ELKINS - Davis & Elkins College Assistant Professor and Director of the Outdoor Recreation Management program Dr. Rick Gage recently completed an appointment as an invited scholar at Central China Normal University (CCNU) in Wuhan, China.
As part of the program, Gage taught a two-credit graduate seminar class on Mountain Destination Tourism, led a sustainable development workshop for students, faculty and government officials, and consulted on a massive agricultural tourism development project. He also co-authored three manuscripts that will be submitted for review to the Annals of Tourism Research.
The project was a follow-up to Gage’s workshop on sustainable tourism development last year at CCNU and grew out of his longtime association with Dr. Gim Gong, former head of the CCNU Tourism Management program and director of the Wuhan Branch of the China Academy of Tourism. Gage has been invited to return to CCNU this summer to help launch an additional research project on tourism development and community empowerment in rural mountain villages.
“The explosive growth of the middle class in China has created one of the largest tourism markets in the world,” Gage said. “Tourism development projects are being used as a vehicle for reducing poverty and improving the quality of life for people living in many rural areas. A lot of effort is being made to develop these projects sustainably so as to protect the natural environment and preserve the rich local cultures, while also contributing to the growth of the economy. Sustainability is still a relatively new concept in China, so there’s a high demand for foreign scholars with expertise in this area. I’m excited to be able to build this relationship between D&E and CCNU, and would love to get students involved in future projects. There is a lot of opportunity here.”
Gage also spent time exploring China’s culture by shopping at one of China’s most famous artisan markets, touring the rural China countryside where Western tourists rarely get an opportunity to go, visiting two UNESCO World Heritage Sites and riding dune buggies on the banks of the Han River.
Gage joined the Davis & Elkins College faculty in fall 2017. He holds a dual Ph.D. in recreation, parks and tourism management, and human dimensions of natural resources and the environment from Penn State University, a Master of Science degree in tourism, recreation and sport management from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla., and a Bachelor of Science degree in recreation, adventure travel and ecotourism from Paul Smith’s College in Paul Smiths, N.Y.
The D&E Outdoor Recreation Management program, part of the Division of Business and Entrepreneurship, provides students with experience in their chosen field of outdoor recreation management and the business skill sets necessary to successfully implement and/or manage a public agency, non-profit organization or their own business. Students may choose from two areas of concentration – professional outdoor recreation management or adaptive recreation management.
Related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Davis & Elkins College is located in Elkins, 2 hours east of Charleston, 3 hours south of Pittsburgh and 4 hours west of Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit the College website at www.dewv.edu or call 304-637-1243.
Photo Caption: Davis & Elkins College Assistant Professor and Director of the Outdoor Recreation Management program Dr. Richard Gage, right, meets with Dr. Gim Gong, left, and Dr. Alan Bright, a professor at Colorado State University, during his visit as an invited scholar at Central China Normal University.