Department Faculty Bios

Laurie Browne

man in tan coat, Morgan Geddie

Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Recreation, Hospitality, & Tourism, University of Utah
M.S., Recreation, Hospitality, & Tourism, University of Utah
B.S., Kinesiology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Link to Vita (pdf)

Laurie Browne is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Recreation, Hospitality, and Parks Management at California State University, Chico where she teaches courses in recreation program planning, marketing, financial management, and computer literacy. Laurie is passionate about relevant, team-based learning experiences that prepare students to be effective problem solvers in their field and to use these skills to contribute to individual and community well-being. Laurie has received grants from the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, the CSU, Chico Student Learning Fee, and the California State University Chancellor’s Office to redesign a variety of courses to ensure they meet COAPRT Accreditation Standards and prepare students to be outstanding professionals in the fields related to recreation, hospitality, and parks management.

In addition to her Departmental teaching responsibilities, Laurie is actively involved in campus-wide initiatives to promote students’ understanding of poverty and their engagement in civic life. As a part of this work, Laurie collaborates with faculty across disciplines to design curricula and implement meaningful learning experiences for students. Her research in this area focuses on how to effectively engage students in learning about poverty in a way that promotes empathy and an understanding of poverty as a structural issue rather than an individual failing.

Laurie is also actively involved with the American Camp Association, where she serves on the Committee for Advancement of Research and Evaluation, designs online courses and webinars, and facilitates workshops at the National and Section conferences. In this area Laurie conducts research related to positive youth development in the summer camp setting. Specifically, Laurie focuses on methods for effectively evaluating developmental experiences and using evaluation data to inform program improvement processes. She also conducts research on camp staff engagement and how engagement relates to youth outcomes in the summer camp setting.

In her free time Laurie loves spending time with her family in the wilderness, enjoying Northern California’s local food, gardening, and reading.

Brett Eldredge

Man standing in fron of wood fence, Brett Eldredge

PhD Management, Organizational Behavior and Theory, University of Texas at Dallas, School of Management
MA Business Administration, CSU, Sacramento
BA Psychology, CSU, Sacramento
Link to Vita(pdf)
Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Hospitality and Parks Management. Classes taught include the department’s introductory/foundations class, its science component, its writing proficiency/capstone/management course, its computer literacy course, a general education course, and several graduate research/methods courses. Guest lecturer in recreation courses on the topics of problem solving/decision making, conflict management, professionalism, and ethics. Also, lecturer in the Department of Management, teaching the introductory business course, the introductory management course, advanced management courses in organization behavior and organization theory, business communication classes, and a course dealing with the interaction of business and society. Emphasis on group exercises and casework as a compliment to lecture. Supported departmental initiatives, including improving student writing skills and incorporation of technology in curriculum. Participated in faculty governance and in multiple research projects with fellow faculty.

Morgan Geddie

man in tan coat, Morgan Geddie

Associate Dean, Professor
EdD, Occupational and Adult Education with emphasis in Human Resources Development, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma
MBA Marketing, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, Oklahoma
BS Hotel and Restaurant Administration, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma
Associate Dean, College of Education and Communication
Department Chair and Professor, Department of Recreation, Hospitality and Parks Management
Link to Vita (pdf)

Morgan Geddie is the associate Dean of the College of Education and Communication as well as department chair and a professor of resort and lodging management in the Department of Recreation, Hospitality and Parks Management at California State University, Chico. Geddie received his doctorate from Oklahoma State University in occupational and adult education, with an emphasis in human resources development. He also has an MBA, with an emphasis in marketing, from the University of Central Oklahoma and a BS in hotel and restaurant management from Oklahoma State University. Before joining the faculty at Chico State, he taught at the University of Houston, Oklahoma State University, Eastern Illinois University, and Arkansas Tech University. He also has several years of hotel experience in the New York City, New York and Charlotte, North Carolina markets. Geddie specializes in the areas of lodging and cruise line management. He has published in many journals, textbooks, and trade magazines, as well as being a featured speaker at several conferences. 

Richard Gitelson

Man in a tie, Richard Gitelson

Associate Professor
Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, Arizone State University, Phoenix, AZ
PhD Recreation Natural Resource Management, Texas A&M
M.S. in Recreation Administration, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
M.A.T. in History, University of North Carolina
B.A. in Sociology/Recreation Administration, University of North Carolina
Department of Recreation, Hospitality and Parks Management California State University, Chico

Link to Vita (pdf)

Richard Gitelson received his doctorate from Texas A & M University in recreation natural resource management. He also has a master's in recreation administration and a master's in teaching from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Penn State University, and Arizona State University. He has published over 45 research articles and has made presentations at local, state, national, and international conferences in the areas of special events, tourism impacts, leisure behavior, gerontology, and management.

