CEHD News Recreation, Park, and Leisure Studies

CEHD News Recreation, Park, and Leisure Studies

Lewis and McAvoy are featured in December 2017 issue of Connect

Connect, the magazine of the College of Education and Human Development, features two School of Kinesiology faculty/emeritus faculty in the December 2017 issue.

Beth Lewis, Ph.D., School director and professor, is featured in “Healthy Moms,” a story about her research in the areas of motivational interventions for physical activity and the relationship between exercise and mental health, and her pivotal studies focused on the role of exercise in preventing postpartum depression. She is also working on a new research project on postpartum depression prevention beginning during pregnancy and continuing through the postpartum phase.

Leo McAvoy, Ph.D., professor emeritus of recreation, park, and leisure studies in the School, was presented the Outstanding Achievement Award last July, the highest honor presented to a University alumnus.  “Everybody outside!” recounts his many years as an inspiring, involved, and beloved professor and scholar, driven by deep commitment to and respect for the power of nature and his belief in the value of hands-on education.

Rec Admin students develop report for Three Rivers Park District on barriers to underrepresented groups

Sara Hansen and Tyler Tegtmeier, both Recreation Administration students in the School of Kinesiology, have developed a report for the Three Rivers Park District to research recreation opportunities for underrepresented populations in the district’s public parks. The 27-page report of their findings provides recommendations to reduce barriers to parks and recreation facilities by underrepresented groups. The report was presented to the organizations involved in the study for their consideration and determination of next steps.

Hansen and Tegtmeier proceeded with the report under the guidance of Recreation Administration Director Connie Magnuson, Ph.D., along with Alex McKinney, Recreation Supervisor at Three Rivers Park District.

Health, sport and recreation career fair to be held Feb. 8

Career fair photoThe CEHD Health, Sport and Recreation Career Fair  on Feb. 8 at the U’s Recreation and Wellness Center is specifically designed for Kinesiology, Sport Management and Recreation, Park and Leisure Studies students looking for internships, full-time positions and graduate program information. Fifteen organizations from diverse areas such as Allina Health, U of M Athletics, and the YMCA and YWCA, will be there to recruit and share information about their organization. Visit GoldPASS to see all of the employers who will be attending. No registration is required.

REC students involved in Resilient Communities Project (RCP)

Under the leadership of Tony Brown, Ph.D., Recreation Administration instructor in the School of Kinesiology and associate director of the Department of Recreational Sports, students participated in this year’s Resilient Communities Project (RCP), working with the City of Brooklyn Park. The students enrolled in the Recreation Administration major applied their knowledge and skills to a real-world project with a community partner. They worked with the City’s in its effort to address nature-based recreation opportunities and equitable use of athletic fields.

The RCP is an organization dedicated to connecting communities in Minnesota with diverse expertise of University of Minnesota faculty and students to address pressing local issues in ways that advance sustainability and resilience.

Mitch Hoffman receives AORE’s Patsy Kott Service Award for 2016

Mitch HoffmanMitch Hoffman, M.A., adjunct instructor in Kinesiology’s Recreation, Park, and Leisure Studies undergraduate program, was awarded the Patsy Kott Service Award from the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE) at their 2016 annual conference November 9-11.

The award is described in the association’s press release:

The Patsy Kott Service Award
This award recognizes long-term professional work or service having a lasting impact on the Association and its mission. This award is presented to an AORE member who has demonstrated behind the scenes impactful and steadfast service to the AORE. A distinguishing characteristic for this award is significant long-term service to support the Association from behind the front lines. 

Mitch has been a long-time member of and advocate for AORE. He is a past AORE Board of Directors member and a two-time conference host. He is extremely active within AORE and has assisted with and led many AORE initiatives. Mitch has been a great sounding voice for Board members, committee chairs, and other members, and repeatedly puts AORE and the membership first. He takes time away from family to support the National Office and AORE volunteers, and is selfless in things he is passionate about. Mitch has been instrumental in building relationships with outdoor gear companies to support AORE events and in creating connections among members and vendors.
Mitch has carved his AORE path on dedication, leadership, and stewardship, not only with AORE, but also at the University of Minnesota and beyond. 

