostly just watching it as a fan. It was only towards the end of my master’s and the start of my Ph.D. that I was thinking about where I wanted to go in terms of my research goals and objectives. Esports is still quite young, it’s in its infancy, and so I figured I might as well jump at this opportunity to learn more about the industry. I want to see if I can add to the literature and discourse around various topics in esports.

    Current Projects:

    The esports webinar with the Centre for Sport Capacity was one of the big projects that we up a couple weeks ago, and I’m looking to do another webinar next semester in March or April around a specific topic within esports. For my doctoral thesis, I am looking at how esports teams and programs are structured and governed in Canadian colleges and universities, whether they’re run by students at the club level, merged into university athletic and recreation departments, or some other model. I hope to talk to relevant stakeholders who are involved in these esports programs to ask them about their programs and how they are structured and organized. Hopefully, the research can act as a blueprint for Canadian colleges and universities to integrate esports into their athletic, recreational, and/or academic programming.

    Additionally, I’m working with my supervisor, Dr. Curtis Fogel, where we’re looking at gender-based virtual violence in live gaming and live streaming. We will be presenting some of our preliminary findings at the inaugural Esports Research Network Conference from December 9-10, which we’re both looking forward to as an opportunity to not only present our research, but also to see what research projects are currently being conducted in esports. I am also collaborating with Dr. Nathan Hall from the Kinesiology Department at Brock on a project looking at leisure time physical activity and its correlation to video games. It’s a lot of projects on the go, but it keeps me busy and allows me to jump between projects whenever I hit a mental wall.

    Ice Breakers:

    – What clubs/organizations are you involved with?

    Well, the first, would be the Centre for Sport Capacity (CSC) and where we worked together to put on the esports webinar. The other major group I’m a part of it is the Esports Research Network (ERN). They are having their inaugural conference in December, which I’m going to help present at with Dr. Fogel. There are currently just over 200 members from across the world, I’m one of the few Canadians that is a part of it. It is a growing group of scholars and I am thrilled to be a part of this network.

    – What is your favorite TV show right now?

    I just finished Arcane on Netflix, which was produced by Riot Games who developed popular games like League of Legends, Teamfight Tactics, and Valorant. I thought they did a great job introducing characters and environments from the lore, and will hopefully get people interested in trying out their games. The next show that I want to watch is Loki on Disney Plus, just haven’t gotten around to that yet. I’m also excited for the second season of The Witcher to come out in December.

    – What are your current hobbies?

    If it wasn’t obvious already, I enjoy playing video games. I tend to jump between games, but I’ve been playing a lot of Halo: Infinite and I’m looking forward to playing more during the holiday season. I also like to cook a lot. I’m starting to make more vegetarian meals because my girlfriend is vegetarian, so I’ve been experimenting with dishes that contain things like tofu, beyond meats, lentils, and anything else I can get my hands on. I also like going to the gym, even if it doesn’t look like it! Being able to workout in a gym again after being put on hold during the pandemic has been something I look forward to each week and adds some stability to my life.

    Future Desires:

    It’s kind of hard to think about the future to be honest with you because I’ve got so much going on, which is kind of a good thing! I have multiple projects that I have an interest in learning more about and it’s allowing me to stay in the present and diversify my workload. So, I haven’t thought all too much about where specifically I want to go in the future.

    I’m just kind of working on the research and these projects, trusting in myself and the people I’m working with. Then see where the dominoes fall from there, whether I stay in academics or work elsewhere in the esports industry. I’m leaving myself open to everything. I don’t want to channel myself directly into one avenue right now. Attending conferences, doing multiple projects, and continuing my professional development will allow me to keep my options open and allow me to explore multiple career pathways.

    Categories: Blog, Member Showcases

  • Tess Armstrong – Reflections on being a Community Researcher

    Tess is a first year Recreation and Leisure master’s student and a varsity rugby player. Having graduated from Concordia University last year, she is continuing both her academic and athletic endeavors at Brock University. Read to learn about Tess’s experience conducting community-based research this past summer

    Introduction

    Upon starting graduate studies within the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at Brock University, I was presented with the opportunity to work with a not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting and promoting the mental health of Canada’s post-secondary student-athletes.  As a student-athlete and a novice researcher, contributing to the partnership between the Brock Centre for Sport Capacity, Community Researchers, and the Student Athlete Mental Health Initiative (SAMHI) was a fantastic learning experience. The project examined the experience of mental health professionals working with varsity athletes with the goal of understanding the facilitators and barriers to implementing this role, as well as the outcomes – specifically looking at how student athletes have benefitted from this support. Within this blog, I reflect on the lessons learned and challenges encountered throughout this project. Admittedly, most of the learning came out of the challenges. Constantly reflecting and taking action to overcome these challenges, resulted in some personal, professional, and academic skill-development which I detail below.

    Reflexivity in Practice

    First and foremost, my positionality as both a student-athlete and novice researcher were important to acknowledge throughout the research process. Such a position helped me to develop a connection to the community organization, SAMHI , informed the interview guide I created, assisted in guiding the conversations, and connecting with and establishing context for the mental health professionals.

