Professional Practice Focus
Leisure Behavior & Park and Recreation Management
Graduate students interested in professional practice in the areas of leisure behavior and park and recreation management
have an opportunity to be involved in many activities of our Department's Office of Recreation and Park Resources (ORPR).
ORPR, the primary public engagement arm of the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism, provides students with the
opportunity to be involved in applied research projects with park districts, city recreation departments and county park
agencies. Students involved with ORPR have also worked on projects with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources,
the Illinois Association of Park Districts, the Illinois Park and Recreation Association and the Illinois Municipal League.
Recently, ORPR has developed a relationship with the internship program of the National Great Rivers Research and Education
Center. Examples of ORPR's applied research projects include:
Applied Research Projects Examples
- Frankfort Square Park District Community Survey
- Wheaton Park District Community Survey
- Illinois Park Lands and Recreation Facilities Inventory Study – conducted for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources
- Land Dedication Ordinances Survey and Report – conducted in partnership with the Illinois Association of Park Districts
- Membership Survey – conducted for the 3000 member Illinois Park and Recreation Association
Currently graduate students working with ORPR are involved in three new projects: 1. Master Plan for the East St. Louis Park
District, 2. State-wide survey of city recreation departments and park districts, 3. Study and survey of county park agencies in
It is our mission that Students depart with management and leadership knowledge for successful advancement in the sport industry.
The University of Illinois boasts outstanding athletic and sport resources which have been partnered to enhance the graduate student
experience. Our numerous distinguished Alumni return to provide lectures, consultation and internship possibilities. In addition,
graduate funding is available through graduate assistantship, teaching and research positions. For more information on assistantships,
please visit our newly founded ILLINI SCHOLARS program information page.
Those graduate students interested in applied tourism research have been able to participate in a variety of hands-on projects
from local to international. For the most part these opportunities have originated in RST 457 Tourism Development, a course that
is project oriented where small groups of students help to resolve tourism development challenges from client groups. The goal of
these exercises has been to connect students to practitioners and entrepreneurs in an engaging and fun way.
Examples of such projects include:
- "Adopting" Monticello, Il Chamber of Commerce and developing Web 2.0 promotional technologies for them.
- Working with the East St. Louis Park District to implement a family reunion tourism program.
- Exploring the potential for agritourism on the U of I South Farms campus.
- Assisting a small business providing outdoor recreation programs in Vladimir Russia to expand their market share.
- Develop and deliver a comprehensive training workshop for tourism professionals on how to employ Web 2.0 technologies.