Hoffman, who is the Outdoor Center Director for the U’s Recreation and Wellness Center, teaches REC 3321 Outdoor Recreation 3-Season Skills. He also organized this year’s AORE conference held on the U of M campus at McNamara Alumni Center and the Recreation and Wellness Center.

Magnuson to present on Freshman Seminar Course

magnusonc-prefConnie Magnuson, Ph.D., director of the School of Kinesiology’s Recreation, Park, and Leisure Studies program, will present on her innovative and successful Freshman Seminar course, Go Outside and Playat The Association for Experiential Education International Conference from October 27-30 in Minneapolis.

Go Outside and Play is a course designed to introduce University of Minnesota freshmen to the great outdoors. Within the Twin Cities, outstanding agencies and numerous local, state, and national parks provide great resources for community engagement and enrichment right in our backyard. Through hiking, biking, standup paddle boarding and canoeing, students learn numerous ways to incorporate healthy, fun and life-long activities into their lives while understanding the importance of advocating for sustainable natural and environmental resources.


Magnuson to present at Internationalizing the Curriculum and Campus Conference

Connie MagnusonConnie Magnuson, Ph.D., director of the School of Kinesiology’s Recreation, Park, and Leisure Studies program, will present her poster Global Connectedness: Our Actions Matter at a conference on September 30, 2016 at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs on the U of M campus.

Internationalizing the Curriculum and Campus Conference: Preparing Global-Ready Students will showcase current programs, research, and initiatives to internationalize the curriculum and campus at the University of Minnesota. The conference is free and open to all University of Minnesota staff, faculty, and students.

In her presentation, Magnuson will underscore these points about internationalization: “Whether we are diving in Belize, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro or surfing in Panama, a constant theme in all of these learning abroad courses is: how we choose to live, the resources we use and the actions we take, have a global impact. Students become immersed in the environment and the culture of these international locations and gain first hand knowledge of how interconnected we really are on this planet and what it means to be a global citizen.”


Former Rec, Park, and Leisure Studies Division Head, John Schultz (1933-2016)

Dr. John H. SchultzThe School of Kinesiology is saddened to report that a former faculty member and colleague, John H. Schultz, Ph.D., passed away on July 23 in Albert Lea, MN. Dr. Schultz served the school with honor and distinction from 1974 to 1997. He served as Division Head for the School’s then-Division of Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Studies from 1974 to 1989 and as department chair from 1984 to 1986. An obituary is available here. Our condolences to his wife and family.

Magnuson interviewed for Staycations article

Connie Magnuson
Dr. Connie Magnuson

Connie Magnuson, Ph.D., director of the Recreation, Park, and Leisure Studies program was interviewed for WalletHub’s article 2016’s Best & Worst Cities for Staycations. She was part of a panel of experts who responded to the pros and cons of taking a staycation. On why families should choose a staycation, she states: “Vacations and staycations are all about creating memories and enjoying life. You can make that happen anywhere.”

Read the full article here.


Magnuson and Hoffman tour Panama for new REC adventure course

Panama sceneConnie Magnuson, Ph.D., director of the School of Kinesiology’s Recreation Administration program, and Brandi Hoffman, director of Kinesiology’s Physical Activity Program, spent spring break trying to catch the perfect wave while surfing the stunning, blue-green Caribbean Ocean in Panama.

Panama ConnieThis was one of many activities they scouted for a new learning abroad course in Bocasdel Toro, a unique and richly diverse archipelago on the northern coast. They also visited the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, School of Field Studies, and the Sea Turtle Conservancy, and held discussions with local community organizations and advocates Give and Surf and La Loma Jungle Lodge and Chocolate Farm. The course, REC 4191 Adventure Recreation, Tourism and Eco-tourism: Surf Panama!, examines the rapidly growing tourism industry in Panama and the impact that providing adventure recreation and other tourist attractions can have on the economy, the environment, and the indigenous communities. This program is part of a larger initiative the University of Minnesota is undertaking with interests in Panama for education and research through the U of M’s Global Programs and Strategy Alliance.

Surf Panama! will be offered during spring break 2017 and includes a variety of adventures along with surfing, including ziplining, jungle hikes, anfibia boarding, paddling in Cayuga (dugout) canoes, cave exploring and snorkeling. Registration opens this summer.