    Having spent a significant amount of time within varsity spheres at two post-secondary institutions over the past 5 years, I can relate to the context of the research and understand its significance. More specifically, I have seen athletes undergo mental health crises and suffer due to a lack of support in place. While my prior knowledge and personal experience shaped the beginning stages of the project, I had to take a step back during the data analysis and acknowledge any preconceived ideas about what the results should look like. Though my own subjectivity is likely impossible to erase from this project, I practiced reflexivity by actively listening to the voices of the professionals, by utilizing some conventional research strategies. While developing the methodology for this project, I advocated for the recording and transcribing of interviews as it provided the opportunity to stay close to the data, return to the source of the information whenever necessary, iteratively analyze the data, and showcase the participants’ direct insights and lived experiences through emerging themes and quotations. Maintaining my identity as the researcher and refraining from making assumptions based on my own personal experiences was challenging, but necessary. Taking the time to practice reflexivity and acknowledge my positionality will help me in future research I conduct.

    Redefining Success

    When considering varsity athletics, wins and losses are the predominant measures to define success. While putting such emphasis on these performance-based measures, academic institutions can sometimes neglect the less measurable implications of competitive sport participation, such as student-athlete mental health. Further, student athletes wear many hats, including being a role model and a representative of their school, community, and sport. Such expectations can result in an insurmountable level of pressure, having significant consequences on their wellbeing (USports, 2020). To best support athletes, we must expand the scope of success, including being able to provide a positive experience for student-athletes, helping student-athletes to graduate with transferable life skills, and building their capacity to cope with stress.

    Optimizing this redefined version of success in varsity spaces requires a commitment to listen to all stakeholders; athletes themselves, and those that work with athletes. This project sought out the voices of mental health professionals to help determine the barriers and facilitators to their work. The expertise of these professionals helped to provide insight into the daily lives of varsity athletes, the struggles they encounter, and how to best support them. Interviews aided in developing recommendations for mental health support in varsity spheres – finding the balance between what is ideal and what is realistic.

    What the position entails varies across Canadian post-secondary institutions, their responsibilities possibly including but not limited to the following: 1-on-1 counselling services, mental performance coaching, facilitating workshops, conducting research, etc. This role is limited to being occupied by one individual who coordinates a multitude of services.

    Success might look like these services being available in every college and university across Canada.

    Maintaining Momentum

    Conducting a research project remotely was challenging. The COVID-19 pandemic has required people to be flexible with their work schedules, and to commit to an online presence to stay connected. As someone who enjoys face-to-face interaction and is most engaged with what is right in front of them, losing momentum was a significant challenge throughout this project; almost stopping in front of the hurdles as opposed to jumping over them. Consequently, internet problems, email delays, missed messages, and all other issues that arose virtually had a greater impact on the efficiency of work. Sometimes, email communications that I did not immediately address became forgotten, and the entire process slowed down. Awaiting responses from stakeholders was immobilizing. Thus, staying motivated and invested became more and more challenging. Reflecting on what I could have done differently to maintain momentum throughout the project; I would have made a more conscious effort to maintain constant communication (even if just a weekly check-in) – setting the standard for myself and stakeholders from the get-go.

    In losing momentum, it became easy to get caught up in comparing myself to my peers in the placement, who were collecting hundreds of survey responses. Interviewing less than five participants sometimes felt inadequate. The time constraint for participant recruitment was something I struggled with – having a short window, two to four weeks, to find, reach out, and interview participants. Those who were working in academic spaces were often away from their desks this summer, taking time off – meaning it was hard to get in touch with the ideal participant. In future projects, I would take a more fluid approach, by not waiting to collect all the data, and conduct all the interviews, to begin the process of analysis.

    Additionally, the loss of momentum carried over into when I analyzed the data. Transcribing and analyzing the interview recordings felt daunting. I became wrapped up in trying to find the answers right away, trying to make sense of the data by identifying one truth or reality. Completing the project required a shift in my mindset, an acknowledgement the process is as significant as the outcome, and that there are no “right answers” in qualitative research.  There is value in listening to the voices of those with lived experience. Being able to understand, communicate, and mobilize the knowledge being gained through in-depth interviews can only be achieved patiently, one step at a time. 

    Filling the Toolbox 

    Through engaging in this project, I acquired a wide variety of tools that will impact how I conduct my research in the future and how I manage projects. Below are some of these skills I developed and/or improved during the project.

    • Building confidence in conducting interviews
      • Creating space for the participants to speak freely
      • Learning how to guide the conversation and be adaptable
      • Navigating imposter syndrome and self-doubt (who am I to be talking to these professionals? What if I am messing this up?)
    • Expanding my online abilities 
      • Becoming comfortable with different video call platforms
      • Using different virtual resources to facilitate transcription
      • Getting creative in the process of data analysis (using Google Forms to sort and categorize raw data)
    • Representing knowledge visually
      • Exploring Canva
      • Practicing using graphics and images effectively
      • Presenting findings on PDF slides

    With each opportunity and experience, I can add to my “toolbox”. Moving forward, these skills will be useful in my academic life. Diversifying my online abilities and improving my ability to express project findings visually and virtually is important moving into this post-pandemic world, where hybrid teaching and learning is the new normal. Having gained confidence in conducting interviews will be key when approaching future qualitative research projects.

