Dr Robert Baker – The Balancing Act in Sports Management

Lahnee Pavlovich
Head of Research and Writing

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“You can be on the right track, but you’ll get run over if you just sit.”


It is often said that having balance in life is a key ingredient in achieving success. And the balance provided in the curriculum directed by Dr Robert Baker at the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), George Mason University, is what makes their program sought after and its participants such successful graduates.

sports managementAccording to Dr Baker, the balance provided between the foundations of sport and society and the skills needed to succeed in the sport industry, as well as between academic foundations and practical applications, is what makes their program stand out from the rest.

“We prepare students for what they are doing, whether that is graduate studies or employment in sport,” he said.

“We have a comprehensive curriculum, a diverse, respected faculty, field-based opportunities, vast networking opportunities and we are located the Washington DC metropolitan area. These are just some of the reasons students choose to study with us,”

“Additionally, we have a faculty that balances scholarly engagement and sport experiences, using both to enhance our students’ opportunities for development,”

“We want our students to leave the program with self-awareness, communication skills, work ethic, and the ability to learn and apply knowledge and skills.”

sports management

No stranger to the act of balancing academic skill with practical experience, Dr Baker oversees three academic programs including Recreation Management, Sport Management, and Tourism and Events Management, all of which offer some of the most popular undergraduate majors at George Mason University. He is also director of the Center for Sport Management and was previously the academic program coordinator for the Sport Management program in the School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism.

But that is not all.

Having served as president of NASSM, a founding board member of WASM, founding commissioner of COSMA, and having built effective sport management programs at two institutions and been acknowledged with the NASSM Distinguished Sport Management Educator award and the NASPE Outstanding Achievement in Sport Management award – two of his greatest accomplishments to date – Dr Baker believes balance, hard work and tactics are the key to success.

“Purposeful hard work directed toward a vision. Continual improvement driven by clear goals and appropriate strategies are what I attribute to my success in this field,” he said.

Dr Baker currently uses Athlete Assessments DISC Profiling within his programs and said it had contributed greatly to the further development of students.

“The DISC approach allows students to not only gain a deeper understanding of their own tendencies, but to also understand how they can better relate to others with various managerial or leadership predispositions,” he said.

About Dr Robert Baker

sports managementDr Robert Baker is part of the leadership team for the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) at George Mason University.

Dr Baker started at George Mason University in 2005. He received a doctorate in education with a specialization in higher education and athletic administration from the College of William and Mary. His master’s and bachelor’s degrees are from Pennsylvania State University.

Along with his CEHD colleagues, Baker’s extensive work with the U.S. Department of State has spanned five years in partnership with SportsUnited, a sport-based cultural exchange program for nearly 700 young athletes and Coaches from many different countries.

Baker was recently president of the North American Society for Sport Management, a founding board member of the World Association for Sport Management, and founding commissioner for the Commission for Sport Management Accreditation. He is co-author of the forthcoming book Sport Diplomacy and several other books, and has published dozens of journal articles and reports. He is also on the editorial board for the Journal of Applied Sport Management, Quest, and the International Journal for Sport Management.

Dr. Robert Baker’s current research agenda focuses on stakeholder dynamics in sport, including sport leadership and coaching; sport for development and peace; sport analytics; inclusive sport; and sport management professional preparation.

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