Recreation programs accredited

Department earns recognition for each of its three concentration areas

| Author: ​Jeff Johnston

​For 37 years, Central Michigan University's recreation, parks and leisure services administration program has earned accreditation.

Now, for the first time, each of the program's three concentrations — outdoor and environmental recreation, recreation and event management, and therapeutic recreation — is accredited separately.

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"To my knowledge, we're the first program in the country to have three programs accredited at the same time," said Bob Frost, department chair.

The Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions approved the accreditation through 2026.

It's the latest of several points of pride for RPL. The department recently won the International Festivals and Events Association's Gold Pinnacle Award for the world's best event management bachelor's degree.

Last month, two people associated with RPL were among seven Alumni Award winners. The CMU Alumni Association honored Ryan Moran with its Alumni Service Recognition Award and Ron Bacon with its Honorary Alumni Award.

Moran manages several U.S. Army recreation centers, serving military personnel and families through community-based recreation. During a six-month assignment as a deployed entertainment coordinator, he organized entertainment for 17 U.S. military installations in Iraq.

Bacon is a founding member of the RPL Professional Advisory Board and has served as a guest lecturer, curriculum consultant, accreditation contributor and student mentor. In 2006, he established the Ron and Susan Bacon Outdoor Recreation Award.

Frost also said about 92% of CMU therapeutic recreation graduates pass the national certification exam — about five percentage points more than regional and national averages.

"It's helpful to have the programs validated not just by accreditation but by other outside measures," he said.

CMU has about 450 RPL majors and minors across all three concentrations: about 230 in recreation and event management, 140 in therapeutic recreation and 80 in outdoor and environmental recreation.

Frost said specialization within recreation career fields drove the decision to pursue accreditation for each individual concentration — even though tripling the accreditation process was a tall order.

"It's three times the work," he said. "We're proud of the faculty members who all contributed. You can't hide when it comes to accreditation."

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