As part of the course requirements for FOR 496/797 Women in Environmental Careers, students share the responsibility for reporting on speakers in ESF’s Women in Scientific and Environmental Professions Speaker Series. The following was prepared by Corenne Black and Rachel Kaminski.
On April 10, 2007, Dr. Sharon Todd, Associate Professor of Recreation and Leisure Studies at the State University of New York at Cortland, presented her research, entitled “Cut from the Same Cloth: Quiltmakers, Scuba Divers, and Outdoor Adventurists” at SUNY-ESF. Her presentation was part of the ongoing SUNY-ESF Women in Environmental and Scientific Professions Seminar Series, sponsored by SUNY-ESF and the ESF Women’s Caucus. The presentation focused on the degree of seriousness people apply to certain recreational activities.
Dr. Todd enthusiastically presented her research involving quiltmakers, scuba divers, and outdoor adventurists, which reexamined traditional conceptions about competition in recreation research. Traditionally, studies have presented a linear relationship of competitiveness where initially one competes against the learning the activity, followed by competing against the standards of the activity, then progressing to competing against oneself, and finally to competing with other people. This is commonly represented in terms of beginner, intermediate, advanced, and expert. Dr. Todd developed a theory of a nonlinear competitiveness curve incorporating one competing against perfection, which she classified as the “truly elite” and the “over-the-hiller” (i.e., “post expert”). Using her research, which involved surveying quiltmakers, scuba divers, and outdoor adventurists, Dr. Todd was able to show how each of these groups of leisure pursers support her theory of a nonlinear competitiveness curve.
Dr. Todd also studied for her research the role of leisure constraints on the level of development of quiltmakers, scuba divers, and outdoor adventurists in terms of intrapersonal (i.e., an individual’s personal or psychological constraints), interpersonal (i.e., constraints created by someone else), and structural (i.e., constraints related to environmental, time, money) constraints. These barriers to participating in leisure activities can affect one’s level of competitiveness and can potentially prevent one from progressing through levels of leisure development (e.g., intermediate to advance). Graphing the results of how constraints affect the level of development shows a nonlinear curve and hence supports Dr. Todd’s theory of a nonlinear competitiveness curve as well. So yes, quiltmakers, scuba divers, and outdoor adventurists are cut from the same cloth in terms of their leisure pursuits.
Dr. Sharon Todd received a B.S. in Business Administration and a B.S. in Recreation from Southern Illinois University. She pursued her M.S in Recreation and Parks as well as her Ph.D. in Leisure Studies at Pennsylvania State University. Her academic interests includes social psychology of leisure and outdoor research methods. She spends her leisure time cross-country skiing, camping, canoeing, and playing field hockey. Currently, Dr. Todd is an Associate Professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at SUNY Cortland as well as the Co-Director of SUNY Cortland’s Outdoor Education Practicum.