Magnuson quoted in Star Tribune story on slumping softball participation

connie-magnusonConnie Magnuson, Ph.D., School of Kinesiology senior lecturer and director of the Recreation, Park, and Leisure Studies program, was quoted in the Star Tribune last Friday in a story on the dropping rate of participation in adult slow-pitch softball leagues in Minnesota. A new approach to encourage league membership is the five-person team introduced this spring. Dr. Magnuson comments on generational changes that are affecting sports participation in general.  Read the story at the Star Tribune link.

RPLS undergrad Laura Stigen awarded MN Recreation and Park Foundation student scholarship

Laura SLaura Stigen, senior in the RPLS program in the School of Kinesiology, has been awarded a Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation student scholarship. The $1,000 award is available to juniors, seniors and graduate students majoring in a Minnesota four-year park and recreation program, or permanent residents of Minnesota majoring in a neighboring state in the same degree.  Applicants must display excellence in their abilities, leadership qualities, job experience and commitment to the park and recreation field.

Ms. Stigen, who also has an occupational therapy assistant degree, returned to school last spring for her RPLS degree, which will help her attain her dream job as a recreational therapist in a homeless shelter. She has been a volunteer in homeless shelters since high school, “and these have been the most rewarding learning experiences of my life,” she says. She once took a train to Portland, OR, to help their homeless population.

She has lead many support groups and is an inspirational speaker on mental health and suicide awareness.  She  continues to lead recreational activities in her community and is currently a full-time art teacher while working towards her degree. She says:

“Being a Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation Scholarship recipient is a great honor.  It has given me the opportunity to really embrace my last semester of college and focus on my internship. I think it is a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together.  I am very lucky to have found my purpose a long time ago and never gave up on chasing my degree.”

Ms. Stigen was also awarded both the Kinesiology and Leisure Studies Scholarship and the Edith Mueller Park and Recreation Memorial Award for 2015-2016.


“Go Outside and Play” freshman seminar visits Eastcliff via Nice Ride bikes

The freshman seminar, “Go Outside and Play!” (REC 1905), recently visited Eastcliff (home to President and Mrs. Kaler) via a nine-mile journey on Nice Ride bicycles. Freshman Seminar 1 Freshman Smeinar 2Nice Ride provides this group of freshmen a one-year membership to the bike share program as these students go out and explore the Twin Cities.

Before stopping at Eastcliff for a tour from Mrs. Kaler, the class explored Minneapolis and St. Paul, traveling on the East and West River Road Parkways, the Midtown Greenway, and the Hiawatha Trail. While on their ride, they passed the new US Bank Stadium, Gold Medal Park, the Guthrie, the Mill City Museum, and the Stone Arch Bridge before coming back to campus.

Go Outside and Play! (Freshman Seminar) is designed to introduce University of Minnesota students to the great outdoors! Within the Twin Cities, outstanding agencies and numerous local, state, and national parks provide tremendous resources for community engagement and enrichment right in our backyard.

Through hiking, biking, standup paddleboarding, canoeing, and even a little apple smear in the rain, students learn numerous ways to incorporate healthy, fun, and life-long activities into their lives while understanding the importance of advocating for sustainable natural and environmental resources.


School of Kinesiology faculty, staff present at the 2015 MN eLearning Summit

Calhoun (back row), Lupinek, Magnuson, Hoffman (left to right)

Four School of Kinesiology faculty and staff gave a panel presentation at the 2015 MN eLearning Summit held July 29-30 at Minneapolis Community & Technical College.

Austin Calhoun, Ph.D. (Director, eLearning & Digital Strategy), Brandi Hoffman (Director, Physical Activity Program), Joshua Lupinek, Ph.D. (recent graduate), and Connie Magnuson, Ph.D. (Director, Recreation, Park, and Leisure Studies program) lead a panel discussion on Kickstart Open Lab, the School’s incentivized, project-based approach to eLearning exploration, adoption, and implementation.

The presentation, “Kickstart Open Lab: An Experiment in Incentivizing, Enhancing Teaching and Learning, and Diffusing Technology,” explored the versatile and unique program developed and implemented at the School of Kinesiology.

Slides from the presentation are available here.

