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The recruitment and retention of faculty and students of color is a long-standing challenge in academic programs focusing on leisure studies, parks, recreation, and tourism. However, when confronting the predominantly white composition of educational programs, many evade or, at most, acknowledge the situation as a “deficit.” Few offer specific strategies for reversing this pattern, if that is the desired outcome. The purpose of this essay is to extend the discourse beyond traditional diversity initiatives by undertaking a field-wide initiative focused on the disparities in faculty and student representation. First, the essay examines systems that have created and supported the persistence of “white” as privileged in academia. Next, a summary and critique of institutional faculty demographic data over the 5-year period from 2006–2011 from four diverse institutions are presented. This analysis illustrates patterns that have resulted in presumably less than desirable numbers of faculty and students of color. Concrete suggestions for recruiting, retaining, and promoting people of color in academic leisure studies programs are included. Increasingly, today’s students are attracted to academic programs in which they will be exposed to faculty representing the diversity they will encounter as professionals. This essay offers a call to bridge the perceived gap between practitioners and academia by recommending systemic changes informed by the lived experiences of communities of color that are effectively served by various leisure service providers.
2016, Number 1
“Embarrassingly White”
Faculty Racial Disparities in American Recreation, Park, and Tourism Programs
Rasul A. Mowatt
Indiana University
Corey W. Johnson
University of Waterloo
Nina S. Roberts
San Francisco State University
B. Dana Kivel
California State University, Sacramento
e recruitment and retention of faculty and students of color is a long-standing challenge
in academic programs focusing on leisure studies, parks, recreation, and tourism. However,
when confronting the predominantly white composition of educational programs, many
evade or, at most, acknowledge the situation as a “decit.” Few oer specic strategies
for reversing this pattern, if that is the desired outcome. e purpose of this essay is to
extend the discourse beyond traditional diversity initiatives by undertaking a eld-wide
initiative focused on the disparities in faculty and student representation. First, the essay
examines systems that have created and supported the persistence of “white” as privileged in
academia. Next, a summary and critique of institutional faculty demographic data over the
5-year period from 2006–2011 from four diverse institutions are presented. is analysis
illustrates patterns that have resulted in presumably less than desirable numbers of faculty
and students of color. Concrete suggestions for recruiting, retaining, and promoting people
of color in academic leisure studies programs are included. Increasingly, today’s students are
attracted to academic programs in which they will be exposed to faculty representing the
diversity they will encounter as professionals. is essay oers a call to bridge the perceived
gap between practitioners and academia by recommending systemic changes informed by
the lived experiences of communities of color that are eectively served by various leisure
service providers.
Keywords: Communities of color, faculty disparities, race, diversity in higher education
Rasul A. Mowatt is an associate professor in the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies at Indiana
University. Corey W. Johnson is a professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University
of Waterloo. Nina S. Roberts is a professor in the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism at San Frnacisco
State University. B. Dana Kivel is a professor in the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration
at California State University, Sacramento Please send correspondence to
2016, Number 1
I know that those who receive this award say they are honored and thrilled. My situation at
the University of Oregon complicates my reaction. I was hired as a full professor with tenure
in 2001. While I have African ancestry, I identify as multi-racial. At present, there are no
full professors who identify as African American or Black in the entire UO College of Arts
and Sciences. But I am a woman of color. At present there are only two full professors who
are women of color throughout the entire University of Oregon. I am one of them. Given
this situation, I am neither thrilled nor honored to receive an award in the name of Martin
Luther King at this time, here at the UO. I am embarrassed. I think the absence of African
American senior faculty in what presents itself as a world- class research institution is an
embarrassment for all members of our community. e black absence is also shameful for
those directly responsible insofar as it is caused by selsh cronyism and cults of mediocracy
or fear of principled intervention.
—Naomi Zack, Martin Luther King, Jr. Award Recipient at the University of Oregon
(Kelderman, 2016)
At the 2011 Society of Park and Recreation Educators conference, more than 50
recreation, parks, and leisure studies faculty and graduate students gathered together to
discuss issues related to curricula and teaching. e rst night’s opening session included
a panel of preeminent teachers and scholars, all but one of whom were white, sharing their
thoughts and ideas about the future of our profession. e following question was posed by
one of the co-authors of this paper to the panel: “What are we concretely doing to ensure
that the eld is recruiting and retaining both faculty and students of color?” Cautiously,
the group began to discuss the merits of the concern, but the conversation was short-lived.
Although this was a conference about pedagogy, it was clear that in this teachable
moment, some in the audience were interested in talking about the predominance of
“whiteness” in our eld, but most were not; and the conversation quickly and inconveniently
changed course. It seemed ironic to us that despite being at a conference focused on teaching
and learning, that we were met with such resistance to discussing a topic that has been and
continues to be an issue in our eld—the lack of faculty of color in our eld and the lack of
diversity among students at our respective universities. As author Tim Wise was quoted, “it
is a privilege to ignore the consequences of race in America” (Jha, 2015, p. 109). Currently,
the majority of faculty who teach in recreation, parks, tourism, and related elds, are white,
and this essay serves as a call to study the why of this reality and possible trend.
We begin this paper by telling this story because it illustrates the challenges associated
with discussing uncomfortable topics, such as those related to race, racism, and diversity
and the relationship between, in eect, silencing these discussions and maintaining white
privilege. Clearly, scholars in our eld are interested, theoretically, in these topics. Witness
the large number of special issues in various journals devoted to topics such as white
privilege, diversity, inclusion, and so forth over the past 16 or so years (a total of six special
issues within Journal of Leisure Research, Leisure Sciences, Journal of Park and Recreation
Administration). Yet, unfortunately, those special issues that focus on and critique various
aspects of our eld for its shortcoming with regard to diversity and inclusion, does not seem
to manifest in much institutional or structural change for individuals who seek to become
members of the academy.
According to research from the Center for American Progress, “by 2043, non-Hispanic
whites will become aminority of our population. By 2050, they will be only 47% of the U.S.
population,with communities of color combining to form a solid 53% majority” (Teixeira,
Mowatt, Johnson, Roberts, and Kivel
Halpin, Barreto, & Pantoja, 2013). Such demographic shis will undoubtedly have a long-
term impact on social, economic, and political issues and, in turn, will also inuence higher
education—the complexion of the students, as well as the faculty and future practitioners.
is anticipated shi is only a few decades away, but in terms of the current status of students
and faculty of color in higher education, the shi seems light-years away. Research suggests
that faculty of color only comprise 17% of all full-time faculty in the United States (Turner,
Gonzalez, & Wood, 2008) and more than 64% of all undergraduate college students are
white (Ross et al., 2012).
We contextualize populations, communities, faculty, and students of color as being
inclusive of both racially and ethnically non-white groups despite their numerical
signicance within certain locales or their ability to showcase academic or professional
promise (Vidal-Ortiz, 2008). Vidal-Ortiz (2008) further noted, “it is slowly replacing terms
such as racial and ethnic minorities” (p. 1037). But more importantly, the term “allows
for a more complex set of identity for the individual—a relational one that is in constant
ux” (p. 1038). ese non-white or populations of color reect groups that face historical
patterns of discrimination, stereotyping, or marginalization although they may nd a
measure of success in isolated situations (Alexander, 2004). e disparities in terms of
educational attainment and achievement between white students and students of color, and
in terms of white faculty and faculty of color, continue to remain a reality and are even
further entrenched because of the recent economic downturn of the Economic Recession
years (Bartman, 2015; Garibaldi, 2014; Ladson-Billings, 2006; Lee, 2012). As states struggle
to fund all public schools, primary, second, and post-secondary, the achievement gap
between white students and students of color continues to widen. And when achievement
gaps widen, there are fewer students of color in the pipeline to go on to undergraduate
institutions and even fewer to go onto graduate degrees. In terms of the eld of leisure
studies, the numbers for faculty and students of color entering universities to pursue our
degrees are low and eorts to recruit and retain students of color have been a long-standing
challenge in our eld. Yet, despite these low numbers, there have been challenges to even
raising concerns about these issues. is muting factor of faculty of color was highlighted
in Hibbler and Benedetto (2005),
On one occasion, at a meeting…a senior faculty member shouted indisapproval
at how I was conducting the course. He said, “I couldli the phone, make a call,
and ruin your career.” I remained calmwhile he engaged in intimidation, threats,
aggressive voice and bodylanguage. I would not forget his remark, and it makes
me curious toknow who and where one could call to ruin a persons career. (C.
