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The EDGE Semester: Student Engagement Experiences

Starting in spring 2010, the Clemson University Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management (PRTM) implemented a collaborative and unique approach to delivering core PRTM content to all sophomore PRTM majors. The PRTM EDGE (Engaging in Diverse Guided Experiences) semester looks and feels much different from the traditional approaches to teaching and learning in a higher education setting.

Both faculty members and students in the PRTM EDGE semester have no course obligations outside of EDGE, freeing them from the constraints of covering course material in 50-minute or 75-minute time blocks. Basically, for this semester the students own the faculty’s time and the faculty own the students’ time. With this flexibility, core course content is interwoven throughout the semester and taught using a variety of modalities including but not limited to field experiences, service learning, small and large group work, learning portfolios, volunteer experiences in the community, participation in workshops and conferences, lectures, community partnerships and field trips to visit with leading PRTM professionals.

Course content is not bound by the course; rather, content is delivered by whatever method best answers the question, “What is the most meaningful and effective way to deliver the course material?” This flexibility means that both faculty members and students are teaching and learning course material in an integrative, interactive and interconnected manner. No learning in the PRTM EDGE semester takes place in isolation.

The focus of this semester is not only to prepare students for their chosen profession, but to also assist them in the development of skills and knowledge needed to be contributing and engaged members of society.

This webcast discusses how the PRTM EDGE semester infuses service learning and community-based research in undergraduate curriculum.


Dr. Francis A. McGuire, Ph.D.Francis A. McGuire, Ph.D., is an Alumni Distinguished Professor in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management as well as a Fellow in the Strom Thurmond Institute. He earned a bachelor's degree from Cornell University, a Master of Science from Penn State and a doctorate from the University of Illinois. He has been at Clemson since 1981. He is one of 22 faculty winners of the Clemson University Class of '39 Award for Excellence and is a proud honorary member of that class. He was selected as the South Carolina Governor’s Professor of the Year in 2004. He was the Clemson University Centennial Professor from 1994 to 1996 and has received the Phil Prince Award for Innovative Teaching. He has served as president of the Faculty Senate and as the faculty representative to the Clemson University Board of Trustees. McGuire's convocation speech about EDGE

Dr. Teresa W. Tucker, Ph.D.Teresa W. Tucker, Ph.D., is a lecturer and coordinator of the EDGE program in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Presbyterian College, a Master of Science from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland and a doctorate at Clemson University. In 2011, she, along with four other faculty members from the EDGE program, received the College of Health, Education and Human Development's Award for Excellence in Innovation. She also received the Marge Scanlon Outstanding Camp Research Award. Her research interests include curriculum development, youth development and inclusive recreation experiences for people with disabilities. Teresa is also a Clemson University Service Alliance Faculty Fellow.

Rita Penniman is former PRTM EDGE student with a concentration in Therapeutic Recreation. Rita Penniman is a former PRTM EDGE student with a concentration in therapeutic recreation. She is originally from Canton, Georgia, and looks to pursue a career in the field of therapeutic recreation. She participated in the PRTM EDGE semester in spring 2012 and, in doing so, was able to participate in multiple service learning activities.

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Download the presentation for the EDGE webcast:

About the PRTM EDGE Program