About the Author
Betty van der Smissen, ReD, JD, is professor emeritus of recreation and parks at Michigan State University and visiting professor in the Division of Leisure, Youth, and Human Services at the University of Northern Iowa. As a professional, she believes in active participation for enhancement of the profession. As an educator, she believes that students should acquire knowledge of the various professional organizations in the field. Thus, Dr. van der Smissen has maintained memberships in many organizations and has been active in the fields of recreation, camping, environmental education, and adventure and challenge for nearly 50 years. The national organizations in these and several related fields have recognized Dr. van der Smissen's professional contributions by honoring her with their highest awards for service as well as naming certain awards in recognition of her service. These include a leadership award, a research grant, and a conference scholarship. Dr. van der Smissen has been elected to membership in the principal academies of her profession. As a lawyer and a member of the American Bar Association, she has contributed her time through presentations at conferences, workshops, and other meetings and has written about legal liability and risk management. The American Bar Association has recognized her service with its Vanguard Award for lifetime contribution to nonprofit organizations.
Dr. van der Smissen is noted for her extensive work, beginning in the early 1960s and continuing to date, in the development, implementation, and revision of the four major accreditation programs in her fields: academic curriculum, organized camping, adventure and challenge programs, and recreation and park agencies. She has served more than one term on the national accreditation body (council commission board) of each of these four programs. Dr. van der Smissen believes that through the accreditation standards, the professionalism and quality of programs and services are greatly enhanced, and thus the profession is enhanced.