    Conclusion

    While at times hard, what motivated me throughout the research project was the notion that lived-experience and professional expertise can be used to directly influence action within community-based organizations. The collaboration between SAMHI, Community Researchers the Brock Centre for Sport Capacity will hopefully help build a case for the role of a varsity mental health coordinator and continue to advocate for more effective mental health services for student athletes, by mobilizing the knowledge gained through the project.

    Categories: Blog, Students

  • Interview with Cullum Brownbridge – Unveiling Esports Webinar

    We sat down (virtually) with Ph.D. student Cullum Brownbridge to chat about the Esports Webinar, “Unveiling Esports: A panel discussion on the direction and growth of a billion-dollar industry” that will be held on November 17th. Cullum will be moderating this exciting webinar and asking questions from the audience to facilitate a great conversation.

    In our interview, we had a chance to speak with Cullum about his connection to Esports as well as what participants will gain from attending the webinar.

    What is your connection to Esports & what excites you about it?

    Outside of having Esports as my Ph.D. main topic and a couple of other research topics within Esports, it’s mostly as a fan. I think is most students and faculty in the sports management department research sports management because they enjoy the sports themselves. When I was in my first year of undergrad at McMaster University, back in 2012, I began watching live Esports events, namely the League of Legends World Championships. There was a huge crowd and I remember there was a fan using a vuvuzela, which was popular during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. So, it was very bizarre to me at first. Since then, I’ve seen just how much the scene has grown and how more people are a part of it. In the beginning, older people might have thought “oh, you know you’re watching somebody else play video games it seems like a waste of time”, but now they see the value in it too.

    It excites me in the sense that it’s a growing industry. It’s another space for people to connect, to share, to play and to work together. It is exciting to see that people are seeing video games as a way to make connections with other people through teamwork and clubs. It’s a relatively new field and jumping into it now allows me to put my foot in the door and shape the way that literature unfolds itself around it over the next few years.

    Why should people attend this webinar?

    For students specifically, it’s a great opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at the industry. I find that a lot of people I talk to have played video games but aren’t familiar with the competitive video gaming scene. I think people are curious as first of all, how did Esports get so popular? Why is it so popular? Is it going to be a main competitor to traditional sports or other forms of entertainment?

    There is an opportunity for those who might be interested in pursuing a career in sport management. Anything they would take away and apply for the sport management field can be applied to Esports. This industry is going to continue to grow, and if students can get their foot into the door now it might benefit them a lot in the future. Especially if Esports continues to grow, and I don’t see any reason why it would stop growing.

    What will the webinar look like to the average participant?

    I think they’re going to listen to some great commentary from 3 professionals in the industry who can give them the insight that they’re looking for in terms of the direction of Esports. We’ll look into its growth, what it’s going to look like in Canada over the next five years, what it’s going to look like at the grassroots level, the collegiate level and even the professional level.

    There are three experts who work closely with teams in Esports-based organizations who can give their expertise and can share their life experiences. That will connect to the average viewer so if they’re thinking about pursuing a career in Esports or even elsewhere, they will take away lessons that will be a great benefit.

    If you are interested in attending this exciting webinar please register here!

    Categories: Blog, Webinars/Forums

  • Bailey Burke – 2021 Events, Marketing & Communications Assistant Intern

    Bailey Burke is a fourth-year Business Communication student at Brock University. This school year, she is the Events, Marketing and Communications Assistant (intern) with the Centre for Sport Capacity.

    Hello! My name is Bailey Burke and I am a fourth-year Business Communication student here at Brock University. I have just started my experiential learning placement with the CSC. I am thrilled to be a part of this team for the next 8 months to gain experience in a field I am hoping to pursue after graduation. As a student with a growing interest in marketing and communications, I am glad to have been brought on as an Events, Marketing, and Communications assistant (intern) for the remainder of my final year.

    During my time at Brock, I have had the opportunity to learn many theories and skills throughout my courses. From improving my understanding of communication from an academic standpoint, I have also been able to develop transferable skills that I will be able to take with me into the workforce. Being part of the experiential learning course has given me a chance to apply the skills I have learned and put them into practice. That is the main reason that the experiential learning program caught my attention. Upon acceptance, I was able to go through a list of potential placement opportunities. The position at the CSC immediately sparked my interest. 

    My attention was grabbed for numerous reasons. First, the position itself aligned with exactly what I was hoping to pursue through this experience. Being able to strengthen my skills in multiple areas, such as marketing through content creation, improving my communication skills by coordinating and connecting with people, and assisting in planning events that the CSC is contributing to. Furthermore, the application process required an interview on top of the resume and cover letter submission. This was unique to the CSC as most other options did not go to such lengths. By participating in the interview it became clear to me that the members of the CSC are dedicated to students gaining as much knowledge and experience as possible during their placement. When picking a placement, it was important to me to know that I would be trusted with certain responsibilities and tasks that would allow me to further develop my current strengths and learn new skills in the process. Another fundamental component that made me realize the CSC was right for me was the team aspect. Being able to work in a team setting is a new experience for me and one that I was eager to be a part of.  As a student, I have not had an opportunity to work with a team in a professional setting and am looking forward to how I can grow from the experience. 

