Augustana College and Western Illinois University open new doors for sports management students

Santiago Cuevas

Augustana College and Western Illinois University (WIU) have recently signed an agreement that will allow Augie students to complete a master’s degree in Sports Management at WIU in a matter of five years.

The integrated bachelor’s to master’s program between the two institutions will allow Augie students who are majoring in kinesiology or have an interest in sports management to transfer straight into WIU after the completion of their bachelor’s degree. Other prerequisites require students to also have taken three bridge courses into their master’s program as well as having an overall GPA of 3.25.

Students participating in this program will also have access to a liaison between the two institutions that will help students make sure they are reaching the proper requirements to participate in the integrated bachelor’s to master’s program. 

Dr. Kimberly Murphy, associate professor of biology, and the WIU College of Education & Human Services Associate Dean, Renee Polubinsky, were lead figures in helping create the integrated program as a way to give students more opportunities when it comes to their education.

“This is another opportunity for our students, and the more experiences that we can offer our students the better,” Murphy said.

The partnership between Augustana College and WIU was also driven by the relationship the two schools have both in proximity to each other, as well as the need for people with a master’s in sports management locally and nationally.

“The reason we looked into this agreement is because the institutions are in each other’s backyard, and we know that there is a need for folks with a master’s in sports management in this area, so, it just seemed to make sense to have the two institutions partner and open more doors for our students,” Murphy said

Aside from the high need for sports managers, the program also allows students to attain a master’s degree in sports management at a lower cost in comparison to other programs.

“Since the program is a shortened degree, you are really only taking one full year of classes in addition to a summer semester. This is due to the three bridge courses that are counted towards your graduate degree,” Polubinsky said.

One of the challenges while creating this program was the transfer of credits between Augustana College and WIU. This is due to the WIU having more 400-level courses thanAugie. The rigor of Augie’s courses was able to be taken into consideration, and the integrated bachelor’s to master’s program was able to be created. 

Despite how new the program is between the two institutions, there is already hope for how the program will look in the future.

“I hope we have an opportunity to fill the job market and some of the needs in the region. I also hope we are able to make the program grow and have a full cohort,” Polubinsky said.

Overall, the integrated bachelor’s to master’s program for sports management between Augustana College and WIU will allow students to have an easier time working towards a master’s degree in a job field that is currently in high demand.

“I’m extremely excited about these awesome opportunities for our students,” Murphy said.