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.


Stuart J. Schleien, Ph.D., LRT/CTRS, CPRP, is a Professor, Chair, and Director of Graduate Study in the Department of Community and Therapeutic Recreation at the University of North Carolina Greensboro since 1997.  He also serves as an Executive Director for InFocus Advocacy, a non-profit advocacy organization that works with self-advocates, families, and communities to enhance the image of people living with a disability.  Self-advocates with disabilities help prepare businesses and organizations on how to serve and accommodate people of all abilities, creating inclusive communities where everyone is welcomed and valued.  As a Licensed Recreational Therapist and Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, he currently researches innovative approaches to assist parents and professionals in designing inclusive recreation, summer camp, and volunteer programs for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  He has specific expertise as a systems change agent for inclusive service delivery, helping agencies manage successful organizational change and development.  Dr. Schleien has published extensively on recreation, friendship, and advocacy skills development in support of the full inclusion of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in valued community roles and settings.  recipient of the “Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Award for Excellence in Recreation and Park Research,” the most prestigious award bestowed upon a researcher by the National Recreation and Park Association.  He has written seven books and over 125 journal articles and book chapters on these topics.  Dr. Schleien has presented his work throughout the U.S. and Canada, and in Australia, England, Germany, Israel, Spain, and Sweden.


UNCG Students at Graduation

Ms. Kimberly D. Miller is currently conducting research on Inclusive Postsecondary Education: Parent Perspectives on Outcomes for Students with Developmental Disabilities.  The opportunity to go to college is a reality for most high school students.  Until this decade, however, inclusive postsecondary education (IPSE) was merely a dream for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).  The authorization of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (PL 110-315) in 2008 allowed for the propagation of programs designed to support individuals with IDD in accessing postsecondary education opportunities.  However, little is known about the outcomes associated with IPSE. This study aimed to examine the desired and perceived outcomes of inclusive postsecondary education (IPSE) for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) from the perspective of their parents.  Investigators: Kimberly D. Miller, Dr. Stuart J. Schleien, and Dr. Lalenja Harrington


Dr. Justin Harmon has three primary threads of research: 1) music and life course development (how people use music to cope with life transitions and maintain identity); 2) recreation interventions post-diagnosis of cancer, specifically nature-based activities (e.g., hiking); and 3) community development, broadly understood (e.g., public-nonprofit partnerships; allocation of public resources; civic engagement; and conflict in public spaces). Dr. Harmon is particularly interested in how behavior, identity, and experience intersect through leisure, and how the public sphere can support the development of individuals and communities through creating access to life-enhancing leisure opportunities. Some of his community partners include: ArtsGreensboro and North Carolina Folk Festival; the Cone Health Cancer Center; the Hirsch Wellness Network; the Homeless Union of Greensboro; and the Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department.