The PRM program prepares professionals to design, plan, promote, and deliver the physical
and social components of the leisure service industry. This includes skills in administration,
management, research and evaluation, leadership, and instruction. Graduates will be
prepared to manage resources, facilities and programs, and to lead and instruct for
programs in commercial, public, and non-profit settings. The PRM program is recognized
as a "Priority One Program" by a university wide program review initiative. The program
is aligned strategically with WCU's 20/20 Vision Plan.
In 2010-2011, the program completed the university review process, which included evaluation by a team of external reviewers. Their summative impression stated, “Overall, the External Review Team was very impressed with all aspects of the PRM Program at WCU. The program is well managed by a team of highly qualified and dedicated faculty. In addition, the PRM program relies effectively on highly qualified adjunct faculty to deliver skills and some classroom based courses. In general, the PRM program provides a nurturing and caring learning environment that is both student-centered and experientially based. The program is respected and highly regarded by the University community at all levels including administration, faculty, students and alumni.”
PRM majors create and publish the "Tent Peg," a semester newsletter, highlighting student travels, events, experiences and more.
Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)
PRM was a pilot program for WCU's Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) and we continue to implement QEP goals in our strategic plan, mission statement and course work. Examples of the QEP in action include the Whee Adventure Guides, the Cullowhee Canoe Slalom, student presentations at the Undergraduate Research Expo each year and implementation of the interview portfolio within PRM 350.
#1 Adventure College
In 2014 and 2015, the Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine listed WCU as the "#1 Adventure College."
PRM faculty have received numerous awards for teaching excellence including The Legislative Teaching Award, the Chancellor's Engaged Teaching Award, The Excellence in Teaching Liberal Studies Award and the Taft Botner Distinguished Teaching Award (Dr. Maurice Phipps, 2010 and Dr. Ben Tholkes, 2011). Dr. Tholkes received the National Park Service Commendation Award and the Ski Patrol Thirty Year Service Award. Dr. Phipps received the President's Council Award, the Frank Lupton Service Award and the Award of Merit for Outstanding Service from the Wilderness Education Association. Debby Singleton was one of five finalists for the Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award and received the Professional Ski Instructors of America Twenty Year Service Award. Dr. Andrew Bobilya received a Servant Leader Award from the Association for Experiential Education in 2013 and the Rebecca L. Carver Award in 2011.
Research and Publications
Research by Dr. Andrew Bobilya
Bobilya, A. J., Kalisch, K., & Daniel, B. (2014). Participants’ perceptions of their Outward Bound final expedition and the relationship to instructor supervisory position. Journal of Experiential Education, 37(4), 397-414. doi:10.1177/1053825913510693
Daniel, B., Bobilya, A. J., Kalisch, K. R. & McAvoy, L. H. (2014). Autonomous student experiences in outdoor and adventure education programming. Journal of Experiential Education, 37(1), 4-17.
Faircloth, B., & Bobilya, A. J. (2013). A psychometric investigation of the North Carolina Outward Bound Student Course Impression Scale. Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership, 5(2), 115–118.
Research by PRM Faculty
* Energy Miles Study. Please see the article at http://thereporter.wcu.edu/2011/05/faculty-students-test-%E2%80%98energy-mile%E2%80%99-theory-in-lab/
* Chapters in "Introduction to Leisure Services in North Carolina"
* Participant Use Survey in Panthertown Valley
* "First Upper Nantahala River Recreational Water Release: A Whitewater Boater Experience Evaluation", in partnership with Duke Energy. Please see article: http://thereporter.wcu.edu/2013/01/prm-students-faculty-survey-boaters-satisfaction-with-recreational-river-flow-releases/
In 2014, PRM faculty had the opportunity to explore creating a program scholarship. Three of the PRM leaders, Dr. Ben Tholkes, Dr. Maurice Phipps, and Debby Singleton, spearheaded this effort by working with Dr. Dale Carpenter (CEAP Dean) and Dr. Dale Brotherton (Human Services Department Head) to begin the scholarship process The Phipps-Tholkes-Singleton Scholarship is on track to be endowed for $10,000 by 2020. Each year our goal is to raise $2,000 for the scholarship. Once the scholarship is endowed, we can open the application process to our students. If the scholarship reaches its monetary goal prior to 2020, we can start awarding scholarships sooner. The process to donate to the scholarship is fairly easy. To give online, just go to this link: https://securelb.imodules.com/s/781/give/index.aspx?sid=781&gid=1&pgid=526&cid=1341&dids=470
The PRM program currently has about 70 majors, a 2.5 GPA requirement, an excellent retention rate and consistently graduates over 20 students each year.
PRM students complete several internships during their time with the program. All students complete a combination of three 50 hour internships and a 400 hour capstone internship. These internships allow students to practice theories and skills learned in course work. Students have serviced over 350 internship sites during the past 20 years both in the US and abroad. Here is a sampling of a few of the internship sites over the past couple of years:
Andrews High School
Asheville Parks and Recreation Department
Balltown Bee Farm
Blue Ridge Parkway
Cataloochee Ski Area
Cedar Creek Stables
Friends of Panthertown
Full Spectrum Farms
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino
High Hampton Inn
Iredell County Parks and Recreation
Jackson County Chamber of Commerce
Jackson County Parks and Recreation
Moonshadow Learning Services
Mountain Heritage Center
Mountain Top Golf Club
Mount Snow Ski Area, Vermont
Nantahala Gorge Canopy Tours
Nantahala Outdoor Center
Navitat Canopy Tours
NC Wildlife Resource Commission
Oaks Country Club
Sapphire Valley Resort
Smoky Mountain High School
Tuckaseegee River Clean Up
U.S. Forest Service
U.S. National Whitewater Center
WCU Campus Recreation
WCU Project Discovery
Yosemite National Park
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