J. Robert Rossman

Year Elected ALS Fellow: 
Highest Degree: 
Ph.D., University of Illinois, 1981
Current Position: 
Professor and Dean Emeritus, Illinois State University

J. Robert Rossman, Ph.D. has been involved with designing and staging leisure experiences and writing scholarly papers on programming and program management throughout his career. His work has improved programming practices by integrating the results of social science research on experience with the practice of programming. He has given keynote addresses and educational workshops on programming to a variety of organizations in the U.S. and abroad including the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation operations for the US Air Force, Navy, and Army to help improve their programming practices. During the past few years he delivered invited addresses about programming to groups in Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand including keynoting the New Zealand Recreation Association Annual Conference and the annual conference of the New Zealand Association of Event Professionals. He is coauthor of a text book, Recreation Programming; Designing and staging leisure experiences, that is currently in its seventh edition and has been used for over twenty-five years to teach programming at over 100 universities in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand.

Throughout his career Dr. Rossman has served a number of professional development roles. He provided leadership to help develop the Certified Park and Recreation Professional examination and was co-author of the CPRP Study Guide for ten years through three editions. He has served as a board member and president of SPRE, as a board member for the Academy of Park and Recreation Administration, and served on both the National Forum and the Accreditation Council.

Dr. Rossman earned a B. S. in Recreation With Distinction from Indiana University in 1968 and earned his graduate degrees from the University of Illinois (MS 1975, PhD 1981). His professional career included serving as an NRPA Intern, community center director and assistant director of recreation for the Village of Oak Park, IL. He held faculty appointments for thirty-four years in five universities and served various terms as a department chair (13 years) and dean (10 years). Most recently, he completed a three year appointment as a Visiting Professor at Texas A & M University. He was selected as a Distinguished Alumni by the School of HPER at Indiana University and has received other professional awards including the NRPA National Literary Award and the Charles K. Brightbill Award.

He is a member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and an elected member of the Academy for Park and Recreation Administration who has designated him as a Legend in Parks and Recreation for outstanding contributions to the field. Currently he lives in Phoenix, AZ, serves as a consultant, speaker, and author, and enjoys travel, gardening, friends, grandchildren, and singing in his church choir.