Neil Marrin discusses the details of JMU Hart School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management.

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Sport and Recreation Management Frequently Asked Questions


Experiential Learning Opportunities

Complementary Majors and Minors

Required Industry Experience

Required Sport and Recreation Internship - SRM 482

Study Abroad Opportunities



Experiential Learning Opportunities

What does experiential learning mean?

Experiential learning is a process through which students develop knowledge, skills, and values from experiences outside a traditional classroom setting – this is a hallmark of the Hart School student experience. We value opportunities such as internships, conference attendance, and volunteer experiences in the sport and recreation industries as a means to expose students to current trends, expand their professional network, and learn more about what they do and don’t like about their chosen field. It’s as important to understand what you don’t like as it is to discover what you do like. Experimentation is essential when discovering your professional self, and that starts with learning outside the classroom.

The Hart School tries, whenever possible, to support our students financially in their experiential learning opportunities. We will often cover conference registration fees, flights and hotels to make these opportunities financially feasible for all students.

Some experiential trips are extremely low-cost. For example, all of our Hart School student organizations plan site visits to companies/employers in locations within a few hours of campus. These day trips are still incredibly beneficial in that they expand students’ industry knowledge and encourage networking with professionals.

Here are just two of the many trips our SRM students experienced in the last year:

Hart School students volunteer at national swim event

JMU students volunteer at the Final Four

How are students chosen to attend experiential learning trips?

Students must be in good academic standing and complete an application, often writing short answer essays and obtaining faculty recommendations to support their attendance. Students are chosen based on their classroom participation, ability to communicate well with others, and represent the Hart School well. Their demonstrated interest in the content-area of the experiential trip is also taken into consideration.

Complementary Majors and Minors

Can I double-major in Sport and Recreation Management and another major?

Yes! You can double-major in just about any area but you should make an appointment with your academic advisor to plan and discuss how this could affect your anticipated graduation date. You should plan that adding a double-major will add at least one additional year to your JMU student experience.

Which majors pair well with Sport and Recreation Mgmt. as a double-major?

The majors most commonly paired with Sport and Recreation are:

Which minors pair well with Sport and Recreation Management?

The majors most commonly paired with Sport and Recreation are:

Required Industry Experience

Can you explain the SRM Practicum experience?

The purpose of the SRM 282 practicum course is to introduce Sport and Recreation Management majors to the variety and scope of employment opportunities within the field. Over the course of one semester, students will work/volunteer for 10 hours a week in the sport and recreation organization of their choice (total of 90 hours). Students should choose their practicum site intentionally, because a successful practicum experience will often lead to an internship offer. The best course is to choose a subset of the sport and recreation industry (an aspect of the industry about which you’re interested in learning more and in which you can see yourself working one day) and seek a practicum experience in that area.

SRM 282 can be taken in the fall, spring or summer semesters. Feel free to find a practicum site in your hometown (and take the class over the summer) or find a Harrisonburg site and take the class in the fall or spring semesters. Just like in any other class, you will be responsible for submitting bi-weekly logs, writing a paper, evaluating the site, and receiving evaluations from your site supervisor.

Required Sport and Recreation Internship - SRM 482

What does the Sport and recreation internship entail?

An internship in sport and recreation management is a form of experiential learning which integrates knowledge and theory gained in the classroom with practical application and skills development within a sport/recreation setting. Students should begin with the end in mind – if they see themselves working in sports marketing after they graduate, then they should try and find a sports marketing internship. Successful internship experiences often lead to a strong professional network and full-time job opportunities.

Can I seek out work experience earlier than the summer before my senior year?

Yes! In fact, we encourage younger students (freshmen and sophomores) to seek out as many industry experiences as possible to start building their professional networks and resumes. Seeking out part-time jobs and volunteering in your industry is encouraged! These non-credit work/internship experiences will make you look even more qualified when it’s time to apply for your for-credit internship (400-hour industry experience, SRM 482) in your junior or senior year at JMU.

Will this work experience count as required SRM 482 internship class?

