Recreation Administration

Departmental Website


This department offers a Bachelor of Science degree in recreation administration as well as an option in therapeutic recreation and a minor in recreation administration.

Recreation administration is the process that mobilizes an organization's resources "human and material" to accomplish goals to benefit the leisure time of the community served. Students considering this multidisciplinary field will receive a broad-based educational experience.

Responsibilities of a recreation administrator often include:
- Budgeting
- Trend Forecasting
- Personnel and Facility Management
- Programming
- Employee Training
- Risk Management
- Marketing

Additionally, public recreation administrators can have involvement with city councils and planning boards, advocating programs related to community recreation as well as open space and facilities.

Organized recreation services carry the stigma of being only fun-and-games operations, concerned chiefly with providing programs of sports, games and hobbies. In reality, administrators are often responsible for much more. They oversee the operations of entire departments and agencies within private, non-profit and public recreation sectors.

As a professional in recreation administration, the driving force of a successful career is focusing on making a difference in the lives of the people, customers and clients you will serve as a leisure service educator. Within this discipline, you will be part of a profession promoting life satisfaction, fitness, health and wellness, psychological well being, quality of life, creativity and cultural heritage. If you like working with people of all ages, promoting healthy lifestyles and possess a burning desire to serve others a career in recreation administration is for you.

Our students develop appropriate professional capabilities and attitudes required for work in a variety of settings. They learn to advise customers as well as organize, plan, budget and manage both leisure services and recreation/park resources. Another emerging characterizing of our graduates is the ability to use technology to enhance the provision of leisure services.

Field work is offered to our students in various recreation and resource settings, and students serve full-time internships with public recreation agencies, private/commercial recreation businesses, hotels/resorts, therapeutic programs or parks/natural resource-related agencies.

Therapeutic recreation (TR) promotes independence and a meaningful quality of life. Through recreation programs, TR specialists help those with disabilities or chronic illnesses.

Full-time, professional positions exist in the TR field, in long-term care settings, rehabilitation facilities, children's hospitals, substance abuse centers, psychiatric facilities, and other clinical settings, as well as many community settings.

Click here for the most recent job outlook in therapeutic recreation. You can click here for information on the necessary coursework for eligibility to take the certified therapeutic recreation specialist (CTRS) exam.

The two major therapeutic recreation associations are the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) and National Therapeutic Recreation Society (TRS).


Therapeutic Recreation

Departmental Honors Program


Four Year Degree Plan

Course Catalog Listing

Typical Starting Positions

Recreation Supervisor, Facility Manager, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, Aquatics Supervisor, Athletic Supervisor, Teen Center Director .

Well Known Companies that Hire EIU Graduates

Illinois Park Districts, Municipal Park & Recreation Departments, State and National Parks, Camps, Hospitals, Resorts, Special Recreation Associations, Golf Courses, Fitness Industry.

Notable Graduates

Tim Dimke (Executive Director Rockford Park District), Mike Rylko (Executive Director Buffalo Grove Park District), Susan Friend (Executive Director SEASPAR), R. Scott Smtih (City Manager Charleston), Ron Gbur (Executive Director Palatine Park District), Diane Ratliff (Recreation Supervisor Charleston), Jamie Gower (Manager DISC Decatur), John Schmeink (Recreation Therapist VAMC), Corky Emberson (Superintendent of Recreation Urbana), Kelly LaMore (Superintendent of Recreation Bourbonnnais).

Faculty Listing

Faculty Research Interests

Dr. Mulvaney's current research and service activities within leisure service management fall into three project areas: 1.) Human Resource Management Functions in Park and Recreation Agencies; 2.) Management Issues in Park and Recreation Agencies; and 3.) Planning Processes in Park and Recreation Agencies.

Faculty Honors & Awards

Awards & Grants: May 2010 - April 2011 Michael Mulvaney, Ph.D., CPRP Achievement & Contribution Award: Balanced Category Faculty Development Support Grant CATS Excellence in the Use of Teaching with Technology, CEPS

Recreation Administration, McAfee Gym 1106
Contact Name: Dr. James R. Barkley
Contact Email: