For more than 25 years, the program in Leisure Studies at Oklahoma State University has been the only nationally accredited academic program in the state with an emphasis on recreation, parks, leisure services and related activities, including tourism in recreation settings. Leisure Studies has provided (I) academic preparation for professionals in this field at the baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral level; (2) research services for federal agencies, state agencies, cities and towns, private and non-profit agencies, and other independent service providers; and (3) outreach and technical assistance to these agencies and providers, while building and sustaining a reputation for excellence in teaching, research, and service to the profession. The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Assistance Center (OTRAC) would be affiliated with the Leisure Studies program, a part of the School of Applied Health and Educational Psychology, in the College of Education at Oklahoma State University. Creation ofOTRAC will position OSU as the premier provider of research services, teclmical assistance, and consultation linking recreation, leisure, and tourism in Oklahoma.
Faculty in the Leisure Studies program at Oklahoma State University have been successful in garnering funding for basic and applied research, providing cutting-edge theory and technology for the profession, and enhancing the educational experiences of students through applied, reallife experience. OTRAC can expand and continue that role while encouraging' interdisciplinary participation of faculty and students, (2) provide a vehicle for increasing the level of service provided while expanding the opportunities for cross-disciplinary research and service, and (3) provide a focused and identifiable public image in outreach to the range of professionals and agencies in recreation and leisure service across Oklahoma. Ultimately, OTRAC will provide research and assistance services to interested agencies using OSU's grants and contracts model. In addition, OTRAC will assist interested agencies in identifying and pursuing funding sources to benefit their respective communities.