RCPT 413 Professional Issues in Recreation, Parks and Tourism
Syllabus Spring 2010

Section 1: Dr. Susan R. Van Patten
Office: 141 Waldron Hall
Phone: 831-7644
Email: svanpatt@radford.edu
Office Hours: M & W 10:00-11:30 am or by appointment
Section 2: Dr. Mark Wagstaff
Office: 139 Waldron Hall
Phone: 831-7724
Email: mwagstaff@radford.edu
Office Hours: M-F 10:00 a.m. to noon
Class Time: M W F 9:00 - 9:50 a.m. Class Rooms: Waldron 227/Cook 112

Focuses on various professional concerns relative to recreation delivery. Emphasis given to internship/employment preparation, concept of a profession and professional organization, ethical principles and professionalism, and trends and issues in recreation, parks and tourism. 3 credits.  Prerequisites: Must have completed 86 semester hours, have a minimum 2.1 cumulative G.P.A. and a minimum 2.5 major G.P.A.

1. Critically analyze current issues and trends in the profession (8.06:03).

2. Understand and implement ethical principles and professionalism (8.07).

3. Understand the importance of maintaining professional competence and the available resources for professional development (8.08).

4. Utilize the tools of professional communication (8.23).

5. Document at least 100 hours of field experience in a recreation agency prior to internship (8.28).

5. Prepare a cover letter, goals, resume and portfolio appropriate for internship and employment opportunities.

6. Demonstrate interviewing skills relative to an internship.


This course is divided into two specific units.  The initial unit considers the preparation and selection of the internship (RCPT 470) which has direct carry-over to employment.  Major topics considered in this unit include developing goals for the internship, resume and cover letter, and interviewing skills.  In addition, the student will develop a portfolio appropriate for an interview, understand internship procedures, and investigate and select an internship site.  The second unit focuses on the concept and criteria of a profession as related to recreation, park resources and leisure services as well as examining the various recreation professional issues.  Associated with this unit is consideration of ethical principles as applied to professional practice, attitudes and behaviors in the delivery of recreation in various settings.



Recreation, Parks and Tourism Student Manual (available online from the Department website)

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association Fifth Edition (recommended)



  1. Read, understand, and obtain an 80% score on a quiz over internship policies, procedures, and requirements stipulated in the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Student Handbook.  A letter grade (10%) will be deducted from your final score each time you re-take the quiz.
  2. Develop acceptable goals, cover letter, and resume.  A grade will be given on the due date for each element but you will not be allowed to mail out your packet until it is approved by the 413 instructor(s).
  3. Select, contact, and interview with at least one appropriate approved internship sites and write a summary of the experience. We strongly recommend that you also research at least two other agencies.
  4. Document at least 100 hours of recreation field experience (including required courses, work experience, and required community service) prior to internship. No more than fifty hours can be used from any one agency. These hours will be documented using the field experience form.
  5. Confirm your internship by the deadline.  Failure to do so will require that you petition and meet with the Department Chair to proceed.  Additional consequences may include a one letter grade penalty and/or delay of your internship.
  6. Take a comprehensive final examination.
  7. Attend class and have meaningful participation.


Professional Portfolio: RCPT students are expected to produce a professional portfolio that depicts personal skills, experiences, and accomplishments. This body of work represents your knowledge base and skill sets as a new professional. The RCPT Department also uses this project to assess program quality and effectiveness as reflected by the caliber and diversity found in your work. The portfolio is a source of pride for the student and Department as it demonstrates your competencies as a recreation, parks, and tourism professional.

Senior Research Project (Goal 8.06:03): Students graduating with a degree in RCPT from Radford University are expected to think critically, solve problems, and professionally communicate in verbal and written situations. The senior research project provides a mechanism to assess these critical skills. Students select a current trend in the field and accomplish the following using APA format: 1) develop a comprehensive reference list; 2) develop a research abstract; 3) create a poster based on research findings; and 4) present findings during a formal poster session.  All four components must be of C quality or higher before credit will be given. However the original grade will stand.


Student Manual Quiz

20 points

Interview summary Required

Goals and letterhead

10 points


100 points

Cover letter

20 points


50 points


30 points

Final examination

50 points


40 points

Documented Field Experience Required


320 points

A = 90% or above, B = 80-89%, C = 70-79%, D = 60-69%, F = Below 60%

Inadequate and/or unprofessional conduct in any aspect of this class is grounds for a failing grade even though the related weight for that portion of the class would not warrant a failing grade (Goal 8.07). This class is considered to be the final step prior to working in a professional environment; therefore, nothing less than ethical conduct and a professional product will be allowed or tolerated. You will be given a grade after the assignment is due; however, you will have to repeat the activity until you attain a satisfactory performance. For instance, you could receive a "D" grade on the activity but still have to meet the course standards for an acceptable product. You will be representing yourself, the Department, and the University. The standards for your performance will be no different than those applied to faculty and practitioners in the profession. When at all possible, internship interviews should be scheduled at times that do not conflict with this or any other class. Excessive absences and/or unprofessional behavior will jeopardize your internship placement and graduation.

Attendance Policy: 

Five points will be added to your final grade if your attendance does not fall below three missed classes. Missed classes include sick days, personal business, and other academic obligations.  It is your responsibility to make up any missed work or class notes.

