Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies

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The Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies was founded on July 1, 1946 and has been a distinct department since its inception. The Department offers specializations in Public, Nonprofit, and Community Recreation; Recreational Sport Management; Recreational Therapy; Tourism, Hospitality, and Event Management; and Outdoor Recreation, Parks, and Human Ecology. There are more than 400 undergraduate students and more than 50 graduate students, including 27 doctoral students. The Department works closely with local, state and national agencies in cooperative research, education, and internship opportunities.  The Department has a variety of external activities and initiatives, including the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands, and the Leisure Research Institute.


The mission of the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies is to serve as a state, national and international leader in the creation, dissemination and application of knowledge of human behavior in leisure, recreation, tourism and natural environment contexts to promote, progress, and enhance human health and quality of life.


From its inception, the organized parks and recreation movement in the United States has held as core values the protection of open space and healthy recreational activity as a means to promote the health and well-being of the public and enhance social justice.  Our vision is to be the pre-eminent department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies through the integration of excellence in research, relevance in education, and responsiveness in service. 


  • High quality education
  • Community engagement
  • Access to leisure and recreation
  • Strong community quality of life
  • Sustainable practices
  • Social justice
  • Positive health impact
  • Healthy living
  • Environmental justice


  1. To produce and apply research that improves the health, well-being, and quality of life of the public.
    1. Increase extramural research funding
      1. Increase research proposals submitted for extramural funding
      2. Faculty and student participation in interdisciplinary research teams
      3. Secure internal funding for preliminary work
      4. Increase funds secured
      5. Increase graduate support through research funding
    2. Broaden the impact of research results
      1. Increase annual submissions for peer reviewed publication
      2. Increase publications in interdisciplinary outlets
      3. Improve visibility and recognition of research outcomes
      4. Increase research presentations at national & international meetings
      5. Engage students as co-authors in presentations
    3. Engage students in research projects
      1. Increase percent of graduate students who are exposed to faculty research
      2. Increase number of undergraduate students participating in research projects
      3. Increase funding received by students for supervised research
  2. To prepare the next generation of recreation, park and tourism leaders through education that integrates research, learning and practice.
    1. Baccalaureate
      1. Increase the academic profile of majors
      2. Number of service-learning projects
      3. Number of undergraduates participating in faculty research projects
      4. Number of students securing support for undergraduate research
    2. Masters
      1. Increase MS enrollments
      2. Increase financial support for MS students
      3. Number of MS students involved in research
      4. Number of MS students providing state/national professional presentations
    3. Doctorate
      1. Attract highly qualified doctoral applicants
      2. Placement of doctoral graduates in research institutions
      3. Number of grant-funded assistantships
      4. Percent of doctoral students presenting at national professional meetings
      5. Percent of doctoral students publishing prior to degree completion
  3. To be recognized leaders in engaging the academy, profession and community.
    1. Percent of faculty in school governance leadership
    2. Percent of faculty in campus governance service
    3. Percent of senior faculty (post tenure) serving in professional leadership
    4. Impact of service learning projects on community partners