The Final Exam is your chance to get advice and insights from experts in the industry. For the January/February issue, Campus Rec spoke with Felicia Tittle, the director of recreation at Duke University.
1. How did you get started in the industry? What drew you to campus recreation?
Who does not love play? As a child, unbeknownst to me I gravitated toward the theory of play. Growing up, I enjoyed sports and anything that allowed for me to be outdoors. During my undergraduate studies, I began to understand what was taking place for me during this thing called “play.” While studying therapeutic recreation, there was great focus surrounding Erik Erikson’s theory of human development. During my studies, I discovered play actually facilitated my understanding of cultural roles, my environment and so much more, thus forming much of my personality.
Despite an engaging and empowering collegiate experience, employment in the recreation field was difficult to obtain. After my undergraduate studies, my initial career was in criminal justice and a part-time basketball/volleyball coach. Once completing my Master’s degree in recreation and leisure facilities and service administration, opportunities in the field of recreation became available.
2. Throughout your time at Duke University, what is one of the biggest changes that has taken place at the rec center?
With humility, I have to say honestly there have been so many changes it is hard to pinpoint just one. In a nutshell, “We let the light in.” This means when we began building our program, we were transparent in our business operations and very clear about our values and mission, which are some of the first things you see when you enter our facilities. Lastly, we have invested in the physical infrastructure to optimize the experience of our university community.
3. During your time at Duke University, what is one accomplishment you are most proud of?
I would have to say building a successful team of professionals that truly believe in our mission and values and have a desire to develop our students.
4. What has been one of the biggest challenges?
Making sure all of our stakeholders understood the incredible asset that are our recreation and physical education offerings at the already outstanding Duke University campus.
5. What is one lesson you have learned that other recreation professionals can learn from?
There is not just one lesson as this journey has been so instructive. That said, I would briefly offer the following: Stay the course, trust yourself and your knowledge, hire great people, cast a vision, and get out of their way and let them realize the shared vision.
6. What is one fun fact about yourself others may not know?
As a formally trained percussionist, I find great pleasure in playing and listening to all genres of music.
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