    A project that I will be working on this semester that I am looking forward to allows me to assist in organizing the Sport SHSM Conference day event that is being held at Brock and hosted by the CSC. My responsibilities for this event include coordinating, networking, creating content, holding meetings, etc. Already from this experience, my confidence has grown and I have had the chance to operate new skill sets. As a former business SHSM student, I remember how much these days and events meant to me throughout my high school experience and how impactful they were in helping me choose what I wanted to study. I am excited to have a part in creating this experience for other students.

    Through my internship with the CSC, I hope to further build my professional confidence, develop my transferable skills, and assist my team in creating content and events for the Brock community.

    Categories: Blog, Students

  • October Showcase – Dr. Michael Van Bussel

    Dr. Van Bussel is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Sport Management at Brock University. Dr. Van Bussel has over 18 years of academic, administrative, and service experience in sport management. His educational background includes a PhD focusing on Sport Law and Policy Studies from Western University. He has won awards in teaching and coaching and was named OUA (USPORT) Provincial Coach of the Year on two separate occasions with the Western University Women’s Soccer Program. His research interests include Sport Law, Risk Management, Governance and Policy, and Coach and Athlete Communication.

    Background: 

    It’s been a long journey throughout. I started intending to go to law school and I was accepted but at that time coaching and sport management became a big part of what I wanted to do. I went back and did my first masters in coaching education at the University of Victoria. Worked with our National Coaching association with the National Coaching Institute in in Victoria and worked with Canada soccer. I worked with U19’s that were preparing for the World Championships in Edmonton. I also worked in a camp with athletes that were under 10 years old all the way to professional athletes. It was a great experience for me, I got to coach my own teams and work with them. And that’s where I fell in love with graduate work, I went back and got a second masters in sport management at Western University. Then my PhD which focused on sport management in sport law, I worked with Dr. Greg Dickinson at Western again. After that, I had the opportunity to go to Jacksonville University, I taught there and worked with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the PGA and a number of different of organizations in the Jacksonville area. 

    It was a great experience, but I wanted to come back to Canada. Thankfully, Fanshawe College offered some opportunities to do that. I was a chair at Fanshawe College for awhile and then the opportunity came up to be here at Brock. Since then, it’s been a wonderful fit, I feel like I’m home here in the Brock sport management community. It’s been a fantastic adventure working with a number of different sports organizations and many wonderful researchers along the way. 

    With the Centre for Sport Capacity, it’s been a great opportunity working together with Dr. Julie Stevens and Cole McClean and looking at different initiatives right out of the gate. I talked early along with Dr. Michele Donnelly and Dr. Hilary Findlay about creating a conference on safe sport and they were integral in creating that experience. We had a great team of student leaders that we were able to work along in helping develop the conference; having it as a great educational experience for them. It was great to get involved with the student experience here and to have outreach. I think that our safe sport conference was essential in terms of creating a connection. Kind of first of its kind especially in a virtual environment and being able to have outreach to too many different organizations across our country, as well as internationally was a great addition. 

    Teaching: 

    I had the opportunity to teach the second-year law classes early on when I came to Brock. It was an engaging topic, and it was great to be involved with that right away. I created the new governance course that we have here on campus, around three years ago now. It allows individuals to engage in aspects of governance across organizations and looks at how governance has a significant impact on our sport community. Students are also able to do analysis of governance on an international level. They are asked to dive into different sport organizations that they are interested in and work with their peers to find out information, potentially opening some doors for them to work in those organizations in the future as well. So those were exciting opportunities to start with.  

    I also taught the intro course for first-year students during the pandemic, so that was a major shift from in class to online and having an impact on them. We still maintained some synchronous components with seminars, which was great and hopefully our first years had a great experience with that. In addition, I taught the negotiations course for fourth-year students. Presently, we’re looking at different types of interactions and looking at the science and the art of negotiations, making sure we can have success in our negotiation environment in the future. My goal is to try to engage students and change up my teaching on occasion so they can have different experience in the classroom. Hopefully, they learn some tools that they can put their toolbox and take with them on their journey in their sport management careers. 

    Research works/projects: 

    My dissertation research dealt with safe sport and looked at relational risk management between coaches and athletes. It took a proactive approach to leveling the playing field and having reciprocal conversations between athletes, coaches, and administrators, to be able to identify relational risks and being wary of the situations that can happen. It also included these so we lso being able to adjust and grows so that they don’t spiral out of control that we’ve seen in some of those past experiences. You know, in Canada, United States, we want to make sure that we have an impact on on safe sport. 

    And it generate new ways of thinking of how we can promote safe sport so that athletes are engaged in the process that administrators and coaches are engaged in the process and that there’s costs of communication that goes on. So the development of the Safe Sport Conference was. It was a key, Part 2 that we wanted to not only have the conference, but have some legacy items that went along with that, and it started off. We were lucky to receive a grant from here from Brock, a Explore grant RA in exchange. 

