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Park and Recreation System Master Planning Certificate

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The purpose of this certificate program is to prepare park and recreation agencies to conduct a system master plan. The components can be used in several types of planning and will ultimately prepare agencies to either 1) conduct the planning process on their own, or 2) be prepared to collaborate with a contractor to facilitate the master planning process. This certificate covers the fundamentals of a system master plan according to the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

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The purpose of this certificate program is to prepare park and recreation agencies to conduct a system master plan. The components can be used in several types of planning and will ultimately prepare agencies to either 1) conduct the planning process on their own, or 2) be prepared to collaborate with a contractor to facilitate the master planning process. This certificate covers the fundamentals of a system master plan according to the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

The Park Planning Certificate provides learners with skills needed to manage the expanding portfolio of public resources valued in the billions of dollars.

How will we do this? In order to manage these public resources effectively, park and recreation professionals must embrace planning. Learners will be guided through the planning process via four e-courses corresponding to the four steps to community park planning.

Upon successful completion of this certificate program, you’ll receive a certificate issued by the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands, Indiana University.

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Course Schedule

This program allows for complete flexibility. You may take a couple of months or up to a year to complete the program. The Eppley Institute recommends that you complete one course and all companion assignments each month to ensure maximum retention and connection of material.

Course Progression:

  • Course 1: System Master Planning Fundamentals
  • Course 2: Public Engagement
  • Course 3: Assessing Community Needs
  • Course 4: Making Your System Master Plan a Success

Course Format

The Park Planning Certificate Program is entirely web-based and consists of four courses each culminating with an applied assignment that relates to your organization or a case study organization. At the end of each course, students will be assessed in two ways: (1) multiple choice quiz that addresses key concepts and (2) written response to a portfolio prompt. Upon successful completion of the assessment and portfolio item you will be issued a certificate of completion.

The certificate program includes the following elements:

  • Four self-paced, self-study e-courses
  • Independent study assignments, which are reviewed by course instructors, with substantive feedback provided
  • A Distributed Learning Platform site for storage of work and feedback

Be able to:

After completing the System Master Planning Fundamentals course, you should be able to:

  • Explain the benefits of park planning.
  • Describe different types of parks and recreation plans used by agencies.
  • List the components of a parks and recreation system master plan.
  • Describe how a system master plan is used.
  • Identify stakeholders involved in a system master plan.action plan for a parks and recreation agency
  • Outline the types of documents, both internal and external, needed for a system master plan.

After completing the Public Engagement for System Master Planning course, you should be able to:

  • Understand the critical importance of public engagement efforts in master planning.
  • List the roles and influences of key stakeholders and groups involved in public engagement.
  • Outline different strategies to engage the public in system master planning.
  • Describe the pros and cons of each engagement strategy.

After completing the Assessing Community Needs course, you should be able to:

  • List strategies for identifying parks and recreation needs in the community.
  • Describe methods to evaluate parks and recreation demand.
  • Describe how to benchmark similar communities during the system master planning process.
  • Select and define potential criteria for benchmarking.
  • Determine the appropriate Level of Service for an agency.

After completing the Making Your System Master Plan a Success course, you should be able to:

  • Determine the best strategies for optimizing the outcomes of your system master plan.
  • Identify methods for implementing and evaluating a successful annual action plan.
  • Consider the pros and cons of facilitating the system master plan in-house versus hiring a contractor.

Recommended Background

The course will be most beneficial for professionals in parks and public lands agencies, individuals who work in a non-profit setting or organization that desires to learn about community park planning.

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