Dr. M. Katie Flanagan is an assistant instructor in the Department of Sport Management at Florida State University. She teaches an array of undergraduate and graduate level course including Diversity in Sport, Sport Ethics, Issues in Sport Management, Introduction to Sport Management, and Professional Development.
1. Please tell us about yourself.
Job Title: Assistant Instructor
Department: Sport Management
Year here: in current position – 2 years; at the University in some capacity (as a student and/or employee) since 2000 Where I came from: I am originally from Columbus, Ohio. I came to FSU in 2000 for undergraduate and stayed. I like to say I am an Ohio State Buckeye by birth and a Seminole by choice
2. Tell us about your research interests and why you are passionate about this topic.
Sport-Based Service-Learning is my area of expertise. Service-Learning is a form of experiential learning where students learn about concepts and theories in the classroom, then volunteer in the community, and finally reflect on the connection between the course concepts and their volunteer experience. Service-Learning is known as a High Impact Practice which means it’s a pedagogical tool that requires students to make their own discoveries and connections, grapple with challenging real-world questions, and address complex problems – all necessary skills if students are to become engaged and effective members of their communities. My students play basketball and Wii sports with clients at a local homeless resource center, they help repair bicycles at nearby bike co-op, they assist senior citizens in exercise classes, and participate in a sports league for individuals with disabilities. Through these activities my sport becomes a catalyst through which my students practice critical thinking, are exposed to issues surround social justice, and can choose to take action to create positive change in individuals’ lives and the community.
3. What do you want the public to know about your research? Why is your topic important?
Sport and social justice are inextricably linked. That concept often surprises people; bringing awareness to the ways in which sport ignites and sustains social injustice is key to ultimately using sport as a vehicle to alleviate some injustices. Be it a transnational corporation such as Nike, a professional sport league such as the NFL, or a friendly basketball game like the one that takes place among my students and individuals experiencing homelessness, sport has a wide-ranging impact. I want the positive impact of sport to outweigh the negative. In order for that to occur, we need to acknowledge and confront the negative in order to ameliorate it and make way for positive social change. I hope my class plays a role in such a movement.
4. Who has influenced you the most in life? My parents. They exposed my brothers and I to a variety of sports when we were young. I watched both of my parents play sports recreationally in their adult lives. Their example emphasized the positive impact sport can have in life. My brothers and I are all still active sport enthusiasts as adults ourselves thanks to our parents. My professors. As a student at FSU I truly learned how to think critically, ask questions, and challenge my own perspectives. This is a difficult but invaluable skill to learn. It is the most important lesson that I try to pass on to my students.
5. What is your favorite part of your job?
Working with students. College is an crucial juncture in one’s life. My students are making career choices and shaping their world views daily. I am honored to be a part of that process. Meeting with students one-on-one, getting to know them and having some sort of influence on their career and life decisions is extremely gratifying.
6. What E-Series course do you teach and what is it about?
IFS 3109 Exploring the World of Sport
7. How do you like to spend your free time?
I practice yoga and teach indoor cycling classes at a local gym.
8. What did we naively not ask you that we should’ve, and your answer to it?
I have three small children ages 2,3, and 4. My husband and I are foster parents. Our middle child is adopted from the Florida State Foster System. We are passionate about helping to protect children from abuse and neglect through involvement in the foster system. Go Foster! is a non-profit we support that helps us do that.