Gail Vander Stoep

Gail Vander Stoep

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Emeriti Associate Professor
Department of Community Sustainability


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  • PhD: 1986, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas: Recreation Resources Development (Emphasis Areas in Social Psychology and Interpretation/ Environmental Education/Communications)
  • MEd: 1982, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas: Physical Education (Outdoor and Environmental Education emphasis)
  • BS: 1975, University of Texas, Austin, Texas: Physical Education (Minors in Earth Science and Health)

Major Areas of Scholarship (often integrating two or more of the following)

  • Interpretation of natural, cultural and historic resourcesUse of interpretation and communications as a resource management tool
  • Maritime heritage and coastal resources management
  • Cultural and heritage tourism (including role of interpretation)
  • Community-based tourism development (US and international)
  • Sustainable community development (including tourism, ecotourism)
  • Museum studies

Academic Experience

  • 1998 – 2023: Associate Professor, Departments of PRTR (1998 – 2003) and Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies (CARRS, 2003 – present), Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
  • 1992 – 1998: Assistant Professor, Department of Park, Recreation & Tourism Resources (PRTR), Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
  • 1988 - 1992: Assistant Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning, Leisure Studies & Resources Program, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
  • 1986 - 1988: Assistant Professor, Department of Recreation & Leisure Studies (RLS), Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
  • 1986: Instructor, Department of Recreation & Parks (R&P), Texas A&M University, College Station, TX


  • Certified Interpretive Trainer (National Association for Interpretation)
  • Certified Interpretive Guide (National Association for Interpretation)
  • Certified Interpretive Host (National Association for Interpretation)
  • Certified Heritage Interpreter (National Association for Interpretation)
  • Tutor – international (Nautical Archaeology Society)
  • Levels I and II, underwater archaeology (Nautical Archaeology Society)

Advisory & Steering Committees at MSU

  • Great Lakes Culture Program
  • Museum Studies Program
  • Zoo and Aquarium Science Program

Courses Vander Stoep Teaches:

  • PRR 351 - Communications for Recreation and Resources Management
  • PRR 451 - Park Interpretive Services and Visitor Information Systems
  • PRR 895 - Coastal and Maritime Heritage and Management

Study Abroad Programs

  • Australia: Mass Media, Environment and Cultural Issues (2006)
  • Anguilla, British West Indies: Integrated Marine Resource Management & Coastal Tourism (1998, 2000)
  • India: Ecology of the Mountains in India (Himalayas) (pending, 2007 and 2008)

Other International Involvement

  • Malaysia (2005)
  • South Korea (2005)
  • Nepal (2005)Micronesia (2004 – present)
  • Canada, especially related to maritime resources (1994 – present)
  • Taiwan (pending)
  • Conferences: Australia, United Kingdom, Spain, Canada