Call for Papers | “Diversity and Inclusion in Sport Management Education”, Special Issue of Sport Management Education Journal. Call ends December 1, 2020

Guest Editors:
    • Dr. Jacqueline McDowell
    • Dr. Andrew C. Pickett
    • Dr. Brenda G. Pitts

The late Dr. Joy DeSensi asserted that “the education of future sport management leaders regarding multiculturalism is critical (DeSensi, 1994, p. 69). She highlighted the need for future sport managers to have intercultural competence and sensitivity, to value diversity, and to gain an understanding of interpersonal relations. The Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA) similarly includes diversity as part of the Common Professional Component expectations of sport management curricula (COSMA, 2016). COSMA Principle 7.6 also emphasizes the need for students to “possess the knowledge, skills and experiences to understand and operate effectively in a diverse sport environment” (COSMA, 2016, p. 54). Accordingly, this special issue of the Sport Management Education Journal seeks theoretical and empirical articles advancing the body of knowledge related to multicultural education, inclusive pedagogical practices, and social justice education in sport management courses and curricula.

Multicultural Education

Multicultural education focuses on celebrating diversity (Hammond, 2017). Multicultural education strives to create positive interactions among diverse groups by including varied literature, multiple theoretical perspectives, and the inclusion of traditionally underrepresented persons in the curriculum. As noted by DeSensi (1994), a multicultural approach to teaching includes more than just surface-level diversity such as sex, race, age, disability, and religion. It additionally includes factors that may not be visible, such as sexual orientation, marital status, personality traits, and parental status. Given the size of the sport industry, it necessarily includes people from varied backgrounds and with a number of unique personal identities. These individuals participate in multiple activities, work in various positions, and even root for different teams. Thus, an appreciation and understanding of human difference, and the skills to navigate diversity in the workplace, are essential skills for sport management students as they enter the industry (Vianden & Gregg, 2015).

Inclusive Pedagogical Practices

Inclusive learning and teaching refer to the ways in which “pedagogy, curricula, and assessment are designed to engage students in learning that is meaningful, relevant, and accessible to all” (Hockings, 2010, p. 1). Similar to a multicultural approach, inclusive pedagogy focuses on deep-level (e.g. learning styles and abilities) and surface-level diversity (e.g. race, sex); but it goes beyond by exploring the effect of these differences on students’ learning. As noted by Hockings, a broad view of student diversity, equity, and fairness are key concepts underpinning inclusive teaching. Instructors, therefore, need to take account of and value students’ differences, “within mainstream curriculum, pedagogy and assessment” (p. 3). Educational research has noted the importance of inclusive teaching practices in student success (Ladson-Billings, 1995; Thomas, 2016). This is particularly true for students with one or more underrepresented identities (e.g., racial minorities, women, LGBTQ+, those with intellectual or physical disabilities), and to accommodate the diverse learning styles encountered in the classroom. Therefore, strategies for creating a more inclusive sport management classroom are needed.

Social Justice Education

Sport scholars have consistently advocated for more diverse and inclusive sport organizations, but identity-related inequities and injustices continue to prevail in sport organizations (Katz, Walker, & Hindman, 2018; McDowell & Carter-Francique, 2017) and sport management classrooms as well (Sauder, Mudrick, & DeLuca, 2018; Taylor, Smith, Rode, & Hardin, 2017). Hence, in addition to calls for more diversity, it is important to advocate for inclusion and social justice efforts (Lee & Cunningham, 2019). Cunningham (2014) argued that all sport management academicians have “a stake in ensuring sport is inclusive and socially just” (p. 1). A social justice education in sport management focuses on increasing students’ consciousness about inequities in the field (Hammond, 2015). However, the goal of such education goes beyond recognition of injustice through a focus on empowering students to create positive social change. Some examples of how instructors can teach social justice advocacy in the classroom are by having students critically analyze social justice case studies (e.g. Tryce & Smith, 2015), examine governmental and institutional policies that disadvantage certain groups, participate in class exercises that highlight diversity and social justice issues, or have students work on projects for social change or restorative justice.


Understanding various dynamics of diversity and inclusion are important considerations for developing a holistic (effective) sport management curriculum. Therefore, this special issue encourages scholarship related to various aspects of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Possible topics may include (but are not limited to):

      • Strategies for inclusive teaching
      • Inclusive practices of the experiences of religious minorities in curriculum and pedagogy
      • Accommodating students with physical and intellectual disabilities
      • Issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity
      • Experiential learning activities or teaching approaches for social change or restorative justice
      • Effects of political diversity on sport management education practices
      • Culturally responsive teaching strategies
      • Research exploring pedagogical techniques for increasing students’ diversity-related competencies
      • Ways to foster awareness and acceptance of individual differences
      • Strategies to manage diversity in the classroom
      • Pedagogical approaches to including multicultural issues related to sport
      • Other issues related to diversity and inclusion in sport management pedagogy
      • Understanding cultural differences

Submission Guidelines

This special issue is open to all methodologies for research manuscripts, and practical case studies and essays submitted under the Pedagogical Innovations section will also be considered (see SMEJ submission guidelines). Submissions for this special issue should conform to the general submission guidelines for SMEJ, which can be found at

Authors should submit their manuscript through Manuscript Central, the online submission system for SMEJ at, with the special issue chosen as the article type.  Please clearly indicate in the cover letter that the submission is intended for this special issue related to Diversity and Inclusion in Sport Management Education.

Submission Deadline: December 1, 2020. Specific questions should be addressed to the guest editors:

  • Jacqueline McDowell, Ph.D.,
    George Mason University, School of Sport, Recreation, and Tourism Management
    4400 University Drive, MS4D2, 1602 Thompson Hall, Fairfax, VA 22030, 703-993-7088
  • Andrew C. Pickett, Ph.D.,
    University of South Dakota
    414 E. Clark Street, KSM Division, A311H SCSC, Vermillion, SD 57069, 605-658-5552
  • Brenda G. Pitts, Ph.D.,
    Professor Emerita
    7085 Silver Shoals Rd, Gainesville, GA 30506, 770-841-4255
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