Ramos,in Hibbler, 2002).
e aim of this paper is not a study, but a call to engage in or conduct a study on the
racial composition, disparities, and any possible initiatives that have been instituted.
Confronting “Color-Blindness” and Accepting the
Need for Racial Awareness
As colleagues, we (as authors) felt the abandonment of the conversation was a missed
opportunity for the collective whole. Furthermore, this shi seemingly forced some faculty
concerned with this topic to develop ways to eectively continue the conversation, but
2016, Number 1
instead it became a polarizing conversation. A few dominant white, more senior faculty
(e.g., full professors) appeared to maintain power and control over the conversation, while
a small group who raised various questions felt marginalized and silenced as faculty with
more privilege changed the topic with disregard to a signicant desire to continue. Again,
such a moment could have been instructive, but the more the conversation continued,
the more it felt as if the topic was polarizing, with the small group that had raised the
issue being marginalized by the dominant group that seemed to maintain power and
control over the conversation. is public interaction mirrored what women scholars and
educators experienced when they began to raise issues of invisibility and sexism in the eld;
subsequently, it reinforces an “othering” of individuals and groups.
To further place this discussion in context, a cautionary note was verbalized at this
Teaching Institute: “Twenty years ago, representation of people of color was raised as an
issue. Ten years ago, it was a serious and persistent problem...Five years from now this
may be considered criminal unless we can tangibly devise strategies jointly to reconcile this
reality” (Mowatt, Johnson, Roberts, & Kivel, 2012). A handful of researchers and faculty
in our eld have, over the past 10 years, started to address the concerns for faculty of color
because they continue to remain in the minority. Hibbler (2002) edited a book entitled,
Unsilencing the Dialogue: Voices of Minority Faculty and Floyd (2002) contributed to the
book by stating:
I remain unconvinced, that we in leisure studies, have the requisite faculties (i.e.,
skills and training) to undertake serious critique of our treatment of diversity….
Critique is also thwarted by institutional barriers which may be associated with
the small presence of scholars of color… there is no one solution (p. 81).
Yet, despite the awareness of the need for change and the awareness of the need for
critique, there has been little to no progress on this front despite the fact that in the research
literature gains have been made. e gains have come in the form of research that looks
beyond dierences and what people do for leisure among participants of color to examining
institutional issues of racism and white privilege (c.f., Arai & Kivel, 2009; McDonald, 2009).
Indeed, the University of Utah hosted an inaugural conference, Speaking Up and Speaking
Out symposium in 2012; focusing on social justice in the academic discipline of RPT, the
event was comprised of researchers engaged, or interested in, social justice research to extend
the work and discussions beyond specic diversity initiatives of individual institutions. In
response to experiences at the 2011 Teaching Institute, the authors of this paper who vary in
age, race, ethnicity, religious practices, gender identities and socioeconomic status, decided
to develop a presentation to talk about the disparities in the representation of students and
faculty of color in the academy. Although diverse in terms of our identities, commonalities
are found among our positions on issues of social justice and social change.
e lack of representation of faculty and students of color must be examined at both
micro and macro levels; for instance, ones identity inuences one’s access to higher education
and, subsequently, one’s professional trajectory within any given academic institution. To
begin the analysis in this current essay, we rst examined a brief history that has created
and kept “white” as privileged and powerful in the academy thereby wielding perpetual
dominance among our faculty ranks. Next, we critiqued our respective student recruitment,
retention, and graduation data at both the undergraduate and graduate levels over the ve-
year period from 2006–2011 at four institutions (two research intensive and two teaching
Mowatt, Johnson, Roberts, and Kivel
extensive). Finally, we oered concrete suggestions for how faculty of color in recreation and
leisure studies programs can be recruited, supported, retained, and promoted. We feel as
faculty, who are also professionals in the RPT eld, we have unique perspectives that might
enhance the growth of our eld, and how our students who become practitioners can relate
to community interest and social relevance. e voices of faculty from underrepresented
populations, as reected in this paper, are embedded within sentiments of powerlessness
that have remained the same as our eld has developed. Part of our rationale is based on the
oen subtle nature of exclusion (e.g., changing a crucial topic of race in faculty representation
to something less challenging) presumed to be rooted in racism and white privilege as this
is produced and reproduced within the academy (Fenelon, 2002; Hibler, 2003), in journals
and on editorial boards, and in our individual disciplines. While these factors of exclusion,
powerlessness, or marginalization appear harsh, they are at the forefront of justication
for concern yet we acknowledge other variables such as misunderstandings, discomfort, or
frustration may come into play with less comprehension of what this might be based on.
Diggles (2014) cautioned that color-blindness perpetuates overt and underlying racial
ideologies by
system of privilege and oppression that exists on the basis of race. When this system
is ignored or minimized, the disparities that exist between racial [populations]
and whites are erroneously attributed to …shortcomings…as a result, solutions
are then aimed solely at xing those perceived shortcomings (p. 33).
As long as the institutional structure of higher education continues to operate without
actively diversifying faculty ranks across race, simultaneously while educating thousands of
students about the need for cultural diversity in the communities in which they will work
and live, these conversations will, at best, be hollow. At worst, this discourse will continue
to mask the underlying issues that go to the heart of the matter in terms of recruitment and
retention of faculty of color.
From this institutions history, it was clear that faculty diversity wasnot a priority or
administrators were not committed to the idea…theLeisure Studies department
was all White, never having had anAfrican-American as part of the faculty, and I
was the rst and lastLatino to hold a faculty position (Hibbler & Benedetto, 2005).
e problem of the lack of faculty racial diversity is not exclusive to RPT as the issue
remains lamentable and problematic in all ranks and elds in higher education as the US
populations continues to become more diverse (Gose, 2008). However, the experiences and
existence of many faculty of color in RPT remain invisible, underdiscussed, and casually
dismissed issues in leisure-based literature and conference proceedings as Hibler’s (2002)
Unsilencing the Dialogue: Voices of Minority Faculty remains the only published work to-
date on the subject matter. Other elds have led eorts to begin exploring the prevalence
and details of this issue. In education, a critique of the diversity statement at Wright State
University prompted the establishment of a standing diversity committee of the College
of Education and Human Services (Adams & Bargerhu, 2005). e key eorts of the
committee were to 1) recruit and retain a diverse student body, 2) recruit and retain a
diverse faculty, and 3) integrate diversity into the curriculum of the college. e bulk of the
2016, Number 1
literature from various elds on the matter of faculty diversity lies outside the professional
degree-granting programs (with the exception of education) and within the sciences. Of a
more recent note, Kinesiology Review presented a special issue on the matter in 2013. Hodge
and Corbett (2013) looked at the experiences of black and Hispanic faculty of color in the
United States, and made a similar call for kinesiology to explore the socialization process of
Hispanic faculty in the absence of no research studies while calling a more up-to-date study
on the experiences of black faculty (Hodge & Stroot, 1997).
Researchers within science and engineering studied the low percentages of women
and students of color due to the historic nature of those percentages at the top research
programs in the U.S. (Beutel & Nelson, 2005). Beutel and Nelson (2005) reported that the
populations of color, specically black and Latino/a, comprised only 4.1% of all university
faculty in science and engineering. While in schools of medicine, faculty of color (black and
Puerto Rican descent) are oen at a disadvantage in matters of promotion than their white
counterparts as rates for promotion were found to be larger for underrepresented minority
faculty despite the rate of representation increased (Fang, Moy, Colburn, & Hurley, 2000).
However, a follow-up study indicated that faculty diversity numbers in 82 of 107 institutions
have waned since the early 2000s with representation topping out at 3% for black faculty
and 4.2% for Latino/a faculty (Page, Castillo-Page, & Wright, 2011). Interestingly, Peterson
et al. (2004) found that faculty of Color reported low rates of career satisfaction despite
being just as productive as their White counterparts from a sample of 1,979 faculty from 24
medical schools.
