Clemson’s parks, recreation and tourism management department appoints new chair
CLEMSON — Clemson University’s parks, recreation and tourism management department has appointed Wayne Freimund as chair of the department. Freimund comes from the University of Montana, where he served as interim dean and professor of parks and protected area management in the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation. His appointment will be effective July 15.
Freimund said he was attracted to Clemson because of its reputation, its engaged faculty and the university’s longtime support of the department. Freimund is excited to take the reins of a department that is nationally recognized for its research focus and its commitment to always improving its students’ academic experiences.
“The accomplishments and impact of this department are highly impressive,” Freimund said. “The faculty and its students are clearly influencing parks, recreation and tourism industries from the highest levels of policy to direct interactions with individual people.”
Freimund said his first priority will be to get to know the faculty and staff and establish relationships with alumni, employers and supporters of the department. He looks forward to refining priorities in the department’s strategic plan that will best address the big social challenges of our time.
Freimund recognizes the already impressive impact of the department, so he wants nothing more than to facilitate its continued growth and maintain its level of excellence. He hopes to explore even more multidisciplinary research opportunities and scholarship opportunities while increasing the diversity of the Clemson family.
Freimund sees the work undertaken by the department as crucial to society, the economy and to people’s personal lives. He sees the value of enriching students’ experiences during their brief time on campus, and he argues that this building of confident and compassionate citizens may be the department’s most crucial role on campus.
“The work of this department has never been more important,” Freimund said. “People in our field make ‘quality of life’ more than a buzz word; I am honored to join such a fantastic team that will provide numerous practical opportunities for our students.”
According to Brett Wright, dean of Clemson’s College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences that houses the parks, recreation and tourism management department, the position attracted many candidates, but Freimund’s extensive research background and proven track record of leadership made him the ideal candidate.
“It became clear quickly that Wayne was the complete package to lead a department that has been so historically active at Clemson,” Wright said. “I’m personally excited to see how he will build on previous success while exploring new avenues for the department.”
Freimund began serving as faculty member at the University of Montana in 1993. He served as director of the UM Wilderness Institute for seven years and chaired the department of society and conservation for six years.
Freimund has conducted numerous studies for the National Park Service associated with the Visitor Experience and Resource Protection Program and has a continued interest in understanding and monitoring the use of national parks. His current research projects focus on the effects of mass transportation on national parks (specifically related to climate change) and monitoring visitor use and experiences. He also has worked for nearly two decades on a cooperative program in protected area management with the University of KwaZulu Natal and Monash University in South Africa, the University of Namibia and the Copperbelt University in Zambia.
Freimund earned his Ph.D. in recreation resource management with emphases in public resource planning and social psychology from the University of Minnesota. He earned a master’s degree in recreation and park management from West Virginia University and a bachelor’s degree in recreation, park and leisure studies from the University of Minnesota.