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Recreation & Tourism Management

The Recreation and Tourism Management Program at Georgia Southern University is the only COAPRT accredited four-year bachelor’s degree of its type in the state of Georgia. Our students learn the underlying theory and administrative practices necessary to provide quality leisure services in the areas of outdoor recreation, sports and athletics, event planning, and tourism. Since 1983, our graduates have engaged in rewarding professions that provide life-changing experiences throughout the state and nation.

Program Highlights

  • Two distinct emphasis areas: Outdoor Recreation and Tourism & Community Leisure Services.
  • Comprehensive 480-600 hour internship program in Senior year.
  • Accelerated Bachelors to Masters in Public Administration (MPA).
  • Interdisciplinary Certificate in Hospitality & Tourism Management.
  • Extensive network of internship and employment opportunities with national, state, and local organizations.
  • Undergraduate research opportunities with experienced faculty mentors.
  • Unique courses that incorporate service learning and other forms of experiential education.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Recreation and Tourism Management program at Georgia Southern University is to promote academic excellence and enhance student success in two distinct emphasis areas: Outdoor Recreation and Tourism & Community Leisure Services. This mission is accomplished through classroom instruction, stringent academic expectations, student research, and real-world application of gained knowledge. The program has a long tradition of providing experiential education, including service-learning, that is responsive to the needs of a diverse industry.

Our mission supports and is consistent with the University’s strategic pillars: student success; teaching and research; inclusive excellence; operational efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability; and community engagement. Our students have a demonstrated record of success, as reflected by internship performance and job placements. They are actively involved in fieldtrips, practicums, and other experiential learning opportunities, the University Honors Program, and faculty mentored research. Our students frequently engage in service learning activities that foster both community engagement and inclusion (e.g. Arts Fest; National Public Lands Day; Scare on the Square). Several of our courses are also included in the Interdisciplinary Sustainability Concentration.

Outdoor Recreation

Experiential Learning that Prepares Students for Careers in the Outdoors

Students are involved in numerous experiential learning opportunities designed to develop knowledge and skills necessary for success in the outdoor recreation industry.

  • Students in RECR 3230 (Adventure Education) plan and lead multi-day adventure trips under instructor supervision. Activities include backpacking, canoeing, sea kayaking, and whitewater rafting. An emphasis is placed on using the adventure experience as a means of promoting personal and professional growth for participants.
  • Students in RECR 3235 (Outdoor Recreation Management) participate in an overnight service learning trip for National Public Lands Day. Previous locations include Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and Strom Thurmond Lake. The class frequently meets in other outdoor settings around
  • Students in RECR 4230 (Environmental Education & Interpretation) conduct site visits to the Georgia Southern Museum, the Botanical Gardens, the Center for Wildlife Education and other locations to evaluate educational and interpretive programs. Students actively participate in program design and implementation, and receive both Project Learning Tree and Project WILD Educator certifications upon course completion.
  • Students have the opportunity to earn academic credit for courses offered through Landmark Learning, the National Outdoor Leadership School, Outward Bound, and related
  • All students complete a minimum of 200 experience hours and a 480-600 hour internship in an approved organizational

Careers in Outdoor Recreation

There are two general career paths that outdoor recreation students can pursue: Outdoor Recreation Management and Outdoor Program Administration.

Outdoor Recreation Management: public sector employment with federal, state, and local land management agencies.

Recent employment and internship locations for Georgia Southern alumni include:

  • Army Corps of Engineers
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Georgia DNR – State Parks & Historic Sites; Law Enforcement; Wildlife Resources
  • Local park and recreation departments
  • National Park Service
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. Forest Service

Outdoor Program Administration: provision of recreational, educational, developmental, and therapeutic adventure programs in the private, non-profit, and public sectors.

Recent employment and internship locations for Georgia Southern alumni include:

  • Camps, private schools, and residential facilities
  • Commercial guide services and tourism providers
  • Destination ski resorts
  • Military Morale, Welfare, and Recreation programs
  • National Outdoor Leadership School
  • Outdoor education centers and science schools
  • Outward Bound
  • University Outdoor Programs
  • Therapeutic Wilderness Programs

The Outdoor Recreation emphasis is comprised of six required courses:

  • RECR 3230 – Adventure Education
  • RECR 3235 – Outdoor Recreation Management
  • RECR 4230 – Environmental Education and Interpretation
  • RECR 4630 – Professional Development in Recreation
  • Two Upper Division RECR Electives

Students interested in the outdoor recreation management career path are required to minor or pursue 15 credits of Guided Major Electives in areas such as anthropology, biology, communication studies, geographic information sciences (GIS), geography, geology, graphic design, history, or justice studies.