No, internship experiences obtained early in your college career will not count for academic credit towards SRM 482, the required internship class. Our industry partners agree that obtaining knowledge through your SRM classes will make you more professional and successful in your for-credit internship, so SRM 482 has prerequisites (SRM 282; SRM 333; and 72 credit hours) that you must take before registering for your internship class.

Are students placed in internships or are they responsible for finding their own experiences?

Students are responsible for researching and obtaining their own individual internship experiences. Though we do not act as an internship placement service, Hart School faculty and staff have strong relationships with sport and recreation industry employers and professionals and we regularly leverage these relationships to create opportunities for students. In addition, our dedicated alumni base recruits our students for jobs and internships on a regular basis.

What resources do you provide to students who are looking for FT/PT employment? What if I’m struggling to find an internship on my own?

Our Experiential Learning Coordinator, Jen Nelson, spends much of her time cultivating relationships with industry employers and works to provide the following resources in order to make the internship/job search process as seamless as possible for students:

  • The Hart School Career and Internship Fair (offered each October and February)
  • On-campus information sessions by top industry employers
  • Programming on how to search for jobs and internships; resume and cover letter reviews; interviewing best practices
  • Advising appointments are available so students can discuss questions they have about finding an internship; obtaining more industry experience, etc.
  • Internships, FT/PT jobs, and volunteer opportunities are posted on the Hart School Career Development Canvas page. Students can log-on and search by keyword or can read a weekly summary that’s emailed out.

Why is an internship required to graduate?

The hospitality industry is competitive, and the differentiator among applicants for a full-time job is often the degree and quality of their work experience. In order to provide this industry experience, particularly the management experience that an internship provides, we require Hart School students to complete an internship.

Why is SRM 482 a for-credit class?

There are both practical and academic components to the SRM 482 internship. While the majority of what you will be doing during this time is working with your site agency, you will need to complete the following to obtain class credit:

  • Engage in correspondence with your professor.
  • Complete weekly time logs and reflections on sport and recreation topics.
  • Complete evaluations, goals and objectives.
  • Short quizzes, and a summary paper for academic credit. These materials are accessible on Canvas and must be completed in order to receive academic credit.

Can I complete my internship outside of the United States?

Yes! Students are welcome to seek out internship opportunities abroad, as long as the position meets the specified requirements (listed above). As with any other SRM student choosing to intern in the U.S., Dr. Shonk must sign off on this international study abroad experience. In addition, students must have reliable internet access in order to communicate virtually with their professor and complete/submit virtual assignments.

Is there a JMU Study Abroad program dedicated specifically to internships?

Hart School students can participate in our JMU Internship in Australia program. Most placements will be with sports teams or companies/agencies which could include Baseball Australia, Australia Professional Rugby, and Australian Rules football. Students will experience sports management, membership, and marketing while engaging in numerous activities around Perth, Australia. More information on this program is available here: https://www.jmu.edu/global/abroad/programs/jmu-australia-perth-internship.shtml

Study Abroad Opportunities

What are my study abroad options?

There are many options for SRM students to study abroad while earning credits toward your JMU degree, both long-term (whole semester/12 weeks) and short-term (3-6 weeks). Sport and Recreation students can choose a study abroad program that offers classes that will fulfill their major requirements (or count as electives in their major), or any program that will allow them to fulfill JMU General Education requirements.

  • For more information on the programs that allow students to fulfill General Education credit while abroad, see the Center for Global Engagement’s Study Abroad website: https://www.jmu.edu/gened/abroad.shtml.

Hospitality Management Frequently Asked Questions

Experiential Learning Opportunities

Complementary Majors and Minors

Required Industry Experience

Required Hospitality Internship - HM 402

Study Abroad Opportunities



Experiential Learning Opportunities

What does experiential learning mean?

Experiential learning is a process through which students develop knowledge, skills, and values from experiences outside a traditional classroom setting – this is a hallmark of the Hart School student experience. We value opportunities such as internships, conference attendance, and volunteer experiences in the hospitality industries as a means to expose students to current trends, expand their professional network, and learn more about what they do and don’t like about their chosen field. It’s as important to understand what you DON’T LIKE as it is to discover what you DO LIKE. Experimentation is essential when discovering your professional self, and that starts with learning outside the classroom.

