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Joy DeSensi Diversity Award for Inclusive Excellence


The purpose of the Joy DeSensi Diversity Award for Inclusive Excellence is to recognize exceptional contributions to promote diversity and inclusion within NASSM and related sport management disciplines. The award signifies (a) a significant contribution to promoting and understanding diversity within NASSM; (b) the creation of innovative programs, initiatives, strategies, etc. designed to enhance NASSM’s diversity and inclusion; and (c) a sustained commitment to developing diversity and inclusion in sport management disciplines through teaching, research, and/or service.


Any professional member of NASSM is eligible to be nominated and receive the NASSM Diversity Award recognition. One does not have to have served on the Diversity Committee. Nominees must have been members of NASSM for a minimum of five years.

Nomination Process

All nominations must be submitted electronically to the Committee Chair (Dr. Michael Naraine, Brock University,, prior to the nomination deadline. The deadline for nomination of this award is July 15, 2021.

Any NASSM member may nominate another NASSM member for consideration by submitting a letter, not to exceed two pages, to the committee Chair. Self-nominations will be accepted. Nominees may be of any faculty rank, and must currently be teaching full time in a sport management major curriculum. There is no limit to the number of times a member may be nominated. Nominations will remain active for three years.

The nomination letter should outline the qualifications of the nominee based on the award's purpose (see Purpose). Nominees must be able to provide the required evidence (See Section III - Evidence) by the designated deadline. The committee will select no more than three final candidates based on the nomination letters. Finalists will be notified by August 1.

NOTE: Although the intent is that the award will be given annually, it may be necessary on occasion not to present the award if a qualified recipient is not determined.


If selected as a finalist, candidates must provide the following supporting evidence to the committee chair no later than September 15. All materials must be submitted electronically.

  1. A current curriculum vita.
  2. An application document, not to exceed 5-pages, that includes a statement of the candidate's perspectives on diversity and evidence which describes the candidate's qualifications based on the purposes of the award (see first paragraph, page 1).

Examples of evidence may be, but is not limited to the following, as appropriate:

  • Work demonstrating the candidate actively promotes diversity and inclusion in NASSM.
  • Research that advances understanding of diversity within sport management and related domains.
  • Teaching that advances understanding of diversity within sport management – through course curricula, new teaching methods, development of diversity courses, etc.
  • Service that demonstrates an advanced commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • Demonstrated mentorship of underrepresented groups within sport management.
  • Service on NASSM’s Diversity Committee.


The NASSM Sport Management Diversity Award Selection Committee will evaluate candidates' credentials based on the evidence as provided. The committee may request clarifications or explanations, as appropriate.

Selection and Award

The NASSM Sport Management Diversity Award Committee Chair will provide the committee’s recommendations to the NASSM Executive Council no later than November 1. The Council will select the NASSM Diversity Award by majority vote no later than November 15.

The Chairperson shall notify all applicants of their status upon completion of review.

NASSM Sport Management Diversity Award recipients will receive appropriate recognition at the annual NASSM conference, as determined by the NASSM Executive Council.

Past Diversity Award Winners

no recipient due to COVID-19
Jacqueline McDowell, George Mason University
John Singer, Texas A&M University
George Cunningham, Texas A&M University
Ming Li, Western Michigan University
Brenda Pitts, Georgia State University
Heidi Grappendorf, University of Cincinnati
Mary Hums, University of Louisville
Joy DeSensi, University of Tennessee