Recreation, Parks and Tourism Earns Accreditation

Students in Bahamas

The Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism recently earned accreditation from the Wilderness Education Association, the first professional association in the nation to accredit outdoor recreation curricula.

Radford University's Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism (RCPT) is the first in the United States to be fully accredited by the newly established Wilderness Education Association (WEA) accreditation program.

WEA is the first professional association in the nation to accredit outdoor recreation curricula. Its accreditation procedure is for programs providing outdoor leadership training.

"The WEA accreditation is one more example of how programs in RCPT are at the forefront of best practice in the field nationally," said Dean Pat Shoemaker of the College of Education and Human Development, which includes RCPT. "Further testimony for this is how well prepared, confident and experienced our students are when they complete the program."

WEA accreditation allows RCPT majors to enroll in the International Registry of Outdoor Leaders, a forum for individuals seeking outdoor leadership certification to develop their professional portfolios and achieve various levels of proficiency.

Professor Mark Wagstaff, coordinator of RCPT's outdoor recreation concentration, directed the self-study process required for RU to receive WEA accreditation.

"The WEA views accreditation as a way to professionalize the outdoor leadership industry by creating a minimum content coverage for training future outdoor leaders," Wagstaff said. "Accreditation means that an institution has gone through a thorough self-study that has been reviewed and approved by the WEA Accreditation Council."

RCPT gained national recognition in February when the department was awarded the Annual Wilderness Education Association Affiliate Award at the association's national conference in Estes Park, Colo. Radford's program was recognized for its outstanding contributions to the association.

May 14, 2012
Bonnie Erickson