About the Department

California State University, Chico has a Department of Recreation, Hospitality and Parks Management within the College of Communication and Education (CME). It is currently one of seven departments in a college that also includes a School of Communication with three departments (Organizational Communication, Communication Design and Journalism) and three departments aligned with the education system (Department of Education and the Department of Kinesiology).

The department has existed since 1962 under various titles: "Recreation and Youth Leadership," "Recreation and Parks Administration," "Recreation Administration," and now under the present title "Recreation, Hospitality and Parks Management."  The baccalaureate degree was offered in 1962, the minor added in 1966, the Master of Arts degree added in 1969. The Bachelor of Arts degree was changed to a Bachelor of Science degree in 1990. The Bachelor of Science degree is in Recreation Administration.

The department has evolved over the years in response to the needs of a growing California. The Baccalaureate Degree (Bachelor of Science or BS) is currently offered in five, clearly defined, advising patterns: Community, Commercial Recreation and Tourism, Parks and Natural Resource Management, Resort and Lodging Management, Special Events, and Therapeutic Recreation.  The department offers two minors, one in Recreation Administration and another in Tourism. The department also offers a Master of Arts in recreation administration.

The Baccalaureate and Masters programs in Recreation, Hospitality and Parks Management are dedicated to the development of an eclectic concept of professional leadership in recreation and parks. Our graduates are educated to meet individual and group needs across many cultures, age levels, and special populations with a wide variety of settings and environments. They are able to respond with a rich variety of programs, settings and services according to the situation.

All students in Recreation, Hospitality and Parks Management are exposed to core classes and concepts which include: principles, philosophies, values and foundations of recreation; career opportunities and requirements; leadership and supervision; organization and management; human behavior; recreation resources; leisure motivations; promotions and marketing; business and finance; wildland recreation environments; leisure science and the processes of research in the profession. In addition, specialized courses and practical experience in each option prepare students to compete and perform in areas of special interest. All students are involved in numerous off-campus work experiences, field trips, and projects, as well as professional workshops, meetings, conferences, and conventions. Additionally, fieldwork is offered in various recreation and resource settings, where students serve full-time internships with public recreation agencies, private and commercial recreation businesses, therapeutic recreation programs, resort and hospitality businesses, or parks and natural-resources-related agencies before graduation.

Bachelor of Science Options

Community/Commercial Recreation and Tourism

Students may specialize in public, semi-public, volunteer, private, commercial, resort management, military and employee recreation. The recent curricular emphasis on tourism prepares students to provide diverse tourism programming for local, regional, state and federal organizations and agencies including visitor and convention bureaus, economic development agencies, chambers of commerce, and a wide variety of private and non-profit businesses. This programming includes festivals and event management, tourism marketing and promotions, conference and meeting planning, a regional tourism development among others. Within the option, students may focus on the advising patterns in Tourism, Community/Programming and Commercial Recreation.

The Therapeutic Recreation

This option stresses institutional or community-based recreation for a variety of populations: persons with mobility, developmental sensory and/or emotional impairments. The option also prepares professionals for careers with other special-needs populations and individuals including youth-at-risk, seniors, social offenders, the economically disadvantaged, and substance abusers. Successful completion of the degree provides full therapeutic recreation certification.

Parks and Natural Resource Management

Students focus their studies on providing and managing recreation environments and the recreation activities of visitors ranging from urban parks and facilities to wildland recreation settings which include national parks, national forests, wildlife refuges, state parks, desert conservation areas, and coastal access areas. Students will be trained to contribute to multidisciplinary management teams. Within the Parks and Natural Resource Management Option, students choose advising patterns to focus their training in Environmental Interpretation/ Education, Parks and Facilities Management, Outdoor Leadership, and Human Dimensions of Parks Management.

Resort and Lodging Management

Students engage in curriculum that exposes them to customer service, facility operations, business and finance, and hospitality management within the resort and lodging industry. Industry placement is very high and ranges from small individually owned operations to large-scale resorts destination resorts on an international scale. Students learn the basic management skills of the hospitality field while also developing a comprehensive understanding of the trends and behaviors to visitors to these properties. It is this focus on understanding and interacting with customers that has founded our reputation with numerous large-scale hospitality operations.

Special Events

Students pursue coursework in program planning, event management (e.g., festivals, meetings, conferences), customer service, business and finance, and leisure services promotion. Graduates typically begin their careers in tourist-destination cities or areas throughout California and/or the west coast with a strong commitment to quality of life. Students complement their advanced programming skills with in-depth knowledge of how programs and events support an organization's, company's, or agency's, mission and goals.