Speakers | FORUM & ASSEMBLY 2017


Speakers per session

Session 1: ‘From re-search to re-invention’

Jayne Wilson

Principal Research Fellow
Sport Industry Research Centre
Sheffield Hallam University, United Kingdom


Jayne specialises in strategy development, marketing planning and project evaluation. Jayne was involved in the delivery of national training programmes for Sport England in the use of the Active People and Market Segmentation Data and has led the development of a number of sport and active recreation strategies for local authority partners. More recently she has undertaken work for Comic Relief to evaluate the impact of employability projects in the Sport for Development sector.


Within the Sport Industry research group, she directed the 2013 BUCS commissioned research into the impact that sport has on graduate employability, with this becoming more of a priority for students and institutions alike following the increase in tuition fees and the continuing changes to the HE landscape.


With this session ‘from research to re-invention,’ Jayne will reflect on the broad value of graduate engagement in sport from a research as well as strategic perspective taking the 2013 BUCS Graduate Employability Research as a starting point. Jayne will consider the implications of the research and how we can use it to improve the student experience, and secure investment in sport within our own institutions.

Arne Göring

Head of sport and researcher Institute of sport sciences
University of Goettingen, Germany


Dr. Arne Göring was born in 1975. He graduated from Göttingen University in 2001 with degrees in biology, sports science, sociology and political science. In 2005, he completed his Ph.D. in sociology of sport. Since 2002 he has worked as a deputy director at the Sports Centre of the University of Göttingen. He was a member of the board of the German University Sports Federation from 2005 to 2013. His research and teachings focus on topics relating to sports and education in different academic contexts. His latest research project addresses the link between sporting activities and the academic success of university students.


Physical activity and sport are a well‐established element in the higher education system in most western populations. In these countries one of the main arguments for the provision of a university sports program is the educational potential of the sporting activities. Often the institutions of university sports centers legitimize their work with valuable educational potentials. The presentation will focus on the evidence of this statement. For this the current research on this topic is being evaluated regarding the potential effects of university sport, focussing on personal development, development of skills, academic success and graduate employability. In summary, the present empirical results show that sport is not representing a universal remedy, more it requires a pedagogical, value-based stage, focused on different goals that are all very individual and diverse. The presentation then discusses key challenges faced by university sport facilities in order to make a contribution to the system of higher education in the future.

Session 2: ‘Value, Impact and Legacy’

Sara Liebscher

Senior Director of Athletics Advancement
University of Notre Dame
Indiana, United States



Sara Liebscher is in her 14th year in Development with the University of Notre Dame, where she serves as the Senior Director of Athletics Advancement, overseeing the fundraising efforts and operations for all Athletics priorities and serving as the liaison between the Athletics and Development Departments. Under her leadership, an initiative to fully endow all of the University’s coaching and athletics scholarships was launched and her team is raising record funding for the 26 varsity sports. Liebscher holds both a Bachelors (1991) and Masters (1993) Degree from the University and was a four-year monogram winner and captain of the women’s basketball team.

Guri Hetland

Project Leader Trondheim 2023 bid Ski World Championships
Trondheim, Norway



Guri Knotten Hetland is a former professional Norwegian cross country skier and sports coach. Before she returned to Norway in 2014, Guri lived in Switzerland and worked as sports manager of the Swiss cross-country team from 2011 and as coach for the private cross-country team Engadin Skimarathon Team. Besides this, Hetland also works for FIS as a technical delegate, and is sponsor of Marit Bjørgen, cross-country skier and six times Olympic champion from Midtre Gauldal, Norway


From 2014, when she took her current role as project leader for the 2021 and now 2023 Trondheim bid to host the Ski World Championships, Guri has taken an organiser perspective towards her favorite sports.


Big events, today, include large responsibility to deliver not only for the athletes and supporters involved but for the entire community. The public, today, is more critical than ever towards the lasting impact and legacy of the organisation of and investment in large sporting events. Recently, public disapproval of the Hamburg 2024 bid for the Olympics and similar questions with regards to other events, point out that the impact and value of sport are not self-evident. The exercise of proving the value and lasting impact of sporting events is very similar to the work we do daily to defend the position of sport and physical activity in the University context. Impact and legacy is something you create.

In view of the 2023 Trondheim 2023 bid, Guri will introduce us to her views on value, impact and legacy in the sporting context.

Lorenz Ursprung

Director ASVZ Zürich
Treasurer EUSA
Zürich, Switzerland


Lorenz Ursprung is director of the Academic Sports Association of Zurich. He holds Master Degrees in Physical Education, German and Philosophy and worked at the Swiss Federal Office of Sports as head of sport policy and sports promotion and member of the management board. He is also EUSA treasurer.


Lorenz will take us back to the University context. We asked him the question whether sport can be seen as a sellable product in the University context based on its value and impact and all the research that is out there to support these claims. With his presentation titled ‘What is there to sell?’, he will approach University sport a product raising questions as to ‘What are we selling?’, ‘How can we sell it?’,  and ‘Who are the customers?’. University sport, our product, has changed considerably over time, and so have the needs and expectations of our stakeholders.