The Hart School tries, whenever possible, to support our students financially in their experiential learning opportunities. We will often cover conference registration fees, flights and hotels to make these opportunities financially feasible for all students.

Some experiential trips are extremely low-cost. For example, all of our Hart School student organizations plan site visits to visit companies/employers in locations within a few hours of campus. These day trips are still incredibly beneficial in that they expand students’ industry knowledge and encourage networking with professionals.

Here's just one of the many trips our HM students experienced in the last year:

Hospitality Management students work with Onyx Meetings and Events to execute the Wyndham Hotels and Resorts Global Conference (Las Vegas, Nevada)

How are students chosen to attend experiential learning trips?

Students must be in good academic standing and complete an application, often writing short answer essays and obtaining faculty recommendations to support their attendance. Students are chosen based on their classroom participation, ability to communicate well with others and to positively represent the Hart School. Their demonstrated interest in the content area of the experiential trip is also taken into consideration.

Complementary Majors and Minors

Can I double-major in Hospitality and another major?

Yes! You can double-major in just about any area but you should make an appointment with your academic advisor to plan and discuss how this could affect your anticipated graduation date. You should expect that an adding a double-major will add at least one additional year to your JMU student experience.

Which other majors pair well with Hospitality Management as a double-major?

The majors most commonly paired with Hospitality are:

Which minors pair well with Hospitality Management?

The minors most commonly paired with Hospitality are:

Required Industry Experience

Can you explain the 600-industry hours that I need to obtain before my official for-credit internship?

HM 310 is a pre-requisite course for your HM 402: Supervisory Internship course. You must complete 600 hours of work in the hospitality industry before obtaining your 400-hour internship. This 600-hours completed for your HM 310 course gives you the opportunity to get a feel for the hospitality industry. This is your chance to experience different segments of the industry to better know what you would like to focus on, first in your internship (HM 402) and then in your first professional job after graduating.

The majority of your 600 hours should be earned during your college career (during the summers and during the academic year). Only 50 hours of experience prior to high school graduation will count, and these must be within the hospitality industry (hotel, restaurant, resort, country club, special event company, or other tourism-related industry). For our purposes, jobs in retail are not considered to be within the hospitality industry, nor are lifeguard or nanny positions.

About 100 of your industry hours will come from the work you do in HM 212 – Hospitality Prowess. In that class you will work in JMU’s dining halls (Aramark-operated). In addition, the 600-hours can come from unpaid volunteer experiences. As long as the volunteer experience is within the hospitality industry, those hours can be counted toward your total.

Required Hospitality Internship - HM 402

What does the Hospitality internship entail?

An internship in hospitality is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory gained in the classroom with practical application and skills development within a hospitality setting. The best course is to choose a subset within the Hospitality industry (an aspect of the industry about which you’re interested in learning more and in which you can see yourself working one day) and seek out an internship experience in that area. Begin with the end in mind! Successful internship experiences lead to a strong professional network and even full-time job opportunities.

  • HM 402 is taken the summer after a student’s junior year at JMU. Course prerequisites are HM 310 and HM 312.
  • Minimum of 400 hours (full-time work experience; 40 hours a week for 10 weeks); Start date is flexible (May 7 to June 11); End date (on or before August 25).
  • Internships must be pre-approved by Dr. Reg Foucar-Szocki, HM Internship Coordinator. They must be located at a hotel, restaurant, resort, country club, special event company, or other tourism-related industry. For our purposes, jobs in retail are not considered to be within the hospitality industry, nor are lifeguard or nanny positions.
  • More details are available here: https://www.jmu.edu/hartschool/hospitality-management/internship-overview.shtm

Can I seek out work experience earlier than the summer before my senior year?

Yes! In fact, we encourage younger students (freshmen and sophomores) to seek out as many industry experiences as possible to start building their professional networks and resumes. Part-time jobs and volunteering in your industry are common avenues for gaining experience. These non-credit work/internship experiences will make you look even more qualified when it’s time to apply for your for-credit internship (400-hour industry experience, HM 402) in your junior year at JMU.

Will this work experience count as my required HM 402 internship class?

