Chair of Parks and Recreation Leadership
Assistant Professor of Parks and Recreation Leadership
Office Location: Meyer Hall, Room 204
My approach to teaching involves finding a balance between classroom-based learning and field-based practical application of classroom learning. I strive to stay current in the parks and recreation field though fieldwork, service projects, and conducting research. I take a student-centered approach to teaching by strongly encouraging and helping students to find ways to explore career opportunities, network with professionals in the field, and learn new skills through service learning projects, internships, conference attendance, and conducting interdisciplinary research that informs our practices as we work to be good stewards of our recreational resources.
EdD, Leadership in Curriculum and Instruction – Aurora University (in progress)
MS, Recreation Administration – Aurora University
BA, Management and Leadership – Judson University
Areas of Specialization
State and National Parks – History and Public Policy
REC 1750 Practicum in Outdoor Living Skills
REC 1760 Leisure and Society
REC 2500 Working with Diverse Populations in Parks and Recreation
REC 3400 Outdoor Recreation and Education
REC 3500 Outdoor Recreation Skills I
REC 3510 Outdoor Recreation Skills II
REC 3990 Recreation Administration: Issues and Ethics
REC 4780 Parks and Recreation Leadership Internship
REC 4980 Senior Seminar in Parks and Recreation Leadership
Fieldwork and Expedition Experience
Guest scientist on Expedition RESTORE to research marine debris in the Gulf of Maine. Expedition led by the Rozalia Project For a Clean Ocean – July, 2014
Wild dolphin field research in the Bahamas. Expedition led by Dr. Denise Herzing of the Wild Dolphin Project – July 2012
Hiking trail maintenance in Yosemite National Park. Expedition led by Conservation Volunteers International Program – September, 2011
Polar expedition training and qualification in Ely, Minnesota. Expedition led by Polar Explorers (Northwest Passage) – February, 2010
Underwater archeological fieldwork to document the Lake Michigan shipwreck S.S. Milwaukee using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and sector scan sonar onboard S/V Denis Sullivan. Expedition led by Discovery World Museum – July 2009
Paleontological fieldwork at the Hanksville-Burpee Quarry near Hanksville, UT. Expedition led by Burpee Museum of Natural History – June, 2009
Highlights of Publications, Honors and Professional Contributions
Wells, C. (2016). Measuring the impact of service learning projects. In F. A. Wilson & J. L. Thomas (Eds.), Handbook for Undergraduate Research Advisors. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Wells, C., Peters, T., Feldman, M., Hoff, B., Meyer-Volinek, L., & Skerrett, K. (2016, March). Shoreline and benthic aquatic debris research – Geneva Lake. Poster presented at the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership Convention, Stevens Point, WI.
Wells, C. (2016, March). Efforts to better understand the impacts of marine debris. Lecture presented at the Aurora University Arts and Ideas: Faculty Speaker Series, Aurora, IL.
Harmon, K., Herrick, J., & Wells, C. (2016, February). Utilizing the first-year experience to build a learning community. Conference session presented at the 35th Annual Conference on the First-Year Experience, Orlando, FL.
Campbell, R., & Wells, C. (2016, February). Teaching MSW students about using the outdoors as a setting for therapy. Conference session presented at the 9th Annual Aurora University Teaching and Research Symposium, Aurora, IL.
Wells, C., & Peters, T. (2015, April). Benthic aquatic debris research – Geneva Lake. Poster presented at the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership Convention, Stevens Point, WI.
Wells, C. (2015, March). Planning and leading experiential scientific fieldwork projects for high school and college students. Conference session presented at the Association for Experiential Education Heartland Regional Conference, Dodgeville, WI.
Wilson, F., Fee, J., Thomas, J., Bruhn, C., Harvey, M., & Wells, C. (2015, February). Strategies for advising undergraduate research. Roundtable discussion presented at the 8th Annual Aurora University Teaching and Research Symposium, Aurora, IL.
Wells, C. (2015, February). Marine debris research in the Gulf of Maine. Conference session presented at the 8th Annual Aurora University Teaching and Research Symposium, Aurora, IL.
Wells, C. (2014, February). Building student community through a sailing course. Conference session presented at the 7th Annual Aurora University Teaching and Research Symposium, Aurora, IL.
Wells, C. (2013, February). Using student-produced videos and video conferencing to teach environmental education. Conference session presented at the 6th Annual Aurora University Teaching and Research Symposium, Aurora, IL.
Wells, C. (2013, February). A scientific monitoring buoy on Geneva Lake. Conference session presented at the 6th Annual Aurora University Teaching and Research Symposium, Aurora, IL.
Woodhouse, J. L., & Wells, C. D. (2011). Anna Botsford Comstock: Beyond science - learning about self and nature through field experience. In T. E. Smith & C. E. Knapp (Eds.) Sourcebook of experiential education: Key thinkers and their ideas (pp. 100-107). New York: Routledge.
Wells, C. (2011, March) Taking experiential education to a deeper level: Underwater research as a context for teaching math, science, social studies and writing. Conference session presented at the Association for Experiential Education Heartland Region Conference, in Martinsville, IN.
Yerkes, R., Emanuelson, D., Wells, C., & Cline, G. (2007, April). Marketing your camp. Conference session presented at the American Camp Association Mid States Camping Conference, St. Charles, IL.
Jeanne E. Norris Teaching Award – George Williams College of Aurora University
Highlights of Campus Involvement
Faculty Advisor – GWC Lunch and Learn Series
Service Learning Project Leadership – Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Clean Boats – Clean Waters, Citizen Lake Monitoring Network
Alternative Spring Break Trip Leadership – James River State Park | Gladstone, VA
Assessment Committee 2015 to present
Graduate Affairs Committee 2013-2015