Rodney B. Dieser, Ph.D.

Professor, Leisure, Youth and Human Services
(319) 273-7775

University of Northern Iowa
WRC 203
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0241

Rodney B. Dieser's Vitae


Ph.D., Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta (Canada), 2002
MA, Mental Health Counseling, University of Northern Iowa (USA), 2014
MS, Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, University of Utah (USA), 1997
BS, Recreation and Leisure, University of Utah (USA), 1994
AS, Therapeutic Recreation, Lethbridge Community College (Canada), 1991

Honors and Awards

2017 Fellow, Academy of Leisure Sciences
2017 Outstanding Alumni Award, University of Utah, Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism
2016 International Fellow, China-North America Leisure Studies Network
2014 Outstanding Research Award, College of Education, University of Northern Iowa
2014 Milestone Award for Outstanding Mentoring to Graduate Students, Graduate College, University of Northern Iowa
2012 Fellow, World Leisure Academy
2010 Fellow, American Leisure Academy
2007 Presidential Citation, Society of Parks and Recreation Educators
2006 Outstanding Professional Research Award, National Therapeutic Recreation Society
2005 Tribune Article Award, Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association
2004 Research, Publishing, Writing/Speaking Award, Alberta Therapeutic Recreation Association (Canada)


Rodney Dieser, Ph.D., has worked at UNI since 2001 and believes classroom learning should be based on a Professor who has one foot in scholarship/research and another foot in professional practice (scholar/researcher-practitioner model). As a researcher Dr. Dieser has published over 100 articles and five textbooks, and his writings have appeared in such journals as the Alberta Journal of Educational Research, Counseling Psychology Quarterly, International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology, Journal of Leisure Research, Leisure/Loisir, Leisure Science, Leisure Studies, Minnesota Medicine, Mayo Clinic Proceedings (third most circulated medical journal in the world), Therapeutic Recreation Journal and the World Leisure Journal. Moreover, Dr. Dieser has been recognized as a national and international researcher by such organizations as the Academy of Leisure Science, National Therapeutic Recreation Society, World Leisure Academy, and the Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association. Dr. Dieser has been an invited guest on Iowa Public Radio twice, in July of 2017 related to leisure services in hospital settings and in April 2018 related to how the music of Bruce Springsteen aids in the development of moral wellness. 

His research and teaching interests include: (1) leisure and mental health, including leisure and wellness embedded in mental health counseling and leisure services at Mayo Clinic, (2) cross-cultural therapeutic recreation/inclusive recreation and leisure service delivery, (3) leisure education intervention, (4) inclusive recreation for people with disabilities, (5) historical and philosophical foundations of leisure, youth, and nonprofit human services, including Hull-House, 1889-1953, and (6) the nexus between moral development/wellness and songs/short stories of musician Bruce Springsteen. 

As a practitioner, Dr. Dieser works 10-12 hours a week as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRS) and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) at Covenant Family Solutions in Cedar Falls (Iowa). His prior employment includes working as a LMHC and CTRS at New Directions Counseling (Waterloo, Iowa), an inclusion specialist for the Salt Lake City (Utah) school district with adults with developmental disabilities and working as a Licensed Therapeutic Recreation Specialists in addiction rehabilitation and homeless outreach for Catholic Community Services of Salt Lake City. 

As such, Dr. Dieser brings into the classroom relevant research-based findings and real-world practitioner experiences in such areas as mental health/medical diagnosis, therapeutic recreation and mental health assessment, treatment planning, and interventions/services, cross-cultural practice, health-based documentation, human service evaluation, and inclusive recreation services.

Mayo Clinic Proceedings Insights: Dr. Dieser sharing his research on how leisure service delivery at the Mayo Clinic can decrease patient stress and prevent burnout among physicians/medical staff

Iowa Public Radio: Dr. Dieser as a host regarding the topic of making hospitals feel more like home through leisure environments