World Leisure Center of Excellence
A World Leisure Center of Excellence is a international post-graduate program with complementary research and service elements that provide opportunities for students from throughout the world as well as educators, researchers and professionals to participate and contribute to uniquely theme-focused educational endeavors.
There are currently two World Leisure Centers of Excellence in North America - Arizona State Univeristy and Vancouver Island University.
Arizona State University (ASU) enrolls more than 64,000 students in its academic programs on four campuses, primarily located in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area; one of the largest and fastest growing communities in the USA. The university is ranked among the top 100 universities in the world according to the Institute of Higher Education at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Positioning itself as a new model for American higher education, ASU has focused its attention toward impacting the economic, cultural, social and environmental health of the communities it serves. Its focus is one of promoting academic excellence, entrepreneurial strategies, cultural diversity and broad access to educational services. Faculty and students are encouraged to apply their thinking to real world problems in an interdisciplinary fashion.
The WLCE program is in the School of Community Resources and Development. This school consists of three primary focus areas: parks and recreation management; tourism development and management; and nonprofit leadership and management. These professional areas make use of a multi-disciplinary system approach to the study of community dynamics including a focus on activities such as: 1) livable communities; 2) healthy communities; 3) civically engaged communities; 4) sustainable communities; and 5) safe and diverse communities.
Several curriculum themes are in the ASU program that transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries. At the core of the ASU programmatic vision are the following:
1) community development;
2) organizational capacity building;
3) sustainable community resource development;
4) global interface;
5) solving urban social challenges;
6) fueling urban economic and social engines; and
7) life-span development and demographic change.
The ASU academic program has been designed to promote interdisciplinary learning
activities with core courses, primarily in the School of Community Resources and Development. ASU will offer both a master’s degree (M.S.) program and a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.).
The M.S. degree will require two years of study and is organized with a thesis option (30credit hours) and a professional option (36 credit hours). In either case, course work would include research methods, data and statistical analysis, critical issues in recreation and tourism, and social and psychological aspects of recreation and tourism behavior. Students in the professional focus would be required to take a course in recreation and tourism management and a practicum, whereas students in the thesis option would take additional course work in advanced inquiry and thesis credit. In addition, both options provide opportunities for students to take 9 credits of elective courses.
The Ph.D. degree will focus on community resources and development and includes a 54-hour program of study. Core courses include sustainable communities, community research methodology, statistical and data analysis, social scientific perspectives in community studies, and field work. Additional research or elective courses focused on the students’ interest are required.
The faculty of the School of Community Resources and Development includes 24 individuals with expertise in a variety of academic interest areas ranging from the social-economic impacts of tourism, special event management, leisure pursuits of older adults and the sociology of leisure. The business plan for the program
calls for enrolling 25-30 students in the masters degree program; half would be international students and half would be sought domestically.
A public university, Vancouver Island University (VIU) is located in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada. As a comprehensive university, VIU is dedicated to its tripartite mission of teaching, research and service with a strong commitment to community engagement and international collaboration. Located on Vancouver Island, VIU has
an enrollment 10,000 students and a faculty and staff of over 900. Of great value is the location of the institution in an environment which emphasizes opportunities for examining sustainable leisure, recreation and cultural settings in Canada. As one of the most geographically diverse regions of Canada, opportunities for leisure and tourism experiences are noteworthy. Vancouver Island has been named the “top island destination” in North America by Conde Nast, a leading travel magazine, for the past several years.
A primary focus on the Centre is delivery of the Master of Arts in Sustainable Leisure Management- a new graduate program offered in the Department of Recreation and Tourism Management. Building on the strength of existing faculty, the collaboration with the WLO and its membership will result in world experts visiting VIU's Nanaimo campus to participate in the educational journey of MA SLM students as well as other VIU students and the local community. Stay tuned for future announcements of VIU WLCE activities.
This new graduate program offered in the Department of Recreation and Tourism Management. The program emphasizes innovative practices in the mobilization of knowledge from a global perspective. The program promotea sustainable development by engaging international scholars and professionals as they seek knowledge of sustainable theories and practices that are vital to WLO’s focus on promoting leisure as integral to social, cultural and environmental well-being.
The academic program has been designed as a two-year, 36-credit hour program consisting of 24 hours of course work, an international practicum and a research project for the remaining 12 hours. The program has been designed to include eight modules that will be organized in 2-3 week blocks of time.
Study topics to be included as courses are:
1) Principles of Sustainable Development,
2) Strategic Leadership and Innovation,
3) Sustainable Leisure Development I & II, and
4) Knowledge Creation and Mobilization, I, II and III.
The program is designed to enable students to complete their course work during
their first year and then focus on their research project during their second year.
The faculty of VIU Department of Tourism and Recreation Management is one of the largest in Canada in the field of leisure, recreation and tourism studies including a former graduate of WLO’s WICE program at Wageningen University. This group of 10 individuals will be augmented and supported by visiting scholars to provide an even greater international and interdisciplinary perspective to the study of leisure and sustainability.