    Icebreakers: 

    • What clubs or associations are you involved with? 

    I’ve been a board member on some of our local soccer clubs here in London, ON. I have been consistently involved in the coaching community, running clinics and different things. I’m also assisting Boler Mountain with some of their coaching and teaching development. And they’re two and then also having an opportunity to look at. I’ve also been involved with other local sport organizations, such as youth baseball and football organizations. Whether it be in a coaching, administrative or an advisor capacity, I’m always looking for those opportunities.  

    I also have some great connections with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport. Dr. Kirsty Spence and I are doing some studies looking at the True Sport Clean program, and its development. I am also assisting in leadership development with a sport and strategy law group. Lastly, I have my connections to Team Canada Soccer, I look to maintain all these relationships going forward and continue fostering many relationships in our sporting environment. 

    • What is your favourite TV show at the moment? 

    I watch a lot of sports, so that’s you know I’m a big NFL fan, so I watch a lot of a lot of NFL. I’m starting to watch Ted Lasso now as well. It’s always good to have some lighthearted comedy and some different things that come forward as well. So there there’s some great miniseries and different things on. I’m also a history buff, so I like some historical type of shows that that have a great connection too as well. So that’s some of my favourites at the moment 

    • What is your favourite sports teams? 

    My family lived in the Jacksonville area for awhile, so we are Jags fans which hasn’t been easy. Being the last place team last year and going through the bumps and bruises; but the skies are looking brighter in terms of our quarterback situation there. So excited to cheer on the on the Jags! From a soccer perspective, I’ve always been a Chelsea fans. But my original team is PSV Eindhoven, which is in Holland. That’s where my family is from before they moved to Canada. So, I have a great connection with the PSV and enjoy cheering  them on. Obviously for hockey, basketball, and baseball, I have the Toronto connection with the Maple Leafs, the Raptors and the Blue Jays; all great representatives of our Canadian sport environment. 

    Awards/Achievements: 

    My sport journey started off with coaching, when I was maybe 16 or 17 and I really fell in love with it. I was always an athlete; I played football and soccer, so to me coaching was my way to give back to sport. I was fortunate enough to be an assistant coach at Wilfrid Laurier University with the men’s soccer program and then eventually took over. As well, I was an assistant coach at Western University and eventually head coach of the women’s soccer program there. I was humbled to be honored as the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) coach of the year for 2 years in a row. Our team was ranked number one in Canada for those two years and went to nationals. All the credit goes to that fantastic team with the women’s soccer program. They not only love to play together on the field, but they also loved to be around each other, and they had the task and social cohesion at its maximal level. That was a great experience and a great shoutout to that incredible group. I owe them lots of credit for those awards as well.

    Categories: Blog, Member Showcases

  • Georgia Rudolph – 2021 Events, Marketing, & Communications Assistant Intern

    Georgia Rudolph is a fourth-year business communication student at Brock University. This school year, she is the Events, Marketing and Communications Assistant (intern) with the Centre for Sport Capacity.

    Hello! My name is Georgia Rudolph and I am in my fourth and final year of the Media and Communications program at Brock University. I have recently been brought on to the CSC team for an 8-month position as an Events, Marketing, and Communications assistant. As an individual with a strong passion for sport, the Centre for Sport Capacity’s mission and values strongly appeal to me, and I am beyond excited to be a part of the CSC team for this school year.

    During my time here at Brock, I have had the opportunity to expand my knowledge within the communications field through courses in digital design, journalism, audience analysis, and research methods, just to name a few. Our academic department offers a full-year course entitled “Internship in Communications, Pop Culture or Film” for fourth-year students. This opportunity caught my eye as it offers the ability to immerse students into a workplace in order to further develop the skills obtained through our education at Brock. Upon reviewing the internship opportunities offered within the program, the Events, Marketing, and Communications Assistant position at the CSC immediately caught my attention. I took a few days to refine my resume and cover letter, as well as collect references from past employers to present the CSC with a well-rounded application. After expressing my interest in the position, the CSC team reached out to me for an interview where myself and coordinator Cole Mclean discussed the position, the CSC’s ideal candidate, and my qualifications for the role. After this conversation, I was thrilled to learn I had been offered the position.

    Two main aspects fueled my interest in this position at the Centre. The first was the opportunity to develop a wide variety of skills through this internship position. The Events, Marketing, and Communications Assistant role covers a lot of ground, from event management to content creation for social media as well as general communication and marketing. This piqued my interest as the position offers the opportunity to develop skills and gain experience in an array of fields. Furthermore, my passion for sport made the Centre an ideal fit. Growing up I participated in an array of sports, and along the way began swimming competitively. I quickly developed a love for the sport of swimming, and have carried that passion all the way to Brock where I compete on the varsity team. Along with training and competing for Brock, I coach youth athletes for the local swim club, as well as volunteer at club-level clinics and competitions. My love for sport has motivated me to pursue multiple communications positions within the sport industry, most recently with Pentathlon Canada and Swimming World Magazine. Upon reviewing the mission and values of the CSC, I was immediately drawn towards the organization as my lifelong involvement in sport has fueled a strong understanding of the importance of sport within our community. I am incredibly excited to be in a position where I can not only gain experience within the communications field but also contribute to the local community through the many projects CSC offers, such as our webinar series and Sport Support Team.

