Shrader Advances CMU’s Outdoor Recreation Industry Studies Diploma


Leisure business leader works with CMU faculty to design unique program

Need an employee with business expertise, environmental awareness and impeccable knowledge of customer service? These are the attributes that Sarah Shrader developed while building her own outdoor recreation business, and these are the professional characteristics that she strives to incorporate into the recreation industry curriculum of outdoors at CMU.

Shrader and her husband own and operate a local recreation business bonsai design. The company designs, manufactures and installs zipline and aerial adventure courses throughout North America. While running his own business, Shrader founded and runs the local Outdoor Recreation Coalition, a group of citizens and businesses that promote outdoor recreation both as a way of life and as a vehicle for economic development.

“Joining the CMU team is truly an honor,” Shrader said. “Being able to share what I’ve learned as a business owner in the outdoor recreation industry gives my passion new meaning and potential. I am excited about what the future holds for students, our economy and our community.

“I am excited about what the future holds for students, our economy and our community.” – Sarah Shrader, owner of Bonsai Design.

Although her project at CMU is one of many expanding academic programs on campus, progress toward the degree has happened with remarkable speed. The efforts do not go unnoticed. Colorado Department of Natural Resources Executive Director Dan Gibbs will visit CMU on Wednesday, February 12 to learn more about the program.

“Outdoor recreation is a vital industry to Colorado’s economy and is an integral part of Colorado’s identity and why many choose to live and relocate here,” Gibbs said. “I appreciate the opportunity to learn more about CMU’s interdisciplinary approach to this emerging industry and to share the priorities of the Governor and the Department of Natural Resources on how we can continue to fostering outdoor recreation while managing its potential impacts on our land, water and wildlife.”

Gibbs plans to tour the campus, meet people working on CMU’s outdoor recreation industry curriculum, and meet faculty whose courses will support the program.

The program recognizes the complex nature of the outdoor industry, combining a wide range of courses in outdoor leadership, business management, innovation and entrepreneurship, adventure planning, tourism, risk management, stewardship and sustainability.

“People assume that an outdoor recreation program is largely a business degree,” said Jeremy Hawkins, head of CMU’s kinesiology department. “The program, however, is housed in the Department of Kinesiology, as the majority of outdoor recreation activities involve highly skilled and specialized movements, and outdoor recreation activities are directly related to the principles of the science of kinesiology. exercise and the health and well-being of the community.”

At the start of the program, Shrader assembled an advisory board of CEOs and VPs from companies in the outdoor recreation industry to understand their workforce needs. Feedback from industry professionals was comprehensive and broad: they agreed that the program should be multi-disciplinary in nature and focus on land business, communication, management, leadership, policy and legislation public, as well as outdoor technical skills. In addition, members of the advisory board are committed to building partnerships with CMU.

CMU President Tim Foster believes the way Shrader designs the program will create significant academic differentiation.

“Many universities across the United States offer degrees in recreation, parks, and tourism; outdoor education; and adventure leadership. The University of Colorado Mesa’s Bachelor of Outdoor Recreation Industry Studies aims to become a comprehensive expert in the outdoor recreation industry, which includes companies, product developers, innovators, contractors and service providers,” Foster said. “Students will learn comprehensive business skills. , knowledge of policy and legislative issues affecting public lands, risk management, and outdoor programming, and outdoor field technical skills as the foundation of the degree. Students will also be encouraged to pursue their own passion for the outdoors, in which they can develop leadership skills that will transfer to the job market. We believe this is an “all-inclusive” degree program.

“There are others offering similar degrees, but ours will have a geographic advantage.” – Tim Foster, CMU President

“There are others that offer similar degrees, but ours will have a geographic advantage,” Foster said. Our students will not only specialize in the business side of outdoor response, but will also be able to understand the importance of mobility, movement, safety, health and equipment specialization that constitute future outdoor recreation businesses.

Foster’s reference to CMU’s geographic advantage is in the university’s perfect triangulation between the red rock deserts of eastern Utah, the alpine mountainscapes of the southern Rocky Mountains, and the highlands deserts of the Uncompahgre Valley.

“Red rocks of Colorado National Monument at Grand Mesa Mountain Lakes, CMU’s outdoor recreational labs can’t be matched by any other university in the Rockies,” said Ryan Dutch, outdoor program director. “From skiing and ice climbing, to mountain biking, hunting and climbing, and paddling our two rivers that run directly through town, the diversity of outdoor recreation opportunities in western Colorado is endless.”

Shrader believes that the integrated and dynamic West Slope economy can not only create new industries, but can also enhance existing and legacy outdoor sports.

“The Outdoor Recreation Industry curriculum prepares students to enter the world of outdoor industry business management, sales and marketing, adventure services, guiding, adventure programming, expedition planning and adventure leadership. With their education and experience, students who complete this degree will be prepared to work in one of the fastest growing segments of the economy: the outdoor recreation industry. At 2.2% of GDP and $887 billion in consumer spending annually, the outdoor recreation industry is a powerful economic engine that demands a highly skilled workforce. Students will earn qualifications for jobs in fields such as the outdoor industry, including retail and manufacturing, resort and ski area management, national and state park service, l outdoor education, camp administration and professional guides. The potential is unlimited. »

Shrader believes the program will provide a future workforce not only for the growing outdoor recreation industry in Mesa County, but will also provide future outdoor professionals to recreation economies nationwide.

“We hope our program can provide businesses with savvy people who can make a living doing what they love and supporting the business structures needed to support this growing industry that has unlimited potential.”


Written by David Ludlam


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