Professor appointed president of Academy of Leisure Sciences

Linda Caldwell, professor of recreation, park and tourism management, was elected president of the Academy of Leisure Sciences, effective Oct. 14, 2009. The academy comprises nearly 100 elected members who have made major contributions to the study of leisure sciences.

The mission of the Academy of Leisure Sciences is to advance the field of leisure studies through three main activities: recognizing outstanding scholars, creating forums for exchanging knowledge and ideas, and promoting the study through scholars programs.

“I am particularly excited to be assuming the role of president because one of our main tasks this year is to raise money for an endowment to continue the successful Future Scholars program,” said Caldwell.

The Future Scholars program recognizes and provides a mentored networking opportunity for up to four master’s-level students at the academy’s annual Leisure Research Symposium.

Caldwell’s leisure science research has focused primarily on how leisure activities can be therapeutic, can promote physical activity and health, and can prevent or reduce drug use and risky sexual behaviors in adolescents. Two curricula she and colleagues developed, HealthWise and TimeWise, have been used and evaluated in a number of communities in Germany, Colombia, South Africa and the United States through funding provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Those programs aim to reduce risky behavior and poor health outcomes in adolescents by helping them manage their free time.

She is secretary of the World Leisure Organization’s Commission on Children and Youth and associate editor of Leisure/Loisir and Therapeutic Recreation Journal. In the past, she co-chaired the World Leisure Commission on Children and Youth (2008), was associate editor of Journal of Leisure Research and Journal of Applied Recreation Research, and is co-director of RPTM’s Leisure, Health and Well-Being lab.

Caldwell received her bachelor's degree in Recreation and Parks in 1976 from Penn State, her master's degree in recreation resources administration from North Carolina State University in 1982 and her doctorate in recreation from the University of Maryland in 1986. She has been a faculty member at Penn State since 1995.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010