KHPR Professor Talks Recreation, Event and Sport Management Degree and Research

John Collins, KHPR professor and researcher in the COE, talks about what his students are currently learning with regards to recreation, event and sport management and his research in those fields.

Collins’ says his experience with recreation and facility management comes from growing up in east Tennessee by The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and working for places like the Dallas Park and Recreation Department.

He teaches both undergraduate and graduate students. For example, he is currently teaching an undergraduate level class on facility management. Here he focuses his time on making sure his students have a hands on experience by visiting facilities like the newly opened EPIC recreation center in Grand Prairie, the Texas Motor Speedway, and the Superdome in Frisco.

Collins works with nonprofit, Denton Youth Basketball, to host a 7-week league and tournament with over 600 local area youths. The event is held in the Physical Education Building on UNT Campus. His students manage the league by serving on half-day shifts starting at six-thirty in the morning and ending late in the day. This hands-on practical experience is ideal for providing students with the operational logistics related to facility management.

He prepares this activity for his students so they may complete some of the 400 service hours needed to fulfill the RESM (Recreation, Event, and Sport Management) program degree. Collins describes these 400 service hours as a way for students to test different areas of the RESM industry, almost like a process of elimination, weeding out what the student may dislike.

A relatively recent topic addressed in his facilities class is venue security. Collins teaches his students the procedures and steps needed to be addresses in order to ensure a facility is safe before any sort of event.

His class is just a small piece of all the classes students need to take in order to walk out of UNT with the RESM degree.

“We have 14 courses in all,” Collins said. “We have them take event logistics, budgeting, diversity, risk management and legal aspects, event marketing, data analytics, communications, and facility operations just to name a few. RESM students also have to complete a 12 credit hour internship, which is 40 hours a week completing 480 hours. They have to do a special project in that internship where the internship agency allows them take the lead. A lot of times it’s putting on a youth camp over a weekend or some kind of small event or even a bigger event. They may not see that event come to life due to timing but they will have planned it.”

Collins’ students have gone on to work at recreation, sport and event organizations like the American Airlines Center, Texas Motor Speedway, multiple park and recreation agencies across DFW, FC Dallas, Texas Legends, Frisco RoughRiders, and have participated in managing many concerts, festivals, monster truck rallies, and so forth.



Collins says he fell in love with research while completing his Ph. D.

He works with nonprofits like Denton Youth Basketball in order to further his research. Collins works with youth ages six to 12, but also conducts research with university students. Some of his main research topics are self-efficacy, acculturation and the stress affiliated with being an international student, benefits of engaging in events, and how all of this affects self-esteem. Collins works to find answers to questions like:

  • How does being involved in recreation, events and sports help one grow as a person?
  • How does it help one’s self-esteem and perceived confidence?
  • How do sport and recreation events impact ones quality of life?

“Youth research is hard because you not only have to get consent from the children, but from the parents as well,” Collins said.

He said parents are skeptical of the research, always wondering what questions their children will be asked and what studies will be performed on them.

The studies he conducts are very telling of how recreation, sports and events affect everyday lives.

Collins currently has over fifteen studies published and is collaborating with colleagues to publish more.