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W. Thomas Means

Assistant Professor
Rec Mgmt & Therapeutic Rec
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

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Specialty area(s)

-Philosophy of Science, Paradigms, and Epistemological Anarchy

-Constructive Developmental Theory

-Meaning Making and Leisure

-Developmental Disability and Camp

Current courses at UWL

RTH 720 - Research Methods for Recreation, Parks, and Leisure

RTH 476/576 - Assessment and Treatment Planning-Therapeutic Recreation

REC 415/515 - Camp Administration 

REC 150 - Leisure, Quality of Life, and Well-Being 

Education

Ph.D. Indiana University, 2021

Leisure Behavior - Department of Health and Wellness Design

Minor: College Pedagogy

Dissertation Title: Philosophy of Science and Leisure: A Paradigmatic and Methodological Analysis of Leisure Studies

 

M.S. University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, 2015

Therapeutic Recreation - Department of Recreation Management and Therapeutic Recreation

Thesis Title: Therapeutic Recreation at Camp: A Delphi Study Identifying Important Elements 

 

B.S. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 2012

Kinesiology - Department of Kinesiology

Career

Teaching history

RTH 701 - Philosophical Foundations of Leisure, Play and Recreation

RTH 498 - Internship Supervision

RTH 493/593 - Therapeutic Recreation Trends and Issues 

RTH 491 - Therapeutic Recreation & Development Disability/Intellectual Disability

RTH 480/580 - Leisure Education

RTH 325 - Inclusive Recreation

RTH 326 - Therapeutic Recreation Populations I     

RTH 252 - Innovative Activities in Therapeutic Recreation

REC 200 - Program Leadership of Recreational Activities

REC 202 - Leisure, Nature, and the Contemplative Experience

REC 302 - Recreation Supervision and Human Resource Management

Research and publishing

Publications in Progress 

Edel, B, & Means W.T., (Accepted). Mindfully strong evidence-based curriculum:
A therapeutic recreation concept design. American Journal of Recreation Therapy

Means W.T., Mowatt R., (Under Review). Philosophy of Science and Leisure Research: An Exploratory Analysis of Research Paradigms. Leisure/Loisir, Engaging in Struggle: The Deconstruction of the Academy in Leisure Studies. 

Means W.T. (In Progress). Meaning Making in Leisure: Integrating a Constructive-Development Theoretical Framework. 

Select Publications

Means, W. T., & McIntire, J. (2019). Veterans and Hope: Lessons Learned from the Ladder UPP Program. American Therapeutic Recreation Association Research Institute.

Knee, E., & Means, W. T. (2018). Out of the Stands and onto the Court: A Signature Pedagogy for the Recreation Field. SCHOLE: A Journal of Leisure Studies and Recreation Education33(2), 70-86.

Means, W.T. (2018). Meaning and adventure: Constructive development theory and outdoor adventure outcomes. In: Proceedings of the 2018 Symposium on Experiential Education Research. Orlando, FL.  Association of Experiential Education.

Newman, S.B., Herman, D.C., Naaman, K.B., Means, W.T., Tysor, D.A., Berman, R.J., Walter A.A., Robledo, M., & Oliphant, E. (2018). Social and integrative approaches to health in Zion National Park. The George Wright Forum, 35(2).

Means, W. T., & McIntire, J. (2017). Fun for everyone: Adapting activities for campers of all abilities. Camping Magazine.

Means, W. T., & Simpson, S. (2016). Therapeutic recreation at camp: A Delphi study identifying important elements. American Journal of Recreation Therapy, 15(2), 7-12.

Kudos

presented

W. Thomas Means, Recreation Management & Therapeutic Recreation, presented "To Know, Understand, or Liberate? How Paradigms Influence the Pursuit of Social Justice " at UWL's Social Justice Week, Collective Liberation in the Service of Social Justice Panel Session on April 7 at UWL. As we navigate the world around us, whether we know it or not, we are interpreting and organizing our experience through a worldview - or paradigm. Our paradigm guides us in what we can know and how we can know. In this session, work was presented on how different paradigms have impacted research in the field of leisure studies followed by a demonstration of how the use of critical paradigms (such as critical disability theory, critical race theory, and feminist theory) are imperative for scholars and practitioners to do the work of Social Justice and Collective Liberation.