No. Internship experiences obtained early in your college career will not count for academic credit towards HM 402, the required internship class. Our industry partners agree that obtaining hospitality knowledge through your HM classes will make you more professional and successful in your for-credit internship, so HM 402 has prerequisites (HM 310; HM 312) that you must take before registering for your internship class.

Are students placed in internships or are they responsible for finding their own experiences?

Students are responsible for researching and obtaining their own individual internship experiences. Though we do not act as an internship placement service, Hart School faculty and staff have strong relationships with hospitality industry employers and professionals, and  regularly leverage these relationships to create opportunities for students. In addition, our dedicated alumni base recruits our students for jobs and internships on a regular basis.

What resources do you provide to students who are looking for FT/PT employment? What if I’m struggling to find an internship on my own?

Our Experiential Learning Coordinator, Jen Nelson, spends much of her time cultivating relationships with industry employers and works to provide many resources in order to make the internship/job search process as seamless as possible for students, including:

  • The Hart School Career and Internship Fair (offered each October and February)
  • On-campus information sessions by top industry employers
  • Programming on how to search for jobs and internships; resume and cover letter reviews; interviewing best practices
  • Advising appointments are available so students can discuss questions about finding an internship; obtaining more industry experience, etc.
  • Internships, FT/PT jobs, and volunteer/experiential opportunities are posted on the Hart School Career Development Canvas page. Students can log on and search by keyword or can read a weekly summary that’s emailed out.

Why is an internship required to graduate?

The hospitality industry is competitive, and the differentiator among applicants for a full-time job is often the degree and quality of their work experience. In order to provide this industry experience, particularly the management experience that an internship provides, we require Hart School students to complete an internship.

Why is HM 402 a for-credit class?

There are both practical and academic components to the HM 402 internship. While the majority of what you will be doing during this time is working with your site agency, you will need to complete the following to obtain class credit:

  • Engage in weekly correspondence with your professor.
  • Complete a weekly journal of hours worked and weekly reflections on hospitality leadership topics.
  • Write papers including a critical analysis, assessment of effective leadership, and reflections on looking back and moving forward.
  • Complete a special mini-management project that is agreed upon by the sponsor and has "real world" benefit to the employer as well as the student.

Can I complete my internship outside of the United States?

Yes! Students are welcome to seek out internship opportunities abroad, as long as the position meets the specified requirements (listed above). As with any other HM student choosing to intern in the U.S., Dr. Foucar-Szocki must sign-off on this international study abroad experience. In addition, students must have reliable internet access in order to communicate virtually with their professor and complete/submit virtual assignments.

Is there a JMU Study Abroad program dedicated specifically to internships?

Hart School students can participate in our JMU Internship in Australia program. Students are placed in hotels, restaurants, or local travel agencies around Perth, Australia. Students will have the opportunity to experience hospitality, tourism, and marketing all while working with colleagues from around the world. More information on this program is available here: https://www.jmu.edu/global/abroad/programs/jmu-australia-perth-internship.shtml

Study Abroad Opportunities

What are my study abroad options?

There are many options for HM students to study abroad while earning credits toward your JMU degree, both long-term (whole semester/12 weeks) and short-term (3-6 weeks). Hospitality Management students can choose a study abroad program that offers classes that will fulfill their major requirements (or count as electives in their major), or any program that will allow them to fulfill JMU General Education requirements.

  • The following programs will allow students to fulfill HM requirements or electives while abroad: https://www.jmu.edu/global/abroad/snapshots/Hospitality-Management.shtml
    • Semester in Florence (Fall, Spring, Summer – HM electives; Business Minor classes)
    • Intercultural Studies and Tourism in Peru (Summer; HM elective)
    • Study of European Hospitality: Food, Wines, and Travel in Europe (Summer; HM elective)
  • For more information on the programs that allow students to fulfill General Education credit while abroad, see the Center for Global Engagement’s Study Abroad website: https://www.jmu.edu/gened/abroad.shtml.

Feel free to reach out with more questions!
Jen Nelson, Experiential Learning Coordinator
Hart School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management
nelsonjn@jmu.edu

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