Iowa State University’s Greenlee School of Journalism launches new sports media and communication major

CATEGORIES: In the News, News, Students
Junior in journalism and mass communication, Marijke Mendeszoon, interviews Drake head coach Darrin McBroom on an ESPN+ broadcast at Hilton Coliseum.

Iowa State University’s Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication will begin offering a bachelor of arts degree in sports media and communication. The new major was approved by the state’s Board of Regents at its April 25 meeting.

The Sports Media and Communication degree will be the fourth bachelor’s degree program offered through the Greenlee School, which is housed within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. While the major is new, Greenlee has been offering sports-related courses and helping students secure sports-related internships and employment for years.

“The new sports media major formalizes this long-standing commitment to student success in this arena,” said Jan Lauren Boyles, associate director of the Greenlee School and associate professor. “Next season, you’ll find our students in the press box as writers, on the sidelines as photojournalists and at post-game press conferences as sports information experts. We look forward to championing their accomplishments and accolades.”

To develop the major, Greenlee assembled a roster of faculty and students to brainstorm ideas and implement them. They are as follows:

  • Jan Lauren Boyles, associate director/associate professor, and sports media major committee chair
  • Beth Haag, assistant teaching professor
  • Tony Moton, assistant teaching professor
  • Brenda Witherspoon, teaching professor
  • Gary Sawyer, associate teaching professor
  • James McNab, assistant teaching professor
  • Brock Beirman, graduate student
  • Makala Kafer, undergraduate student

The team first assessed marketplace and enrollment demand, so they could build a new degree to attract, retain and graduate the best and brightest students from Greenlee.

They constructed the new major’s curriculum, which is driven by experiential learning opportunities. They also sought industry guidance early in the development process from the Greenlee Advisory Council, as well as from staff/leadership at Iowa State Athletics – all of whom provided invaluable insights.

Evan Wessling (left) and Caleb Polking work at the Iowa State soccer press box.

“The new degree proposal received unanimous support from all voting bodies across the campus, which speaks to institutional buy-in for the new major,” Boyles said. “We’re very grateful from the support we received from Associate Provost Ann Marie VanDerZanden, outgoing Dean Beate Schmittmann and director Michael Dahlstrom, as well as members/leaders of the LAS Rep Assembly and the ISU Faculty Senate.”

Boyles continued, “We also believe the new degree aligns with our athletic strengths within a Power Five conference like the Big 12. The new major will elevate Iowa State on the national stage, reflecting our strengths in both athletic and academic programming.”

Greenlee graduate student Brock Beirman says he’s “super excited for the new major.”

“When we started the Sports Media Club a little over two years ago, we wanted to show the university that there is a growing interest in people wanting to work in sports. We didn’t realize that the club’s popularity would result in the development of an actual Sports Media and Communications major!” Bierman said. “This major is just the start of what should be an exciting future of student involvement in sports media and communications here at Iowa State.”

“The Greenlee School works hard to equip our students with the skills and experiences to succeed when they graduate and enter the profession,” said Michael Dahlstrom, Greenlee School director and College of LAS Dean’s Professor. “This new major will strengthen our connections with sports industries and prepare students who want to engage with sports and share their passion with the world.”

Other degrees offered through the Greenlee School include advertising, journalism and mass communication and public relations. The Greenlee School is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (AEJMC).