    One of the aspects of this internship that I am most excited about is the ability to work in a team environment. As a student, there is still so much to learn, and I strongly believe that working with a group of peers is one of the best ways to further yourself professionally. I am super grateful that this position allows me to collaborate with other interns, as well as the full-time CSC staff.  I am beyond excited to learn from this team of professionals, as well as share my own knowledge and experience. Together, our team will be combining our skills to work on a variety of projects.

    One project that I will be working on over the year is a new initiative that the CSC is launching, the Sport Support Team. The SST is an experiential learning opportunity where post-secondary students partner with local sports organizations to provide practical support in functional areas of the organizations. This initiative was strongly motivated by the struggles that many sport organizations have faced due to the COVID pandemic. I have seen firsthand the challenges coaches, athletes and volunteers have faced in the wake of the pandemic, therefore I strongly believe this initiative could have a large impact on any organization involved. I am beyond excited for the opportunity to work on projects such as this one that provides support to Niagara region sport institutions.

    Through my past positions within the sport industry, I have had the opportunity to develop hard skills in digital media, design, and communication. While working with the CSC, I aim to put these skills to work in order to help make an impact within the Niagara region and beyond. I hope to bring my unique perspective to contribute to the Centre’s success within the many initiatives spearheaded by the CSC. Furthermore, I hope to use this opportunity to create connections with industry leaders, as well as other young professionals with shared passions.

    Categories: Blog, Students, Uncategorized

  • Jess Crosthwaite: Fall 2021 Marketing, Communication, & Business Development Coordinator

    Jess Crosthwaite is a fourth-year sport management student at Brock University. This fall term, she is the Marketing, Communications and Business Development Coordinator (intern) with the Centre for Sport Capacity.

    Hello! My name is Jess Crosthwaite and I am very excited to be a part of the Centre for Sport Capacity. I am starting my fourth and final year of the Sport Management (SPMA) program with a minor in media and communication studies (COMM) here at Brock University. Originally from Pickering, I have spent my whole life playing sports; I enjoyed my time so much that I wanted to pursue an education that would allow me to stay involved in it. As a part of the Sport Management program, there is an option to complete an internship, and understanding the value of gaining real world experience while still in school, I jumped at the opportunity.  Therefore, this semester I will be serving as the Marketing, Communications and Business Development Coordinator intern for the Centre for Sport Capacity (CSC) 

    Since I began my time at Brock University, I’ve been involved across campus and in the Niagara community and have always sought out chances to . The opportunity for experiential education in the Sport Management program was something I looked forward to and sought out from my very first year. By the time I reached my third year, I was prepared and enthusiastic to submit my application..   

    Upon getting accepted into the sport management internship course, I was met with a list of many options of organizations that were hiring for the Fall 2021 term. However, I was drawn to the role with the CSC as it was a something different from anything I had experienced in previous roles. While I have been involved in the operational and recreation side of sport, such as my summer spent as a tournament operations assistant with the Canadian Junior Golf Association, and my intramural supervisor role with Brock Recreation. Working for an organization with a focus upon research and provides practical support to sport organizations, is unique. It allowed me to experience a different aspect to a familiar  

    Additionally, the application process to this position required providing a writing piece, as effective communication skills are an important part of the role, along with the typical resumé and cover letter; another unique feature of this internship.  

    The most exciting aspect of this role in the CSC is that I am able to expand my knowledge in the sport industry and experience a different perspective. Already, I am registered for, or have completed, a number of training sessions that will give me the chance to develop competencies and grow as a professional as I prepare to enter the industry. Some of these sessions include media training, website accessibility, and entrepreneurship instruction. Additionally, I have already made many great connections in just the short time I’ve been here. With the CSC being apart of the Brock University community, you get to connect with members and staff that you may not otherwise have. It has already been great to speak and collaborate with numerous students, staff, and faculty on projects within the Centre. I’m thrilled to continue to make those connections in this role. 

    I hope in my time with the CSC I can help in growing their outreach as well as organizing some great programs and events for the Brock community and local sport organizations. Overall, I’m very excited for my internship with the Centre for Sport Capacity. 

    Categories: Blog, Students, Uncategorized

  • Caroline Hummell – A Municipality & Me: Reflecting on the Benefits of Community Research Collaborations

    Caroline is a first year Recreation and Leisure PhD student and member of the Centre of Sport Capacity at Brock University. This past summer, she was one of ten students selected to participate in the 2021 Summer Community Improvement Program with Community Researchers, an initiative that pairs Canadian university and college students with communities to conduct research projects. Read to learn about Caroline’s participation in the pilot launch of the program and key lessons learned from her experiences.

     

    Introduction

                     Sport and recreation organizations and members of the academic community are beginning to see the reciprocal value in forming partnerships due to opportunities that involve increasing capacity to carry out research, gaining guidance on developing reports, and learning the best methods for communicating findings. As a graduate student within the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at Brock University who recently partnered with a municipality on a research project to explore barriers to participation in youth sport and recreational programming, I can speak to the benefits of such a collaboration. Therefore, the purpose of this blog is to present some key lessons learned and valuable skills improved because of my positive experiences with said partnership.

