In fall 2023, two new master’s degree programs launched at Russell Sage that responded to workforce needs. The M.S. in Sport Science: Coaching and Mental Performance helps coaches, particularly physical education teachers who coach teams, to address the growing mental health needs of athletes. And the M.S. in Criminal Justice and Community Corrections responds to the shift in our criminal justice system to favor a more community-based approach over imprisonment. 

Both programs were launched online, meeting the needs of today’s students, who seek to further their education while fitting graduate school into their busy work and personal lives.

Learn more about the first student cohorts and exciting things to come. 

On-Campus Pipeline Feeds Sport Science and Mental Performance

The new Sport Science:Coaching and Mental Performance master’s degree has 12 students and solid interest for the spring semester, said Pete Stapleton, Ph.D., assistant professor and chair of Sage’s professional education programs. 

A little more than half of the Sport Science students came directly from Sage’s undergraduate Physical Education program, and even though Sport Science is an online program, many of its students are engaged in campus life as resident assistants or student-athletes whose eligibility was extended after COVID shutdowns. 

“The most exciting thing about launching this program for me is that it’s the culmination of an idea to meet the changing needs of professionals,” said Stapleton, describing how the online format is important to physical educators, who often have coaching responsibilities and find it difficult to make on-campus class schedules work. 

And while the Sport Science master’s degree is ideal for physical educators in New York state who must earn a graduate degree for professional certification, Stapleton welcomes individuals from other fields who want to get into teaching and coaching. 

“The students who have enrolled from non-PE backgrounds do have some prerequisite courses to complete, but we work with them to tailor their plan to degree completion,” he said. 

The new Sport Science program builds on Sage’s existing reputation for preparing professionals in physical and health education, health sciences, and sport management, Stapleton continued. “A strong educational foundation leads to professional outcomes that support individuals in the pursuit of their passions.”  

Partnerships Help Build Criminal Justice and Community Corrections Enrollment

There are nine students in the new Criminal Justice and Community Corrections master’s program, and Associate Professor and Program Director Carol DiMambro, Ph.D., expects to see at least the same number of new students enroll for spring 2024. 

Most of the students are working in the criminal justice field and one is making a career change.Three are Sage alumni. 

“We are thrilled to have four students enrolled through our new Albany County partnership,” DiMambro said. That collaboration was announced at a press conference on Sage’s Albany campus in August and offers a 10% tuition discount and deferred payment plan among other benefits for Albany County employees. 

DiMambro recently met with all of the county probation directors in New York State to build additional partnerships in both the probation field and in programs providing alternatives to incarceration. She also anticipates articulation agreements with undergraduate programs at other colleges will be coming soon.

“Interacting with people in the field of community corrections and others in criminal justice is one of the most exciting aspects of launching the program,” said DiMambro. “The program is the only one in the nation that focuses on community corrections, but more importantly, the courses focus on building skills and knowledge that help prepare students to meet the needs of individuals who receive their services.”

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