Community and Therapeutic Recreation

School of Health and Human Sciences


Below is a sampling of research being conducted by Community and Therapeutic Recreation faculty and their research teams.  Information is listed according to area of study.  For more information, contact the investigator(s).


Community Inclusion

Peer Companion Program
The Peer Companion Program (PCP) supports companion groups comprised of individuals from the community of varying abilities and UNCG students with the purpose of promoting awareness of and advocacy for people from underrepresented groups; participation in inclusive community recreation and sports; and social inclusion through the pursuit of friendships and the sharing of recreation, physical, and social activities. The primary objectives for the PCP program are to (1) increase awareness of community recreation and leisure opportunities, (2) gain new insights in inclusive recreation and sports, (3) increase socialization, (4) develop advocacy and support skills, (5) increase participation in a wide variety of recreation, physical, and social activities, and (6) prepare for careers in therapeutic and community recreation and related areas.  Investigators: Dr. Stuart J. Schleien, Cassy Velarde, Nicki Marder

InFocus: Giving Voice Through Photography-Advocacy
In Focus is an advocacy program that empowers individuals with and without disabilities to have a voice and share their ideas about access, participation, and community inclusion.  Participants complete photography assignments based on a theme or question. Individual and group discussions are hosted to discuss the participants’ photographs and perspectives and to develop captions that reflect the collective ideas of the group. Exhibitions are created by the participants themselves in a variety of interactive formats to share their ideas, increase community awareness, and begin to discuss inclusion with community members, policy makers, and individuals in the position to create change.  Investigators: Dr. Stuart J. Schleien, Ginger Walton, Kimberly Miller, Lindsey Brake Oakes


Parks, Physical Activity, and Health

Park-based physical activity: Good medicine for type 2 diabetes management?
The Departments of Community and Therapeutic Recreation and Public Health Education are conducting a study that examines how park environments are used and perceived among those with type 2 diabetes. As a part of the study diabetes health educators are being interviewed to better understand: 1) barriers to park-based physical activity among individuals with type 2 diabetes and 2) the extent to which they feel that parks are viable resources for physical activity among individuals with type 2 diabetes. Investigators: Dr. Candice M. Bruton, Dr. Mark Schulz, and Valerie Wolf.

An Examination of Park Features and Physical Activity: Comparisons Between a Developed Park and a Natural Park
Community and neighborhood parks offer convenient ways to engage in physical activity. Research has shown that the presence of park features and amenities can encourage physical activity. The purpose of this study is to 1) inventory features in two distinctly different adjacent parks (one highly developed park and one highly natural park) and 2) examine and compare relationships between park features and physical activity within the two parks. Investigators: Haylie Matthis and Dr. Candice M. Bruton.