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Recently posted in Recreation, Park, and Leisure Studies


Dr. Connie Magnuson, director of the Recreation, Park and Leisure Studies (RPLS) program gave an invited presentation at the annual International Conference for the Association of Experiential Education in Denver, CO.

Her presentation titled, "Gopher Adventure Race: an Academic Learning Tool," was given to attendees from all over the world. The presentation focused on how this complex event is planned, operated, and evaluated by the students in RPLS courses and how it serves as a hands-on learning tool. Students in the program gain valuable experience and transferable skill sets preparing them for work in the recreation industry. This is the very essence of experiential learning.

Vision2020.PNG The CEHD Vision 2020 Blog recently featured the School of Kinesiology in two pieces.

Dr. Diane Wiese-Bjornstal, associate professor of kinesiology, contributed to an article, "5 Tips to Ensure Children Have a Quality Youth Sports Experience." In the feature, Wiese-Bjornstal explains that both parents and coaches have a great impact on youth sport and must be competent, mindful, and motivational. Some tips she shares with sport parents are to, comment on great plays, encourage many different sports, do not coach from the sideline, and to cheer for good plays on both teams.

The blog also contains a preview of the annual Gopher Adventure Race (GAR) in, "Get Outdoors Day: 4th Annual Gopher Adventure Race Preview." The GAR is organized and managed by the Recreation, Park and Leisure Studies Program and brings together 200 participants who take on physical and mental challenges across campus. Not only is the GAR a fun and competitive event but it also allows students to plan, implement, and gain valuable work experience. The article notes on the importance of outdoor recreation explaining that many benefits including better health, a spark in creativity, greater emotional connections, and wonderful memories happen that occur outdoors.

Connie MagnusonDr. Connie Magnuson, faculty in Kinesiology and coordinator of the B.S. in Recreation, Park, and Leisure Studies, is a contributor to the recently published ebook, Cultivating Change in the Academy: 50 Stories from the Digital Frontlines at the University of Minnesota in 2012. Magnuson's chapter, "Costa Rica Digital Exploration," focuses on the integration of digital storytelling into her Costa Rican study abroad course.

Cultivating Change is an eBook designed to stimulate discussion about what's possible as well as generate new vision and academic technology direction. It serves as a means for faculty, instructors, students, and staff to learn about the innovative, imaginative, creative, collaborative, and dynamic academic technology work underway across the University of Minnesota in 2012. You can download the book at, and join in on the conversation at

More recently the ebook has been the focus of the following articles:

Cody Mikl.jpgKinesiology graduate Cody Mikl has been selected to serve as the graduate student representative on the Board of Regents. Mikl is pursuing his Ph.D. in OLPD. He received his B.S. and M.A. degrees in Kinesiology with a sport management emphasis. Cody is also a physical activity program instructor and facility manager in the Department of Recreational Sports.

MagnusonC-2007.jpgDr. Connie Magnuson was an invited speaker at the Twin Cities Broadcasters Association Ascertainment Group, which is made up of the major and minor radio and television stations in the greater Twin Cities area. The topics Dr. Magnuson addressed were "Community Recreation Needs" and "Recreation Services and Accessibility for Underserved Populations."

golide-in-life-vest-with-two-women.jpgEarly-bird registration for the third annual Gopher Adventure Race (GAR) is currently in full swing, with a discounted race fee until May 19. After May 19, entrants will be charged the regular rate. Space is limited, and since President Eric Kaler and his wife Karen Kaler are racing this year, Dr. Connie Magnuson, coordinator of the Recreation, Park, and Leisure Studies B.S. program, anticipates the race will sell out quickly.

This year the overall team winners of the 2012 GAR will not only have their names engraved on the canoe-paddle trophy, which is displayed in the Cooke Hall lobby, but they will also win a four-day kayak trip to the Apostle Islands, courtesy of race partner Wilderness Inquiry. Other top-place prizes will be provided by The North Face, Nice Ride, and Midwest Mountaineering.

cy.pngWho says a degree in Recreation, Park, and Leisure Studies won't bring you fame and fortune? He's still working on the fortune part, but Cy Amundson, who received his B.S. in RPLS in 2008, is officially famous. Mr. Amundson will appear on Conan, the late-night talk show hosted by comedian Conan O'Brien, on Tuesday, April 3, on TBS at 10 p.m. While Amundson studied at the U of MN, he has been pursuing a career as a comedian for many years. He was a standout performer as a New Face at this year's Montreal Just For Laughs Festival and was named CMT's Next Big Comic in 2011.

MagnusonC-2007.jpgMany of the University of Minnesota's fastest-growing academic disciplines fall into industries predicted to thrive. The School of Kinesiology's popular Recreation, Park, and Leisure Studies undergraduate program, directed by Dr. Connie Magnuson, was highlighted in this category yesterday by the Minnesota Daily in the article "Top U fields have a future in the workforce."

Along with biological sciences and construction trades, recreation and fitness studies saw the highest percentage growth in graduates within the past decade. This is promising news for Recreation, Park, and Leisure Studies undergraduate students Brittany Turnis and Tyler Joing, who are featured in the story.

"This major puts you out there and gets you connected to people who can help you in the future or maybe get you a job," Turnis said.

Read the full article here.

MagnusonC-2007.jpgDr. Connie Magnuson, Kinesiology lecturer and Director of the undergraduate Recreation, Park, and Leisure studies program, led a January-term adventure-learning class, Adventure Recreation, Tourism, and Ecotourism.

Students spent ten days of their winter break in Costa Rica learning about the diversity of the country. Their itinerary included coffee plantation tours, national park visits, and an overnight camping trip through the coastal jungle. View the highlights slideshow here.

Susie Miller, Kinesiology instructor of Recreation, Park, and Leisure studies, has been recognized by the College of Education and Human Development Alumni Society with the Emerging Leader Award.

The award is presented annually to outstanding graduates who have earned their highest degree from the college within the last 10 years, achieved early distinction in their career related to education and human development, are considered "rising stars" in their profession, and provided volunteer leadership and service to their communities.

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