Mission and Philosophy


The Recreation, Sport and Park Administration program is committed to the graduation of professionally educated persons qualified to effectively deliver leisure services. This mission is accomplished through a nationally accredited undergraduate professional preparation program which provides a foundation of discipline-specific knowledge relative to:

  • Philosophical, methodological, and ethical considerations in the provision of organized leisure services;

  • The impact of leisure on individuals and society; and

  • Knowledge of social, multi-cultural, natural, global and technological environments.


The RSPA Program advocates a philosophy of leisure as a human right as articulated in the Declaration of Independence and by the National Recreation Park Association (NRPA) and consistent with a focus on lifelong learning, and self-expression through the benefits of leisure. The Program models and promotes philosophies of leisure proposed by Aristotle as reflective contemplation, the highest level of leisure pursuit and Abraham Maslow whom aspired that every person’s highest level of human need to be self-actualization. We are committed to relationships with students, colleagues and professionals consistent with national professional organizations in leisure services which advocate quality of life for all, enhancement of individual health and fitness, choice, and decision making through leisure expression.

The curriculum provides the opportunity to develop competence in verbal/non-verbal communication and opportunities for the development of critical thinking skills. Opportunities also exist for both service learning experiences and applied student/faculty research.

The curriculum significantly contributes to three University themes: Health Care, Business and Economic Development, and Public Affairs.


Graduates completing the wellness/health promotion track work as fitness instructors, personal trainers, and wellness coordinators in a variety of governmental, private, corporate and clinical settings to facilitate such programs. Wellness programs are receiving increased emphasis as society struggles with health care costs. It makes economic as well as humanitarian sense to spend money on work site programs designed to "preserve and build health rather than to recover it after loss."

Business and economic development

The leisure industries, including travel and tourism, predicted to become the largest collection of industries in the world, already some of Missouri's most profitable renewable resources contribute substantially to Southwest Missouri's business and economic health in terms of direct and indirect expenditures by both residents and visitors. While shopping may attract the most activity, other activities gaining popularity include historic places and museums; cultural events and festivals; fishing and hunting; boating; sports events; and golf/tennis facilities. An abundance of natural, man made, heritage and human resources are found in the region (i.e., shopping, music shows, theme parks, boating/swimming, fishing/camping, golf/tennis, spectator sports, dining out, historic sites, concerts, museums/galleries, resort hotel activities, cultural attractions, and wineries.) The abundance of attractions awaiting the resident and traveler also provide sites for practicum, internship, and employment opportunities for students completing the Recreation Management degree emphasis.

The Sport Industry is a multi-billion dollar business from community youth and adult sports leagues through collegiate and professional sports, including sport facility operations, and marketing and promotions. Economic impact is made through equipment, concessions, tickets and souvenir sales, hosting tournament events and added hotel and restaurant sales. Springfield was selected as one of fifty Sports IllustratedSportsTown USA” in 2003. We have the benefit of some premier sports facilities in the state with Indoor Soccer Dome, Media Com Ice Park that supports youth hockey and The Wolf Pack arena football, The Springfield Cardinals minor league team to the St. Louis Cardinals, Media Com Cooper Tennis Complex that supports The Lasers Professional Tennis, along with our own Missouri State University, Evangel College, Drury College and College of the Ozarks that support NAIA and NCAA Collegiate Athletics.

Public affairs

The notion of public service is deeply embodied in the philosophy and purpose of the leisure services field. Participation in leisure activities fosters respect for individual rights, facilitates the development of a cooperative attitude, enhances communication, and fosters a sense of community pride and responsibility. RSPA faculty and students have formed an interdependent partnership with the community in terms of service. Majors complete a 400/600-hour full-time internship experience, a 100-hour practicum experience, and numerous class-related volunteer experiences. Faculty/student research and class projects identify and enhance community resources for recreation and tourism.