Linda Caldwell is a Professor of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management at The Pennsylvania State University. Linda earned her B.S. degree at Penn State University in 1976, her M.S. at The North Carolina State University in 1982, and her Ph.D. at the University of Maryland in 1986. She is committed to conducting research that is practical and usable, and thus she works from an interdisciplinary perspective and combines leisure, health, and human development.
Her research emanates from a prevention framework that focuses on developing youth competencies and healthy leisure, thereby reducing risky behavior in leisure. Recently she has been a principal or co-principal investigator on two major research projects funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The first was the development and evaluation of a new school-based curriculum, TimeWise: Taking Charge of Leisure Time (ETR Associates). She has also worked with colleagues at Penn State and the University of the Western Cape and Cape Town University to develop and evaluate the HealthWise South Africa: Life Skills for Adolescents curriculum, which is being delivered and evaluated in Cape Town, South Africa.
Both of these curricula are geared toward middle school youth. The HealthWise program has a strong community development focus, in addition to classroom based learning, whereby youth development specialists work within the schools and with the community to create and facilitate opportunities for recreation and leisure in what has been a very under-resourced, post-apartheid community. A similar version of HealthWise is being conducted and evaluated in the Harrisburg city school district in Pennsylvania. In addition, Harrisburg City schools have also adopted TimeWise. Linda periodically conducts teacher training for both curricula. In addition to her on-going work in South Africa, Linda has presented and conducted research in many international contexts, including Australia, Chile, Germany, Guatemala, Slovenia, and Togo.
Linda has served the profession in many roles over the past 20 years. She has been an associate editor for Journal of Leisure Research and Therapeutic Recreation Journal (current) and has reviewed countless journals for various journals, including adolescent development journals. She has also served as the guest editor for the Journal of Park and Recreation Administration's special issue on Youth and Leisure (2000), for a special issue of Therapeutic Recreation Journal on youth (2001), and was a co-guest editor of a special issue of children and adolescent leisure for World Leisure Journal (2003).
She has been a member of the SPRE Board of Directors and currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Association of Leisure Studies. She is the secretary of the Children and Youth Commission of the World Leisure Association. In 2001 she was the recipient of the National Therapeutic Recreation Association Professional Research Award and also inducted into the Academy of Leisure Sciences. In 2005 she received the Allen V. Sapora Research Award for excellence in research, and in 2007 she received the Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Award for Excellence in Research from NRPA.