an inTeRlink feature
Thoughts on Recreation Therapy for Reflection/Reaction #3
David R. Austin, Ph.D., CTRS, FALS
What follows are some thoughts on recreation therapy for your review and
Research Versus Teaching
For many years, there has been a public concern that universities emphasize
research at the expense of teaching. As a graduate student in therapeutic
recreation at the University of Illinois in the late 1960's and early 1970's,
I can recall Illinois legislators "investigating" the number of hours faculty
spent teaching each week. My recollection is that the average professor was
in the classroom seven hours per week. At first blush it may seem that the
seven hour average is not much time. It a prof works 40 hours each week,
he or she should have 33 hours for other duties (and most faculty devote
themselves to well over 40 hours of work each week). We must consider, however,
that the University of Illinois and many other universities are major research
universities. Some faculty at these institutions are employed as researchers
who have no teaching assignment. Other faculty are primarily hired to do
research so they may teach only one three-credit hour course per semester,
or year. Due to many faculty having primarily research responsibilities,
averages of faculty teaching loads can be misleading. One professor may not
be teaching at all, while another may have a 12 hours teaching load.
Another factor to consider is that faculty engaged in research often produce
revenue for their universities. Most of the research faculty are bringing
in grants that pay their salaries, as well as support graduate research
assistants and support staff. The university profits from the grants by receiving
"indirect costs." These are monies that come with the grants in order to
pay the university for providing work space, heating and cooling it, keeping
walks free of snow in winter and the grass mowed in summer. A large university
can receive millions of dollars annually in indirect cost money from faculty
research grants. Thus monies derived through research have the potential
to enhance all aspects of universities, including teaching.
Another aspect related to the research versus teaching controversy is that
faculty receive tenure and promotions based in large measure on their research
and scholarly productivity. Faculty are expected to contribute to the literature
of their disciplines or professions. Without the publication of original
research or scholarly works by faculty the body of knowledge would not grow.
Research and scholarship take large amounts of time (Recall your student
days and just how difficult it was to write a single term paper!). At schools
where publication records are valued (and today "publish or perish" is true
on most campuses), faculty have to apply themselves to building their list
The good news is that doing research and scholarship fits in nicely with
teaching. First, if there were no body of knowledge, what would students
learn? But teaching is far more than a one-way process of the professor pouring
information into empty heads. Good teachers do not just engage in the passive
process of dispensing knowledge into eager minds. Both good teachers and
their students are actively involved in the learning process. Professors
doing research and scholarship are continually learning themselves and then
sharing their discoveries (and excitement for leaning) with their students.
More and more, students are actually joining faculty in completing research
and scholarship. This represents one of the highest levels of teaching.
Finally, even research universities are broadening the way they interpret
scholarship. This, of course, can be extremely meaningful to faculty at tenure
or promotion time. Many schools today encourage faculty to do pedological
research in their disciplines and to create innovative teaching materials.
Faculty scholarship can include research on teaching methods, the authoring
of a landmark textbook, the development of instructional videos, or the
construction of course materials for the World Wide Web.
Be skeptical the next time you hear cries for higher faculty teaching loads
and reduced scholarship. Research and teaching do not have to stand in opposition
to one another.
All rights reserved.
COMMENTS BY READERS:
I agree very much with the person that posted as anonymous on Saturday, August 20, 2005 at 00:46:20.
And I'll add to it:
If you wanted a high-payng job, you shouldn't have gone into TR. If you wanted to be a respected professional, why would you go into TR? I went into TR because I love kids, I love recreation, and I love teaching others my love for it, and using recreation to see improvements. I don't expect to get paid a lot, I don't expect to be respected (geesh, I play with kids for a living, c'mon... also, to reply to the previous poster, my position is not respected, while I am. I have never had a supervisor that wasn't thrilled with what I do. I'm great at it and I know it, but that doesn't mean the position I'm holding doesn't sound wishy-washy at the end of the day to others.). And I'm okay with that.
I also agree that NCTRC certification is becoming a waste of money. It seemed like a good idea to begin with, but throwing away that amount of money yearly on a certification that isn't recognized is silly. Licensure is just another step further, so why bother?
