Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism 5 summarizes select characteristics of our faculty. ......

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  • Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences

    Academic Program Review

    Academic Year 2013

    Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences

    2261 TAMU

    College Station, TX 77843-2261


    January 4, 2013

  • Executive Summary

    Self-Study, Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences

    January 4, 2013

    This self-study provides summary and analyses related to the Academic Program Review of the

    Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences, conducted during Academic Year 2013.

    The centerpiece of the review is an external evaluation conducted by a three-member site visiting

    team. Professor Karla Henderson of North Carolina State University will chair the team. Team

    members are Professor Linda Caldwell (The Pennsylvania State University) and Distinguished

    Professor Lowell Caneday (Oklahoma State University). The review team is charged with

    evaluating the following a) the efficiency and effectiveness of utilization of resources, b) the

    quality of the academic programs in terms of curriculum and learning outcomes, c) strengths,

    weaknesses, opportunities, and threats associated with academic program offerings, d) the scope

    and efficacy of collaborative initiatives and programs, e) the national stature of the program, and

    f) the departments contributions to the Universitys strategic initiatives, Vision 2020 and Action

    2015.The self-study provides data that serve as a basis for evaluation of these questions. It is

    divided into nine sections. Select highlights per section follow.

    Section 1 is a copy of the formal charge presented to the review team. It also points out that the

    Department offers three graduate degrees (PhD, MS, MRRD), a graduate certificate program

    (Community Development), one undergraduate degree (BS) with two majors (Community

    Development and Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences) and an undergraduate certificate

    program (Professional Event Manager).

    Section 2 provides a description of the organizational context. Included is a description of the

    Texas A&M University System and the reporting lines of the Department to three Texas A&M

    University System entities: Texas A&M University, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, and Texas

    A&M AgriLife Extension Service. The section emphasizes the importance of consideration of all

    three agencies in understanding the resources and programs of the department.

    Section 3 summarizes the history, organization, mission, and planning of the department. It

    points out that the Department was created in 1965 as an initiative of President Earl Rudder. The

    first classes were offered in 1966, and the graduate program was added in 1968. The

    interdisciplinary perspective that was valued by our original Department Head, Dr. Leslie M.

    Reid, continues to be pivotal in our success to this day. Our mission focuses on individual and

    societal well-being as a function of education and research, and is summarized in our tag-line:

    Quality experiences, lives, and communities! Department plans can be categorized into three

    sets: a) standing, non-financial plans, b) financial plans, and c) action plans for individual

    projects. The Department organizational structure comprises a Department Head, an Associate

    Department Head, and Associate Department Heads for Graduate and Undergraduate Programs.

    Standing committees are an executive committee, and undergraduate committee, a graduate

    committee, a promotion and tenure committee, specialization area teams, and an international

    programs committee. Improvements that have resulted from the previous academic program

    review (2006) and professional accreditation review are also summarized in Section 3.

  • Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences

    Section 4 provides descriptions of the academic programs offered by the Department. Our BS

    degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences offers students opportunity to study in four

    specialization areas: Parks and Conservation, Community Recreation and Park Administration,

    Tourism Management, and Youth Development. The Tourism Management program continues

    to be our highest demand program, but the last two years have witnessed substantial growth in

    our Youth Development program as well. We added a Professional Event Manager Certificate

    program in Academic Year 2012, and that program is also in high demand. Section 4

    summarizes the history of each program, along with curriculum requirements, exemplars, and an

    analysis of each programs strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

    Section 5 summarizes select characteristics of our faculty. Twenty-six full-time faculty members

    serve the Department through Texas A&M University and Texas A&M AgriLife Research

    appointments. An additional four faculty members serve the Department through Texas A&M

    AgriLife Extension Service roles. Four exceptional adjunct professors serve the Department, and

    part-time faculty include individuals who have had particularly distinguished careers in parks,

    recreation, and tourism. For the fall semester of Calendar Year 2011 (the last year for which data

    are reported by the Office of Institutional Studies and Planning), 35% of faculty were female (8

    of 23), and 17% (4 of 23) were non-white (Hispanic, Black, or Asian). A brief biographical

    sketch is provided for each member of our faculty.

    Section 6 provides a description of student characteristics, teaching metrics, and learning

    outcomes assessment. One of the key challenges the Department faces is successfully managing

    enrollment growth. While we have stabilized our numbers of graduate students, our

    undergraduate enrollments have increased by 81% over three years, from 242 in 2009 to 439 in

    the spring semester of 2012. We are not able to pinpoint a single cause for this growth. Perhaps

    the most compelling explanation is that curriculum development has resulted in more visible and

    more attractive offerings. We implemented a new undergraduate curriculum in 2010. That

    curriculum formalized (and, of course, allowed us to publicize) opportunity to study in one of

    four specialization areas in our Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences major: Tourism

    Management, Community Recreation and Park Administration, Parks and Conservation, and

    Youth Development. Our youth development specialization has grown substantially since this

    change, as has our undergraduate major in community development. We also implemented a

    very popular new certificate program in 2011: Professional Event Manager Certificate. We have

    expanded our distance offerings, and, with support from the Athletics Department, we have

    developed a program to meet needs of nontraditional students on our campus, including student-

    athletes. Strategies for managing this explosive growth in demand for our undergraduate

    programs are discussed in Section 6.

    Section 6 also describes our learning outcomes assessment program. Our undergraduate learning

    outcomes assessment program is consistent with professional accreditation standards established

    by the CHEA-accredited Council on Accreditation for Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related

    Professions. Our most recent reaccreditation occurred in 2010. We were the first pilot program

    for a new set of learning outcomes-based professional accreditation standards, which will be

    implemented in all accredited programs in parks, recreation and tourism on the continent in

    2013. We rely heavily on two direct measures of learning outcomes and one indirect measure.

    Direct measures include objective tests and ratings by professionals who supervise our student

  • Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences

    interns. The indirect measure is an exit survey of graduating students. Graduate program

    assessment is inherent in qualifying exams and thesis defenses, but we also include supervisory

    committee ratings of student attainment of learning outcomes as part of our assessment program.

    Section 7 provides a summary of resources available to the department in pursuing its mission.

    We report the various sources of funds used to provide the academic program and changes in

    those since our 2006 academic program review. While some key revenue sources have been

    diminished as a result of budget reductions to the Texas A&M System, other sources

    (partnerships, differential tuition, and others) are being nurtured to sustain quality and manage

    growth. The issue of salary equity is explored as are options and plans for addressing those. The

    chapter also describes scholarships that have been provided by generous donors and it

    summarizes facilities and equipment resources of the Department.

    Section 8 addresses collaboration. It includes a summary of major collaborative programs

    managed centrally, as well as collaborative education and research of individual faculty

    members. Separate advisory boards are in place for each specialization area. These advisory

    boards are comprised of leading professionals from the travel, recreation, and experience

    industries who meet at least annually to advise the Department on matters of curriculum,

    research, internships, and service. Consistent with the history of interdisciplinary focus of the

    department, collaborati