The Leading a Sustainable Business in the Outdoor Recreation Economy certificate provides the knowledge and tools necessary to better integrate sophisticated leadership, business acumen and sustainability into outdoor recreation industry operations.

You will gain the theoretical, managerial and entrepreneurial knowledge and skills required for successfully developing, managing and leading outdoor recreation ventures. This certificate is designed to address a growing need within the outdoor recreation industry for graduate-level education focused specifically on the business of the Outdoor Recreation Economy.

This certificate can be taken as a standalone offering or as part of the Master of Science in Outdoor Recreation Economy program.

At the end of this certificate, you should have:

  • an in-depth knowledge of the outdoor recreation industry;
  • skills and knowledge in leadership, business, corporate social responsibility, community engagement and support and corporate environmental sustainability;
  • the ability to meet workforce needs of an increasingly diverse, complex and international outdoor recreation industry;
  • the awareness to identify opportunities for new business development in the outdoor recreation economy;
  • the knowledge to apply entrepreneurial concepts to the creation of an outdoor recreation venture;
  • the skills to critically examine and implement industry best practices in the development of an outdoor industry venture; and
  • communicate in a professional manner to relevant outdoor recreation stakeholder groups.

Course Descriptions

Asynchronous Subject Courses (2 Credits Each)

The overarching goal of this course is to prepare you to confront the unique opportunities and complex situations Outdoor Recreation Economy leaders inevitably face when making decisions that can affect the lives of investors, employees, community members and other stakeholders. You analyze business decisions in a broad range of contexts—utilizing considerations of financial performance, their own values and the values of key stakeholders—to develop individual decision-making frameworks for use in your career as you earn increasing responsibility and decision-making authority. This course aims to help develop purpose-driven leaders who go out into the world and build lives and organizations that do both well and good.   

At the end of this course, you should have: 

  • An understanding of the importance and power of organizational alignment and how to achieve it;
  • An awareness around the need for a clear and comprehensive strategy and how to develop and implement it;
  • An understanding about the significance of workforce development in order to achieve organizational goals; 
  • The ability to take a systems approach to stakeholder management and identify win-win solutions that result in businesses that do both well and good;
  • Enriched critical thinking and analytic skills, creativity and problem-solving approaches in a variety of business contexts;
  • Knowledge of how to develop and implement strategies to take advantage of opportunities while mitigating the negative impacts of the Outdoor Recreation Economy; and
  • The ability to identify and administer a balanced scorecard to monitor progress and create accountability.

This course is designed for those who will set, implement, track and communicate progress towards sustainability goals. This course teaches you the fundamentals of a circular economy, the business value in a circular economy, how business models are presently shifting and most importantly, why businesses should become part of this transformational shift. This course also covers sustainability measurement and the skills needed to critique and improve sustainability outcomes for businesses and their stakeholders. Knowledge and skills from this course can be used to build sustainability strategies with clear and measurable outcomes, develop sustainability plans and support existing sustainability agendas with effective measurements to monitor their progress. 

At the end of this course, you should have:

  • An understanding of the principles and ideas behind a circular economy;
  • Capability to identify opportunities for circular economy improvements and how to circularize a linear business model;
  • Foundational and conversant knowledge in three dimensions of sustainability: society, environment and economy;
  • Familiarity with some of the most commonly used reporting frameworks and sustainability indicators including the GRI standards and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); and
  • An understanding of how indicators are developed and how they can be used to identify and assess sustainability issues and measure progress towards sustainability outcomes.

This course provides you with the entrepreneurial skills and know-how to successfully build an outdoor recreation enterprise. As most outdoor recreation businesses are small-to-medium in size, there is a need for you to understand the fundamentals of how to develop outdoor recreation business concepts in order to turn them into a successful enterprise. 

At the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • Apply entrepreneurial best practices to building an outdoor recreation enterprise;
  • Compare and contrast potential sources of investment and different start-up investment strategies for building an outdoor recreation enterprise;
  • Critically assess the potential for an outdoor recreation concept;
  • Develop a strategic business plan for an outdoor recreation enterprise;
  • Discuss the importance of strategic business and community partnerships;
  • Manage employees in a way that leads to a motivated and satisfied workforce;
  • Maximize resources to ensure the capital and material needs of an outdoor recreation enterprise are met; and
  • Monitor and evaluate the financial, environmental and social success of an outdoor recreation enterprise.

This course examines the outdoor recreation industry and the operational life-cycle of outdoor recreation businesses. Focus is placed on identifying and understanding industry-critical functions and interdependencies such as manufacturing, product development, branding, selling and distributing outdoor recreation products and current and future trends. 

At the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • Critically examine the significance of the outdoor recreation industry;
  • Analyze the different types of outdoor recreation consumers and identify their needs and wants;
  • Understand the operational life-cycles of a variety of outdoor recreation businesses; and
  • Analyze current and future consumer trends within the outdoor recreation industry.

Synchronous Project Course (2 Credits)

In this course, you apply the concepts, knowledge and skills gained in the other courses within this certificate to complete a real-world project. You analyze, research, develop and implement innovative strategies, processes and designs and solutions as relevant to the outdoor recreation economy. This course has an experiential foundation and requires collaboration with colleagues, stakeholders and partner organizations. 

This course will empower you to:

  • Apply the skills and knowledge acquired during the certificate courses to complete a solutions-focused project;
  • Practice how to successfully engage with a team and stakeholders;
  • Communicate professionally with the outdoor recreation industry and relevant stakeholders; and
  • Ultimately apply the acquired knowledge in your own organization in support of organizational values, strategy and goals.

You must complete all other courses in this certificate prior to enrolling in this course.