Vancouver Island University’s new master of arts in sustainable leisure management program is helping students from as far away as India, Mexico and across Canada get started on a new career.
“I heard about this on the Internet,” said Erin Heeney from New Brunswick. “I just completed a degree in sports studies and was thrilled to find a Canadian university offering this kind of program. It’s one step closer to my PhD.”
Plans to establish VIU’s latest master’s program evolved two years ago when the school received designation as a World Leisure Centre of Excellence site from the World Leisure Organization, a non-governmental agency affiliated with the United Nations.
VIU is one of two sites in the world with this designation – the other in the Netherlands. As a World Leisure Centre of Excellence, the university is dedicated to the advancement of international scholarship, graduate education, research and service focused on innovation and sustainability in all aspects of leisure, recreation and tourism.
“The designation as World Leisure Centre of Excellence and now the startup of the new master’s program is icing on the cake for VIU’s faculty of management,” said Tom Delamere, recreation and tourism management professor. “We’re excited about it, and happy to have such a diverse, unique group of students in the first class.”
The program builds upon VIU’s successful track record of offering recreation diplomas for more than 35 years, tourism diplomas for more than 20 years and bachelor degrees in tourism management for more than 10 years.
A contingent of VIU faculty members, including Bob Pfister, Nicole Vaugeois, Dan McDonald and president Ralph Nilson, attended the 10th World Leisure Congress in Quebec three years ago where they advocated strongly that VIU be designated as a World Leisure Centre of Excellence and for the creation of master’s program.
“Our recreation and tourism graduates are considered among the best in the industry,” said Nilson.
The 10 new students in the program received a special welcome on their first day of class from Christopher Edginton, Secretary General of World Leisure, via a video conference call on Skype and will debate on relevant tourism issues at this year’s Tourism Vancouver Island annual conference and general meeting in Nanaimo Sept. 20-22.
This is the fourth master’s program offered at VIU. The university also offers a master of education in special education, master of education in educational Leadership and a master of business administration.
For more information, please visit www.viu.ca.