Locating Whiteness and an Absence of Color in Strategies
I believe our education system as a whole has not integrated the histories
of all people into our education system, just the Eurocentric view of
itself, and the White-centered view of African Americans, and even
this is slim to nonexistent. What I nd is that most people don’t know
the fact they don’t know, because of the complete lack of information.
—Ronald Takaki
A Dierent Mirror: A History of Multicultural America
Alemán (2014) cautioned that solely focusing on increasing the representation of
faculty of color is not enough. A close examination of socialization processes is also merited
and necessary. e value orientation on selection and discussion of topics within courses,
approach to working with communities, and validation of perspectives are oen from a
white lens as Alemán remarked within her own eld of journalism. Counseling psychology
has found some measure of success in recruiting faculty of color. (Moradi & Neimeyer,
2005). Moradi and Neimeyer (2005) are careful in identifying that this increase is not
endemic of a new institutional outlook on diversity but of years of consistent challenging of
institutional norms as they point out that a greater awareness of the “lived” experience of
faculty of color need to shared (for example, are they accomplishing what they have set as
goals or markers of achievement?). As Shen-Miller, Forrest, and Burt (2012) found, faculty
of color are fearful of the consequences when they may assert their cultural identity or
raise questions from their unique perspectives; this occurs especially in relationship to the
preparation of new practitioners working with diverse populations. Yet, within sociology
the realities of long persistent racial attitudes, such as their hire or promotion is a product
Mowatt, Johnson, Roberts, and Kivel
of Armative Action or racial sympathy, are experienced by faculty of color, broadly, and
women faculty of color, specically (Smith & Calasanti, 2005). is is exacerbated by the
classroom experiences of women faculty of color in dealing with racial hostilities from
students that are condoned or marginally addressed by department chairs (Pittman, 2010).
e ndings from other academic disciplines exists alongside broader university-level
diversity eorts in faculty recruitment, retention, and promotion that have been the least
successful throughout the U.S. (Allen et al., 2002; Smith, Turner, Osei-Ko, & Richards,
2004). Faculty of color, all self-identied non-white faculty, constituted 17% of all faculty
at four-year institutions (Asian, black, Latina/o, and Native American) (Fenelon, 2003;
Peterson et al., 2004). is number dwindles to below 12% when separately accounting for
full professor rank and to a dismal 1% for female faculty of color. Across “the big pond,” a
recent study reported only 50 black faculty members among the 14,000 faculty throughout
Great Britain (Shepard, 2011).
In addition to various U.S. institutions of higher education engaging in diversity eorts
(albeit occasionally unsuccessful), the complex experiences of faculty of color in the academy
has been widely researched outside of RPT programs. e experiences of faculty, especially
as they enter the academy out of graduate school can be challenging, but the challenges for
faculty of color are even more dicult because of sample manifestations of historical racism
(slavery, segregation, access to education, etc.). According to Cora-Bramble (2006), there
are slower rates of scholarly and professional advancement for faculty of color. Other studies
have identied feelings of isolation (Price et al., 2005), lack of formal and informal networks
and racial discrimination (Nunez-Smith et al., 2007), enormous committee work falling on
diverse faculty (Knowles & Harleston, 1997), and racially motivated classroom incivility
(Cao, 2011). So, while most white faculty may take for granted that their integration into
the academy will be challenging because of having to navigate bureaucracy, faculty of color
will have an additional set of issues to negotiate having to do with how their racial identities
are perceived by others and their white colleagues unconscious bias.
Turner, González, and Wood (2008), for instance, documented and analyzed 252
publications from 1988–2007 on the subject of the status and experiences of faculty of color
in academia, none of which were in any leisure studies-related journals. eir research took
the necessary steps in using a range of search engines and tools; a total of 21 dierent avenues
were used to nd sources. Further, they isolated keywords in their search incorporating
various identities for faculty of color; for example, Asian and Asian American; Native
American, Indigenous, Indian, and American Indian; and also underrepresented and
eir results also accounted for evidence in the research purpose, theoretical
framework, questions, methodology, ndings, recommendations, future implications,
and conclusions. In their synthesis of journal articles, books, book chapters, conference
proceedings, dissertations, theses, and institutional reports they identied three contexts
and several themes. In their study, all themes fell under, or cross-pollinated into, the three
contexts of departmental, institutional, and national contexts of diversication. Some
departmental context specic themes that emerged from the literature and publication
synthesis were: the love of teaching, undervaluation of research interests, challenges to
intellect in the classroom, tokenism, and isolation. e departmental context represented
all activities or structures that impacted a faculty of color’s experience such as courses,
committees, mentorship, promotion and tenure requirements, and structures for annual
2016, Number 1
From Turner et al. (2008), the themes that emerged from the institutional context
included role of networks, allies, and colleagues; lack of faculty and student diversity;
support programs for faculty of color; and the presence of racism, classism, and sexism in
the workplace. Within the institutional context evidence of the experiences of faculty of
color were represented by promotion and tenure standards across campus, campus-level
committees, and the university’s reputation, among others. In contrast, the national context
yielded the following themes: failure to implement Armative Action policies; illegitimacy
of research; and economic subordination via persistent salary inequities. Last, the national
context focused on evidence that linked to national associations/organizations, national
political climate and legal trends (e.g., challenges to Armative Action), o-campus climate
at faculty’s home institution, and journal editorial boards. How, then, does all this relate to
white privilege in the Academy and how is it being addressed?
White Privilege in the Academy
At the heart of discussions about diversifying faculty of color is the recognition that the
absence of diversity in the academy is due to a variety of complex and interrelated issues.
Explanations for underrepresentation include disproportionately large numbers of white
students enrolled in colleges, students who have the resources, community and family
support to pursue higher education compared with students of color who are oen tracked
into low-performing high schools, a lack of opportunities for Advanced Placement classes
and exams, and poor resources to encourage students of color to pursue postsecondary
education. And when students of color do make it to college, their drop-out rates and time
to graduation rates are oen higher than white students, thus putting them behind their
peers in terms of scholarship and grant opportunities to pay for school (Bartman, 2015;
Garibaldi, 2014; Ladson-Billings, 2006; Lee, 2012).
Regarding journal editorial boards, Stanley (2007) noted there is incessant “disciplinary”
gatekeeping when counter narratives (the perspectives of faculty of color) come up against
master narratives (Western, white philosophical tradition) in the editorial review process.
In nding a home for this paper, the authors have been met with three outright rejections
from editors without review as the paper did not meet the scope of a leisure-related journal.
Although we cannot say this unequivocally corroborates Stanley, it does speak to a type or
level of gate-keeping that does exist. However, Stanley is clear in articulating the ways in
which the master narrative is present in journals: (1) use of terms, (2) methodologies, (3)
presence of “color-blindness,” and (4) the questioning of ones intellect in review feedback.
For example, the preponderance of the term “at-risk” to dene youth programs targeting
youth of color is oen assumed without justication. At-risk, according to Stanley (2007),
refers to the experiences and work with these youth from a decit model as they are looked
upon as lacking certain skills, intelligences, and abilities.
A counter-narrative noted discussions that included young people as being enriched
with backgrounds and perspectives needing to be tapped. e use of the term “minority”
could be linked with her assessment of linguistics, as it has less quantiable representation,
rather a position of perpetual inferiority. One can ask, “When is the minority ever the
majority in the U.S.?” roughout this manuscript the term “faculty of color” is used
instead of “minority” as it might be more empowering and inclusive of both racial and
ethnic classications. Stanley’s (2007) research is remarkable as it actually uses the feedback
from reviewers responsible for manuscripts submitted by faculty of color to highlight
Mowatt, Johnson, Roberts, and Kivel
the disparate comments on the same review. Comments praised, but also recommended
changes in epistemology that would radically alter the submitted work. Comments that
rejected the work called into question the very reason why the author was in academia as
well as “wasting” one’s time in reviewing something of little merit. Stanley also indicated
that one comment went as far as to question the method the researcher used to recruit
research participants, “are these subjects, in fact, friends of the author?” (2007, p. 19).
