A former faculty member of the Clemson University Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management will return as its chair this summer.
Bob Barcelona, who is currently finishing out his tenure as chair of the University of New Hampshire Department of Recreation Management and Policy, said he is excited to return to Clemson University and his previous departmental home, where he served as assistant and later associate professor from 2008-2014. His term as chair will begin July 1, 2022.
Barcelona said he looks forward to establishing or re-establishing relationships with what he considers the “best faculty in the country.” He said that the depth and breadth of disciplines they cover is inspiring, and he looks forward to aiding a large, diverse department to further develop its shared vision for the future. That work starts with students but affects all the work in which the department engages.
“We don’t want to just prepare students for their first job; we want to build skills that will be relevant as they build their career and be available to support their academic and professional development needs post-graduation,” Barcelona said. “This focus on our students combined with our work with organizational partners and our pursuit of research that is relevant to our state and nation will help us to fulfill our College mission and Clemson’s land-grant mission.”
Barcelona said that Clemson’s offerings through the department in areas including parks and protected areas, community recreation, sport and event management, travel and tourism, youth development, camping and recreational therapy are some of the best in the nation.
He said his first order of business will be connecting with faculty, staff and students to build relationships, which he considers the foundation of strong leadership. From there, he can focus on building academic pathways that meet the workforce needs of the state and region as well as aid his faculty members in their many pursuits.
“I intend to be the biggest cheerleader for Clemson PRTM on and off campus!” Barcelona said. “The sheer size and scope of the academic, research and service programs that PRTM offers are what differentiates it from other, similar programs across the nation. People across the globe want to connect with this department and look to it for ideas and leadership across the disciplines it represents.”
Barcelona said that in the long term, he plans to continue to deepen the department’s relevance by developing and maintaining strong ties to industry partners, developing innovative academic pathways, and adding value to degrees through professional certifications, industry-recognized credentials and field- and project-based learning.
He is thankful that so much of the student experience that fosters relationships with peers, faculty and professional mentors is very much in place at Clemson.
“Clemson PRTM graduates are working all over the country in jobs that build healthy people, places and communities,” Barcelona said. “I’m optimistic about the future of our profession, and I’m excited for the role that we will play at Clemson in shaping that future for our students and the communities we serve.”
According to Leslie Hossfeld, dean of the Clemson University College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences that houses the department, Barcelona’s vision for the department makes him a perfect choice to lead it. She said his history as a scholar and leader combined with his personal and professional experience at Clemson will greatly benefit an already thriving department as it works to fulfill the College’s mission in “building people and communities.”
“Dr. Barcelona understands the many ways that the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management serves people and communities on a local, state, national and global level,” Hossfeld said. “We are excited to have him back at Clemson to lead such a dynamic department.”
Barcelona earned a Ph.D. in leisure behavior and a master’s degree in recreational sport administration from Indiana University, Bloomington. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Mississippi.
His scholarly work sits within three topical spheres: community recreation management, recreational sport and active recreation, and positive youth development. Barcelona’s primary area of research is identifying and addressing constraints and barriers to participation in recreation and sport and identifying the factors that facilitate active participation. He said that addressing constraints and barriers to safe, healthy and positive recreation spaces and activities is important, particularly as public health efforts aim to increase leisure-time physical activity among children, youth and adults.
The Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management is part of the University’s College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences (CBSHS). Established in July 2016, CBSHS is a 21st-century, land-grant college that combines work in seven disciplines – Communication; Nursing; Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management; Political Science; Psychology; Public Health Sciences; and Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice – to further its mission in “building people and communities” in South Carolina and beyond.
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