Faculty Profile: Dr. Jo Tynon

Dr. Jo Tynon - Associate Professor for Recreation Resources and Tourism

by Elijah Allensworth

As an educator, Jo embodies some of the profession's most sought-after qualities. She provides rigorous courses that push students to a higher caliber of excellence and professionalism and she is also one the friendliest faculty at the college. The complementary nature between high expectations and a casual atmosphere leads many students to consider her among their best teachers, if not the best. In fact, Jo has won the Xi Sigma Pi "Julie Kliewer" Excellence in Mentoring Award for 2010 and 2012, voted on by students in the Xi Sigma Pi Forestry Honor Society.

Jo originally earned an A.A. in Chemistry and worked in New Jersey conducting research on agricultural chemicals. Eventually, she decided to change her career and earned a B.S. in Wildland Recreation
Management at the University of Idaho in 1984 and a Ph.D. in Resource Recreation in 1994, arriving at OSU six years later after teaching at the University of Maine. When asked why she switched careers, Jo told us, "The opportunity to switch gears and engage in social science was very appealing. People hold varied opinions, they change their minds, and their behavior can be difficult to predict, which makes studying people in leisure settings challenging and satisfying."

Qualitative and quantitative inquiry into natural resource-based recreation and tourism is Jo's specialty at the College. In addition to research with her former student Dr. Josh Baur, Jo also teaches three courses each year: Wilderness Management, Recreation Resource Planning, and Research Methods in Social Science. Each of her courses are designed and well known for their emphasis on critical thinking,
analytical skills, and communication, preparing students for graduate studies and professional careers after they graduate. For Jo, the greatest part of teaching here is, as she says, "great students!"

For students, Jo had a bit of advice on employment during and after college. She encourages students to work summer jobs for government agencies, NGOs, and private companies to determine where they fit best, and to develop and maintain a network of contacts that can help you find the perfect job. Quality experiences and a strong network of contacts are vital to expanding your range of opportunities and, as Jo notes, graduates who have prior work experience at a company usually have a higher initial salary. Overall, it's important to experience all the opportunities available to RRM students and not pigeon-hole yourself in one area.