The Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

Frequently Asked Questions about PRTM EDGE

In our interactions with our former EDGE students as well as with various faculty and administrators at Clemson and at other universities, there are several questions about EDGE we frequently encounter. You'll find answers to these questions below. If you still have a question about PRTM EDGE, please contact our PRTM EDGE Coordinator at teresa@clemson.edu.

  • Frequent Questions from Students

  • What is the time commitment of EDGE?

    Students are asked to be available 9:00am-2:00pm, Monday through Thursday. Although we do not use all of this time every day, we ask students to keep this time period open in case there are events and seminars we ask students to attend. If there is an event outside of this time frame that we want students to attend, we will give them a two-week notice. Some EDGE projects will require students to meet outside of the 9:00am-2:00pm time frame as part of their group work. The groups will schedule and attend these meetings on their own.

  • What’s the deal with the 3-day field trip during EDGE? What can we expect?

    The 3-day trip is a chance to get out of the classroom and see PRTM agencies in action. While the EDGE team can teach students about theories, systems and models, speaking with professionals in the field gives students realistic expectations of the challenges and successes of daily operations of various agencies. This trip is not concentration specific. Instead, we focus on topics that affect all agencies, namely facility operations, administration, finance, marketing, programming and risk management. Our goal is to educate students about professionals in the field and help them understand the qualifications and skills needed to successfully operate an agency.

  • What’s the deal with the Creative Inquiry course during EDGE? What can we expect?

    In addition to the other activities, students will complete a four semester sequence of Creative Inquiry that begins during the EDGE semester. Creative Inquiry courses are designed to get undergraduate students involved in research and creative processes. Students will work with one of the faculty members team-teaching their EDGE semester and complete a yearlong research project during their junior year. The first semester of their senior year, the students will present the projects to their peers. When and where appropriate, the students will also present at state, regional, and national conferences.

  • Is any of the material we learn specific to my concentration area?

    Is any of the material we learn specific to my concentration area? The EDGE semester is designed to provide you with the knowledge and concepts needed to build a solid foundation in PRTM studies. This foundation will be a relevant and applicable starting place for all of the concentration areas offered in PRTM. Although, it is not the intent of EDGE to focus on learning that is specific to one concentration areas, it is anticipated that you will be exposed to all of the concentration areas through collaboration with other students and visits with various agencies and professionals.

  • Do we have classes during EDGE?

    While in EDGE, you are registered for four courses plus one section of Creative Inquiry. Each course has its own objectives and content; however, you will never actually meet in these courses during the semester. Instead, the material from the four courses is integrated together. The semester is, therefore, organized by what content goes together rather than what course is meeting when. Your schedule for EDGE is arranged week by week, without the confines of a strictly uniform schedule. One day you may attend a leacture, the next you may be in the field completing the project, and the next in a group discussion. We teach when, where, and how best fits the content.

  • How do we figure out our schedule?

    At the beginning of the semester, you will receive an overview schedule of the semester which details the content to be covered each week. Also, you will be asked to keep a block of time open for classes all semester (typically 9AM-2PM on Monday through Friday). During the semester, you will receive an EDGE newsletter which details your exact schedule for the next two weeks. Also, we place the current week's schedule on our EDGE whiteboard in Lehtosky. It takes one or two weeks to get used to the process, but then students typically like the flexibility such scheduling allows.

  • How often do we get to interact with faculty during EDGE?

    Without excepion, one of the most frequent comments on EDGE evaluations has been how much more closely students work with faculty during the EDGE semester. Students and faculty work together to cover content, complete projects, and travel in the field. During EDGE, faculty have no other teaching commitments which means that their teaching efforts are dedicated to EDGE students. Since the EDGE semester includes such a variety of experiences, from field trips, to practical projects, to one-on-one meetings, faculty get to know their students in a way unique to the EDGE experience.

  • Can I take other courses while I'm enrolled in EDGE?

