Cazenovia College Sport Management Program Director and Assistant Professor Dr. Tracy Trachsler has a passion for the sport industry. Her experience—primarily in the youth, community, and collegiate levels—helps her to relate to students' passions. Dr. Trachsler has stayed involved in the industry as a practitioner. She brings those personal experiences to the classroom, allowing her to share real-world knowledge with her students.
"I started out as a practitioner, working behind a desk and at athletic events. I spent some time coaching and always had a keen interest to work with students," comments Trachsler. "I have been very privileged that I have been allowed to do that. It is a nice way for me to stay involved in the industry that I fell in love with, while sharing my passion with others."
Trachsler started teaching at Cazenovia College two years ago. She teaches courses such as Sport Event Management, Media Event, Sport Tourism, Sociology of Sport, Sport Practicum, and Sport Internship.
Sport Management Background
Trachsler graduated from the University of Scranton with a dual degree in Spanish and Spanish Education with a minor in coaching. Her goal was to become a teacher-coach, but she ended up deciding athletic administration would be a better fit.
Trachsler finished her Master's in Physical Education and Athletic Administration at Springfield College and promptly landed a job as an assistant athletic director. She spent a number of years in this position before deciding to pursue her doctorate and started to teach full time in the sport management program at SUNY Cortland.
When asked about her teaching philosophy, Trachsler responds, "To help the students become their own teachers. My goal is always to encourage learning and teaching in others. I prefer not to tell them everything they need to know. Students need to be curious and learn for themselves. So I think that my philosophy aligns with the idea that I am always trying to encourage them to be more and do more."
Trachsler describes her students as engaged and passionate about the sports industry. The way she makes the material interesting is by providing them with a number of real-life experiences. She shares funny stories about working in the industry and allows students to talk about their knowledge of the field. She finds that mixing content and theory work well in the sport management program because topics that are as big as the NFL and NBA can be daunting for some students. Talking about things like community sports and collegiate sports is more familiar and helps to reframe the content in a more global context, making it less intimidating.
Cazenovia College allows faculty to be flexible with the courses they teach, with practical knowledge tied to theories and textbook content. Trachsler adds, "It is rewarding to be able to share my experiences and expand my students' frame of reference—even my frame of reference when they share with me—to the content being studied."
Another important thing that Trachsler wants her students to know about her is that she is available to help, whether it is a question about registering for a course or they are working on internship and job applications. Trachsler says, "I want to be a safe place where they can come in and put their fears at ease. My office is a safe haven for all of my students."
As an advisor to the sport management students, Trachsler provides support to her students, both academically and professionally. Some students turn to her for advice about what courses to take and others will confess their fear about next steps after graduation. She makes herself available to students to sit down and get some perspective on things.
"I hope that my demeanor is welcoming. I try to be approachable and accessible, while setting some clear expectations and guidelines," adds Trachsler. "I let students know right away that they are welcome to come to my office at any time that they need to see me, and I can be reached through whatever means they need to reach me. My goal is always to make my students feel welcomed within my program and with me in my office. "
Favorite Things about Cazenovia College
After only two years working at Cazenovia College, Trachsler raves about the College and community. She shares her excitement for events like the College Family Holiday Party, hosted by the Social Sciences Club. Last year, she brought her young children and husband to Cazenovia to enjoy the interactive event with others from the College community.
When asked what the best thing about her job is, Trachsler responds, "The people I get to work with! And my students are amazing!" She continues, "I love coming to work every day and that is the most rewarding thing. I tell my students that they should be able to find a job they love and I am very fortunate that I found this situation here at Cazenovia College."
Trachsler also admires the hands-on learning outside of the classroom. Many of the programs, including sport management, require an internship. The Sport Management program offers various internship experiences over the course of the academic program. Some opportunities are shorter segments while others are full semester commitments, and students are encouraged to participate in a number of internships to help them gain hands-on experience in the field. This practical experience links back to the classroom.
Proud Moments of Students Accomplishments
Trachsler shares that there are moments every day when she is proud of her students' accomplishments. One of the moments was when her students entered a national college article competition through the Front Office Sports College Program. The students placed third and earned $250 for their program, using the funds to help pay for a professional networking experience.
"I signed our students up not knowing how we would do and I am happy to report a number of students just rose out of the ranks and have been publishing articles," comments Trachsler. "The articles were well received, shared and retweeted. It was a community effort from start to finish. We also had great support from our campus and larger community to share the articles that helped us earn points."
Beyond these individual moments, Trachsler could not remember a single experience that solidified her desire to teach. She shares, "It is those tiny moments when students get something, they get excited, show passion, or they all of a sudden decide what they want to do with their career. There is just that moment where you can see it in their eyes that they are finally getting it, and those repeated small moments make me happy to do what I do."
Outside of the classroom, Trachsler stays very involved. She is the advisor for the Sport Management Club, and she is working to start an E-Sport team on campus.
"We are looking to expand on what we do as far as offerings for the students. Most recently, students in the club took a trip to New York City to network with professionals in the field. We are also working on starting an E-Sports Team at Cazenovia College," shares Trachsler.
Advice to Prospective Students
When asked what advice she would like to leave with prospective students, Trachsler comments, "Stay the course! The sport industry is hard to break into sometimes and it is crazy when you get into it. The long days, long hours, long nights, long weekends, long months and long years, are worth it! It is so rewarding and there is something so intoxicating about working in sports, studying, or teaching sports. I hope they find those moments and they will understand why they are in this field."
Learn more about Dr. Tracy Trachsler through our Faculty Spotlight video.