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Paul Bursik

Paul Bursik (Business Administration) is teaching
the new courses.

May 2010

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Courses tied to Sport and Society conference explore sports’ cultural impact

No need to be an athlete to realize the impact sport has had on American society throughout the years. That impact is the focus of the conference “A Mirror of Our Culture: Sport and Society in America,” co-hosted by the college and the Green Bay Packers May 26-28. It will also be the focus of two courses taught by Paul Bursik (Business Administration) in conjunction with the conference.

“Sports are a part of our own identities,” Bursik says. Whether kids play soccer, attend Packers games or participate in the successes and failures of high school sports and physical education, sports have influence from an early age. Bursik will explore their influence in separate Sport and Society courses for graduate and undergraduate students, both of which revolve around conference participation.

“The conference was the impetus for the course,” says Bursik. He explains:

“We’ll start by talking about students’ own experiences. The logic I’m using is, first let’s explore all those different ways that sports have influenced us, intersected with our lives … and then from there we’ll learn about the way various folks think about sports in society. We’re going to take a critical look.”

The three-credit graduate course, which satisfies the “American perspectives” requirement of the liberal studies master’s program, will meet three times prior to the conference and once after it. Bursik says students will write a major research paper as part of the course.

Sport and Society is also being offered as a three-session undergraduate Maymester course. Fourteen students have signed up for the course, including Nic Bross ’11, a Brookfield, Ill., resident double-majoring in economics and business administration.

Bross looks forward to studying sports in relation to issues of race, gender and nationalism, as well as sports law, since he plans to attend law school after graduation.

“I have enjoyed the courses I have taken on professional sports and have become deeply interested in learning how the industry works, especially since I have been accustomed to professional sports only as a spectator,” Bross says. “I find it very intriguing that the same academic devotion given to other areas of study can be applied to sports.”

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