And yes, someone with much less education than me can do my job. And it's not because I'm not doing it correctly. It's because expanding all pertinent TR knowledge into a 4-year degree is a waste of money. An internship is vital, as well as specific TR classes (not filled 75% with nothing... my TR classes were the easiest classes of my college career, and I took them at apparently one of the best TR departments in the country), so a 2-yr degree would probably suffice.
Additionally, I also think it's true that persons with other degrees can do my job, like pscyh, SW, education, etc. Again, it's not because I'm not doing my job correctly; it's because they too have education/experience in the processes of the human mind, what motivates clients, developmental psych, goals and objectives to achieve certain outcomes, and what activities can be done to work at their goals. It's not rocket science, it's silly pretending it is. I'm a smart girl, but I'm glad that I'm in a career that's easy for me and I will have fun doing, even though I get a lousy paycheck.
I need some articles about recreation for children because I have worked as teacher physical education also I am taking posgraduate about recreation I hope that you are send me some about this thank very much.Iam brazilian
USA - Tuesday, April 10, 2007 at 19:12:09 (CDT), IP Address: 6716317411
andrea carlan lemos <afia*terra.com.br>
santa maria, rio grande do sul brazil university santa maria - Monday, September 29, 2003 at 07:34:50 (CDT)
I enjoyed your article. I am a student of Dr. Langsner's and we are searching the web for information on therapeutic recreation. We all wanted to say hi.
Therpeutic Recreation Student
Brooke Taylor <bjt01*uark.edu>
Fayetteville, AR USA University of Arkansas - Wednesday, June 13, 2001 at 10:02:23 (CDT)
Hi David, my name is Roy Matthews and I am a Personal trainer / Wellness coach
her in England. Due to a difference of opinion with my recent employers (David
Lloyd), I find myself unemployed and pining for progress. About four years ago,
I found T.R. on the net and sent for your second edition book of practices and
principles. After applying a combination of counselling skills, personal quality
management (PQM) and physical peformance training, for about two years, I would
like nothing more than to studie for either a diploma or degree in Thereputic
Recreation. would either yourself or your secretary, contact me and help me to
do a correspondence course. I have a dream to fullfill and within a practice
to develop and deliver, here in England. Can you help me. Oh ps, I am 34 have
dips in health & personal development.. health & socal care.. wellness and fitness
coaching and counselling skills/ theroy and specific modules of a BA honours
roy matthews <kevan*matthewsk9.fsnet.co.uk>
nottingham, Notts England Total Health and Wellbeing. - Monday, March 12, 2001 at 14:32:42 (CST)
Dear Dr. Austin,
Although I have been out of college 12 years, I really feel that Recreation Therapy
is in an exciting time. I only wish that I was challenged more in college to
do research. I was in a doomed recreation therapy program at KSU (Manhattan KS).
I am at an age now to appreciate the time and effort spent on research in a time
of jobs in various fields being eliminated. Recreation seems to be a field that
is growing and it is in my opinion because we have fine researchers and research
in our favor. I have had a lot of help from a Book-"Leisure and Mental Health" David
M. Compton. I have showed this research to several Physicians,Psychologist, and
other disciplines that don't have a clue what Recreation Therapy can do to the
Please let me know if I can be of assistance in any research that you do.
Karla Bryant CTRS
karla bryant CTRS <psydrec*netscape.net>
Beatrice, NE USA Beatrice State Developmental Center - Wednesday, February 14, 2001 at 18:45:19 (CST)
Hello Dr. Austin, I am writing a paper for my Honors Speaking and Writing class on your profession, and I was wondering if you would be willing to fill out a survey for me. Please e-mail me back as soon as possible if you are able to help me out. Thank you! Sincerely, Kari Wieber
Kari Wieber <kariwieber*hotmail.com>
Mt. Pleasant, MI USA Central Michigan University - Tuesday, September 07, 1999 at 18:19:46 (CDT)
I enjoyed your article and I am interested in the topic. I am currently taking a class in issues in T.R. and I would like to know if you
could provide me with any additional information on this topic. I am writting a paper and am wondering if you could point me in the righ
direction to look for additional information on this subject. Thank You for your time. cdisciul*falcon.lhup.edu
Chris Di Sciullo <cdisciul*faclcon.lhup.edu>
USA Lock Haven University Of Pennsylvania - Wednesday, February 11, 1998 at 18:04:38 (PST)