In the event of a H1N1 (Swine) Flu outbreak: If you exhibit symptoms of the swine flu (including cough and fever, shortness of breath, fatigue/weakness, chills, muscle soreness, vomiting, wheezing, diarrhea, etc.), DO NOT COME TO CLASS! Please isolate yourself as much as possible and wait 24 hours after your fever breaks before resuming normal activities. According to Radford University policy, you do not need medical documentation to make up work in the event of H1N1 illness. As soon as you miss class due to illness, send an email to Mark & Susan letting us know the situation. In most cases, we will post course notes and assignments on this website so you can stay caught up in the class. Other situations may require rescheduling assignments, activities, and/or exams. If we become ill, we will contact the class through email and make alternative arrangements. We reserve the right to send you home from class if we deem it in the best interest of the group. Additional information, including what you can do to help prevent the spread of the virus, is available on this website http://oep.asp.radford.edu/PrepGuideflu.htm. If you become ill please access the Student Health Web Site through the RU Portal for detailed information and guidance from the Student Health Center.

Inclement Weather Policy:  Class will be canceled in accord with the university policy for school closure.  Decisions about closings and delayed openings are made by 6:00 a.m. and are posted on the university website.  You may also call the University switchboard at 831-5000 for announcements. 

LATE POLICY:  Unless you have a family or health emergency, late assignments will receive an automatic 50% grade deduction. 






Jan 18-22

Martin Luther King Day - NO CLASS

Introduction and Welcome

Student Handbook Quiz
(must pass with 80%; graded in class)

Jan 25-29

Lecture: Internship Goals

Examples of Internship Goals
In Class Activity: 5 & 10 year plans

In Class Activity: Internship critiques
(Bring draft of internship goals to class for peer and instructor review)

Feb 1-5

Lecture: Cover Letters
Handout: Common Mistakes

Assignment Due: Internship
Goals (Goal 8.23)
In Class Activity: Cover Letter Critiques
Lecture: Finding an Agency

In Class Activity: Cover Letter critiques
(Bring draft of cover letter to class for peer and instructor review)

Feb 8-12

Lecture: Kick Butt Resumes
Handout: Kick Butt Resumes and Resume Action Words

Assignment Due:
Cover Letters (Goal 8.23)
In Class Activity: What works and what doesn't in a resume?

In Class Activity: Resume critiques
(Bring draft of resume to class for peer and instructor review)

Feb 15-19

Lecture: Portfolios
Handout: Portfolio Materials & Portfolio Assessment

Assignment Due: 
Resume & References
(Goal 8.23)


In Class Activity: Portfolio Brainstorming
Homework: Read Portfolio Chapter 

Portfolio Work Day - No Class

Feb 22-26


Lecture: Interviewing Skills & Survey Results
Assignment Due: Portfolio

In Class Activity: Interview Skills
Handout: Interview Survey Forms
Handouts: Interview Questions & Interview Tips

Assignment Due: Internship Packets Mailed
(Goal 8.23)

Optional Grading Appointment: Resubmit Portfolio for 1/2 points missed 

Mar 1-5

In Class Activity: Mock Interviews

In Class Activity: Mock Interviews

In Class Activity: Mock Interviews

Mar 8-12


Mar 15-19

In Class Activity: Mock Interviews

In Class Activity: Mock Interviews

In Class Activity: Mock Interviews

Mar 22-26

In Class Activity: Identifying Current Issues and Trends
Handout: Call for Papers
Lecture: Search Strategies
Handout: RCPT Refereed Journals
In Class Activity: Identifying Professional References 
Work Day in Walker 225: Finding References & Finalizing an Issue

Mar 29-Apr 2

Lecture: APA Guidelines

In Class Activity: Creating an APA reference list and APA Tutorial Quiz

Work Day in Walker 225: Finalizing References and APA Formatting
Assignment Due:
Interview Summary

Apr 5-9

Lecture: How to Write a Professional Paper
Handouts: Abstract Grade Sheet and APA Guidelines for Submission

Assignment Due: References & Outline

Lecture: Plagiarism
Assignment Due: Internship Contract Materials
(Confirmation from Agency, Student Agreement Form, & Agency Contact Information)

Assignment Due: Draft of completed abstract reviewed by an editor

Apr 12-16

Lecture: Poster Presentations
Assignment Due: Abstract

In Class Activity: Glogster Demonstration
Handout: Poster Grading Sheet

Optional Assignment: Resubmission of Abstract for points missed
Optional Work Day in Walker 225: Glogster

Apr 19-23




Apr 26-30

In Class Activity: Ethical Issues & Internship Scenarios (Goal 8.07)
Handout: Codes of Ethics

In Class Activity: Class Evaluations

Lecture: Job Searches and Professional Development (Goal 8.08)
Assignment Due: Documented Field Experience
(Goal 8.28)


Final Exam: TBA                                    Last updated 04/12/2010

Ross, C. M., Beggs, B. A., & Young, S. J. (2006). Mastering the job search process in recreation and leisure services. Sudbury, MA:
    Jones and Bartlett.
Seagle, E. E., Smith, R. W., & Dalton, L. M. (1997). Internships in recreation and leisure services: A practical guide for students. State
    College, PA: Venture.
Kennedy, J. L. (1998). Resumes for dummies (2nd ed.). Foster City, CA: IDG Books Worldwide.