April 17, 2008

College of Human Services offers pair of advanced degrees

Posted: April 17, 2008

Two Arizona State University colleges are teaming to offer a pair of new graduate degrees for students interested in the fields of recreation, tourism, non-profit management, and community resources and development. The College of Human Services at the West campus and the College of Public Programs at the Downtown campus will offer a Master of Science in Recreation and Tourism Studies and Ph.D. in Community Resources and Development beginning in the fall of 2008.

The new degrees are the only ones of their kind offered in the state of Arizona.

The partnership brings together the diverse learning environments of two of ASU’s campuses located within the heart of the Phoenix metropolitan area, a growing and dynamic urban setting. The degree programs are the only ones at ASU offered jointly by two different units at two different campuses, broadening access for students. Included in the master’s program is an accelerated bachelor’s-master’s degree that will provide students the opportunity to complete both degrees in five years.

“This is a wonderful partnership that will improve access to graduate education for our students,” says Kathleen Andereck, a professor in the Department of Recreation and Tourism Management and the director of the two graduate programs. “This will give students an opportunity to work with a broader range of faculty who have a variety of interests and expertise.”

The master’s degree is designed to prepare students to analyze and understand critical topics and issues relative to the fields of recreation, leisure and tourism. Two degree options are available to students. The 30-hour research-thesis track is recommended for students planning to continue graduate studies beyond the master’s degree, while the 36-hour management-oriented professional track is intended for students seeking additional knowledge and expertise relevant to career development.

“For current undergraduate students, or for those already working in the field who want additional career and personal development, or who want to move upward into management positions more quickly, this master’s program is really ideal,” says Andereck, who has conducted recreation- and tourism-related research projects for the Arizona Office of Tourism, USDA Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Arizona Department of Commerce, Arizona State Parks, Arizona Tourism Alliance, and a number of communities throughout the state. “It is also designed for those with a bachelor’s degree in a different field who are interested in a career in parks-, recreation- or tourism-related organizations.

“It also will serve the needs of students who eventually want to earn a Ph.D. and be a university professor or work in a research-oriented capacity with agencies or organizations.”

The doctorate degree, a full-time program, builds on graduate courses in tourism, parks and recreation, and non-profit management and includes faculty mentoring and community involvement. It is designed for graduate students interested in the study of community development; tourism development and management; community studies; parks, recreation and leisure; and non-profit leadership and management. Research will occur within three thematic areas: sustainable communities, organizational capacity building, and enhancing community quality of life across the lifespan.

“Our programs advance the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of our local and global communities through instruction, research and service,” says Andereck, who is also president of the Great Western Chapter of the Travel and Tourism Research Association.“These programs are offered to help students acquire the knowledge and perspective they will need to lead these fields through the challenges of the next century.”

Andereck also notes the degree offerings will benefit from the community support they have already received.

“There has been a terrific response to these programs from the professional community,” she reports. “There are a number of organizations that have expressed a deep interest in our graduate students. Phoenix Parks and Recreation is funding graduate assistantships, and we believe more of these types of partnerships will develop to the benefit of our students.

“These programs will flourish here. We have an urban niche that is attractive to students, plus we have a plethora of natural resources and the cultural resources. We have everything right here for our students to study, to research and to experience first-hand.”

Tim Tyrrell, professor in the Downtown campus School of Community Resources and Development, and director of ASU’s Megapolitan Tourism Research Center, agrees with Andereck, noting, “Arizona's tourism industry has given enthusiastic support to these new programs and our existing bachelor degree programs through scholarship and internship opportunities. The move to downtown Phoenix by the college in 2006 has been a win-win for us, bringing us closer to many of our tourism industry partners and also closer to our academic colleagues at the West campus."

For additional information about the master’s degree in Recreation and Tourism Studies and the Ph.D. in Community Resources and Development, contact the Department of Recreation and Tourism Management (West campus) at 602-543-6603, or the School of Community Resources and Development (Downtown campus) at 602-496-1056.

Information relative to the master’s program can be found at rtsms.asu.edu, while Ph.D. program information is at crdphd.asu.edu.

Stephen Des Georges, Stephen.Desgeorges@asu.edu
480-727-0757
ASU Foundation