PTRM Professor Wins Dissertation Award

Assistant Professor Will Rice recently won an award for his dissertation work from the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA).

Will RiceFounded in 1980, the AAPRA is an organization of distinguished practitioners and scholars committed to the advancement of the park and recreation field. AAPRA focuses on encouraging scholarly efforts both by practitioners and educators to enhance the practice of public parks and recreation administration.

The organization hosts an annual competition alternating annually between best master’s thesis and best doctoral dissertation.

The 2020 Best Dissertation Award went to Rice for his doctoral work, Three Measures of Recreational Ecosystem Services in Protected Areas: Studies from U.S. National Parks, which utilized innovative tools and modeling to improve managerial decision-making in national parks.

The dissertation provides wildland managers with three new measures, or levers, of recreational ecosystem services—the benefits to our social, mental and physical wellbeing that are attained through outdoor recreation. Honed through three studies in three different national parks, each respective measure was designed to meet a noted recreation management need.

“I am incredibly humbled to receive this award from the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration,” Rice said. “It is an extraordinary honor to be in the company of those researchers who have previously received this award.”

Rice earned his PhD from Pennsylvania State University in 2019. In 2020, he joined the Franke College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana as an assistant professor in the Parks, Tourism and Recreation Management Program.

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