Kelli McMahan, Ph.D., CTRS

Kelli McMahan, Ph.D., CTRS
Associate Clinical Professor
High Res Photo

Associate Clinical Professor

Coordinator of Outdoor Recreation

Penland Hall Faculty in Residence

Coordinator of Outdoor Recreation, HHPR

Research Interests

My research deals with the human response to accidents and traumatic events that occur during outdoor adventure pursuits in wilderness or other outdoor recreation environments.

Specifically, I am interested in the lingering intrapersonal and interpersonal impacts to those who have experienced an accident; as well as ensuing impacts to future recreation behavior and satisfaction. On a broader scale, my research contributes to an understanding of how individuals perceive and respond to the inherent risks and fears associated with outdoor adventure pursuits even in the absence of an accident or traumatic event. This corresponds with management efforts towards risk prevention, risk assessment, and risk response. A subset of my research addresses leisure social worlds, serious leisure, and recreation specialization. Because of my professional background and personal interests, I also have research interests related to many aspects of the outdoor adventure experience including the transformative nature of the adventure phenomenon in the natural environment.

Courses Taught

RLS 3301 Theory and Practice of Outdoor Adventure Programs
RLS 2201 Adventure Recreation Leadership and Challenge Course Facilitation
RLS 2388 Leisure and Lifestyle Well-Being
RLS 4301 Outdoor Education
RLS 4398 Leisure Services for Persons with Disabilities

Director of Field Course in Outdoor Leadership


Scott, D., & McMahan, K. (Accepted) Hard Core Leisure: A Conceptualization. Leisure Sciences.

Lee, S., McMahan, K. & Scott, D. (2014). The Gendered Nature of Birdwatching. Human Dimensions of Wildlife.

McMahan, K. (2011) Review of Studies in Outdoor Recreation: Search and Research for Satisfaction, Third edition by Robert E. Manning. Journal of Leisure Research, 43(4), 589-591.

McMahan, K. (2014). In Connect Get-Active 2.0: Rock Climbing. McGraw Hill.

Helwig, N. & McMahan, K. (2009) Chapter Three – “Preparing for the Experience.” In Outdoor Adventures: Rock Climbing. Outdoor Adventure Series. Human Kinetics.


Ph.D. in Recreation, Park & Tourism Sciences; Texas A&M University, College Station, TX (2015)
M.S. in Health, Physical Education and Leisure, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK (1998)
B.S. in Health, Human Performance and Recreation, Baylor University, Waco, Texas (1993)

Campus Contact Information

Baylor University
College of Health & Human Sciences, HHPR
One Bear Place #97313
Waco, TX 76798-7313

Office: Rena Marrs McLean Gymnasium 110.09
Phone: 254-710-3712
Fax: 254-710-3527