The Springfield College Sport Management and Recreation Department recently hosted 17 sport and recreation professionals from the Republic of Azerbaijan, who came to learn about different sport and recreation programs for individuals in the United States living with disabilities. The visit included organized lectures and informational sessions, along with a tour of the campus.
The collaboration was made possible with the assistance of the Institute of Training and Development (ITD) in Amherst, Mass. ITD was awarded a grant funded by SportsUnited, a division of the U.S. Department of State Bureau for Educational and Cultural Affairs, to conduct a project that brings physical education teachers and disability workers from Azerbaijan to Massachusetts to collaborate in learning how to promote and adapt sports for youth with disabilities.
“We were honored that Springfield College was selected to host the group from Azerbaijan and have a chance to share ideas and different teaching methods,” said Springfield College Sport Management and Recreation Department Professor Christie George. “We all share a passion for helping individuals with disabilities and we were able to explain programs that work well here in the United States as well as witness some strong programs that are utilized in Azerbaijan.”
The visit to Springfield College was part of a three-week U.S. program in which Azerbaijani participants were involved in different learning and social activities with American counterparts focused on youth with disabilities. Lectures by Springfield College faculty members provided Azerbaijan participants with U.S. historical and social background related to disability and disability sport and recreation. The program also included visits to disability organizations and schools providing direct contact with youth with disabilities and the programs that serve them.
"Professor George at Springfield College did a fantastic job helping the Azerbaijanis to imagine new ways to work with people with disabilities through sport and recreation in their country,” said Institute for Training and Development Executive Director Julie E. Hooks. “The ITD participants made great connections with the therapeutic recreation graduate students and we hope these will continue on into the future."
Founded in 1885, Springfield College is known worldwide for the guiding principles of its Humanics philosophy—educating students in spirit, mind and body for leadership in service to others. With its foundation of academic excellence and rich athletic heritage, Springfield College prepares students with real-world leadership skills for careers that transform lives and communities. The college offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the fields of health sciences, human and social services, sport management and movement studies, education, business, and the arts and sciences. It also offers doctoral programs in physical education, physical therapy, and counseling psychology. The college is ranked in the 2015 edition of “Best Colleges” in the top tier of “Best Regional Universities – North Region” by U.S.News Media Group, and is designated as a premier Leadership Development Center by the YMCA of the USA. More than 5,000 traditional, nontraditional and international students study at its main campus in Springfield, Mass., and at its School of Human Services campuses across the country.