Such negative feedback to young scholars of color may have a chilling eect and is a form
of intellectual violence (abuse and victimization), thus further silencing their potential
contributions in their respective elds. It should also be noted that feedback occurred on
submitted manuscripts of 15 faculty sent to a special issue on the teaching experiences of
black faculty at predominantly white research universities. Nonetheless, what was revealed
to be even more harmful is the responses from potential faculty of color who declined to
participate in the study as many felt that “their narratives were too painful to share, while
others expressed they could be targeted because they were among a few, or the only ones, in
their departments [or elds]” as they sought tenure-track positions or tenure (p. 19).
A “Call for a Special Issue” early in 2013 further served to illustrate the problem with
gatekeeping. at recent call for papers on the scholarship of teaching and learning listed
the names of the authors who will provide anchor papers for this particular issue, the co-
editors, and the main editors for this journal. is was a typical call for a “special issue”
that was also typical in another way; that is, all seven of the people directly or indirectly
connected to this special issue were white, middle-aged men. When questioned about the
composition of the gatekeepers for this issue, the editors were immediately apologetic and
acknowledged that they had not even “noticed” that anything was amiss in this very call for
submissions. is anecdote is a perfect illustration regarding the insidiousness of race and
gender-based privilege and how it operates to obscure privilege based on gender and race
of the gatekeepers. Seeking to instill a sense of purpose to our eld (or any discipline), even
White colleagues with the best intentions are, at times, remiss in such decisions because
they may lack the depth of cultural competency alongside those intentions or unconscious
biases that are required to see their actions through a more inclusive lens.
Critique of Diversity and Barriers Regarding Recreation,
Parks, and Leisure Studies
Below we oer snapshots of the faculty of color from academic institutions where the
authors serve, two teaching and two research. We do so as a way to illustrate the needs of
our respective student recruitment, retention, and graduation data at the undergraduate
and graduate level over a selected ve-year period from 2006–2011. While in the backdrop,
data derived from the National Center of Education Statistics (see Table 1; Snyder & Dillow,
2012) show the most recent summary of degrees conferred by race, ethnicity, and gender
in leisure studies. In the subsequent section we then oer sample strategies for eectively
recruiting, retaining, and supporting faculty.
Midwestern Research University
In 2012, the most current numbers report 279 tenured and tenure track faculty of
which 59 are faculty of color within the School of Public Health–Bloomington out of a
total of 1, 372 total faculty on campus. Within the 59 faculty of Color: 33 International
2016, Number 1
Asian, 15 Black, 5 multiracial, 4 Latina/o, and 2 Alaskan/Native American. Specically
within the department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies, there are 34 full-time
faculty, 3 International Asian, 1 Hispanic, 1 Native American, and 1 Black. ese disparities
correlate to graduate students of Color representation within the department: 53 White,
22International (Asian), 6 Black, and 1 Latina/o.
Southern Research University
As of 2012, there are 227 total university faculty, of which 50 are faculty of color, this is
out of a total of 1,609. Within the 50 faculty of color: 15 Asian, 26 Black, 5 Latina/0, and 1
Alaskan/Native American, 1 Lebanese, 1 Russian, 1 unknown, and 0 multiracial. Specically
within the department of 28 full-time faculty, 10 are racially diverse (2 Asian, 6 Black, and
2 Latina/o). ese disparities correlate to graduate students of color representation within
the department: 142 White, 2 International (Asian), 75 Black, 8 Latina/o, 2 Island Pacic,
and 1 mixed race. In the Recreation and Leisure Studies program level, at the time had 18
graduate students with 2 of those being Black and the remaining White. `
West Coast Teaching University #1
ere are 394 total university faculty including 152 faculty of color (39%) in the College
of Health and Social Sciences. ese 2012 totals included 271 females and 123 males. e
racial diversity, sp ecically, includes 30 Latino, 17 Black, 54 Asian/Asian American, 17 Pacic
Islander (i.e., Filipino and Samoan), and 3 Native/American Indian (note: 31 are unknown
based on faculty who declined to provide race data to the college). Within the Department of
Recreation, Parks, and Tourism, there were 6 full-time faculty (i.e., 50/50 females/males)
and the racial composition consisted of 3 white males, with females identifying as White,
Black, and Biracial.
West Coast Teaching University #2
In 2012, there were 245 faculty including 54 faculty of color. ese totals also included
152 females and 93 males. e racial diversity included 18 African Americans, 4 American
Indians, 16 Asian Pacic Islanders (i.e., Filipino and Samoan), 16 Latinos. ree faculty
identied as multiracial; and 18 declined to state their racial/ethnic identities. ere were
a total of 170 White/Caucasian faculty. In terms of Caucasian faculty, there were 1,045
(70.7%). Specically, within the department, there were eight full-time tenure-track faculty:
four women, four men, and the racial composition consists of seven white males and
females and one person who is African American.
Professional Implications of a Lack of Faculty Diversity
As Anderson and Stone (2005) noted, professionals must increase their cultural
competency that goes beyond a generalized awareness of dierence. Leisure service
professionals (practitioners and faculty) must have the necessary set of cultural skills to
work with and engage diverse communities, race being just one identiable marker of
communities of dierence. Engagement with a diverse faculty may present opportunities to
think dierently about programmatic decisions, resource allocation, and even promotions.
e lack of a potentially “other” perspective presents a disservice on one hand to students
and on the other hand, it also presents a model of representation and authority that can be
replicated, unintentionally, in professional settings.
Mowatt, Johnson, Roberts, and Kivel
Bachelor’s degrees Master’s degrees Doctoral degrees
Total M %M F %F Total M %M F %F Total M %M F %F
Race/ethnicity 33,
17,621 52.9 15,697 47.1 5,617 3,032 54.0 2,585 46.0 266 140 52.6 126 47.4
White, non-
25,678 13,332 40.0 12,346 37.1 4,296 2,307 41.1 1,989 35.4 178 89 33.5 89 33.5
3,257 1,913 5.7 1,344 4.0 546 301 5.4 245 4.4 16 8 3.0 8 3.0
Hispanic 2,371 1,317 4.0 1,054 3.2 232 121 2.2 111 2.0 6 4 1.5 2 0.8
1,260 665 2.0 595 1.8 146 86 1.5 60 1.1 12 3 1.1 9 3.4
279 138 .4 141 0.4 27 12 0.2 15 0.3 2 1 0.4 1 0.4
International 473 256 .8 217 0.7 370 205 3.6 165 2.9 52 35 13.2 17 6.4
Note. Park, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies represent degree completion in traditional parks and recreation, outdoor recreation,
recreational sports, recreational therapy, and tourism within a department associated with leisure studies. Percentages were calculated by the
authors and rounded to the nearest number. International indicates nonresident students of a national origin other than the United States, which
means persons who are not citizens of the U.S. Data source: Snyder and Dillow (2012).
Abbreviations: M = Male; F = Female; %M = Percentage males; %F = Percentage Females.
Table 1
Degrees Conferred in Park, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies (Kinesiology), by Race/Ethnicity
and Gender: 2009
2016, Number 1
In interviewing 37 senior-level managers within the Young Men’s Christian Association
(YMCA), Outley and Dean (2007) were able to conclude that homosocial reproduction
inuenced the underrepresentation of African Americans in senior-level positions within
the organization. e mundane nature of interacting with those who are like you, and
whom you like has resulted in a lack of representation for an organization that has a long
history of involvement in racially diverse communities. Outley and Dean (2007) posited
that “[YMCA] organizational leaders tend to hire and promote people like themselves
because it is an expedient way to ensure that those selected are compatible with existing
norms and expectations” (p. 88). A lack of socialization opportunities, in turn, negatively
resulted in a lack of promotional discussions and opportunities as homogeneity. Outley
and Dean further commented “that members of a dominant group tend to recruit, nurture,
and promote persons like themselves, especially when they are selecting individuals for
prestigious, condential, and trusted positions” (p.78). Additionally, when diversity
occurred in job placement and authority within the organization, it was oen tied to
racialized jobs (diversity ocer or within a predominantly black community) that is
very similar to Allison and Hibbler’s (2004) look at parks and recreational professionals.
e interaction for a student with a racially diverse faculty breaks up the commonality
of homosocial environments and relationships based on classroom instruction, advising
interactions, and possibility of mentoring situations.
e recommendations set forth by Bedini, Stone, and Phoenix (2000) on increasing
the diversity of students can be greatly actualized by an equal push to diversify the faculty.
