Parks and Recreation Emerging Professionals Program


The Parks and Recreation Emerging Professionals Program (PREPP) is a unique program for people who want to move ahead into upper levels of supervision and administration, need an education in management and planning, and are interested in a flexible, yet rigorous, program developed for working professionals.

The online program includes live class time (on Zoom) as well as an online course system for ongoing learning and study. Participants complete 12 courses over 15 months – for a total of 180 hours of class time. Each set of 3 courses ends in a student portfolio, and the final series is capped with a self-directed project that incorporates the learning across the entire program.

Participants will be grouped into cohorts starting in January 2022.

Program curriculum includes a carefully selected set of topics including budgeting, human resources, facilities, planning, community engagement, organizational development, working with boards and committees, communications and more. The curriculum is based on competencies and standards set out by the accrediting bodies for undergraduate programs in parks and recreation and public management, as well as national certificate programs in both fields.

The PREPP is ideal for:

  • Current parks and recreation (P&R) staff who have at least 3 years of full-time experience working for a public P&R agency, and a high school diploma, bachelor’s degree, or higher.
  • People with a bachelor’s degree or higher who want background and training in P&R planning and management to start working or further progress in the field of P&R.
  • People who enjoy offering programs or facilities for the public but want more of a business and government management perspective with an introduction to executive-level competencies needed to move up or be the best they can be in their field.

Individuals across the United States and in Colorado are eligible.

This program is an alliance between CU Denver School of Public Affairs and GP RED.


Program directors

Lisa VanRaemdonck, MPH, MSW
Teresa Penbrooke, PhD, MAOM, CPRE

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