Jon Hooper

Jon Hooper sitting at the computer

Ph.D. in Ecology/Environmental Communication, Univ. of Calif., Davis
M.S. in Natural Resource Administration/Wildlife Biology, Colorado State Univ.
B.S. in Biological Sciences, Univ. of Calif., Davis
Link to Vita (pdf)

Dr. Jon Hooper is the coordinator of the Parks and Natural Resources Management Option. He has been an environmental educator for 40 years. His professional "mission" is to help people better understand how ecological systems truly function (i.e., replacing fallacies with facts) so they can make ecologically-sound decisions on environmental issues. 

Jon holds a PhD in ecology from the University of California, Davis, a MS in natural resources administration/wildlife biology from Colorado State University, and a BS in biological sciences from UC Davis. He was the, first-ever, "Project WILD: National Facilitator of the Year" in 2006. He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist (The Wildlife Society) and a Certified Interpretive Trainer (National Association for Interpretation). 

Jon has built interpretive displays for the California Department of Parks and Recreation, designed a self-guided trail for the Mendocino National Forest, and served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Lassen Association at Lassen Volcanic National Park. He has worked in the field as a "fish squeezer" (he trapped and transplanted fish for the Colorado Division of Wildlife in -47 degree weather) and as a Staff Research Associate for Wildlife and Sea Grant Extension at the University of California, Davis. Jon was given the "Raymond F. Dasmann Award" for Wildlife Professional of the Year, in 2002, by the Western Section of The Wildlife Society. 

Personally, Jon is dedicated to his 2 boys, snow skiing, wind surfing, sailing, gardening, playing his keyboard and piano, and computers (yep...he actually likes the darn least when they work!).

Jeff Jiang

Man in sweater in front of yellow wall, Jeff Jiang

Associate Professor
Ph.D. in Leisure Studies and Services, University of Oregon
M.A. in Journalism,  University of Oregon
B.A. in English,  Beijing Language Institute, Beijing, China

Dr. Jeff Jiang is the coordinator of the Special Event and Tourism Option. He received his PhD in leisure studies and services (with an emphasis in tourist behavior) from the University of Oregon. Prior to coming to California State University, Chico, he also taught recreation, tourism and/or event management at the University of Oregon, Hong Kong Baptist University, and University of Northern Iowa. His research interest and expertise include tourism and event impacts on destinations, tourist behavior, destination and event marketing effectiveness, event education, sustainable tourism and event management, and cross-cultural issues in tourism and event management. Jiang has over 10 years of professional experience in tourism, hospitality, and event management. He is a member of International Festivals and Events Association, Professional Convention Management Association, and World Leisure Organization. He is also a founding member of the Global Roundtable Council of International Festivals and Events Association.

Michael Leitner

man sitting on a bike, Michael Leitner

PhD University of Maryland at College Park, Maryland
MA University of Maryland at College Park, Maryland
BA Brooklyn College (City University of New York), New York
Link to Vita (pdf)

Michael Leitner is the coordinator of the recreation therapy option. His area of specialization within recreation therapy is gerontology. He also teaches in the graduate program and coordinates the department's general education course, Leisure and Life." He is the author of two textbooks that are widely used in the U.S. and in other countries: Leisure Enhancement (3rd edition) and Leisure in Later Life (3rd edition), both published in 2004. 

Leitner has been actively involved in programs and research related to recreational coexistence work with Palestinians and Israelis.

Laura McLachlin

Woman laughing, Laura McLachlin

PhD Therapeutic Recreation, Texas Woman's University
MS Recreation Administration, CSU, Sacramento
BS Therapeutic Recreation, CSU, Sacramento
Link to Vita (pdf)

Laura McLachlin has worked in the field of recreation therapy both as an educator and practitioner for the past 29 years. She currently is a Professor at California State University, Chico. She serves as the coordinator for the Recreation Therapy Option and the Community/Commercial Recreation and Tourism Option. Each summer she serves as co-director for Ability First Sports Camp (a residential camp that serves youth with physical disabilities). Her areas of interest are in the areas of inclusive-recreation, disability and sport, Americans with Disabilities Act, program development, volunteerism, and camp management. 

Don Penland

man in a red shit, Don Penland

MA Computer Science Education, University of Oregon, Eugene Oregon
Single Subject Credential, Natural Science, Mathematics
BA California State University, Chico, Biology
Link to Vita (pdf)
Don Penland has been a faculty member at CSU, Chico since 1989. He was hired by the College of Education to assist faculty with the addition of technology to their class and manage the computer labs. He was housed in the Department of Recreation and Parks Management. Don has a BA in biology with a minor in chemistry and his MS in computer science education from the University of Oregon.

Sarah Richardson

woman in front of green bushes, Sarah Richardson

Associate Professor
PhD Recreation Resources Development, Texas A&M University
MS Recreation Resources Development, Texas A&M University
BES Environmental Studies/Geography, University of Waterloo

Areas of interest include: customer service, marketing, and management as they relate to recreation organization; ecotourism/natural resources management; and human-animal interactions.