Alongside other eective eorts that resulted in a 23% increase of African American
students at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the authors worked within a
case study/program that oered a tutoring, mentoring, and advisory task force with African
American representation that greatly excited and engaged those students to think about the
RPT major and complete their degree program. e increased presence in the classroom
(specically students, but can be extended to faculty) can reduce the feelings of tokenism
and the need to represent a “race” that was reinforced with the focus group responses on
racial/cultural disconnection felt by racially diverse students in another academic program
where the lack of faculty diversity was strikingly similar to the student diversity (Waller,
Costen, & Wozencra, 2011). In the Waller et al. (2011) study, some respondents even
remarked that “when I was looking for programs and I looked at people’s websites, if there
were no men or women of color in their program, I automatically ‘X-ed’ them o my list
for schools that I would consider for a PhD program” that illustrates a concern for future
upper administration eorts (Waller et al., 2011, p. 41). Although Bedini et al. (2000) make
mention of inviting guest speakers of diverse backgrounds can assist, the importance of
racially diverse faculty within the institution could have the greatest eect. e increase was
a result of a strategically targeted grant over a ve-year period to diversify the student body
and, as a result, the profession of therapeutic recreation/recreation therapy
Strategic Changes in Recruitment, Retention, and Promotion
Strategic changes in recruitment, retention, and promotion need to occur simultaneously
at all three levels: departmental, institutional, and national. In this section, we examine
what the research literature says about eective strategies and also oer suggestions based
on professional observations that, collectively speaking, span more than 30 years in the
academy. What was gleaned from Turner, González, and Wood (2008), in their synthesis of
Mowatt, Johnson, Roberts, and Kivel
252 sources of research on faculty of color experiences, are several sound recommendations
that RPT programs should consider individually or preferably collectively, based on the
following three contexts: departmental, institutional, and national.
Departmental Level
Departments should diversify their processes for faculty evaluation (pre- and post-
tenure) to account for alternative ways of knowing, instructional styles, and academic
voice in writing. In terms of meaningful change, the department level has the most direct
and immediate impact on a faculty member’s experience (Campbell & O’Meara, 2014).
ese strategies include reducing isolation, ensuring that faculty of color are involved in
departmental committees but not unduly burdened by these commitments, and ensuring
that retention and promotion assessments include a variety of evaluative strategies that
encompass multiple ways of knowing and of conducting research. Knowles and Harleston
(1997) noted that both faculty of color and women oen bear a greater burden in terms of
service requirements. Department chairs can play an important role in terms of mentoring
junior faculty to pursue service requirements that will help to advance their careers but
not be overly or unduly burdensome. In response, some institutions have identied this
responsibility as a formal part of chair duties. Similarly, retention and promotion documents
should be assessed to clarify the value of service in terms of retention and promotion.
Institutional Level
One of the issues identied by Price, et al. (2005), the feeling of isolation, should be
addressed formally and informally. To what extent do faculty of color feel included and an
integral part of the department and its culture? Interactions as benign as asking someone out
for coee or including them in social interactions with other peers and colleagues should
not be overlooked or assumed to be insignicant. Interestingly, our research conrms that it
is oen in social settings and situations that people develop networks and connections that
assist them both personally and professionally.
Another institutional recommendation is to provide training to all relevant sta on
a myriad of issues faced by faculty of color from college deans and department chairs, to
administrative assistants (e.g., helping with promotion/tenure documents). e national
recommendations put forth by Turner et al. (2008) were clear in stating the need for
institutions, associations, and organizations to maintain relationships with communities of
color alongside addressing the persistent salary inequities that perpetuate faculty of color
at all ranks. Smith (2011) referred to this manner of training as a necessary in building
Based on the distance from positions of authority and decision making, faculty of color
are le with little ability to inuence their respective institutions for the better, while those
in position of privilege have little impetus to see or aect change that they may benet from
minimally. Using Adams and Bargerhu’s (2005) study on the eects of an empowered
diversity committee, it is vital that the dialogue of those issues of faculty of color are
presented in formal settings with clear tasks, appropriate budgets, and institutional support.
National Level
At the national level, faculty need to support their administrators, in the department
and at the college and institutional levels, to advocate for more faculty of color hires, to
advocate for funding to support lines for faculty of color, and to close the economic gap
2016, Number 1
based on race. While at the national level, collectively, RPT programs could work with
Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the Educational Testing Service (Knowles
& Harleston, 1997) to identify potential graduate students of color for the various master’s
and doctoral degree-granting institutions. Hence, the advantages of a racially diverse faculty
could oer RPT disciplines a gateway into broader perspectives has been inuenced by the
elds and disciplines of psychology, sociology, and anthropology and the use of methods
and concepts have been long accepted. ere may need to be a greater acceptance and
understanding of the nuanced ways that African Studies, American Studies, Asian American
Studies, Asian Studies, Black Studies, Caribbean and Latin American Studies, Cultural
Studies, Latino/a Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, and Native American Studies could oer
RPT new approaches to looking at the experiences of diverse populations. Certainly, the
expansion of many traditional parks and recreation programs into tourism and hospitality
has broadened opportunities to examine people of color in the global leisure context. Each
areas research has methodological considerations and cultural appropriateness that may
widen our research to new audiences but also attract promising scholars from those area
studies that may wish to study leisure-based subject matter.
Cultural appropriateness is how we adjust the literature, information, and research
for targeted populations that a eld wishes to improve and advance service or present
information for (Kreuter et al., 2002). If we recognize that our readers are multi-racial and
that they could become faculty, then cultural appropriateness presents several approaches
or strategies on accomplishing this: 1) peripheral strategies (packaging materials that
overtly convey relevance to a group); 2) evidential strategies (relay information, outcomes,
and evidence that directly impacts a group); 3) linguistic strategies (make materials
more accessible in the dominant or native language of the group); and 4) constituent-
involving strategies (involving and hiring from the group), and sociocultural strategies (the
integration of the groups values, beliefs, and behaviors in the dominant discourse). Each of
these alternative ways counter the intentional or unintentional gatekeeping that promotes
“legitimate” and traditional processes of evaluation that only serve to either deter faculty of
color from growing within their line of research or inhibit their ability to advance.
e most important of Turner et al.’s (2008) recommendations, is based on their
synthesis of research methods applied within the aforementioned 252 publications. For
RPT to embark on a national (U.S.) or regional (North American) self-study based on their
ndings, we recommend that a combination or all of the following be used: (1) interviews,
(2) surveys and questionnaires, (3) large data sets (institution numbers on hiring), (4)
document analysis, and/or (5) observations. e focus of the study should be four-fold: 1)
Over a 10-year period, chart the numbers of undergraduates, graduate, and faculty of color
from a representative sample of programs in North America; 2) Over the same period, chart
the specic progression of doctoral students within the eld to faculty positions and then
the promotion of those faculty; 3) From a representative sample (based on gender, sexual
orientation, disability, and age), interview a group of faculty about their experiences; and
lastly, 4) Provide an evidence-based table of existing (and ocial) programmatic eorts in
recruiting and retaining racially diverse master’s and doctoral students as well as faculty
that have existed at the same representative sample of programs over the same 10-year
period, noting those eorts that no longer exist. is may be enhanced by use of soware
that tracks such eorts and reduces unintentional personal bias.
Further, such study could also eectively isolate the results of certain experiences
to specic faculty of color based on gender and language (including accent), along with
Mowatt, Johnson, Roberts, and Kivel
intra-racial identity (e.g., black can be African American, African, Afro Caribbean,
Afro Canadian, Afro-Cuban, etc.) (Sims, 2006). Turner et al. (2008) also cautioned that
oentimes the experiences of faculty of color with multiple identities failed to be captured
within the research such as experiences based on sexual identity, language dierences, or
even domestic versus international forms of diversity. Brief scenarios presented earlier in
this examination could serve as the base for an expanded set of case studies that could be
used at various organizational levels to identify areas of ranging from blatant disregard
unintentional bias, and open the doors to a dialogue on concerns many felt were closed.