    From Research to Reflection: Lessons Learned

    In addition to the beneficial results gathered from the data, I learned a lot simply from the opportunity to collaborate with community stakeholders on a project. Below I share two key lessons learned from my experience in this collaborative community-research project.

    Lesson #1: Youth will share their thoughts- they just need an opportunity

    This project truly emphasized the importance of engaging youth in research and seeking their input. When given the opportunity, youth will provide candid and insightful feedback if the questions prioritize their perspectives. By considering youth’s perspectives and opinions, creating a relationship based on mutual respect, and assuring youth that their feedback will be taken seriously, they will be extremely open to answering your questions. It was incredible reading through every survey response and focus group transcripts and feeling how much the youth wanted to help to improve their municipality’s programming. As such, our job as researchers and community members is to take this feedback and inform key stakeholders (e.g., youth) that their perspectives are being considered when adapting and improving programming. In sum, this experience provided me with the assurance that we can ask youth tough questions, and they will answer them honestly and insightfully

    Lesson #2: Aim for your research to have impact in the real world

    Research can certainly have an impact in areas outside of the academic sphere, such as in business, government, or civil society. Through my experience with this project, I witnessed firsthand how research can positively affect a specific community in Ontario. The municipality’s stakeholders involved in the project were adamant about using the findings to inform the improvement of existing programs, but they also felt motivated to use the insight to take on new projects. For example, they are using the report and infographic I developed in a presentation for their city council to open discussion around the development of new initiatives for the youth within the municipality (e.g., skateboarding events and study group nights). Further, in our focus group, it was terrific witnessing the youth participants begin to brainstorm different responsibilities that they and their peers could take on to help enhance their municipality’s programming, such as assisting in the marketing of new programs and decorating the sport and recreation facilities to attract more youth. Seeing research findings applied practically indeed highlights its impact on community stakeholders. By stepping outside of my academic realm, I could apply my research skills to help a municipality that genuinely cares about its community members

    Improving my Skills as a Young Researcher

    In addition to the key learnings presented above, this project helped me reflect on specific professional and life skills I improved from this experience. These skills are discussed below.

    Clear and consistent communication. From the inception of this project, I made a poignant effort to keep municipality stakeholders “in the loop” every step of the way. Whether this was having an in-depth needs assessment meeting at project commencement to weekly check-in emails, I provided regular updates to my team to keep everyone informed of the project’s progress. In addition, I learned how to select what information was relevant to share and what information could be saved for the final report. Finally, I discovered the best methods for relaying different kinds of information by utilizing various forms of communication methods throughout the duration of this experience (i.e., virtual meetings, emails, and phone calls). As a result, I sharpened my overall communication skills significantly.

    Active listening. During meetings with the municipality team, it was important to ensure their needs were heard and respected. Therefore, before each meeting, I drafted an agenda to guide the conversation and left room for open discussion. I also prepared a list of questions and actively took notes when my team members responded. By being prepared for our meetings, it allowed me to improve my active listening skills as I was able to be fully present and engaged in the discussions from the start.

    Knowledge mobilization. Since I was working with municipal stakeholders and youth in the community, a primary objective was to produce a report that communicated the project results in a concise yet engaging manner. As such, I was able to use creative freedom to add colour and visuals to the final report. For example, when presenting the focus group results, I focused on limiting the amount of text included and emphasized key participant quotes instead. Furthermore, in addition to the main report, I created an infographic full of colour, numbers, and visuals to summarize the key findings in an easy-to-share, easy-to-understand document. These techniques tested my ability to identify key messages and contextualize knowledge products to specific stakeholder groups. As such, this project has allowed me to refine my knowledge mobilization skills.

     Summary

    The Summer 2021 Community Improvement Research Program was an incredibly valuable experience. I learned essential lessons around engaging youth in research and building partnerships with community members. Through this experience, I was also able to improve professional skills related to communication, active listening, and knowledge mobilization. In sum, participation in the project, and the course overall, has contributed to my growth and development as a Brock University and Centre for Sport Capacity graduate student.

    Read the Completed Report Here

    Categories: Blog, Students

  • September Showcase – Dr. Kirsty Spence

    Our September Member showcase is… Associate Dean of Teaching and Undergraduate Studies at Brock University, Dr. Kirsty Spence

    This month we learned about Dr. Spence’s path to her current role, her favourite thing about being a part of the Brock Community and some future plans she’s looking forward to.

    Background:

    My current role is the Associate Dean (AD) of Teaching and Undergraduate Studies for the Faculty of Applied Sciences (FAHS). I look at this position as encapsulating many of my strong interests, as through my work in this role, I focus on preserving the high quality of teaching across various programs within the five departments of the FAHS. As my home base is the Department of Sport Management, I continue to complete Sport Management research projects and teach SPMA students in addition to integrating many of my responsibilities while working in this administrative role.

