New MTSU master’s program boasts 1st grads

New MTSU master’s program boasts 1st grads

The first six graduates of MTSU’s new Master of Science in Leisure and Sport Management degree program were among those receiving diplomas on Dec. 17 at Murphy Center.

Graduates of the new master's program in leisure and sports management at MTSU can coordinate activities such as exercise classes, depicted here in the new cardio room in the expanded Student Health, Wellness and Recreation Center. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

They are Kelsey Dortch of Milan, Tenn.; Anthony Dudley of Franklin, Tenn.; Ryan Harper of Brentwood, Tenn.; Jacob McKissack of Pulaski, Tenn.; Jazman Swett of Antioch, Tenn.; and Bartley Webb of Springdale, Ark.

After three years of revision, the Department of Health and Human Performance updated its master’s degrees to reflect changing trends in the industry. The leisure and sport-management degree track offers two concentrations: recreation and leisure services, and sport industry.

Dr. Steven Estes, department chair, says the field has expanded beyond the era when leisure, sport and recreation were almost solely concerned with the outdoors or sports.

Estes says academics in recreation at one time focused on the philosophy that we grow and become fully human in our leisure moments, literally “recreating” ourselves. Similarly, he says, academics in physical education focused on training teachers and coaches for public schools.

Today, techniques similar to those used in business schools are being applied to these fields, and research is more important than ever. Two core courses for this new MTSU master’s-degree track focus on legal issues and risk management and financial management and marketing.

Elective courses include “Leisure and Aging,” “Sport and Society,” “Administration and Supervision of Physical Education and Sport,” “Aquatic Exercise & Therapeutic Techniques” and “Cross-Cultural Perspectives in Leisure and Tourism.”

“We’re starting to recognize that things like tourism or getting a professional sports team have a huge impact on the way that people spend their leisure dollars,” says Estes.

To learn more about the MTSU Master of Science in Leisure and Sport Management, visit or contact Deborah Williams, graduate analyst, at 615-898-2147 or

— Gina K. Logue (