Print this page


Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Services Administration (RPL)

For information, please contact the chairperson, 989-774-3858, 214 Finch;

Why Study Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Services Administration?

Americans spend approximately one-third of their lives enjoying some type of leisure experience. With increasing life spans, shorter work weeks and longer and more intensive vacations, the amount of time spent in leisure continues to increase.

The dollars spent on leisure make a substantial contribution to the economy. It is predicted that in the years to come, recreation/travel/tourism may comprise the largest expenditure of our economy, larger than either defense or health care. Professionals in recreation, parks, and leisure service administration are trained to help others utilize leisure time intelligently. As recreation and park administration personnel, they contribute immeasurably to an improved quality of life for others through creative and well-planned use of leisure time.

Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Services Administration at CMU

Accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions, CMU offers the first professionally accredited major in the field of recreation, parks, and leisure services administration in the state of Michigan. Students may select one of three areas of concentration offered by the Department; these include recreation and event management, outdoor and environmental recreation, and therapeutic recreation. The recreation and event management concentration would prepare students for recreation, programming, and event management across a spectrum of public, nonprofit, and commercial settings and environments. Students with an outdoor and environmental recreation concentration would be prepared for employment in camp administration, nature interpretation, and county, state, and/or national parks. The therapeutic recreation option prepares students to work with persons with illness or disability utilizing recreation activity as a therapeutic or treatment intervention. Students obtaining degrees in therapeutic recreation may be employed within hospitals (rehabilitation, psychiatric, substance abuse), residential facilities, geriatric agencies and/or community recreation and parks departments.

Regardless of the concentration selected, students majoring in recreation will be required to enroll in a common core of courses that will emphasize the philosophical framework of the profession. Students will acquire professional competencies to effectively design, organize, implement, manage, administer, and/or evaluate recreational programming assuring it effectively meets the diverse needs of the individuals or community serviced. The department places a strong emphasis on the practical aspects of students’ training by offering an extensive internship program, which is completed following the completion of professional coursework. The combination of the professional internship and our curriculum provides the student with the competencies necessary to direct and/or administer leisure services supporting individual, family, and community wellness assuring an enhanced quality of life for all.

The Faculty

Jill Almasi-Dole, Jordan Bruursema, Lynn Dominguez, Robert Dvorak, James Allen Ellard, Robert Frost, Lori Irwin, Kyung Hee Lee, Timothy Otteman, Darcie Schafer, Mary Lou Schilling, Robert Schumacker, Dean Wallin, LeAnn Wheeler

The Programs

Recreation Major with the following concentrations:

  Recreation and Event Management Concentration

  Outdoor and Environmental Recreation Concentration

  Therapeutic Recreation Concentration

Recreation Minor

Event Management Minor

Outdoor and Environmental Education Minor

Leadership Minor (Interdisciplinary)