Submitted on: April 10

 

awarded

Tara Delong, Lindsey Kirschbaum, Lisa Savarese, Jennifer Taylor and W. Thomas Means, all Recreation Management & Therapeutic Recreation, were awarded a Curriculum Redesign Grant from UWL. This team of Therapeutic Recreation faculty will engage in a series of active workshops, curricular analysis, and assessment to redesign the TR curriculum over the course of the upcoming academic year.

Submitted on: April 4

 

presented

W. Thomas Means, Recreation Management & Therapeutic Recreation, presented "Philosophy of Science and Leisure Research: An Exploratory Paradigmatic Analysis " at The Academic of Leisure Sciences Annual Conference (Theme: Critical Realities - Culture at the Crossroads) on March 1 online. This session presented on a study that systematically analyzed leisure research to examine evidence of a dominant paradigm or paradigmatic pluralism and trends. Results prompted discussions related to the fields transition from a dominant postivistic field toward paradigmatic pluralism, Laudaun's philosophy of science and research traditions, Paul Feyerabend's epistimological anarchy, and paradigmatic reflexivity within leisure research.

Submitted on: Mar. 2

 

presented

W. Thomas Means, Recreation Management & Therapeutic Recreation, presented "Teaching Paradigms: A Critical Pedagogical Approach for Action of Justice and Liberation " at The Academic of Leisure Sciences Annual Conference (Theme: Critical Realities - Culture at the Crossroads) on March 1 online. The presentation was part of the TED Talk style Teaching Blitz presentations. This presentation demonstrated how two in-class case study assignments were used to show how important it is for students to have a working understanding of different onto-epistemological positions in an effort to enact Social Justice in research and in practice.

Submitted on: Mar. 2

 

presented

W. Thomas Means, Recreation Management & Therapeutic Recreation, presented "Philosophy to Justice: A Practical Guide to using Paradigms as a Framework for Social Justice" at The Association of Experiential Education International Conference on Nov. 14 online.

Submitted on: Nov. 16, 2021

 

named

W. Thomas Means, Recreation Management & Therapeutic Recreation, was named Co-Chair of American Therapeutic Recreation Association Research Institute on Nov. 1. The purpose of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association Research Institute is to share research findings relevant to recreation therapy, increase the body of knowledge, and support professional practice. The Institute includes applied research and efficacy studies highlighting the ATRA Research Agenda and expanding the foundation of knowledge as linked to the practice of recreation therapy.

Submitted on: Nov. 11, 2021

 

presented

W. Thomas Means, Recreation Management & Therapeutic Recreation, presented "Paradigms to Practice: A Practical Application of How Different Paradigms Influence the APIE Process" at the American Therapeutic Recreation Association annual conference on Oct. 1 online. The presentation explored how different paradigms (positivism, constructivism, and critical) effect the practical application of Therapeutic Recreation services. The presentation also examined the utilization of the critical paradigm as a practical approach to addressing Social Justice and systems of oppression that are inherent in the lives of the individuals served.

Submitted on: Oct. 7, 2021

 

presented

W. Thomas Means, Recreation Management & Therapeutic Recreation, presented "Hegemony, Pluralism, and Anarchy: Implications for Leisure and the Philosophy of Science" at the Leisure Studies Association Annual Conference (Virtual): Leisure Identities, Health, and Wellbeing on Wednesday, July 7 online. In these turbulent socio-economic and political times, the conference organizers asked scholars, practitioners and our institutions: What role does leisure play in addressing ‘healthy’ identities, for whom, and for what purpose? The increasingly neo-liberal underpinnings of consumptive leisure practices and the proliferation of different leisure and cultural industries, juxtaposed alongside the withdrawal and/or privatization of public health and social care services, are stark reminders of the gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. The global Covid-19 pandemic further demonstrated these inequities, as well as the everyday negotiations of individuals, friends, families and communities to make life bearable and possibly even more pleasurable. Recognizing the history of interlocking forces of oppression in addition to Covid-19, students and practitioners were asked to reconsider the role and significance of leisure (as an expansive subject area) in creating a social world based on social justice, equity and equality.

Submitted on: July 7, 2021

 

awarded

Tara Delong, Namyun Kil, Lindsey Kirschbaum, Wayne Means, Nancy Richeson, Lisa Savarese and Jennifer Taylor, all Recreation Management & Therapeutic Recreation, received the award for Therapeutic Recreation Program of Excellence at the American Therapeutic Recreation Association Annual Conference on Sept. 15 in Reno, NV.

Submitted on: Sept. 16, 2019