Faculty/Staff

Dr. Laura Payne and Dr. Jeremy Robinett

The RST faculty is world-renowned for research and scholarly endeavors. They represent a complement of backgrounds ranging from psychology to sociology, from marketing to economics, from geography to rehabilitation, from communication to leisure behavior, from health and wellness to natural resources. As a result, students are exposed to a variety of diverse and relevant perspectives on the park, recreation, sport, and tourism profession. Every member of the faculty teaches and brings state-of-the-art knowledge to the classroom.

Faculty

Lynn A. Barnett-Morris, Ph.D., Associate Professor ▼

Lynn A. Barnett-Morris, Ph.D.

Email:

Office phone:

(217) 244-5645

Office fax:

(217) 244-1935

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Degree

Ph.D. Educational Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1976

Research and Professional Interests

Professor Barnett's areas of interest include analysis of play and its relation to development; investigation of toys and play spaces as facilitative of play; and resources in research design and statistical analysis.
 
Professor Barnett's areas of research include theoretical formulation of children's play; intrinsic motivation and rewards; the effects of adult-structured play and extracurricular activities on children's development and interests; and the play of children with special challenges and needs.
 
See curriculum vitae for information about awards, academic and professional honors, publications, and professional associations and certifications.

Liza Berdychevsky, Ph.D., Assistant Professor ▼

Liza Berdychevsky, Ph.D.

Email:

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Degree

Ph.D., Health and Human Performance, University of Florida

Research and Professional Interests

Dr. Berdychevsky’s research revolves at the nexus of health and wellbeing in leisure and tourism contexts, adopting a gender-sensitive and a life course-grounded approach. In her work, she focuses on risky behaviors and vulnerable populations, exploring the impacts of risk taking on health and wellbeing. Specifically, Dr. Berdychevsky examines two interrelated aspects of health and risk behaviors that have gained little attention in both leisure and tourism literature. First, she investigates sexual behavior and risk taking among young and senior adults in various leisure and tourism contexts. Her research indicates that sexual risk taking is a multidimensional and complex phenomenon and provides recommendations for tailoring gender-sensitive, age-appropriate, and context-specific sexual health education messages. Second, Dr. Berdychevsky studies people’s experiences of violence-related behaviors and other delinquent leisure practices. She investigates the impacts of these behaviors on health and wellbeing and examines various risk and protective factors instrumental for developing prevention and intervention programs. She uses a variety of methodologies in her projects, including quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. Overall, Dr. Berdychevsky’s research contributes to a deeper understanding of the issues associated with sexual risk taking and violence perpetration and victimization and offers directions for health education programs and prevention and intervention methods.

 

See curriculum vitae for information about awards, academic and professional honors, publications, and professional associations and certifications.

Matt Browning, Ph.D., Assistant Professor ▼

Matthew Browning, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Email:

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Degree

 

  • PhD. Forestry. Virginia Tech, 2015
  • MESc, Environmental Science, Yale University, 2012
  • BA, Biology, Oberlin College, 2005

 

Research and Professional Interests

Dr. Browning is interested in people’s connections and interactions with the natural world. His research focuses broadly on ways to evaluate and ultimately enhance the frequency, richness, and meaningfulness of these connections and interactions. His ultimate goal is to better understand in what ways nature might promote human health and well-being. He’s particularly interested in utilizing new and emerging technologies in his research, such as immersive experiences in virtual reality and psychological, physiological, and sociological data collection with mobile devices.

Many of Dr. Browning’s interests span social and natural sciences, and he attempts to overlay psychological or sociological frameworks on environmental management issues. Much of this work is conducted within nature-based recreation and environmental education contexts. Please see his curriculum vitae for information about awards, academic and professional honors, publications, and professional associations and certifications.

Laurence Chalip, Ph.D., Professor, Department Head ▼

Laurence Chalip, Ph.D., Department Head

Email:

Office phone:

(217) 333-4410

Office fax:

(217) 244-1935

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Degree

University of Chicago, Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, 1988

Research and Professional Interests

Laurence Chalip studies sport policy. His focus includes policies specifically for sport, particularly policies intended to foster development of sport, as well as policy uses of sport, such as the engagement of sport to enhance economic and social development. His research recognizes that sport is a multilevel enterprise, so it examines community sport organizations, as well as elite sport systems, including the Olympic Movement. In order to understand the ramifications of sport policy, his work consider the linkages between sport and other industries, particularly tourism, health, and recreation. The objective of this work is to elaborate a model that enables optimal design and delivery of sport services and events.

