Some WIU professors teach on the main campus in Macomb, Illinois; some teach at the Quad Cities campus in Moline, Illinois; and some teach online, but few teach all three. Dr. Dean Zoerink of the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration is one of the few professors who teaches in all three.
Based on the Macomb campus, in addition to teaching courses in the traditional residential campus atmosphere, Dr. Zoerink teaches at least one course in the Quad Cities and one online most semesters.
“Regardless of where or the delivery method to offer course content, I find unique challenges offered within each setting,” said Dr. Zoerink. “Students, regardless of location, bring new and meaningful perceptions to the class and offer their perspectives in meaningful ways. While students may differ with respect to age and the location of the class, their responsible and insightful reactions to class assignments and other tasks adds to texture and scope of the class.”
The online course Dr. Zoerink teaches is RPTA 110 Concepts of Leisure, which applies to the WIU General Education Human Well Being Category. In a category that includes courses in physical activities, nutrition, life development, and substance abuse, a course on leisure may seem out of place. But that is not at all the case, according to Dr. Zoerink.
If you stop and simply think about your favorite leisure activities, whether it been playing tennis, reading a novel, knitting, camping, traveling, you may begin to find yourself relaxing and becoming a bit more positive.
“The leisure experience is a highly personal, psychological experience that can potentially reduce stress, improve physical health, strengthen social relationships, regulate emotions or enable a participant to learn something new,” Dr. Zoerink said.
In other words, having fun can be very healthy, indeed!
Students taking courses online can take advantage of several other RPTA courses, including two courses in tourism and one on leisure services for the elderly. BGS students in the Quad Cities have even more RPTA courses to choose from, and they should consider some of them when selecting courses. Students in Macomb have the entire slate of RPTA courses to consider.
“BGS students would be better able to understand group development, communication skills, organizational and planning skills, decision-making and problem-solving skills and other interpersonal skills which can be generally applied regardless of career choice,” said Dr. Zoerink.
Students are encouraged to contact the professor who is teaching a course to find out more about it. Even if the course has a prerequisite, contact the instructor. Some course prerequisites may be waived for a BGS student.
Dr. Zoerink teaches and does research primarily in therapeutic recreation and recreation therapy. In particular, his focus in on working with people with disabilities. His recent research has dealt with older adults suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. In his classes, he tries “to help students understand and apply the principles of the leisure experience to people who have disabilities.”
He also applies the principles of leisure to his own life. An “avid” bicyclist, he has trained for and ridden RAGBRAI, the (Des Moines) Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. This is the 41st year of the world’s oldest, largest, and longest bicycle touring event in the world. The route crosses the state from the Missouri to the Mississippi Rivers and changes every year, averaging 468 miles and is scheduled to take a week.
Dr. Zoerink also plays the ukulele and a member of a local ukulele club. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Macomb area chapter of Habitat for Humanity and volunteers for his local meals program for people in need.
Dr. Zoerink can be reached at DA-Zoerink@wiu.edu.