After working for six years in an assistant professor role at Bowie State University, Academy graduate Dr. Joseph Spears has been rewarded with a promotion and granted tenure.

Spears, who lives in Maryland, was awarded tenure and promoted to the rank of associate professor of sports management at Bowie (Md.) State University, where he also serves as NCAA faculty athletic representative.

Spears earned his Doctor of Education degree in sports management from the Academy in 2011. He holds master’s degrees in higher education from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md., and in divinity from Virginia Union University in Richmond, Va. Spears earned a bachelor’s degree at Logos Christian College in Jacksonville, Fla.

With a background in religious studies, Spears said he chose to study at the Academy to blend his religious background with an education in sports. He is an avid distance runner and bicyclist and a former boxer and football player.

“I loved sports, and I knew that I wasn’t a good enough athlete to be a professional athlete,” Spears said. “The Academy helped me to blend my love of sports with what I learned in my religious education. The Academy helped me to realize the good that sports can do in society, and in turn, I have been able to see the connection between sports, society, politics and religion.

“I was looking to study more than just the business side of sports, because there is so much more to it than that. Sports can truly be transformational in society. The Academy is great because it allows you to study all aspects of sport.”

At Bowie State, Spears teaches courses in sports management and conducts research on sport and its relationship to the economy, religious institutions and stakeholders in the community.

“A lot of my research takes place with fourth and fifth grade students in the public schools in Baltimore and the Prince Georges County area,” Spears said. “My Bowie State students and I study how physical activity will impact a student’s academic ability. The public school students participate in a physical activity, then we test their cognitive abilities after the activity to see how physical activity impacts their academic performance. It has been enlightening to see the positive affect of activity on their cognitive performance.

“I have performed similar studies to investigate how offering sports and physical activities can impact a church’s finances and membership rolls.”
As faculty athletic representative, Spears acts as the liaison between Bowie State faculty, its athletics department and the NCAA.

“I advocate on behalf of the athletes and faculty to make sure there is integrity in the process at every level,” Spears said.

Outside of his work at Bowie State, Spears founded nonprofit organization Men of Valor and Purpose (MVP) Sports, which focuses on providing services in education and physical fitness to underserved communities. In 2007, the nonprofit initiated a boxing mentorship program in Headland, Ala., and has since hosted sports mentorship programs in Daphne, Ala., and in Maryland.  MVP has benefited underserved children in the Prince Georges County public school system with sports based programs.

“The Academy prepared me for all of this, and I am truly thankful for everything it has done for me and countless other graduates,” he said. “It prepared me for a life in the world of sports. It gave me the tools and the wherewithal to engage in sports and the community and ultimately in the world of government.”