The goal of the Department of Recreation and Parks Management is to prepare liberally educated individuals whose philosophical and practical approaches to the provision of recreation services and facilities are based on the latest methods and techniques. Students learn to be inquisitive and receptive to varying points of view, proficient in a broad spectrum of software and skilled in multiple modalities of communication and interpersonal relations. Graduates will have the ability to motivate and to help others enrich their lives through the constructive use of leisure.

Students develop appropriate professional capabilities and attitudes required for work in a variety of settings. They learn to advise customers and to organize, plan, budget, and manage both leisure services and recreation and park resources. The use of technology to enhance the provision of leisure services has become a distinguishing characteristic of graduates.

The department offers the bachelor's and master's degrees, and minors in Recreation Administration and Tourism. Preparation is provided within the major for five distinct degree options. Within these options, students may further focus their training into special areas. For example, students within the Option in Community and Commercial Recreation may specialize in public, volunteer, private, commercial, and entrepreneurial recreation. Those with an Option in Parks and Natural Resources Management select environmental education and interpretation, recreation and natural resource management, park operations, or planning and design as areas of concentration. The Option in Resort and Lodging Management focuses on preparation for entry-level management positions in hotels and resorts. This includes operations, convention services, guest services, accounting, sales, marketing, special events, and food and beverage operations, as well as cruise ships, spas, and fine dining establishments. The Option in Special Events and Tourism focuses on special event and festival management, meeting and conference services, destination management, and tourism marketing. The Option in Therapeutic Recreation stresses clinical and community-based recreation for persons with physical, emotional, and developmental disabilities.

General preparation and core courses cover the following areas: principles, philosophies, values, and foundations of recreation; career opportunities and requirements; leadership and supervision; organization and management; human behavior, recreation for special populations, recreation resources, motivation and promotion; business and finance; applied research; and the environment. In addition, specialized courses and practical experiences in each option prepare those majoring in the program to compete and perform successfully in areas of special interest. The department manages four different computer labs to ensure that students have access to a wide range of technological tools.

Fieldwork is offered in various recreation and resource settings, and students serve full-time internships with public recreation agencies, private or commercial recreation businesses, hotels and resorts, therapeutic programs, or parks and natural resource-related agencies.

The Department of Recreation and Parks Management has one of the largest and most respected programs of its kind in the nation. The program is accredited by the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA). A diverse and dedicated faculty strive to ensure the best professional education for program majors, minors, and graduate students. Interested students are encouraged to work with faculty on a wide variety of projects.

Career Outlook

Recreation is the second-largest industry in the United States. While no university degree automatically ensures employment, Chico graduates who have tailored their programs and work experiences to market opportunities have done well in securing relevant career positions. It is the department's goal to develop and maintain close ties to the profession to help our students become leading candidates for jobs upon graduation.