B. Chris Green, Ph.D., Professor ▼

B. Chris Green, Ph.D., Professor

Email:

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Degree

Ph.D., Sport Management, University of Maryland

Research and Professional Interests

Chris Green studies the intersection of sport and development. Her work examines the growth and development of sport programs and systems and their relationship to the development of individuals, groups, communities, and organizations. The intellectual aim of her work is to elaborate a model that identifies factors that facilitate or inhibit the development of sport at each level, and that describes the separate, cumulative, and interactive effects of those factors within and across levels. The practical objective of this work is enhanced effectiveness in the governance, administration, marketing, and policymaking for sport programs and sport systems. In this way, sport settings can be created and maintained in ways that assist the development of a wide range of individuals, groups, and communities.

See curriculum vitae for information about awards, academic and professional honors, publications, and professional associations and certifications.

Joy Huang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor ▼

Joy Huang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Email:

Office phone:

(217) 333-4410

Office fax:

(217) 244-1935

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Degree

Ph.D., Hospitality and Tourism Management, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, 2010

Toni Liechty, Ph.D., Assistant Professor ▼

Toni Liechty, Ph.D.

Email:

Office phone:

(217) 300-0105

Office fax:

(217) 244-1935

Download Curriculum Vitae

Research Lab:

Degree

Ph.D., Major: Leisure Studies/ Minor: Bio-behavioral Health, The Pennsylvania State University

Research and Professional Interests

Dr. Liechty's research explores the connections between physically active leisure and body image, embodiment, and health and well-being. For example, she has investigated body image and leisure among pregnant women, retirement-age men and women, and female athletes.

See curriculum vitae for information about awards, academic and professional honors, publications, and professional associations and certifications.

Laura L. Payne, Ph.D.,Professor, Director of Graduate Studies ▼

Laura L. Payne, Ph.D.

Email:

Office phone:

(217) 333-4410

Office fax:

(217) 244-1935

Download Curriculum Vitae

Degree

Ph.D., Leisure Studies with a minor in Gerontology, Pennsylvania State University, 1998

Research and Professional Interests

As an Extension Specialist, Dr. Payne's overall goal is to improve peoples' health and well-being through research, education and outreach programs that result in the delivery of quality and sustainable recreation, parks and wellness programs/services. Her research examines the effects of leisure behavior on aspects of health and well-being among older adults. More specifically, she examines the relationship between leisure style and health of older adults with chronic conditions and the role of local parks and recreation agencies in health promotion and health behavior change. She has directed several statewide outreach and research programs such as the Illinois Rural Recreation Development Project, Illinois Senior Wellness Initiative, Take Charge of Your Health: Live Well be Well, and the Illinois Health Care Reform Initiative. Her work has been supported by the State of Illinois Division of Human Services, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Recreation Foundation, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

 

Specializations/Research Interests:

  • Community parks and recreation management and planning
  • Evidence-based practice and programs
  • Health and leisure across the lifespan
  • Healthy aging

Nuno Ribeiro, Ph.D., Assistant Professor ▼

Nuno F. Ribeiro, PhD

Email:

Office phone:

(217) 300-0336

Office fax:

(217) 244-1935

Download Curriculum Vitae

Research Lab:

Degree

PhD Recreation, Park & Tourism Management, Minor in Cultural Anthropology, Penn State University, 2011

Research and Professional Interests

Dr. Ribeiro’s research deals with the comparative study of young people’s culture and behavior within tourism and leisure phenomena, with a strong anthropological emphasis. Dr. Ribeiro’s research interests comprise culturally-derived belief and behavior models in tourism destinations; young people's risky behavior in hedonistic tourism destinations; visual methods in tourism research; food tourism; and young Indigenous Peoples’ health. Dr. Ribeiro uses emically-produced cultural knowledge in order to design and implement effective interventions among young populations in a variety of tourism and leisure settings. He has conducted fieldwork among fishermen in Portugal; amateur boxers in Central Pennsylvania; spring breakers in Florida; Canadian francophone minority students; and Cree, Lakota, Nakota, and Dene youth in Saskatchewan.