    The following is an approved list of PRTM classes that students may take while enrolled in EDGE:

    PRTM 241: INTRO TO CRSCM
    PRTM 270: INTRO TO REC RES MGT
    PRTM 283: ADV MTH GOLF TEACHING
    PRTM 311: THERAPEUTIC RECREA
    PRTM 344: TOURISM MARKETS
    PRTM 404: FIELD TRAINING I

    If a student wants to take any course during EDGE that is not on this approved list (above), the student needs to: (1) see Dr. Bob Brookover (Lehotsky 265C) for formal approval and (2) provide a written consent form signed by the instructor of the non-EDGE course. See Dr. Brookover for the consent form as needed.

  • Frequent Questions from Faculty and Administrators

  • How long did it take to plan PRTM EDGE?

    It took about a summer to pull together the initial curriculum for approval by the faculty and by the university, then it took an additional academic year to go through all the approvals. Planning for each semester of EDGE, however, is always on-going. The EDGE team meets weekly throughout the school year to keep EDGE fresh and nimble.

  • What's your advice to other departments who would like to create a similar experience?

    Wow – where to start? We’ll keep it to 5 suggestions.

    First, we would advise other departments considering this model to do their homework. First, speak with representatives from other departments who have successfully integrated an EDGE program into their curriculum. There is no need to reinvent the wheel – learn from others’ mistakes and successes.

    Second, be open to change and be willing to be flexible. You will be asking the same of your students so you will have to model those traits.

    Third, make sure that at least the majority of the department’s faculty members are on board with the concept. Related, do not expect all faculty to teach in the EDGE semester – some will have the necessary skills to do so, others will not – use faculty members’ skills wisely. However, buy-in is a must, otherwise students will feel conflicted between faculty praising it and faculty badmouthing it. Success takes the support of the entire faculty as workloads will shift (not necessarily grow or contract, but definitely shift) and priorities will follow. Ultimately, without the support of everyone the program simply cannot work.

    Fourth, be clear on what you need and ask for what you need. This is not the time to be shrinking violets – if you can garner the support of administrators, use it to your advantage. What you need can range from classroom space to graduate students (invaluable!!) to lab fees – regardless of what it is, think through this carefully to ensure the best chance for success.

    And finally, throw all preconceived notions of what education “should” look like out the window and focus on what it “can” look like.

  • What motivated the decision to overhaul the PRTM curriculum with EDGE?

    A desire to better meet the needs of today’s learner. Using the research on the “21st Century learner” we felt that a more hands-on, applied curriculum that really addressed the integrated nature of our field was a more appropriate way to teach our students the core requirements for PRTM. In addition, we felt that, based on feedback from internship supervisors, students were not always seeing “the big picture” and this new curriculum gets them to start thinking that way. But by and large, the hands on piece was probably the most critical and the impetus for much of the change.

  • How has EDGE affected the way in which faculty members view their teaching role?

    I think that for the faculty who teach in EDGE that the faculty no longer see themselves as “islands” but part of a team that they are accountable to. While academic freedom is still alive and well, that freedom is somewhat tempered by the fact that we work as a team to produce EDGE, not only among the 5 faculty but also with the 10 or so graduate students who are also involved. I think the faculty see themselves in more of a mentoring role to both undergraduate and graduate students than ever before – working side by side with the students rather than in a strictly hierarchical relationship. The learning is more experiential and thus the teaching has changed as a result. There are certainly times where the faculty are learning just as much as the students as they work their way through each EDGE semester – as the students and the field changes, the curriculum and faculty are flexible enough to change and grow which makes teaching really exciting.

  • What happens when students leave EDGE and continue their more traditional courses?

    These students are more confident in their classes after EDGE, and many believe this is due to the relationship they develop with faculty. In fact many still come to their past EDGE faculty to continue the support for their learning, as well as job and internship help. This robust support student's have from the EDGE team of faculty and graduate students has the potential to create a more resilient student for their final years at Clemson.

  • How has EDGE affected the department culture and effectiveness?

    Truly understanding the diversity of any department is an elusive goal due to work schedules in traditional class formats. However, this diversity can lead to misunderstanding and conflict even as it provides a richer experience for the students. The EDGE team format allows for a sharing of expertise, a debate of current trends and ideas in a way that creates more understanding of linkages in the department, which in turn provides a more conceptual integrity for the students. This increase in understanding has the potential to create new departmental allies that can reduce conflict stemming from misunderstanding.