Under the direction of Dean O. N. Hunter, The Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism evolved from one of three units that split from the College of Education in 1968 to form the College of Health. In that year, Dr. Linn Rockwood was hired from Wisconsin to head up the Recreation Division.
In 1972, Dr. Dale Cruse became head of the division which gained departmental status in 1984. The current name for the department was approved in 1995. Dr. Gary Ellis, who joined the faculty in 1985 and served many years as Director of Graduate Studies, was appointed Chair in 1996 and led the faculty until 2005. Dr. Joseph Arave served as Interim Chair in the 2005/2006 academic year. Dr. Daniel Dustin joined the faculty as Chair in 2006 and served until 2013. Dr. Kelly Bricker was appointed Chair in 2013, and continues to serve as Director for Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, within the newly formed Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Tourism.
New in 2016! The Departments of Health Promotion and Education (HPE), Exercise and Sport Science (ESS), Kinesiology, and Parks, Recreation, and Tourism (PRT) have joined forces to form the Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Recreation (HKR)! This change is a sign of strength and innovation—renewing and expanding our commitment to all aspects of health and well-being, from the individual to our global community and environment. Each program will be strengthened through new research and teaching relationships as well as increased collaboration with a terrific interdisciplinary faculty team. Each undergraduate program continues to award degrees in their respective expertise areas (i.e., Parks, Recreation, and Tourism; Kinesiology; Health Promotion and Education). We continue to forge new relationships in our respective professions, and we welcome the anticipated expansion and the exciting collaborative opportunities. We remain true to our disciplinary roots and yet look forward to growing new branches with this exciting change.
Parks, Recreation, and Tourism continues to offer programs of study leading to baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral degrees. Our undergraduate program is accredited by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).