Leisure, Youth & Human Services

Mission Statement

As a nationally recognized and accredited professional education program, the UNI's Division of Leisure, Youth and Human Services (LYHS) prepares individuals with the skills, knowledge, and values required to effectively assume professional leadership/managerial positions in the areas of leisure, recreation, parks, therapeutic recreation, tourism, youth, and human service settings.

Professional development in these areas require the ability to think critically, problem solve, operate with agility and flexibility, analyze information, use technology, communicate in oral and written fashion, and embody sustainable environmental practices, cultural competence, and global understandings.  Consistent with the University's tripartite mission to teach, research and serve, the LYHS Division supports these ends in the following ways:

  • Prepare individuals for professional positions at the direct service, supervisory and managerial levels in leisure, recreation, parks, therapeutic recreation, tourism, youth, and human service settings including public, private, and non-profit organizations.

  • Engage in both student and faculty driven applied and basic research, policy analysis, and evaluation and assessment in the areas of leisure, recreation, parks, therapeutic recreation, tourism, youth, and human service settings.

  • Provide service to the university and to the profession at the local, state, regional, national and international levels.

LYHS courses are designed to encourage students to learn and participate in hands-on activities about youth and human development, leisure and youth programming, and help all people live healthy, enjoyable, active and meaningful lifestyles.  If you are passionate about improving lives and communities, we will help you gain the knowledge and and resources you need.  As a LYHS major you will be active in the classroom and in the community.

Leisure as a profession focuses on the principles underlying recreational and leisure activities, and the practices involved in providing indoor and outdoor recreational facilities and services for the general public.  These leisure services take place in outdoor recreation, parks and recreation, therapeutic recreation programs for people with disabilities, campus recreation, commercial recreation, travel and tourism, and youth serving organizations. 

Leisure Service professionals lead, supervise, and manage recreation activities, oversee areas and facilities and promote leisure education for individuals and groups in public, private and non-profit agencies.  Employment settings include municipal parks and recreation departments, private resorts, county, state and federal agencies; non-profit organizations; religious youth and adult organizations; hospitals; military installations; colleges and universities, and travel and tour companies.

Youth Services as a profession focuses on engagement of children and youth in structured and unstructured activities that contributes to individual development and community enhancement at the local, national, and international levels.  Youth services provide quality opportunities for children and youth in peer mentoring, academic enrichment, leadership development, health promotion, clubs and interest groups, service learning, vocations and career development, life skill enhancement, character education, arts and literary activities, adventure education, outdoor pursuits, and discovery, geography and science.

Human services as a profession focus on addressing individual and community needs by providing services centering on prevention as well as remediation of human and community problems, as well as improving overall quality of life.  Human service professionals work in all sectors of society; however, the LYHS Division focuses on working with populations in the nonprofit and public sectors. 


Program Highlights

  • Internships, service learning, and visits to local programs

  • Learning abroad opportunities that relate to youth services, such as Camp Adventure Child & Youth Services, Just for Kicks, Special Olympics, Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, Dance Marathon

  • Opportunities to volunteer and work with local youth programs

UNI's LYHS Program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions (COAPRT). COAPRT accredits baccalaureate programs in parks, recreation, tourism, sport management, event management, therapeutic recreation, and leisure studies offered at regionally accredited institutions within the U.S. and its territories, and at nationally accredited institutions in Canada and Mexico.


Leisure, Youth & Human Services, B.A.

Leisure, Youth & Human Services Minor

Leisure, Youth & Human Services, M.A.

Philanthropy/Non-Profit Development, M.A.

Allied Health, Recreation & Community Services, Ed.D.

Aquatics Specialization Certificate

Nonprofit Management Certificate

Outdoor Recreation Certificate

School-Age Care Leadership Certificate

Tourism Certificate



Student Learning Outcomes Data

The Leisure, Youth & Human Services students learning outcomes reflect the Council on Accreditation of Recreation, Park Resources and Leisure Services accreditation series  designed to elicit evidence of student learning as part of the foundational components of the Division's curriculum.  Foundational curriculum in the Leisure, Youth and Human Services Division include study in these areas:

  • Foundations

  • Provision of services and experiences for guests, visitors, clients, and/or the public

  • Management/Administration

The goals of the student learning outcomes plan are two-fold:

  • Students are provided with sufficient opportunities to achieve the outcomes

  • Evidence is provided to demonstrate the existence of measures used to assess the outcomes listed


LYHS 7.0 Student Outcomes Data - 1.17

LYHS 4070 Evidence of Student Learning F11-F15

LYHS 4070 Evidence of Student Learning Sp 16


Important Information Regarding Degree Mills

Please watch this important video (http://youtu.be/a1voHNMQDrk) regarding degree and accreditation mills.  According to the CHEA, "Degree mills and accreditation mills mislead and harm. In the United States, degrees and certificates from mills may not be acknowledged by other institutions when students seek to transfer or go to graduate school. Employers may not acknowledge degrees and certificates from degree mills when providing tuition assistance for continuing education. "Accreditation" from an accreditation mill can mislead students and the public about the quality of an institution. In the presence of degree mills and accreditation mills, students may spend a good deal of money and receive neither an education nor a useable credential."