Dr. Michael A. Mulvaney – Assistant Professor, Department of Recreation Administration

Dr. Michael A. Mulvaney – Assistant Professor, Department of Recreation Administration


♪ [music playing throughout] ♪♪ Hello my name is Mike Mulvaney
and I’m an assistant professor in the department of Recreation
Administration here at EIU and I’ve been here
since the fall of 2006. Grounded in my years of
experience as a practitioner research that really examines
the practices of public park and rec agencies has
really held my primary focus. Specifically my work is really
centered on the examination of HR functions in those agencies
including employee compensation, benefit administration, training
and development and performance appraisal practices. I’m also interested in the
planning processes in these park and rec agencies including
strategic planning the role of the citizen in an agency’s
planning process and overall managment practices associated
with an agency’s recreation based programming. A more recent project that
I completed focused on the management practices
associated with a public park and recreation agency’s
programming services. I would argue as agencies
are confronted with tightening budgets and tax revenues as a
result of this recent economic downturn, the need to
evaluate the effectiveness, its impact and the cost benefits
of these agencies recreation programs is of
growing importance. Despite this need, many
agencies lack a understanding or expertise to reallly complete
a comprehensive evaluation of these agencies or
their agencies programs. So responding to this need I
investigated the process and procedures required to complete
a comprehensive programming assessment that led to the
development of a programming cost recovery catagory framework
that allowed these agencies to be more strategic in
managing and implementing their programming. Another project I’ve
completed was a white paper for our national
organization which is the National Recreation Park
Association or NRPA. Working with the NRPA and
the American Academy of Park and Recreation Administrators,
I examine the nature of the current economic conditions
facing these agencies and then follow that with, what
are some strategies to manage this economic
climate we are in. A series of focus groups
with public park recreation professionals from across
the country were conducted and really identified
five predominant findings. First, the significance of the
current economic conditions was clearly identified more
specifically these agencies are arguably facing the most
challenging times that the field as a whole has faced
in more than 50 years. Second, some agencies were using
this time as an opportunity to really revisit their mission and
goals to improve the efficiency and effectiveness
of their operations. A third theme that emerged was
that these agencies identified a growing need to reconnect with
the citizens that they serve. The techniques for eliciting
citizen involvement in the work have identified key issues and
opportunities facing communities and how these agencies
and stakeholders within the community should
respond are clearly identified. Fourth theme was benchmarking is
becoming increasingly important for public park and
recreation agencies. Many agencies have begun
comparing specific measures of agency performance against
data, those measures in other what they refer to as
best practice agencies. And finally, park and rec
agencies must effectively communicate their value
and community impact. Park and rec agencies
are increasingly faced with challenges to communicate
effectively, funding needs with officials and
constituencies during this challenging economic climate. [no dialogue].

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