Dr. Ribeiro has published extensively and has received several research grants totaling in excess of 1.5M $US from the Portuguese National Foundation for Science and Technology, the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, and the Canadian Institute of Health Research, among others. Current projects include:

  • effects of culturally prescribed behavior in seaside tourism destinations (Florida and Portugal);
  • longitudinal research on the cultural determinants of Aboriginal youth health (Saskatchewan)
  • cultural destination attractiveness using computer-generated behavioral models (Illinois);
  • African-American and Latino cultural behavioral models as precursors to health-based interventions (Illinois);

Address:

  • Department of Recreation, Sport & Tourism
  • University of Illinois
  • 204S Huff Hall
  • 1206 South Fourth Street
  • Champaign, IL 61820

Alessandro Rigolon, Ph.D., Assistant Professor ▼

Alessandro Rigolon

Email:

Office phone:

217-300-5527

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Degree

Ph.D., Design and Planning, University of Colorado Denver, 2015

Research and Professional Interests

Dr. Rigolon is interested in environmental justice issues related to urban green spaces. Given limited funds and increasing health problems, how can public agencies help increase access to health-promoting facilities like parks and trails in underserved neighborhoods? And how can they address potential gentrification processes related to the implementation of these new facilities? Much of Dr. Rigolon’s studies to date have exposed inequitable access to parks for different socioeconomic and ethnic groups. But his work also goes to the root of the problem by analyzing how land use planning processes, housing policy, and park funding measures determine how and for whom parks are established, maintained, and improved. More recently, he has studied gentrification and displacement processes linked to the implementation of new green infrastructure such as parks and greenways. Overall, Dr. Rigolon’s research sheds light on the connections between park equity and neighborhood change.

Please see his curriculum vitae for information about publications, awards, and professional experiences.

Carla Santos, PhD, Professor ▼

Carla Santos, Ph.D.

Email:

Office phone:

(217) 244-3874

Office fax:

(217) 244-1935

Download Curriculum Vitae

Degree

Ph.D., Mass Communications, Pennsylvania State University, 2002

Research and Professional Interests

Research and Professional Interests

Dr. Santos serves on the editorial boards of Annals of Tourism Research, Journal of Travel Research, Tourism Culture and Communication, and the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management. She serves as the Book Review Editor for the Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change. Her research program is focused on the examination of communicative practices (from mass mediated narratives to the face-to-face dyad) as a means of addressing the socio-political and cultural impact of tourism on the world's people and cultures.

Research Interests

  • Socio-cultural and political aspects of tourism
  • Cultural sustainability
  • Heritage and tourism
  • Genealogical tourism
  • The personalized worlds of experience guided by tourism representations
  • The ideological forces that shape and organize tourism representations

See curriculum vitae for information about awards, academic and professional honors, publications, and professional associations and certifications.

Kimberly Shinew, Ph.D., Professor ▼

Kimberly Shinew, Ph.D.

Email:

Office phone:

(217) 333-4410

Office fax:

(217) 244-1935

Download Curriculum Vitae

Degree

Ph.D., Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management , Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, 1993

Research and Professional Interests

Dr. Shinew's research efforts focus on studying marginalized populations. Most of her research has focused on the leisure behavior of racial and ethnic minorities, particularly African Americans and Latino(a)s. More specifically, she seeks to delineate the complex relationships between race/ethnicity and leisure behavior and services. Her research also examines issues affecting the leisure behavior and services of women. In her research, she strives to highlight the constraints and other factors that can make leisure and leisure services problematic for marginalized populations, and the parallel issues that can affect these groups.

  • Understanding unique and culturally-relevant leisure participation patterns and constraints among racial and ethnic minorities.
  • Investigating leisure spaces as sites for interracial integration and/or segregation.
  • Exploring physical activity as a leisure choice for racial and ethnic minorities.
  • Examining the leisure constraints women face and their resistance to these constraints, and the coping strategies they employ to develop satisfying leisure lifestyles.

Read more about Dr. Shinew's research »

See curriculum vitae for information about awards, academic and professional honors, publications, and professional associations and certifications.

William P. Stewart, Ph.D., Professor ▼

William P. Stewart, Ph.D.

Email:

Office phone:

(217) 333-4410

Office fax:

(217) 244-1935

Download Curriculum Vitae

Degree

Ph.D., Watershed Management and Forestry, University of Arizona, 1987

Research and Professional Interests

Professor Stewart's goals for both teaching and research are to facilitate the development of parks and other environmental settings to improve quality of life and community well being.

 

Professor Stewart conducts research associated with park and natural resources development and teaches courses in the university-wide environment program. Bill has been involved with research projects that assess information from park users, community residents, and various other stakeholders.

 

See curriculum vitae for information about awards, academic and professional honors, publications, and professional associations and certifications.

Monika Stodolska, Ph.D., Professor ▼

Monika Stodolska, Ph.D.

Email:

Office phone:

(217) 244-5644

Office fax:

(217) 244-1935

Download Curriculum Vitae

Degree

Ph.D., Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, July 1999

Research and Professional Interests

Professor Stodolska's research focuses on the roles of leisure, recreation, and sport in improving health and well-being among ethnic and racial minorities. Her studies have explored the development of ethnic identities among Latinos and African Americans, as well as cultural change and adaptation among immigrant populations. Other subjects that are prominent in her research include constraints on leisure, ethnic and racial discrimination in leisure settings, recreation behavior of minority populations in urban natural environments, physical activity among minority groups, and the roles of new technologies in leisure.

