Academic journal article Journal of Sport Behavior

Job Satisfaction among Mid-Level Collegiate Campus Recreation Program Administrators

Academic journal article Journal of Sport Behavior

Job Satisfaction among Mid-Level Collegiate Campus Recreation Program Administrators

Article excerpt

In the past two decades, campus recreation has been a rapidly evolving system within the collegiate environment. What was once referred to as the "intramural" program has expanded extensively in the late 1990's to encompass an array of recreational pursuits. Formal and informal recreational opportunities, such as intramural sports, fitness programs, sport clubs, outdoor recreation, aquatics program, and aerobic dance classes, have created a comprehensive campus recreation program. The national movement toward understanding the importance of fitness and wellness has also contributed to the rapid growth of campus recreation. College and university administrations have endorsed this progressive movement and acknowledged the importance of campus recreation (Miller & Evans, 1991). To an extreme extent, some colleges and universities such as the University of Baltimore eliminated intercollegiate athletics in favor of campus recreation, lifetime sport, and student activities. The university administrators determined that all appropriations and facilities previously allocated to intercollegiate athletic programs were to be transferred to recreational programs. Following the restructuring, the university administration concluded that the entire student body, especially women and non-traditional students, benefited from this change (Pelletier & Peterson, 1986).

Institutional administrators, such as the directors of admissions, often utilize campus recreation facilities and programs to promote the university when recruiting prospective students and retaining current ones. Bryant, Banta, and Bradley (1995) found that over 30% of university students considered recreational facilities and programs as important factors in deciding to attend or continue at their chosen institutions. The researchers further stated: "other than the occasional freshman course required of all students, recreation may constitute the single most common experience of college students" (p. 159). Interestingly, Mallinackrodt and Sedlacek (1987) found that the number of hours spent in the campus gymnasium was a significant predictor of black student retention.

Due to the fast growth of campus recreation programs, college and university administrators must provide the necessary resources to enhance facilities, and to hire, train, and retain staff members. Proactive institutions have developed master plans and insightfully allocated resources for the construction of recreation facilities and for the professional growth of their staff. On some campuses, construction projects may be supported by student referendums; while on other campuses, new multi-million facilities may be supported through legislative funding systems. In addition to building state of the art facilities, colleges have been challenged to develop campus recreation professionals with particular knowledge and experience in intramural sport, club sport, fitness, outdoor recreation, aquatics, and/or informal recreation. These individuals are known on the campus as mid-level administrators. Mid-level administrators are between the senior administrators (e.g., director of athletics or director of campus recreation department) and the first level of supervision (e.g., staff supervisors) in the administrative hierarchy and are responsible for supervising campus recreation programs. Although the responsibilities for mid-level campus recreation programs vary among institutions, the job span is usually immense. They are generally responsible for the development and implementation of recreation programs, planning and budgeting for program enhancement, staff development, supervision of staff and student employees, management of recreational facilities, and organizing social opportunities for students and even sometimes the university community (Todaro, 1993). Stiefvater (1994) noted that mid-level campus recreation program administrators are expected to offer a variety of recreational sports experiences while maintaining strict fiscal responsibility. …

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