2013Mar 14

SPAD Professor Profile: Dr. Ann Pegoraro

Aus1 copyBy SPAD Blogger Cameron Brooks

For most professors, what they do in the classroom is only a small fraction of their job. Teaching is less than half of their job, as research and administration are other duties that also take up much of their time. In order to allow professors extra time for research projects and professional development, every couple of years they are given the opportunity to spend some time away from the classroom. This sabbatical is usually used to get some research done and have some time to relax but, much like the SPAD program itself, our professors are a little different than most. Over the last several months, SPAD’s own Dr. Ann Pegoraro has been using up all her saved Air Miles travelling around the world to broaden her already extensive knowledge on the sport industry. Dr. Pegoraro has been to some amazing places and had some great experiences, and we were lucky enough to get to talk to her about what she has been able to do on her travels.

Q: Where have you travelled to (countries, schools, sports organizations, etc.) over the last couple of months?

A: Well I have traveled a lot since September. I started out with some short trips in North America, first to the University of New Haven in Connecticut to finalize our partnership agreement with the sport management program there. This partnership focuses on sharing of student internships across borders and building future opportunities for students from both programs. I then spent some time on the west coast at the University of California – Long Beach. Here I primarily met with the Director of the Sport Management program to discuss their Masters in Sport Management and the potential for student exchanges at the undergraduate level.

In November, I embarked on travel a bit further abroad, heading to Australia and New Zealand where I again met with sport management programs at Griffith University in Australia and the University of Otago in New Zealand. I also attended the SMAANZ Conference, a sport management academic conference hosted by the University of Technology in Sydney where I presented some of my research work on Twitter and Facebook use in sport.  Currently I am spending four months in Fort Myers Florida where I am mostly doing some research writing (and avoiding winter) but I am looking forward to meeting up with the 4th Year Class for their Consulting Trip to Miami in March.

Q: What have you been able to teach to others during your sabbatical?

A: I am not sure I have been teaching per se, as it has been more like sharing of ideas. It was great to learn what other sport management programs are doing both in the US and Australia. I was able to learn more about their approach and in turn shared a lot of the unique things we do in SPAD. Overall, I can say that everyone I have met is extremely impressed with the hands on and industry relevant learning that occurs in our program, and I am sure many will start to replicate it for their programs. Of interest to most is the 4th year consulting trip, as none of the programs I visited have such a course in their program. Of course there were also some unique approaches taken by these other programs that I hope we can incorporate into SPAD to make the student experience even better.

Q: In turn, what kind of knowledge of the sport industry have you gained over this time? 

A: I have had the good fortune to attend sporting events on almost all of my trips so far. I have been to WNBA games in Los Angeles, NFL in New England, NHL in Florida, Spring Training in Florida and will be attending the NCAA Women’s Final Four in New Orleans in April.  Besides being a sport fan, attending these varied events provides an excellent perspective to bring into the classroom and to my research. I also had the good fortune to meet individuals from the WNBL in Australia and discuss the possibility of future research work. I have learned interesting facts about how sport is organized in Australia. For example, the country does not have a university sport system and most sport is organized outside of school, through clubs. This leads to a very different path to professional sport. I must also say, I was sad that my visit to Australia did not occur when the Aussie Rules Football was in season as that is one sport I would have loved to see live.

Q: Of this knowledge, which do you think will be most important for SPAD students to learn?

A: Everywhere I went, the same message was evident, one of the keys to success in sport business is networking. Networking is what got me to visit Australia and see a whole new area of the world, and it is what provides most of the opportunities you will receive. Other knowledge that I learned and hope to pass on came from an excellent keynote lecture by Dr. George Foster from Stanford University and several panel discussions at the SMAANZ conference. Rather than give it all away on the blog, I will save some of this good stuff for the classroom next year.

Panthers copyQ: Coming back after a full year off, what are you most excited for looking to the 2013-2014 school year?

A: That is a great question, and a hard one to answer, as I am excited about so many things for next year. I will be excited to be back in the classroom, to share what I have learned and to interact with SPAD students again. I will be excited to meet our new incoming class, to see where the 4th year trip is going and to help build on the student success at the MIT Sloan Sport Analytics conference this year. I think I will just be excited to be back in SPAD fulltime again.

It’s clear that members of the SPAD program will do everything they can to quench their thirst for more knowledge of the sport industry. Dr. Pegoraro’s dedication to, and passion for, sport and knowledge will be further benefits for students to whom she can pass along what she continues to learn. We hope Dr. Pegoraro has an amazing time on the rest of her travels and we look forward to seeing her next September.

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