Commission on Sport Management Accreditation

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1 Commission on Sport Management Accreditation

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3 An Introduction Commission on Sport Management Accreditation is a specialized accrediting body that promotes and recognizes excellence in sport management education in colleges and universities at the baccalaureate and graduate levels. COSMA was founded in 2007 in response to the expressed needs of Presidents, Chief Academic Officers, and heads of sport management departments/programs who acknowledged that development of a discipline specific accreditation model was needed. The COSMA model was designed to meet this need and focuses on a mission-based and outcomes-driven accreditation process. Prior to 2007, sport management programs seeking recognition, were approved by the Sport Management Program Review Council in a process managed jointly by NASPE and NASSM. COSMA now makes available quality, specialized accreditation to sport management programs in hundreds of institutions throughout the world. COSMA s innovative approach to accreditation is described in this publication. The purpose of COSMA is to promote and recognize excellence in sport management education in colleges and universities at both the undergraduate and graduate levels through specialized accreditation. Institutions, students, employers, and the general public all benefit from the external verification of quality provided through COSMA s accreditation process. They also benefit from the process of continuous quality improvement that is encouraged by COSMA s developmental approach to promoting excellence in sport management education.

4 Philosophy of Accreditation COSMA utilizes a distinctly different approach to specialized accreditation in sport management. It uses both characteristics of excellence in sport management education and assessment of education outcomes as a basis for making accreditation decisions, rather than the outdated prescriptive input standards approach. The quality of outcomes is dependant in part on inputs, but more so on the processes used by the institution to convert inputs into quality outcomes. Hence, the appropriate way to measure excellence in sport management education is through the assessment of educational outcomes. COSMA is a leader in outcomes-based assessment and accreditation, in which excellence in sport management education is evaluated based on the assessment of educational outcomes, rather than on prescriptive input standards. COSMA believes that educational quality must be measured by outcomes rather than inputs. Inputs do not necessarily correlate with quality outcomes and may also be dependent on the processes used by the institution to convert inputs to outcomes. The only accurate way to measure excellence in sport management education, therefore, is through the assessment of educational outcomes. Because of the essential role that educational processes play in determining educational outcomes, COSMA has developed accreditation principles based on best practices in sport management education. These principles promote excellence in sport management education through a benchmarking process, which is helpful in determining whether the sport management program is, or is not, achieving its mission and broad-based goals, and is interpreting the results of the outcomes assessment process. COSMA bases its accrediting process on principles, rather than standards. Standards and principles are similar, in that both may be used to evaluate effectiveness. Standards, however, may be arbitrary and they assume that achieving the standard ensures quality outcomes, which may not be true. In comparison, principles are used to assess outcomes, not measure outputs. Principles are used to assess learning, not test products.

5 Educational institutions are unique, with differing missions, goals, processes, and intended learning outcomes. Standards provide arbitrary cut-off points, where the standard is either met or not; while principles assess progress toward excellence, allow for a continuum of accomplishment, and encourage continuous improvement. There is no standard of learning that fits all institutions, but there are principles that can apply to all institutions. COSMA is committed to a developmental approach to excellence in sport management education. COSMA and its members function in a collaborative and cooperative manner, encouraging each other toward higher levels of quality in sport management education. COSMA is both flexible and innovative in applying its philosophy of accreditation. It recognizes that sport management education exists within a dynamic, complex environment that requires innovative approaches to achieving quality educational outcomes.

6 Characteristics of Excellence in Sport Management Education Excellence in sport management education has many different components that must be considered during the evaluation process. Excellence in sport management education normally displays the following characteristics: The sport management program has a clearly defined and relevant mission and broad-based goals that are consistent with those of the institution. The sport management program has a strategic plan that is in touch with the realities of sport management education and the marketplace, and that is consistent with the strategic plan of the institution. This strategic plan is driven by the approved mission and broad-based goals of the sport management program. The sport management program has developed and implemented an outcomes assessment process that promotes continuous improvement in the sport management programs and operations, and that is linked to the strategic plan of the sport management program. Students in the sport management program develop, both personally and professionally, into well-educated, ethical, competent sport management professionals. The sport management program operates in an environment that encourages and promulgates innovation and creativity in sport management education. The sport management program has meaningful and effective linkages between the classroom and practitioners in the sport management community, thereby providing assurance of relevancy and currency in the academic programs. The sport management program encourages cooperative relationships with other educational units, both external and internal, which are consistent with its mission and broad-based goals. Faculty in the sport management program model ethical character and integrate ethical viewpoints and principles in their teaching.

