C. Randal Vessell serves as chair of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism where he administers a nationally accredited academic department offering both undergraduate and graduate degrees, with significant missions for teaching, research and outreach. Concomitantly he provides oversight to the Tourism Research and Development Center, a major interdisciplinary research venue within the Department/School of Natural Resources.
His scholarship interests are in applied management issues related to public recreation, park and tourism policy. Recent efforts address revenue and compensation management, recreation demographics, financial management, and enabling legislation for public recreation governing authorities. His teaching focus includes undergraduate and graduate courses on recreation and park management, financial operations, leadership training, and park and recreation planning.
Current outreach activities include advocacy for public park, recreation and tourism, including enabling legislation to secure stable revenue resources. He serves as a member of SIACOR (State Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation) which recommends revenue awards to Missouri public recreation agencies from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and the Missouri Landmark Local Parks Program. He is in frequent demand for off-campus speaking, presentation and consultation.
He received his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Missouri and his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. Recent awards and honors include: Professional Fellow Award, Missouri Park and Recreation Association, Annual Conference (1999) and the Faculty Excellence in Leadership Award, University of Missouri-Columbia (1997).