Jo An M. Zimmermann (United States): “Leisure is having the free time and freedom to participate in activities which feed my soul”

We are happy to introduce you to our member Dr. Jo An M. Zimmermann, Associate Professor and Undergraduate Coordinator for the Recreation Administration program at Texas State University. We feel lucky to count on Jo An’s expertise in the Special Interest Group (SIG) on Leisure Management, which she co-facilitates together with Dr. John Tower.

In one sentence: What does leisure mean to you?

To me, leisure is having the free time and freedom to participate in activities which feed my soul, whether that be walking, gardening, reading, baking, traveling or taking photos, all of these refresh and re-energize me for the work at hand.

What leisure projects, research and/or activities are you involved in?

In terms of research and projects related to leisure my aim is to conduct applied research on the management aspects of community-based recreation and sport programs. My current work involves investigating how providers of community-based recreation and sport programs evaluate their programs and services. Recreation programs had a huge impact on my life and I want to have a part in ensuring that community-based program endure into the foreseeable future.

How do you promote the development of leisure and leisure studies?

I am the undergraduate program coordinator for the Recreation Administration program at Texas State University. In that role I have many opportunities to talk about the value our field provides in terms of improving quality of life. As a classroom teacher, I am able to help prepare the next generation of recreation practitioners. I also take advantage of opportunities to learn with and train practitioners in the field through professional development programs at the state and national level.

Why did you decide to become a member of WLO?

WLO is where I have found researchers engaged in similar work. There aren’t many researchers working in the area of leisure management, so this is where I have found collaborators.

What kind of synergies would you like to develop through your WLO membership?

As a co-convener of the Leisure Management Special Interest Group, I hope to learn about leisure management around the world as that provides me with more information to share in the classroom. I also hope to create collaborative research projects.