Session 3: ‘Stakeholder Engagement’ (Interactive)

Michael Pedersen

M INC Founder


Michael Pedersen is an

an internationally recognized expert in sport governance, transparency, ethics and integrity Michael works independently with his company M INC to help sport develop standards of good governance as a winning strategy for building trust, growth and performance into the future. While doing so, Michael also supports projects that evolve around the mix of sport, children, values and positive societal change. Among other positions, he headed the global corporate governance initiative of the World Economic Forum with more than 175 multinational companies and their CEOs. Michael Pedersen holds three MSc degrees; an MSc in Global Leadership; an MSc in Responsibility and Business Practice; and an MSc in International Relations. Michael is also a passionate athlete himself and strives to do sport twice a day. Albeit of Danish origin, his current base is Malaga, Spain (for a more comprehensive bio, see http://minc.ch/about-michael.html).


In this interactive session, Michael Pedersen will make us aware of various stakeholder perspectives in an informative and interactive way.


Session 4: ‘Utilising the research’

Marije Baart de la Faille – Deutekom & Vera Dekkers

Marije Deutekom is professor ‘Power of Sports’ at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and Inholland University of Applied Sciences. The Power of Sports research program focusses on sports participation and adapted sports. The sports participation research line seeks to demonstrate the importance of participating in sports to people in the Netherlands and stimulate them to exercise (more).






Vera Dekkers is researcher at the professorship ‘Power of Sports’ at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. She is engaged with research on sports participation. She is about to start PhD research on the relationship between student sports and academic results.


There is evidence of a positive effect of exercising at University sport centres academic results for the American context. However, little research has been undertaken on this relationship in a situation comparable to the Dutch university system. We analysed the effect of exercising at university sport centres of four Dutch universities on academic results of bachelor students. We linked the number of achieved credits with sport centre membership. Analysing these data shows that members of the university sport centres on average achieve significantly 1.3 credits more than non-members. These preliminary findings suggest that exercising at university sport centres has a positive impact on academic results of Dutch bachelor students.

Stew Fowlie

Chief Operating Officer
Scottish Student Sport, United Kingdom


Stew Fowlie is a passionate advocate of tertiary education’s many contributions to sport and physical activity. Stew has been employed in student sport since 2002 and took up his current post of chief operating officer when SSS was launched in June 2011.

Now retired from an exciting semi-professional football ‘career’, Stew remains a keen but occasional golfer. He has enjoyed 4 holes-in-one to date, proving that it is better to be lucky than good!


Stew will first set the current context for student sport and physical activity in Scotland, drawing upon some headline statistics that capture the size and scope of tertiary education’s many activities – and describing the linkages to the work of partners at local, regional and national level.

Niamh O’Callaghan

Manager Elite Sports Programme
Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland


Niamh O’Callaghan has been employed in student sport since 1995 and currently manages the Elite Sport Programme at Dublin Institute of Technology.    She is engaged with research on sports participation in the Irish third-level sector and is a passionate believer in the potential of this sector to majorly impact on the sport and health of the community at institutional and wider society level.


The Student Activity and Sport Study Ireland (SASSI) is a response to the challenges and concerns facing third-level sport and was commissioned by Student Sport Ireland (SSI) to provide the data necessary for Irish third level colleges to plan for the future.

The session will provide an overview and detailed analysis of SASSI in relation to sport and physical activity participation, preferences and provision in third-level colleges – highlighting some of the positive challenges presented by some of the findings – and finally discuss how these findings will influence the work of SSI and shape the future development of Irish student sport.

Session 5: ‘Tools for winning stakeholder engagement’

Paola Ottonello

Policy and Communications Officer for gender equality in sport
European Commission, Brussels, Belgium


Paola works as gender equality and communications officer for the sport unit of the European Commission, falling under the Directorate General for Education and Culture. She follows all EU development in the field of gender equality and sport and has ensured the secretariat of the Expert Group on Good Governance under the previous Workplan for Sport.

Paola has a strong background in communication, having spent several years working in digital communication at the European Commission, and is still actively involved in this field, for example within the team working on the European Week of Sport. She started her career in academia, as a researcher lecturing in international relations and holds a PhD in European Studies from the University of Pavia.


Paola will highlight the most recent development in the field of sport at the EU level and presents the highlights of the new EU Workplan for Sport which was launched in July 2017. Particular focus in her presentation lies on the role of the EU as a stakeholder in the broad sport context and its support for the value and impact of physical activity with specific attention for the topic of gender equality in sport.

Michael Pedersen (see above)


In this highly engaging and interactive presentation, Michael Pedersen will be offering perspectives and insights from the interactive session on the day before along with specific tools for developing and implementing stakeholder engagement strategies. Based on a general focus on winning stakeholder engagement strategies for placing sport and physical activity high on university agendas, Michael will be sharing perspectives on specific stakeholder business cases, evolving good stakeholder engagement practices from across European universities and a catalogue of ideas on effective approaches for future stakeholder engagement.