Concluding Remarks
When looking at the issue of faculty disparities, a holistic and comprehensive approach
is necessary to address the challenges (Hutchinson, 2012). Beyond traditional areas of
academic duty (research, teaching, and service), issues remain in myriad successful
research funding opportunities, specically major granting agencies like the National
Institute for Health (Ginther et al., 2011). us, all this implores—for those least aected by
these disparities—to initiate research to identify issues, specically within RPT, and then
collaborate to aggressively address the disparity.
e benets of taking this path should be obvious as research about student learning
has illustrated how ethnically diverse faculty generally enhance the educational experience
of college students (Umbach, 2006). Similarly, such cultural pluralism impacts the relevance
to the profession for developing relationships with the diverse communities we seek to serve
(Bedini, Stone, & Phoenix, 2000; Msengi et al., 2007). e aim of resolving the disparities
among faculty is less about nding the “right” answer, but simply moving the discourse
into appropriate actions to nd an answer at all. If RPT and related departments are serious
about advocating for social justice around the predominantly white composition, we need
to launch intentional and strategic initiatives to change our “color” and augment a sense of
cultural competency vital to success. Given a growth of ethnic diversity among the students
served in our eld, it’s embarrassing in many ways to continue seeing a lack of similar
diversity among the faculty.
All levels of the university system should engage in outreach eorts that dispel the
common myth that “anyone can teach” and market teachers as treasured, knowledgeable
professionals in our eld as much as any other discipline. Gathering and directing the
resources needed to produce the well-prepared, ethnically diverse, and culturally sensitive
faculty workforce that our classrooms demand, is likely to rest on recognizing the fact
teaching is the profession that “shapes America’s future.” As the U.S. becomes more racially
diverse (e.g., people of color will be the majority by 2050), colleges and universities are
expected to diversify faculty hires at greater strides. We need to inspire more graduate
students of color to pursue faculty positions, construct targeted hiring opportunities,
establish minority-specic post-doc opportunities, and augment our scholarship regarding
race, culture, and equity.
Finally, culturally appropriate recruitment strategies and multicultural, research/
teaching fellowship programs can (theoretically) produce favorable outcomes for potential
faculty of color. ese sorts of recruitment tactics can also likely help diminish some of
the socio-cultural challenges some faculty of color may encounter in higher educational
settings. ere is no easy pathway to success and challenges abound; change is not possible
any other way. e academy and the profession alike (e.g., via NRPA) needs to address
2016, Number 1
these disparities at both micro and macro levels. Providing more outreach, inspiring more
students of color to pursue higher education degrees, and rening recruitment strategies is
not enough. We must also be proactive in recruiting allies across our respective campuses
and within our profession to identify and challenge racism and the manifestations of racism
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... As outdoor adventure education (OAE) professionals and those representing related fields continue to grapple with the impacts and implications of white supremacy, there is an increased analysis of the racializing and gendering of the institutions and the spaces that make up communities of outdoor education, recreation, and leadership (Breunig, 2005;Gress & Hall, 2017;Rao & Roberts, 2018;Rose & Paisley, 2012;Vernon & Seaman, 2018;Warren et al., 2014). However, similar to critical geographer Pulido's (2017) argument concerning gaps in the scholarship of environmental justice, dominant analyses in outdoor education, recreation, and leadership communities do not engage with theories and practical applications of racial capitalism and as such miss important connections between current racial and gender inequity across OAE and related fields (Mowatt et al., 2016;Roberts, 2015;Warren et al., 2014) and the historical formation of Wilderness and the Outdoors in the United States (U.S.) as a racial capitalist project. Outdoor education, recreation, and leadership community members miss critical opportunities to employ OAE to identify and disrupt how the space of Wilderness is reproduced as racialized and gendered, including how it is physically articulated, dependent, and (re)connected to racialized spaces of waste and devaluation, accumulation and dispossession. ...
... In general, this complex history that articulated racialized and colonial differences to the capitalist processes that produced Wilderness in the U.S., continues to shape the social and physical landscape of the Outdoors, its industries, communities, and institutions, including OAE. Ongoing racial and gender inequity on public lands, the Outdoors, and in OAE and related fields (Mowatt et al., 2016;Roberts, 2015;Warren et al., 2014) rightly lamented by many practitioners and scholars in OAE, is directly and physically connected to these racial capitalist processes. However, very little of this interdisciplinary body of work has been included in the pedagogy of OAE. ...
... However, very little of this interdisciplinary body of work has been included in the pedagogy of OAE. Scholars in OAE and related fields who take up issues of race and gender, have made important contributions to demonstrate how the field of OAE is dominated by white, male-identifying people, explore the mechanisms of limited access that affect BIPOC, women, non-binary folx, and LGBQT+ individuals, and forward counter-narratives of underrepresented groups (Breunig, 2005;Gress & Hall, 2017;Mowatt, 2016;Rao & Roberts, 2018;Roberts, 2015;Rose & Paisley, 2012;Warren et al., 2014). Yet, this scholarship does not analyze the current under-representations in the field along lines of race and gender, through the specific lens of racial capitalism. ...
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This paper explores opportunities for outdoor recreation and education programs to support communities working to sustain or increase community vibrancy. Vibrancy is necessarily linked to our natural environment and the quality of and access to natural environments can impact community vibrancy outcomes. Outdoor recreation access and experiences support relationships with place via natural assets. A community’s natural assets and associated recreation, ecosystem services, economic, and broader wellbeing benefits collectively serve to elevate community vibrancy. Nature-based Placemaking (NBP) is an emerging community development framework that builds on a community’s natural assets to bolster community vibrancy. NBP could serve as a roadmap for nature-based community vibrancy efforts, providing direction and considerations for navigating vibrancy related challenges and opportunities. This work provides an NBP overview, outlines embedded concepts that informed development of the framework, explores its initial application, and poses questions and pathways for expanding and refining the NBP framework for broader applicability.
... For example, few teachers have access to formal instructional training related to these topics. Even if administrative support is present, lack of diversity within the ranks of faculty and staff (and in some cases, students) can be limiting (Mowatt et al., 2016). Furthermore, instructors who are willing to directly address sensitive topics and challenge the status quo may be discouraged by the prospect of lower teaching evaluations (Mitchell, 2018;Mowatt, in press). ...
... Aligning with social justice, bell hooks' (1994) notion of teaching to transgress advocates for education that challenges the way people think about society. hooks, as well as others, describe the current education system as one that reinforces domination from the White, racist, patriarchal, heteronormative, able-bodied, and classist social structure (Haviland, 2008;Mowatt et al., 2016;Picower, 2009). Consequently, those teaching to transgress must be ready to engage in counterhegemonic education, or teaching that goes against the grain and exposes students to systemic issues of White supremacy, patriarchy, heteronormativity, ableism, and classism. ...
... 1. Self-assess personal values and biases affecting teaching. In recreation and leisure departments across North America, many instructors identify as non-Hispanic White (Mowatt et al., 2016). This often creates a challenge when teaching social justice-related content. ...
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Contemporary population trends impact leisure experiences and service delivery, requiring recreation and leisure departments to prepare students to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse clientele. However, with little formal training on how to teach content concerning diverse populations, this can be a daunting task. The panel session Preparing Students to Serve Diverse Populations was featured at the 2018 The Academy of Leisure Sciences (TALS) Research and Teaching Institute to help instructors navigate the challenges that arise when teaching diversity-related content to undergraduate and graduate students. This paper focuses on the lessons and recommendations that emerged from that panel of social justice scholars. Using the teaching to transgress philosophy and the Teaching Tolerance Anti-bias Framework, we highlight personal philosophies, pedagogical experiences, and specific activities that may help other instructors teach beyond diversity to facilitate students’ connections with broader issues of social justice.
