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Sport management faculty member receives award for international education

Kristen B. Morales

April 25, 2019

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On any given week, students in the sport management program in the University of Georgia College of Education gain exposure to international experts—in large part thanks to the efforts of the International Center for Sport Management.

Now, the center's director, professor James Zhang, is being honored for his efforts to support international education with the 2019 Richard Reiff Internationalization Award. The annual award, given by the UGA Office of Global Engagement, honors a tenured or tenure-track faculty member who has made major contributions to the overall internationalization of the University.

For Zhang, these efforts include hosting international visiting delegations that lead to formal educational and research collaborations, receiving research and service grants from international institutions, organizing or sponsoring international conferences, and supporting faculty, students and visiting professors to attend international conferences or institutions. Since its start in 2011, the International Center for Sport Management has collaborated with more than 150 visiting professors, scholars or students and published more than 100 research papers as a result of these international collaborations—30 of which were published in English-language journals.

The international aspect of the center also gives students in the sport management program an added level of experience in a field that continues to expand on a global level.

"Sport professionals, scholars and administrators responsible for making the strategic, cultural, political and economic decisions for sport organizations must be prepared for the challenges of the new sport landscape," said Zhang. "They must be equipped with knowledge, skills, abilities and worldviews that are inclusive yet can differentiate cultural and other related elements."

The international nature of the sport management program is also a draw among students, with enrollment increasing tenfold since 2011. The sport management program had about 150 students when the International Center for Sport Management opened; now it enrolls nearly 1,000 students, said Zhang. "what the sport management program and ICSM have accomplished are consistent with President Morehead's call for growing UGA's impact across the state of Georgia and the world," added Zhang.

The Richard Reiff Internationalization Award is given each year in honor of the former executive director of the Office of International Education at UGA. It is one of four awards that honor faculty and staff and their dedication to international education at UGA.

Related links: Department of Kinesiology