|Abstract or Summary
- One of the many challenges facing today’s state park systems is its aging work force. As manager retirements increase over the next few years, how will the knowledge, experience, and institutional memory that leave with these retirees be retained? And what skills and knowledge will new state park managers need to meet the demands of their new jobs? To help address this concern the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD) developed a set of nine competencies for new state park managers to: (1) gain an in-depth understanding of the primary competencies required to manage a state park; (2) develop an awareness of the traditions, trends, and future challenges associated with managing a state park; and (3) develop a network for the ongoing exchange of knowledge, ideas, information, and experiences. To deliver these competencies, NASPD partnered with North Carolina State University (NCSU) Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management to create the State Park Leadership School (SPLS). The SPLS curriculum was developed and written by a Board of Regents with oversight provided by NCSU and a curriculum committee. The SPLS was designed to be delivered to students in two parts: a Distance Education (DE) module and an on-site “active learning” component. The DE program was developed using authorGEN software and made available to students on CD-ROM. The 3-day on-site program utilizes a variety of active learning techniques (i.e., case studies, roundtable and panel discussions), which build on and reinforce content mastered from the DE delivered courses. The purpose of this University Education in Natural Resources program is to present the approaches taken by NASPD/NCSU partnership. Discussion will focus on the role of the Board of Regents, and the steps taken to develop, market, deliver, and assess this innovative training program.