SEM faculty, student present at NIRSA regional conference

Assistant Professors Cara McFadden and Craig Schmitt and junior Abigail Dalton traveled to South Carolina to share their research and expertise with the collegiate recreational sports organization and its conference attendees.

Assistant Professor Cara McFadden (left) and Abigail Dalton ’17, a sport and event management major, co-presented at the 2015 NIRSA Region II Conference in Greenville, South Carolina. Photo courtesy of McFadden
​Cara McFadden and Craig Schmitt, assistant professors in Elon University’s Department of Sport and Event Management, and Abigail Dalton ’17, a sport and event management major, attended and presented at the 2015 NIRSA Region II Conference in Greenville, South Carolina.

The trio participated in a series of presentations and activities during the collegiate recreational sports organization’s three-day conference, held Nov. 9-11. NIRSA is widely considered the leading resource for professional and student development, education and research in collegiate recreational sports.

McFadden teamed with Dalton to co-present a lecture titled “Case Study Analysis of an Adventured Based Leadership Experience.” The presentation examined the expansion of first-year student programming across college campuses and how universities are intentionally using outdoor education practices in the development of programs. Additionally, the session highlighted Dalton’s initial research of an adventure-based leadership program at a small private university.

McFadden joined with Schmitt to lead a presentation titled “Ensuring a Sport Management Degree is ‘Worth It’: Collegiate Recreation.” The Elon professors detailed the history of sport management academic programs and the importance of ensuring that a sport management degree is “worth it.” As part of their presentation, McFadden and Schmitt highlighted their own research, where they set out to identify desirable competencies for recent college graduates to be competitive candidates for entry-level positions in campus recreation. The duo’s conceptual framework, preliminary results, and next research steps were also discussed.

​Lastly, McFadden co-presented a lecture, titled “NIRSA Leadership Commission Origins & the Release of NDSL: Leadership Development through Recreation and Athletics,” with Mila Padgett of the University of South Carolina-Aiken and Julie Wallace Carr of James Madison University. The presentation provided an overview of NIRSA Leadership Commission work and the new publication of a NDSL volume focused on student leadership in collegiate recreation and athletics. 

Actively involved in NIRSA for 15 years, McFadden is currently serving as the program chair for the 2016 NIRSA Annual Conference & Recreational Sports Expo. Previously, she has served as a member of the organization’s Assembly, representative on its Research and Assessment Committee, faculty for its National School of Collegiate Recreation, and co-chair for its Leadership Commission.

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