    In my Undergrad years, I studied within the Bachelor of Kinesiology program at McMaster University and while there, I fell in love with the sport administration field, which was an earlier name for sport management. Through that early passion, I honed my interest in management and administration and upon graduation, I entered the Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) program at the University of Toronto to become an elementary school teacher. After graduating, I taught for eight years, from 1991- 1999 in elementary schools in Canada, Russia and Taiwan. During that time, I also taught a variety of subjects and grades, from Kindergarten-aged children through to Grade 8 aged students. Aside from teaching, I volunteered a fair amount of time as a coach of many sports teams in these educational institutions. Those early years of my career certainly set the stage for a love of teaching and learning. In 1999, I returned from teaching in Taiwan, having decided to enrol in the Master of Human Kinetics (M.H.K.) program at the University of Windsor to deepen my studies in Sport Management. I have since seen the threads of teaching, management and leading through my sport management academic career in research, teaching and service activities. All of that has served to provide me with a rich career that started in the early 90s and allowed me to teach students from Kindergarten through to Ph.D. level contexts.

    My specific academic work in leadership development speaks to helping people develop their capacity as leaders, whether through research projects, teaching students as future industry leaders, or coaching organizational leaders. So, joining the Centre for Sport Capacity (CSC) was an easy decision for me. When I first came to Brock in 2004, the Canada Sport Policy had already been developed in 2002 around four pillars including enhanced participation, enhanced excellence, enhanced capacity, and enhanced interaction. When I thought about my research area of leadership development and then later, my work as a certified leadership coach with Integral Coaching Canada®, I wanted to work with sport leaders to help them enhance their developmental capacity, a value I felt was implicitly encompassed in Canada’s Sport Policy. I feel that this is largely what we’re working with here at the CSC, helping people in sport organizations increase their capacity so that more effective outcomes are possible for them and their organizations.

    Teaching:

    I typically teach first year undergraduate students in SPMA 1P92 and graduate (M.A.) students in a Leadership and Organizational Behaviour course. For me, these two courses are bookended, as I get to see students experience both their first year in the undergraduate and then their first year in the M.A. program. What really excites me about teaching first-year students is at its simplest form, I can welcome and be a friendly face to students who are new to Brock University. When I think about teaching students representative of a large age spectrum as I have, I believe very similar qualities or principles of being an educator apply, regardless of students’ ages. Qualities such as trust and respect, as well as the educator’s actual love of teaching and learning are the same, regardless of age. What excites me the most is just the ability to be a part of that welcoming process in any way. I can be a piece of that greeting committee, to say, Hey, welcome to Brock! Welcome to sport management, you’re going to have a great experience here. I want to try to be as best as I can be so that students can be as best as they can be in starting the program. Beyond that first-year introduction, to see students’ growth through their journey in the program is monumentally exciting. I have very much enjoyed seeing students walk across the stage during graduation, it’s unbelievable to see how much they’ve developed as people and I am gratified knowing I was a part of that in a small way.

    Research Work/Projects:

    There are a couple of research projects happening, but one exciting research project is happening alongside Dr. Mike Van Bussel, also a CSC Member and an alumna of our Master’s program, Dina Bell-Laroche. We’re collaborating on a Canadian leadership development program for sport leaders, called the Sport Leaders Retreat, Virtual Edition; it’s a first of its kind in Canada. As the facilitator, Dina is a leader of leaders and we are tracking her leadership facilitation through the program and the impact of the leadership development program on both participants’ personal leadership and on their sport organizations. It’s really exciting to see somebody putting this kind of curriculum into action to help impact the development of Canadian sport leaders and their capacity. This project represents the work that I felt needs to be done within the sport management discipline. It’s really inspiring to me that we’ve come to a place in time where all conditions are right to make this project happen.

    Icebreakers:

    • What’s your favourite TV Show right now?

    Well, I have to say, Ted Lasso. It’s an all-around awesome show, which is very funny and that in my opinion, demonstrates effective leadership and management in the context of a Premier League (European Football) sport organization. I enjoy seeing shows that have an organizational lean to them. I feel it’s an uplifting antidote to some of the darker news we are facing in today’s world.

    • What is your favourite sport or sports team?

    Do you have to even ask this? Of course, the Toronto Maple Leafs!!

    Achievement/Awards:

    I’ve been fortunate to receive several awards focused on University teaching and learning. Most recently, I received the Brock University Distinguished Teaching Award in 2019, where I was recognized for teaching excellence and educational leadership within the Brock community. I also very recently received a Best Reviewer Award from the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada, for my work as a reviewer for conference abstracts. I mention this award as I was happy to know that my review efforts, which were in service to another person’s research work, were recognized as strong and helpful. We are fortunate as academics to engage in interesting work and receive recognition occasionally in various ways and I have appreciated being recognized for my work in the past.

    Future Plans/Desires:

    My future plans would include continuing my efforts to integrate areas of interests, for which I feel passion into my job, including equity, diversity, inclusion, leadership and human development interests. My desires are really centered upon serving other folks and helping them become better students, staff, or faculty, however they define “better.” That’s the great thing about working within the A.D. position, I can help serve other people and their development and I am happy to continue to be a part of that.

    Categories: Blog, Member Showcases, Uncategorized