... Whiteness and the "White Savior" in leisure studies Cole's (2012) directed attention to the agents who seek to "help"-particularly sentimental, White Americans-rather than the objects of that "help," is paralleled by similar discourses on Whiteness in leisure studies (Kivel, 2005;McDonald, 2009;Roberts, 2009). Cole's work also corresponds with scholarship that has explored how Whiteness-whether perpetuated through maintained histories, ideologies, or forms of power-is preserved in leisure practices (Glover, 2007;Harrison, 2013;Rose & Paisley, 2012) and institutions (Martin, 2004;Mowatt et al., 2016). ...
... To that end, Cole was not faculty at an institution of higher education at the time of his Twitter treatise. Is it possible that leisure studies is weakened by epistemological and ontological gaps that are widened by the field's lack of diversity (Mowatt et al., 2016)? Finally, to what degree might the field need to prioritize methods beyond program evaluation, such those in policy analysis (Mowatt, 2009) or evaluation of leisure infrastructure equity (Wolch et al., 2005) in order to better address structural injustices? ...
Representation of, and service to, “underrepresented” and “disadvantaged” groups often denote goals sought by leisure researchers and practitioners. The motivations behind these goals are varied, often harkening themes of social justice and equity. As a potential counternarrative to these motivations, the writer Teju Cole, posited the “White-Savior Industrial Complex.” While originally positioned in the context of Western humanitarian aid, Cole’s thesis that White, hegemonic groups seek to do good while also satisfying their own emotional needs can also apply to leisure research and practice. Through parallel analyses employing Cole’s framework, we identify the enactment of White Saviorism in three exemplative leisure practices: (1) international volunteer tourism, (2) diversification efforts in outdoor recreation, and (3) youth development programming in urban communities. Ultimately, our aim is to encourage leisure researchers and practitioners to engage in a critical reflection in how the field pursues equity and social justice work, and to assess conscious and unconscious biases that influence questions asked and services provided.
... Questioning the values embedded in the leisure research may not be easy as it has been noted that the norms and values of the field are upheld by established gatekeepers. Mowatt et al. (2016), for example, described a scenario at a leisure conference where issues regarding historically oppressed groups came to light, yet the actions of a few silenced the discussion: ...
... Second, there is a need to increase researchers from historically oppressed groups in order to incorporate different perspectives into the scholarly literature. The recommendation to diversify the ranks of research has been made across all academic disciplines, including the leisure scholarly community (Mowatt et al., 2016;Waller et al., 2011). Third, researchers need to consider the impacts of their work prior to its initiation, particularly in cases where study participants and their communities have been pathologized. ...
Research methods to access and engage historically oppressed communities have evolved dramatically. Leisure researchers once aspired to be objective and to remain detached from their participants, but developments in grounded and participatory epistemologies have enabled the development of various kinds of relationships between researchers and study participants. The purposes of this paper were (1) to characterize strategies to build trust and collaborative relationships with historically oppressed populations, and (2) to identify ethical tensions that arise. The paper features vignettes from the coauthors that center on the ways in which historically oppressed communities and researchers have built collaborative relationships that involve a degree of trust while navigating power differentials. The vignettes revealed several themes for effective partnerships and a messy bundle of ethical tensions related to researcher integrity. Ultimately, decisions in research need to be made in a deliberate and transparent manner as the consequences affect everyone involved in the research.
... In another vein, the field of leisure studies has also been impacted by legislators in decisions related to total credit hours for a degree, accreditation standards, and threats of departmental closures (ironically, not for the production of any radical thinking but for not having programme focuses that are employable enough). However, both leisure research and leisure studies have been noted as failing to understand the deeper societal, cultural, and individual meanings (Coalter, 1997(Coalter, , 2000Godbey, 2000;Goodale, 1991;Mowatt et al., 2016;Shaw, 1997;Silk et al., 2017;Storrmann, 1991;Veal, 1998). But the attempt here was to associate the meanings of lived experiences with the presence and influence of power, politics, dominance, a history of discrimination, and resistance as political manifestations of leisure (Philipp, 1994;Rojek, 1989). ...
Recent calls for papers in numerous academic journals within leisure studies have focused on a global and nation-specific climate that leans towards autocratic policy development, fascist rhetoric as the norm, and a greater expansion of a neoliberal philosophy. A critical leisure approach critiques leisure studies and leisure research for what the construction of leisure is in its origin and in its function. The aim of this discussion is to present counter, critical narratives to leisure studies. Two hundred and ninety-two texts that focused on the 'critical' in leisure were read and analyzed through critical discourse analysis and political discourse analysis. The analysis resulted in a historiography that articulates four key alternative or counter traditions: Critical Leisure Studies; New Leisure; Post-Leisure Studies; and Anti-Leisure, which could aid leisure studies into taking on a role as a 'new' cultural studies.
... Floyd, et al. [29] also pointed out a limited spectrum of studies about leisure depending on specific racial and ethnic characteristics. More recent studies by Mowatt, et al. [30] and Floyd and Stodolska [31] pointed out a lack of research on leisure and travel of immigrants and diverse minority groups, respectively. ...
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This qualitative exploratory study focuses on marriage immigrant women and explores the possibility they might contribute to the sustainability of the host country. A sustainable society, the contribution of visiting friends and relatives (VFR) tourism to destination sustainability, information behavior, and fringe stakeholder involvement for sustainable destination management are the focus of this study. Vietnamese marriage immigrant women in South Korea were investigated; the reasons for the investigation include: their increasing numbers, their significance caused by the roles both at the household and the societal levels, and the increased diplomatic ties between Vietnam and South Korea. The narratives of 16 informants about their leisure, hosting of friends and relatives, and information sharing patterns show that Vietnamese marriage immigrant women’s leisure and travel facilitate their subjective well-being and the enhancement of social capital, which potentially contribute to a sustainable society. Their hosting experience of the visits of friends and relatives, and its implications for sustainability, are further discussed. Furthermore, their roles as information mediators suggest their potential to contribute to the formation of the host country reputation. Self-appraisal of their unique travel patterns provides implications for involving this group for destination management. We consider both their importance and constraints as contributors to the host country attaining sustainability, and the implications are discussed.
... Another limitation related to the sample is the high percentage of non-Hispanic Whites. This occurrence was likely the result of the demographic composition of the colleges and departments targeted for recruitment [119]. Selection bias related to which students participated in the study questionnaire based on interest and access/ availability is also possible [3]. ...
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Background University students are increasingly recognized as a vulnerable population, suffering from higher levels of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and disordered eating compared to the general population. Therefore, when the nature of their educational experience radically changes—such as sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic—the burden on the mental health of this vulnerable population is amplified. The objectives of this study are to 1) identify the array of psychological impacts COVID-19 has on students, 2) develop profiles to characterize students' anticipated levels of psychological impact during the pandemic, and 3) evaluate potential sociodemographic, lifestyle-related, and awareness of people infected with COVID-19 risk factors that could make students more likely to experience these impacts. Methods Cross-sectional data were collected through web-based questionnaires from seven U.S. universities. Representative and convenience sampling was used to invite students to complete the questionnaires in mid-March to early-May 2020, when most coronavirus-related sheltering in place orders were in effect. We received 2,534 completed responses, of which 61% were from women, 79% from non-Hispanic Whites, and 20% from graduate students. Results Exploratory factor analysis on close-ended responses resulted in two latent constructs, which we used to identify profiles of students with latent profile analysis, including high (45% of sample), moderate (40%), and low (14%) levels of psychological impact. Bivariate associations showed students who were women, were non-Hispanic Asian, in fair/poor health, of below-average relative family income, or who knew someone infected with COVID-19 experienced higher levels of psychological impact. Students who were non-Hispanic White, above-average social class, spent at least two hours outside, or less than eight hours on electronic screens were likely to experience lower levels of psychological impact. Multivariate modeling (mixed-effects logistic regression) showed that being a woman, having fair/poor general health status, being 18 to 24 years old, spending 8 or more hours on screens daily, and knowing someone infected predicted higher levels of psychological impact when risk factors were considered simultaneously. Conclusion Inadequate efforts to recognize and address college students’ mental health challenges, especially during a pandemic, could have long-term consequences on their health and education.
