Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

October 22, 2016   |   Ithaca, NY


Q&A: Sport media director discusses program shift

The splitting up of the former Department of Sport Management and Media into the Roy H. Park School of Communications and the School of Business is in effect this semester, moving around students and faculty involved in the sport media and sport management majors.

Kyle Woody, program director of sport media and now an instructor in the Department of Strategic Communication, has been a part of the sport media major since he came to the college in August of 2010. Both majors, and Woody’s office, were originally located in the School of Health Sciences and Human Performances alongside the sport studies major.

Assistant Sports Editor Lauren Murray spoke with Woody about his adjustment to the Park School, his students’ reactions and what lies ahead for the major.

Lauren Murray: What is different about the sport media major being in the Roy H. Park School of Communications?

Kyle Woody: In some regards, I’ve always considered our program to be a part of Park. Academically speaking, we’ve had fantastic integration over the years of Park classes required in the sport media curriculum. I think with that, like preprofessional development, it’s the same type of approaches and philosophies — the internships, going to ICNYC, ICLA — and that in turn rolls into the concept of experiential learning as well. It’s always been to my understanding that sport media was the one program outside Park that sends students to ICLA, and I had advisees that took advantage of that. So in some regards, it’s always felt like we had been kind of in Park. I think being here now is fantastic to get the support, the resources, and in many regards, kind of speak the same language as some of the faculty and staff and administrator colleagues that I have here now. They understand what sport media is about academically — professional development and the experiential learning opportunities.

LM: For students already enrolled in the major, how does this transition affect them?

KW: It’s been nothing but positive. When we were in discussions about this, I was able to have some very candid conversations with my students, and I think we had a really good communications strategy to let the current students know what was going on. It was practically unanimous in its support and its enthusiasm to be here in Park, especially to have that brand and that identity.

LM: And for the current freshman and future incoming classes, will this draw in more students to enroll in the major?

KW: We do forecast that — and I do use a collective “we” — me being the program director, and also the administrators here in Park. We do forecast even more growth. When I first started here in August 2010, I think roughly we had 35 total students in the sport media major. This fall, we’re close to 75, and this was prior to the public announcement about sport media being in Park; and this is something as my role as program director — go into all the open houses, and appropriately marketing and promoting the major. I always had a friendly competition with Park historically because we were recruiting very similar types of students — students who wanted to be a part of Park and have that brand and identity, but also wanted to do something in sport. So it was always kind of tough for prospective students to make that decision between Park and sport media. And now, we really don’t have that obstacle or that challenge. So yes, I do feel moving forward that we will see even more growth in the sport media program.

LM: How have you and other faculty members adjusted to this transition so far?

KW: It’s been great. It’s been great. There’s just been a tremendous amount of support. My specific faculty line is in the strategic communications department, and they welcome me into the department. I was a part of their departmental retreat a few weeks ago, prior to the semester. They were able to learn a little bit more about my story and the sport media program.

LM: How have students reacted to the change?

KW: With enthusiasm. And again, it’s just been a really positive response, and as program director, I advise all the sport media majors, so they’ve been able to have both kind of macro- and micro-level conversations prior to the move and throughout the summer, keeping in touch with students via email and give them the updates. Once we returned to campus, just a little bit of a follow-up to see how it’s going. But again, they’ve always just kind of felt that they have been Parkies, and I say that with a positive connotation, with the academics, the extracurriculars, the experiential learning opportunities that my students have always been a part of, student media outlets — ICTV, the radio stations and The Ithacan. I think now that they are really excited to be able to actually be able to put Roy H. Park School of Communications on their resume.