Read more about Dr. Stodolska's research

See curriculum vitae for information about awards, academic and professional honors, publications, and professional associations and certifications.

Jon Welty Peachey, Ph.D., Associate Professor ▼

Jon Welty Peachey, Ph.D.

Email:

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Degree

Ph.D., Sport Management, University of Connecticut

Research and Professional Interests

Dr. Welty Peachey's research centers upon sport-for-development and social change, particularly examining inclusive leadership strategies, program design modalities, and program impact. He applies this research focus by working with community-based and non-governmental organizations that use sport for development purposes, to help determine effective leadership strategies and programmatic and structural design features that are sensitive to cultural contexts and the individuals served by the programs. He also works with these organizations to examine how their programs and events can be leveraged for community impact and development.

See curriculum vitae for information about awards, academic and professional honors, publications, and professional associations and certifications.

Instructional Faculty

Lara Browning, Lecturer ▼

Email:

Office phone:

(217) 300-3379

Download Curriculum Vitae

Degree

MLA, Landscape Architecture, University of Georgia, BA, Environmental Science, Wellesley College

Research and Professional Interests

Professor Browning is interested in the planning and design of outdoor recreational spaces, educational and interpretive landscapes, therapeutic gardens, ecological site design, and community-engaged design processes. In addition to teaching, she is the  Landscape Architecture Specialist for the Office of Recreation and Park Resources where she works with student teams in research, community engagement, and interdisciplinary design that promotes healthy living in Illinois communities.

See curriculum vitae for information about awards, academic and professional honors, publications, and professional associations and certifications.

Carla Costa, Adjunct Instructor ▼

Don Hardin, Instructor ▼

Don Hardin

Email:

Office phone:

(217) 244-3708

Research and Professional Interests

University of Illinois Head Volleyball Coach, retired.

Director of Illini Scholar’s Program, through which admitted applicants to our M.S. program are matched with assistantships in DIA (Division of Intercollegiate Athletics Department).

Bin Lizzo, Internship Coordinator and Lecturer, ▼

Bin Lizzo, Internship Coordinator and  Lecturer, ▼

Download Curriculum Vitae

Research and Professional Interests

Primarily my research interests revolve around adventure education, adventure tourism, experiential education and how these might intersect with sustainable practices.  Additionally, as the Internship Coordinator for the RST Department I continuously strive to strengthen connections within the Industry to better aid our students in finding the best internship opportunities to help them on their way to a fulfilling career.

PATTY PYRZ, M.A., LECTURER ▼

PATTY PYRZ, M.A.

Email:

Degree

M.A., Exercise Physiology/Wellness, University of Central Florida

Michael Raycraft, Lecturer ▼

Michael Raycraft

Email:

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Jen Ruddell, Adjunct Lecturer ▼

Terry Schwartz, Adjunct Instructor ▼

Steven Staples, Adjunct Instructor ▼

Cindy Wachter, Ph.D., Lecturer, Leisure Studies ▼

Cindy Wachter, Ph.D.

Email:

Office phone:

(217) 244-6915

Download Curriculum Vitae

Research and Professional Interests

Exploring contemporary social influences on leisure such as cultural understandings of leisure and its relationship to happiness and quality of life; the relationship between technology and leisure social factors affecting the work/leisure relationship (i.e. public policies, cultural/corporate values, time use, job structure); the value of and barriers to unstructured play for children.

Retired and Emeritus Faculty

  • Joseph J. Bannon, Professor Emeritus of Leisure Studies
  • Jerry Burnam, Associate Dean ALS (Retired)
  • Michael Ellis, Professor Emeritus of Leisure Studies
  • Robert D. Espeseth, Professor Emeritus of Leisure Studies
  • John R. Kelly, Professor Emeritus of Leisure Studies
  • Cary McDonald, Associate Professor (Retired)
  • William R. McKinney, Professor Emeritus of Recreation, Sport and Tourism
  • Bruce E. Wicks, Associate Professor (Retired)

Departmental Staff

Mark Owen, Office Support Specialist ▼

Julia Spitz, Administrative Aide ▼

Advising

Patty Pyrz, Undergraduate Advisor ▼

PATTY PYRZ, M.A.

Email:

Office phone:

217- 244-2695

Timothy Tiger, Online Master's Program, Student Services Advisor ▼

Timothy Tiger

Email:

Download Curriculum Vitae