7 Faculty in the sport management program are effective teachers who are current in their fields and active in their professional contributions to their institution and discipline. Further, the faculty are positively engaged within their sport management program and contribute to its mission and broad-based goals through appropriate faculty development and faculty evaluation processes. The mix of academic and professional credentials of the sport management faculty is worthy of the respect of the academic and sport marketplace communities. The mission of the institution and its sport management program is effectively communicated to current and prospective students. The institution provides adequate resources to the sport management program to accomplish its mission and broad-based goals. The curricula in the sport management programs reflect the mission of the institution and its academic unit, and are consistent with current, acceptable practices and principles of professionals in the academic and sport marketplace communities. The curricula in the sport management programs ensure that students understand and are prepared to deal effectively with critical issues in a changing global environment. The content of sport management courses is delivered in a manner that is appropriate, effective, and stimulates learning. The sport management program recognizes the role of practical and experiential learning as a relevant component of sport management curricula. The institution s organizational structure supports excellence in sport management education.

8 Benefits of COSMA Accreditation COSMA accreditation provides its membership many benefits: Enhanced Reputation: (need to add) Evidence of Quality: Through the accreditation process, COSMA provides external assurance of quality in an institution s sport management programs, and ensures that the characteristics of excellence are evident. The sport management curriculum and co-curricular experiences provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to function effectively in the sport management industry. Both graduates and their employers need and are entitled to this quality assurance. Continuous Improvement: Change is constant. Continuous improvement is proactive in that it confronts the changing environment, and helps prevent slippage in the quality of sport management education. Continuous improvement is an integral part of the accreditation process. Best Practices: COSMA supports and promotes best practices in sport management education. Accountability: Specialized accreditation provides external accountability for the quality of academic programs in sport management. The demand of the general public and from industry is increasing rapidly.

9 Membership Services The membership services of COSMA are broad and varied. Most fall into four general categories: Academic Administrative Services Accreditation support Accreditation training workshops Accreditation materials and manuals Site visits Peer review Outcomes assessment training workshops Free or low cost consultation services Newsletters Regional meetings Annual Conference Best practices of sport management information Faculty Support Faculty professional development programs Outcomes assessment workshops Faculty employment listed on COSMA website

10 Outcomes Assessment The hallmark of COSMA s specialized accreditation is its emphasis on outcomes assessment rather than on inputs. Traditionally, accreditation of colleges and universities focused primarily on resource input measures such as number of faculty, faculty qualifications, faculty deployment, and class size. Today, outcomes assessment is recognized by accrediting bodies as a critical component in the measurement of institutional effectiveness. This method recognizes the paramount importance of the results of educational activities. Measuring institutional effectiveness is by no means a new endeavor, but he application of sophisticated outcomes assessment techniques in an educational setting is relatively new. The outcomes assessment process commences with the development of a plan that involves all the functioning units of an institution. The areas assessed should include: 1. Evidence that the mission, purpose, vision and broad based goals of all functioning units are being accomplished. 2. Evidence of operational effectiveness for all functioning units. 3. Evidence that students are learning what they are supposed to learn (use of direct and indirect measures of student learning). 4. Evidence of basic skills development throughout a curriculum. 5. Evidence of personal development of students 6. Identification of changes and improvements that are needed. 7. Linking outcomes assessment with the institution s planning and budgeting process. The results of implementing an outcomes assessment plan are reported annually.

11 Your Next Step For more information, please visit There you will find information about: COSMA accreditation process COSMA accreditation principles COSMA membership COSMA s scheduled conference and workshops We can also be reached at or

12 P. O. Box 3598 Olathe, KS USA

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