The W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation (FCFC) at the University of Montana (UM) is pleased to invite applications for a Research Faculty member to serve as the Director of the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research (ITRR) to start the position on July 1, 2022. ITRR is based at the University of Montana UM in the thriving community of Missoula with accessibility to wildlands and a central hub for western Montana’s tourism and recreation. The relative emphasis for the position is 55% administration/service, 30% research, and 15% teaching.

Established in 1987, ITRR serves as the research arm for Montana’s tourism and recreation industry. ITRR’s mission is to provide leadership, direction, and information to assist Montana’s tourism and recreation industry in making informed decisions about planning, marketing, policy, and management. ITRR accomplishes this mission by conducting valid, reliable, and objective research designed to assist public agencies, businesses, and non-profit firms who provide visitor services or manage parks, recreation areas, and other facilities used by visitors and residents alike. ITRR is a one-of-a-kind research institute with primary funding provided by state law directly to the Institute. ITRR receives a percentage of funds from Montana’s Lodging Facility Tax to conduct research in tourism and recreation throughout Montana.

The Director is responsible for leadership of ITRR to best serve the research needs of Montana’s $3.4 billion tourism economy (part of the greater $7.1 billion outdoor recreation economy in Montana). The Director will also teach a course in the Parks, Tourism, and Recreation Management (PTRM) program and enhance professional connections for students. This position pursues and manages external funding for research. For example, currently ITRR is part of a five-year contract from the National Park Service (NPS) focused on the implementation of a NPS socioeconomic monitoring program in a range of NPS sites across the country.

This is a non-tenurable, research faculty position, open rank depending on experience (i.e., Research Assistant Professor, Research Associate Professor, Research Professor). This position is housed in the Department of Society and Conservation (SoCon) and the Parks, Tourism, and Recreation Management Program.

Apply here: 

Job Responsibilities


  • Leadership and supervision of ITRR staff
  • Manage budgets and pursue external funding
  • Provide expertise in local and state tourism planning and development
  • Oversight of a National Park Service contract for the next four years
  • Regularly travel throughout the state and out-of-state travel as needed
  • Direct planning with external advisory councils and constituents
  • Participate and lead in professional organizations focused on recreation and/or tourism
  • Performs university service as commensurate with Research Faculty position


  • Lead a diverse and rigorous portfolio of tourism and recreation research projects and explore new research opportunities
  • Collaborate with PTRM/SoCon/FCFC faculty
  • Advise graduate students in research projects
  • Conduct Montana’s Tourism Advisory Council prioritized research projects
  • Publish research findings in refereed journals and technical reports
  • Communicate research at professional conferences and statewide meetings


  • Teach one 3.0 credit PTRM undergraduate course each academic year (e.g., PTRM 210: Nature-based Tourism, PTRM 217: Parks and Outdoor Recreation Management PTRM 380: Recreation Administration and Leadership, PTRM 486: Entrepreneurship in Tourism and Recreation)
  • Advise undergraduate PTRM students
  • Strengthen career pathways and partnerships for PTRM students with professionals in the field

Required Qualifications

  • An earned doctorate in outdoor recreation, tourism, hospitality, geography, community development, parks and protected area management, business, applied economics, or a closely related field
  • A strong record of applied research and scholarship
  • Demonstration of visionary leadership of a professional team
  • Budget management proficiency
  • Evidence of building partnerships with diverse stakeholders such as agencies, industries, local governments, and communities, and responding to diverse partner needs
  • Demonstrated ability to support and strengthen justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion

Preferred Qualification

  • Demonstrated excellence in teaching at the undergraduate level
  • Strong communication skills in diverse forums
  • Demonstrated success in securing external research funding
  • Expertise in quantitative and/or mixed research methods

About UM and Missoula

The University of Montana (UM) is a flagship, research institution of approximately 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and is one of the nation’s outstanding public universities, committed to liberal arts education, research, and strong professional programs.  UM is located in Missoula, a cosmopolitan Rocky Mountain community, often highlighted in national publications for its quality of life.  The vibrant downtown community embraces the state’s most diverse music and art scene.

Missoula is set right in the middle of the mountains and the rivers of western Montana and surrounding public lands provide unparalleled recreational opportunities. Downhill skiers enjoy fantastic snow and 2,600 feet of continuous vertical terrain 15 miles away at Montana Snowbowl. Great hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and rock climbing opportunities are all just minutes away. The Clark Fork runs right through downtown, with Brennan’s Wave the center of attraction for kayakers. Downstream there’s the famous Alberton Gorge, which offers whitewater fun. Upstream is the Blackfoot River, popular for fly fishing, rafting, canoeing, and tubing. South of Missoula the Bitterroot River is a beautiful scenic float. Nearby, Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park offer close access to some of the nation’s crown jewel parks.

Outside magazine has ranked Missoula as one of the “25 Best Towns”  “Greatest Places to Live in America” and one of “The 5 Best Places to Raise Outdoor Kids,” lists Missoula as one of the “Best College Towns,” and rated Missoula as “#1 Most Fitness-Friendly Place” and #9 “Least Stressed Cities in America.”

UM is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and has a strong institutional commitment to the principle of diversity in all areas. UM is an inclusive institution and values diverse perspectives. UM encourages applications from all qualified people, especially people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQIA+, veterans, and women. Qualified candidates may request veterans’ or disabilities preference in accordance with state law.  In that spirit, we are particularly interested in receiving applications from a broad spectrum of qualified people who would assist the University in demonstrating its five priorities for action: place student success at the center of all we do; drive excellence and innovation in teaching, learning, and research; embody the principle of “mission first, people always”; partner with place; and proudly tell the UM story.

Questions about the position may be directed to the Search Committee Chair, Dr. Jenn Thomsen, [email protected]