The MN eLearning Summit is the premiere event of the Minnesota Learning Commons and is a gathering place for K-12, college, and university educators and innovators in the Midwest who are committed to effective online and blended learning.


Magnuson develops, instructs “GO Minnesota” Winter Sports Seminar

Dr. Magnuson, director of the Recreation,Park and Leisure Studies (RPLS) program, helped to develop and teach the first class of a unique short-term study abroad seminar January 2015. The course, Winter Sports: Education and MagnusonC-2012Management, is a remarkable combination of experiential and classroom-based learning available to University of Minnesota International students.

The first class of the program, a group of Australian students, were able to enjoy this course offered through the GO Minnesota program in partnership with the University of Minnesota RPLS, The Center for Outdoor Adventure, Three Rivers Park District, and YMCA Camp Menogyn.

Ideal for individuals studying education, outdoor recreation, sport management, physical education, kinesiology, or tourism the three-week study abroad program based in the heart of Minnesota will allow students to appreciate the wintry weather through the development of outdoor leadership competencies, becoming well-versed in winter technical skills, engaging in a dog sled run, and learning how to scale a frozen ice wall.



Football Hall-of-Famer finishes coursework in RPLS program, fulfilling his father’s life-long dream

Bobby Bell is a member of the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame, he won a Rose Bowl title at the U of M (1960) and a Super Bowl Championship as a Kansas City Chief (1969)—and as of last week, he is also a proud alumnus of the School of Kinesiology’s Recreation, Park, and Leisure Studies (RPLS) B.S. program at the age of 74.

Bell was motivated to finish his degree to honor his late father, who had always stressed education, despite humble beginnings.

“My father always said sports and education were things where blacks could compete equally with whites — if given the chance,” Bell said.

Connie Magnuson, Ph.D., RPLS program director, remarks on Bell’s accomplishments, which include a directed study where he created a youth football training manual and conducted a youth football camp in Kansas.

“It really is a big deal. He is a wonderful, remarkable man,” Magnuson said. “I have truly enjoyed working with him to complete this lifelong dream. He worked for it and most certainly earned this degree.”

Bell’s story is detailed in several newspapers, including The New York TimesHe will walk in the College of Education and Human Development’s graduation ceremony in May 2015.

RPLS undergraduate Vlaenderen featured on CEHD home page





Senior recreation, park and leisure studies undergraduate, Max Van Vlaenderen, is the featured CEHD student for October.  Vlaenderen credits his passion and calling to work  outdoors to the close-knit community and family he’s become apart of while in the major. Click here to read more of Vlaenderen’s interview.


Magnuson serves as keynote speaker for the Fall WPEAA meeting

photo 2Connie Magnuson, Ph.D., director of Recreation, Park and Leisure Studies program in the School of Kinesiology, was the keynote speaker at the Fall Women’s Physical Education Alumni Association (WPEAA). The presentation was titled, “Praise for Play”. Magnuson believes that play is a critical element for development.

Continue reading “Magnuson serves as keynote speaker for the Fall WPEAA meeting”

Lais named Social Entrepreneur of the Year

Greg-Headshot-1024x682Greg Lais, Founder and Executive Director of Wilderness Inquiry (WI) and instructor in the Recreation, Park, and Leisure Studies program (RPLS), was named the 2014 St. John’s University Social Entrepreneur of the Year. This award recognizes Lais for his achievements and altruistic values in both his work and his personal life.

Wilderness Inquiry was founded in 1978 with the goal to provide outdoor experiences around the world for people of all backgrounds, social class, and abilities. Over the years, Lais has created adaptive outdoor recreation equipment such as one-armed paddles in order to make the company’s goal possible.

Click here to read more about Lais’ astounding accomplishments.

Magnuson recommends, “start adventuring young,” in Men’s Health article

children-hikingIn an interview with Men’s Health, Connie Magnuson, Ph.D., director of recreation, park and leisure studies in the School of Kinesiology, offered many tips on how to start bringing children on adventures from a young age. From hiking to riding river rapids, Magnuson suggests starting young, picking the difficulty appropriate for the child’s age and ability, and encouraging children along the way.

The article, titled “7 Adventures to Do With Your Kids – Safely,” features seven activities to do with your children and offers both easy and more difficult options.