Course Instructor:
Natural Resources and the Informed Citizen, 
Leisure Services Promotions
Customer Service and Sales in Recreation Operations

Outside interests include: pet therapy, dog training and dog sports, small business development, cycling and bicycle touring, and travel.

Edward Seagle

Man in gray sweater smiling, Edwards Seagle

EdD Education Administration/Counseling Psychology, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA
MA Recreation Education/Therapeutic Recreation, Brigham Young University, Salt Lake City, Utah
BA Recreation Administration, California State University, Sacramento
Link to Vita(pdf)

Dr. Seagle has been with the faculty at CSU, Chico, since 1976. He has served as Internship Coordinator for 25+ years, and Resort & Lodging Management Coordinator for the past 10 years. Over that time the program has worked with a number of major hospitality companies in the U.S. and abroad (including Hyatt, Marriott, Four Seasons, Starwood, Hilton, Fairmont, Pebble Beach, and others).

His primary areas of interest are career development and training, leadership, and stress reduction through humor and laughter. He has also, published two books on career development through Venture Publishing. The first book has been the number one seller since its initial publication.

Emilyn Sheffield

woman by the beach, Emilyn Sheffield

Department Chair
PhD The University of Southern California
BS The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Link to Vita (pdf)

Emilyn Sheffield is a Professor of recreation and parks management at California State University, Chico where more than 500 students are preparing for careers in hospitality, parks, recreation, and tourism. Since 1986, she has worked with partners to connect people to the parks and special places that enhance their lives. Her applied research projects, and high-energy presentations, help natural resource-leaders and their partners respond more effectively to changing demographic and lifestyle trends. She is currently investigating community engagement, volunteerism, and conservation stewardship with University Service Learning throughout California. 

Sheffield works with interdisciplinary teams on complex projects involving scenic byways, heritage tourism infrastructure, and visitor services throughout California and the western United States. These projects share the common goal of increasing support for parks and special places through branding, identity systems, strategic planning, or product development.

The National Park Service, the Presidio Trust, the USDA Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, California State Parks, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Save the Redwoods League, and local parks and tourism organizations are recent project sponsors or partners. Private sector partners include the newly formed National Park Promotion Council, the California Park Hospitality Association, and several destination marketing organizations in the western United States.

From CSU, Chico and the Golden Gate National Parks she coordinates Service Learning and Leadership Field Schools at national parks, trails, and forests in California. Students restore habitat for threatened and endangered species, plant thousands of native plants, remove truck-loads of invasive species, re-route trails to "rescue redwoods" share nature with children through Junior Ranger Day programs, assume integral roles in training conferences, launch cultural heritage stewardship programs, and gain "hands-on" experience with dozens of community-based stewardship programs. Students analyze the challenges confronting natural resources professionals as society becomes more urban and less connected to nature. They propose innovative solutions, learn from the best, and join their ranks finding satisfying careers with agencies and organizations committed to protecting and restoring nature by engaging community stewards in their work.

Sheffield is the current President of the Association of Partners for Public Lands and serves on the executive board of the California Roundtable for Recreation, Parks and Tourism, a public-private partnership of resource agencies, tourism organizations, environmental entities, equipment manufacturers, and user groups working together to ensure sustainable, outdoor recreation for Californians. She co-chairs the National Park Promotion Council Research Committee.

Matthew Stone

Man in gray sweater smiling, Edwards Seagle

Assistant Professor
PhD, Recreation, Park, & Tourism Sciences, Texas A&M University
MHM, Hospitality Management, University of Houston
BS, Business Administration, University of Illinois
Matthew Stone is assistant professor in the Department of Recreation, Hospitality, and Parks Management at Chico State, where he teaches courses in hospitality, lodging, and event management.  Stone previously held faculty positions at University of Houston and Prince George’s Community College.  He is also a certified meeting professional (CMP).  Prior to teaching, Matthew spent twelve years as a manager with upscale branded hotels, including positions as director of sales and marketing, director of catering sales, and front office manager with Marriott- and Hilton-branded properties.  As a consumer travel expert, Matthew has been quoted by USA Today, Houston Chronicle, Smart Money, and Los Angeles Times as well as appearing on news broadcasts.  His travel writing has appeared in Airways magazine and several online travel sites. 
Matthew’s academic research focuses on consumer behavior in tourism and hospitality, as well as the educational outcomes of travel experiences.  His research has appeared in Journal of Travel Research and has been presented at international conferences.  His passion is travel.

Jessica Walter

woman in blue top, Jessica Walter

MA Recreation Administration, CSU, Chico (expected May 2011)
BS Recreation Management, SUNY, Cortland 

Areas of interest: service learning, experiential education, outdoor education and recreation, parks and public lands, non-profit management, and non-profit partners to public lands agencies.

Course Instructor: Introduction to Leisure and Recreation.

When not in the classroom, Jessica is finishing her master's thesis on Service Learning in National Parks, and enjoying the great outdoors with her husband and their two dogs.