ISU rolls out motorsports minor, other initiatives

April 18 2006

PHOTO: ISU alumnus Scot Elkins (left) talks to students about motorsports as a career as part of the April 18 announcement of the minor and other related initiatives. Elkins is director of technology for the Champ Car World Series and a member of the motorsports management advisory committee. Looking on is Randy Peters (right), assistant professor of industrial/mechanical technology at ISU.
Press conference photos
Racing simulator photos
Panel discussion photos
Chuck Jenckes presentation


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - The announcement of a new minor in motorsports management at Indiana State University is doing more than getting current and future students revved up about the possibilities. It's also showing that ISU is responsive to the needs of the motorsports industry - an area of growing importance, economically and otherwise, to the state of Indiana and the nation.

"One of the things that we have tried to do is find out exactly what employers are saying they need to be successful in this industry in this state, and that's one of the reasons that led to the development of the minor that we have rolled out today," said Ron Green, dean of ISU's College of Business.

Three ISU colleges (business, health and human performance, and technology) will collaboratively deliver a minor, beginning this fall, which will focus on motorsports management. It will draw on the expertise of ISU faculty in these colleges and is expected to complement a variety of degrees on campus.

"Motorsports is a large and diverse sector of our economy and historically has provided employment for many of our graduates, especially from automotive technology management," said W. Tad Foster, dean of ISU's College of Technology. "The industry is growing rapidly in size and complexity and, based on input from our advisory groups, we believe the time is right for the creation of degrees specifically designed for this industry."

The minor will include 21 credit hours of required and elective courses, including everything from "Introduction to Risk and Insurance" to "Legal Environment of Business" to "Marketing Applications in Sports" to "Introduction to Automotive Engines," among others.

Besides driving a car or other motorized vehicle in competition, motorsports careers run from one end of the spectrum to the other. The industry encompasses occupations such as vehicle design, building, maintenance, management and promotion as well as the creation, financing, management and promotion of facilities, products and services in support of these competitions.

Kelly Waite, a junior marketing major from Hobart, Ind., is well on her way to earning the first motorsports management minor at Indiana State.

"I can now focus more on the industry," said Waite, who also serves as a member of ISU's motorsports management advisory board. "It [the minor] helps get my foot in the door and shows that I have experience with both the technical side and a business side of motorsports."

Scot Elkins, a member of the motorsports management and automotive technology management advisory boards, graduated from ISU's manufacturing technology program in 2000. Today, he is the director of technology for the Champ Car World Series, and he says a minor such as this would have been a wonderful introduction to his career.

"If it were here (minor) I would have started my career path a lot sooner because at the time I didn't know that working in motorsports as a career was even an option," he said.

Elkins and others like him, have joined with ISU faculty to mold the motorsports management program into a unique offering and to assist Indiana State in playing a major role in the motorsports industry throughout the state of Indiana and beyond.

"I'm thrilled and excited to participate in this vital minor," said Doug Timmons, interim dean of the College of Health and Human Performance. "Several of our graduates have found work in this field, and we?re excited about the opportunities it will provide for up-and-coming graduates as well."

As part of their motorsports partnerships and outreach initiatives, ISU faculty and advisory board members have been working hard to garner input from key players via an industry survey. Representatives from ISU's College of Business developed a comprehensive survey to take the pulse of the motorsports environment as it now stands. Developed in partnership with the IEDC - the survey will help them to determine exactly what jobs are out there, what specific skill sets are needed, and what the future growth potential is for these companies and their services in each sector of the industry.

"It would be foolish to develop academic programs without fully understanding what is needed and that requires listening to the experts who understand the industry and make hiring decisions," Green said. "Our goal is to work collaboratively with those already in the motorsports industry to allow us to prepare future professionals with the skills and knowledge they will need."

Besides building the curriculum and garnering industry feedback, ISU also will be bringing in a visiting fellow for a six-month period this spring and summer to jump-start some specific motorsports-related initiatives. Guy Faulkner of the University of Westminster, London, England, will soon be working out of the College of Business to aid in the development of the minor and to cultivate motorsports partnerships at the state, national and even international levels.

"As we move forward from today, it's going to be my pleasure to share with companies all over the United States and some around the world the strengthening of our motorsports workforce that we're having due in great part to schools and universities like Indiana State University," said Matt Steward, director of motorsports development for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, a major partner in this initiative.

For more information about ISU's motorsports management program or its related initiatives, call (812) 237-2000 or (812)-237-3166 or get info on the Motorsports Minor.

-30-

CONTACTS: Joe Harder, associate professor, management information systems, (812) 237-2280 or jtharder@indstate.edu; Randy Peters, assistant professor, industrial/mechanical technology, (812) 237-4962 or rpeters@indstate.edu; Ethan Strigas, assistant professor, recreation and sport management, (812) 237-3900 or rcstriga@isugw.indstate.edu.

WRITER: Maria Greninger, associate director, Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, (812) 237-4357 or m-greninger@indstate.edu

Bookmark and Share

Story Highlights

The announcement of a new minor in motorsports management at Indiana State University is doing more than getting current and future students revved up about the possibilities. The minor is a joint initiative involving ISU's colleges of business, technology and health and human performance.

Bookmark and Share