Koby Garick

Date of Award





Doctor of Education


Counseling, Foundations & Leadership


The researcher’s purpose for this dissertation was to determine how and why doctoral programs in outdoor adventure education (OAE) related fields (which included, leisure studies, park, recreation, tourism, and therapeutic recreation) operated, how the programs were financed, what the value of the programs were, and what makes the programs unique. The researcher conducted a detailed review of the literature. Then the researcher surveyed and interviewed doctoral program chairs in OAE related programs.

Fourteen schools were identified by the researcher as having OAE related doctoral programs. The researcher solicited survey responses from the doctoral program chairs of the schools’ and received feedback from nine of them. Of those nine, five were willing to participate in interviews. The researcher transcribed, searched for meaning, and coded the interviews and surveys. The participants’ responses along with the review of literature provided insight into how doctoral programs in OAE are unique, valuable, and why. Conclusively, jobs are the most critical aspect of OAE programs. For sustainability an OAE program must provide leadership, passion, and students.

The overarching perspective was that OAE programs demand safety first. Funding was inconsistent due to the non-mandatory status of OAE programs. Program development was equal to time and commitment. OAE programs are always non-mandatory and subject to the whims of administrators and politicians. It’s all about jobs. Jobs lead to student attraction to the program. Jobs are the answer to program completion. Therefore, jobs create, sustain, and reward student participation.