  • Students interested in the outdoor recreation management career path are strongly encouraged to complete a minimum of 24 natural science course credits (includes RECR 3235, and RECR 4230).

Students interested in outdoor program administration are required to minor or pursue 15 credits of Guided Major Electives in areas such as business, child and family

development, communication studies, exercise science, geography, health education & promotion, justice studies, psychology, or sociology.

For more information about Outdoor Recreation at Georgia Southern University, please contact:

 Dr. John Peden

Professor & Program Coordinator Recreation & Tourism Management jpeden@georgiasouthern.edu

912-478-5684

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Tourism & Community Leisure Services

The Tourism and Community Leisure Services emphasis areas enable students to acquire the skills and practical experiences required to succeed in a variety of career paths. Those interested the Tourism track learn about the diverse nature of this industry and how to work effectively in the fields of destination marketing and management; conference, festival and event planning; hotel and resort management; and attractions management. Additionally, students are prepared for careers in the vast array of recreation and leisure service delivery businesses located at tourism destinations.

The Community Leisure Services track provides students the skills and experiences required to manage recreation programs and facilities. Career opportunities abound in organizations such as community parks and recreation departments, campus recreation centers, YMCA’s, Boys and Girls Clubs, and tourism destination resorts and hotels.

In both areas, students gain practical experience in a number of field-based settings, complete 200 experience hours (paid or unpaid) and a 480-600 hour internship at a location related to the student’s specific interests. These program features provide Tourism and Community Leisure Services students the flexibility needed to tailor their education around their passions and interests all while preparing for a future career. Our graduates are employed by a wide range of public, private, and non-profit organizations throughout the United States.

Potential careers in tourism

  • Destination Marketing & Sales
  • Tourism Promotion & Planning Agencies
  • Visitor’s Bureau Director
  • Special Event Planner
  • Event, Conference, Festival or Wedding Planner
  • Tourism Attraction Manager
  • Convention Center Director
  • Resort Recreation Director
  • Resort Operations & Management
  • Tour or Travel Guide
  • Cruise Ship Recreation Director
  • Airline Flight Attendant

Potential careers in community leisure services

  • Campus Recreation/Intramurals Director
  • Recreation or Sport Facility Director
  • City/County Recreation Department Director
  • Aquatics Director & Water Park Operations
  • Athletic/Sport Program Director
  • Youth Athletics Supervisor
  • Facilities/Athletics Coordinator
  • US Military Morale, Welfare & Recreation Programs
  • Fitness Center Director
  • Recreation Facility Maintenance Director
  • Corporate Recreation Director
  • City/Regional Arts Center Director
  • Golf Course Operations & Management

Recent employment and internship locations

  • Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority
  • Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head Island
  • Savannah International Trade & Convention Center
  • Launchpad Advertising, New York, NY
  • Delta Airlines, Atlanta, GA
  • Destinations South Meetings + Events, Atlanta, GA
  • Discover Dunwoody CVB, Dunwoody, GA
  • Johns Creek Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa, Denver, CO
  • The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds (Plantation), Lake Oconee
  • Vail Resorts, Vail, CO
  • Disney’s All-Star Resort, Orlando, FL
  • Great Western Lodging, Breckinridge, CO
  • Chateau Elan Winery & Resort
  • Atlanta Tech Village
  • Atlanta Parent Magazine
  • Meeting Expectations, Atlanta, GA
  • Gulfstream Aerospace, Savannah, GA
  • Campus Recreation & Intramurals (various states)
  • Averitt Center for the Arts, Statesboro, GA
  • Statesboro-Bulloch County (GA) Parks & Recreation Department
  • Byran County (GA) Parks & Recreation Department
  • Charleston County (SC) Parks & Recreation Commission
  • Cherokee (GA) Recreation & Parks Agency
  • Dalton (GA) Parks & Recreation Department
  • Dooly County (GA) Parks & Recreation Department
  • Fannin County (GA) Parks & Recreation Department
  • Lake Cane Tennis Center, Orlando, FL
  • The Clubhouse, Statesboro, GA
  • Tormenta Football Club, Statesboro, GA
  • Major League Baseball Teams

For more information about Tourism and Community Leisure Services at Georgia Southern University, please contact:

Dr. James Bigley IAB Building Room 3085

jbigley@georgiasouthern.edu 912-478-5601

Dr. Thomas Sweeney IAB Building Room 3082

tsweeney@georgiasouthern.edu 912-478-5463