... Kumashiro's (2000) framework for anti-oppressive education was selected because it encourages continued constructive critique of all approaches to teaching. This framework was also selected because it recognizes the need for change at multiple levels of analysis (Mowatt et al., 2016). Kumashiro's (2000) framework is a conglomeration of four pedagogical approaches (a) education for the other; (b) education about the other; (c) education that is critical of othering and privileging; and (d) education that changes students and society. ...
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Diversity and inclusion courses are common components of undergraduate leisure studies curricula. Although a body of diversity and inclusion content has been developed, few detailed course structures have been shared. I share the learning outcomes, course units, lecture topics, assigned readings, and key assignments from my inclusive recreation class in this essay. Lessons learned while teaching this course are also shared to facilitate both critique and utilization of these materials. Course materials are shared in the interest of inciting others to share their approach to diversity and inclusion courses so that a wider dialogue on what effective instruction of those courses looks like might begin. I close the essay with reflections and lingering questions on the teaching of diversity and inclusion in leisure studies.
Using a critical ethnography approach, this manuscript seeks to explore and analyze the authors’ experiences at their institutions when they began their tenure-track journey at their teaching institutions. This manuscript seeks to provide specific strategies that tenure-track faculty trained at research intensive universities have used to negotiate the requirements of teaching, scholarship, and service at undergraduate and master’s-granting institutions. Initially, we suggested four themes were salient in our experiences: Contracts and criteria; access to resources; interacting with students; and the importance of finding balance. After our discussion at the TALS 2020 conference, two themes emerged as being important to the audience: interactions with students and finding balance. With the experiences from this research, it can inform practices for academic institutional practices and preparation of doctoral students, with a research-intensive background, to enter academia at a teaching-focused institution. As well, it provides future recommendations for continued research in this area.
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The purpose of this study was to examine the progression of discourse on race within leisure studies scholarship through the lens of racecraft and the construct of mattering. The Journal of Leisure Research as well as Schole were examined within the periods of the 1990s (1989–2000) and the 2010s (2009–2019). Articles were chosen based upon their employment of the keywords of community recreation, youth development, and race within both time periods, yielding a total of 99 articles that were examined. A discourse historical approach (DHA) was utilized to assess the impact of the socio-political context on leisure research as well as the development of discourse on race. Through DHA techniques and the concept of racecraft, this study classified articles under five overarching themes: Faint mentions of race, racialization in the negative, improper terminology use, intentionality of race, and inadequate lens of problem/solution. Based upon the findings, leisure literature has displayed minimal progression in its conceptualizations of race. Leisure studies scholarship reflects the dominant discourse through its latent ideology of racism that maintains marginalization of various racialized ethnic groups. It is posited that, without institutional examination and targeted mitigation efforts, the field of leisure will continue to uphold a detrimental racial order with an underdeveloped political and historical stance on race.
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This special issue of the Journal of Leisure Research focuses on critical race theory and social justice perspectives on whiteness, difference(s) and (anti)racism in leisure studies. Drawing on Floyd's (2007) previous work articulating waves of race research in leisure studies, we argue this special issue helps to advance a fourth wave. As part of this fourth wave, papers in this issue address the limitations of essentializing race, advance arguments around the social construction and deconstruction of racial categories, re-examine race and racism within broader theoretical frameworks, and connect power, ideology and white hegemony to illustrate how whiteness is perpetuated and internalized. In this wave, race is also understood as performance. Authors examine the racialization of space and call for a rethinking of justice to address racism and ideologies inherent within policies and practices. This fourth wave also invokes a call for the use of more diverse methodological approaches.
The retention of racial minority students lies at the core of diversity efforts instituted by colleges and universities across the nation. Withstanding the changing racial demographics of the U.S. and the need to have qualified racial minority professionals serving diverse communities retention and matriculation heighten in importance. With the retention challenge that many predominately White institutions (PWIs) face, this study aimed to understand how “social connectedness” related to African American student retention in a recreation and leisure studies program. Focus group methodology was utilized to chronicle the lived experience of African American students. From the analysis of the data three key themes emerged: (1) Connectedness to the academic program; (2) connectedness to the campus; and (3) importance of faculty. The third theme includes two sub-themes: diverse faculty and importance of minority faculty. The findings suggests: 1) overall, the focus group participants did not feel socially connected to the academic program nor the campus; and 2) these particular students did not have a strong sense of belonging, as demonstrated by supportive relationships with faculty.
Much has been written about increasing the cultural competence of students in recreation, parks, and leisure studies curricula. Little has been written, however, about how these programs can increase the actual number of individuals from underrepresented groups. This article discusses the reasons for problems in recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups in higher education. Data specific to recreation, parks and leisure studies curricula are also presented. Additionally, the paper outlines the conceptual background and actual components of a case example that successfully increased the number of African American students in a therapeutic recreation program by 23% over four years. Finally, this article will offer specific recommendations and strategies gleaned from the case example as well as from the literature for ways to improve the contextual conditions of a department or institution in order to not only recruit but also retain students from underrepresented populations.
This quantitative study evaluated the effectiveness of the Leisure, Youth and Human Services (LYHS) curriculum and the cultural climate offered within a Department of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services (HPELS) at a Midwestern university. The study utilized two sets of similar questionnaires distributed to two very distinct groups; 120 alumni who graduated from 1993–2004 and 86 leisure employers in the field of parks and recreation and non-profit agencies found in one Midwestern state. The results ascertained the perceptions of the respondents with respect to the curriculum, cultural competencies, and programs of the division of LYHS. Descriptive statistics, cross tabulation, chi-square, and t-tests were utilized in analyzing the data. Results indicated that over 70% (M=3.3) of both alumni and professionals felt that overall management skills were important for graduates to obtain. More specifically skills including budgeting, administrative skills, fund raising, and professional certifications were rated important. It was concluded that the current curriculum at this Midwestern University met the needs of the leisure profession.
In this article, the authors engage in discourse centrally located in the organizational socialization of Black and Hispanic kinesiology faculty and students within institutions of higher education. First, our commentary is situated in the theoretical framework of organizational socialization in regards to insight about the plight of Black and Hispanic kinesiology professionals. Next, data are presented that highlight the status of Black and Hispanic faculty in academe. Informed by previous research, the authors also discuss the socialization experiences of such faculty in kinesiology programs and departments, particularly at predominantly White institutions of higher education. Lastly, challenges are identified that are associated with recruiting, hiring, retaining, securing tenured status, and advancing Black and Hispanic faculty at leading doctorate-granting institutions in the United States.
This essay offers one response to recent calls for leisure studies scholars to more effectively integrate race into their analyses. Drawing from interdisciplinary scholarship within ethnic studies, cultural studies, and gender/women's studies the article initiates a broader dialogue about the possibilities and dangers of analyzing whiteness within leisure contexts.The article outlines several studies that demonstrate ways in which whiteness operates to advantage white hegemony. It suggests how the concepts of power evasiveness, normalization and intersectionality might be applied to leisure settings and concludes with a discussion of some problems associated with the study of whiteness. The ultimate aim of the essay is to provoke further dialogue as a step toward documenting and overturning inequitable social arrangements in the movement toward justice.
Sixty years have passed since the pivotal 1954 Supreme Court case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas and almost fifty years have elapsed since the Higher Education Act of 1965. The Brown decision dismantled public segregated schools in many parts of the country, especially in the South, and racial access in schools expanded. However, current assessments of educational progress such as troubling signs of "re-segregated schools," lower retention and graduation rates for non-white high school students, declining academic performance, and smaller college enrollment and graduation rates have raised the question of whether the intent of Brown has been achieved. Compounding these adverse indicators of educational progress is a more serious post-Brown issue affecting all racial groups, namely, the growing gender disparity in undergraduate, graduate and professional school enrollment and attainment. The data in this article not only documents growing gender "gaps" within each ethnic group for bachelor's, master's, doctoral and first-professional degrees, but also confirms that women of all races have surpassed men in every degree category except first-professional degrees. Regardless of whether the disparity is an unintended consequence of Brown, this article provides some solutions to resolve this perplexing phenomenon.