headshot of Jesse Dixon

Jesse Dixon

Professor Emeritus

About Jesse Dixon

Professor Dixon is the primary advisor for the Emphasis in Systems Management within the Recreation and Tourism Management Program. Graduates from this emphasis can work in a variety of settings that include Municipal Recreation settings, National and State Park settings, Commercial Recreation settings, Military Recreation settings, Non-Profit Organization settings, Gaming Operations settings, and Private Entrepreneurial Operations.

Summary of Professional Activities, Interests, Projects, and Awards Teaching Activity: Professor Dixon’s teaching interests include services for leisure, recreation, and tourism, concepts of leisure, community benefits from recreation services, accessible park planning, economics for leisure/recreation, therapeutic recreation, future leisure experiences with technology, and community tourism. Currently, he teaches Leisure and Tourism, Administration and Operation of Recreation and Tourism Agencies, Recreation for Special Populations, and supervises Student Internship Experiences. During his career, Professor Dixon has been recognized for his teaching with a university Exceptional Merit Service Award, two university awards for Meritorious Performance and Professional Promise, seven Outstanding Faculty Awards from the College of Professional Studies, and the State Educator Award from the California Park and Recreation Society. Within the university, Professor Dixon has also served as a graduate school committee member for numerous Master’s Degree students.

Presentation/Publication Activity: Professor Dixon has presented sessions for professional conferences at the national, state, and local levels (e.g. NRPA, CPRS, CalSPRE, local TR District 12). Professor Dixon’s national and international writing efforts total more than seventy publications, which include book chapters, research reports, journal articles, monographs, practitioner publications, magazine articles, review articles, and published conference proceedings. His publication sources include textbooks, the Journal of Industrial Technology Research Institute, Loiser & Societe, Expanding Horizons in Therapeutic Recreation, Research Into Action: Applications of Therapeutic Recreation Programming, Global Therapeutic Recreation, Annual in Therapeutic Recreation, Journal of Recreation and Leisure, Journal of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation; Therapeutic Recreation Journal, Journal of Leisure Research, Intermountain Leisure Symposium, Parent Magazine, and Impact Magazine. He has served as a reviewer for Psychiatric Services (American Psychological Association), the Journal of Leisure Research, the Journal of Leisure Sciences, the Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, Rehabilitation Literature, the Symposium on Leisure Research, the Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, and Rehabilitation World. His research topics have included the following: The Application of Therapeutic Recreation in Korea, Therapeutic Recreation and Overweight Children, Humor And Recreation Therapy, Complementing Fitness, Weight Loss, and Motivation, Urban Study of Recreation Therapy Evaluation, Research On Teaching Activity Skills To Individuals with Mental Retardation, Comparing Teaching Methods in Therapeutic Recreation, Survey of City Recreation Needs.

Professor Dixon has successfully participated in both national and state professional certification plans.

Service Activity: During his career, Professor Dixon was actively involved in the San Diego community through leadership on boards, directing community camps, and conducting community surveys. Professor Dixon served as a director on the Padre Municipal Water District Board and the San Diego County Water Authority. He also served as the Board President, Vice President, and Treasurer for the Padre Dam Municipal Water District. As a board member, he helped to manage an annual budget of approximately $40 million dollars. During his service to the board, the Santee Lakes Park and Recreation Area became a successful financial operation serving over 400, 000 visitors a year, educating visitors about recycled water and conservation, and hosting community events with 3000 to 5000 in attendance. During his service, the park added an Accessible Fishing Pier and a “Boundless Playground” to improve the park for community inclusion. The $156,000 Accessible Fishing Pier project was possible through cooperative fundraising efforts with the Santee Lion’s Club organization, local businesses, individual donors, and the Padre Dam Municipal Water District. The $132,000 Boundless Playground project was possible with cooperative fundraising by the Santee Kiwanis, Padre Municipal Water District, local businesses, and individual donors. To increase the commercial recreation activity, the park added an accessible “Spray Playground”. This feature was so successful it was projected to pay for itself in three years. Based on the success of this park operation, the Padre Dam Municipal Water District approved an approximate six million dollar expansion of the park campground. The Santee Lakes Park and Recreation Area is one of the few parks owned by a water district that makes a profit. This park provides benefit without tax or ratepayer subsidy and contributes approximately $70,000 a year to the municipal water budget. While serving on the San Diego Water Authority, Professor Dixon chaired the Administrative and Finance Committee. During his service, his committee helped to monitor a two-year budget of $1.3 billion dollars. This budget included capital improvement for emergency water storage in rural areas with consideration for public recreation, planning desalination efforts with consideration for tourism interests, and securing a reliable regional water supply for a positive quality of life in Southern California. Professor Dixon also served as Director of Camp Del Mar, which provided therapeutic recreation for overweight children and generated research data on intervention strategies for different handicapping conditions. As a part of community outreach, Professor Dixon conducted community surveys to determine city resident preferences for recreation programs, the accessibility of movie theatres and performing arts centers, and the evaluation documentation used by recreation therapists in testing processes (standardized testing and credentials). In recognition for his service efforts, Professor Dixon was presented with a public “Certificate of Appreciation” (San Diego Metro Commission-2003), a public “Resolution Honoring Public Service“ (San Diego County Water Authority-2006 , a public “Resolution Recognizing Outstanding Public Service” from the Padre Dam Municipal Water District-2007), and a Vision and Leadership Award (Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve-2006).


  • PhD in Leisure Studies, University of Illinois, Illinois