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Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Visiting Scholars for 2016/2017

Introducing the 2016-2017
World Leisure Centre of Excellence at VIU’s Visiting Scholars

Greg Ringer  
Greg Ringer currently serves as Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of International Studies at the University of Oregon (USA), where he specializes in post-conflict travel to World Heritage parks and protected areas. In recognition of his academic expertise, he was awarded two Fulbright Faculty Scholar grants in hospitality and environmental recreation at Makerere University (Uganda) and the University of Montenegro in the West Balkans. Dr. Ringer also earned a Fulbright-Hays grant to Cambodia and Thailand, where he assisted in establishing a university-level curriculum in Southeast Asia studies involving faculty and students in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, New Zealand, and the USA. Prior to returning to the University of Oregon faculty in 2012, Dr. Ringer served as professor at multiple universities in Canada, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. In addition to his teaching experience, he also works as a non-profit tourism consultant to governments, indigenous communities, and park agencies worldwide, including the U.S. State Department, U.S. Department of the Interior, Asian Development Bank, Uganda Wildlife Authority, Conservation International, and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).  Dr. Ringer holds a Bachelor’s degree in political science and public administration from the University of Central Florida, as well as a Master’s of Science in environmental studies and a PhD in geography from the University of Oregon.

Aurelia Kogler
Aurelia Kogler is founder and CEO of MONTCON Tourismus, a consultancy specialized on the strategic support of Ski Resorts, Luxury Hotels and Alpine Destinations in Austria and Switzerland ( Furthermore she is Professor of Tourism and Leisure Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Chur (HTW Chur) in Switzerland. Being educated at a top-ranked business-school her special academic and practical research interest are strategic marketing and management topics related to Health Tourism, Luxury Tourism, Mountain Tourism and Leisure Management. Aurelia has board experience from volunteer and commercial organizations, such as World Leisure Organization ( and Pizolbahnen AG (, a Swiss Ski Resort. She has published research articles both in scientific journals and popular magazines and is invited as a speaker at academic and professional events around the world.
Melissa S. Weddell
Melissa Weddell grew up on a family farm in rural Indiana where she learned the importance of local culture and value of natural resources.  While traveling the roads of the U.S. and visiting most of the 50 states, Melissa learned the impact tourism can have on an area.  She has over 10 years of experience working on sustainable management practices and public policy development, specifically focusing on natural tourism destinations.  In addition, she has worked in private industry as a small business consultant, enabling her to understand the unique management challenges of the tourism industry.  Melissa is currently an associate professor of Recreation Management at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.  She received her undergraduate degree in Small Business Management from Ball State University and an MBA from Southern Illinois University before earning her doctorate in Recreation Resource Management from Clemson University.  She has published 15 articles, given over 40 presentations, and worked with numerous agencies in development of management plans and technical reports.  Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her husband and their two labrador retrievers as well hiking, mountain biking, and traveling.  She loves living in the mountains of Western North Carolina and contributing to the rural tourism movement. 
Chris Cooper
Chris Cooper holds a research chair at Oxford Brookes University in the UK. He gained his undergraduate degree and PhD in Geography from University College London. He has more than thirty years experience in tourism and has worked as a researcher and teacher in every region of the world. He gained experience in tour operation working for Thomson Travel before returning to academic life. He has worked at the Universities of Surrey and Bournemouth and established the School of Tourism at the University of Queensland in Australia. He returned to the UK to take up the role of Dean and Pro Vice Chancellor at Oxford Brookes University, stepping down to a research chair in 2014. Chris works with international agencies including the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the European Union, the International Labour Organization, the OECD, the Inter American Development Bank and ASEAN. He held the Chair of the UNWTO’s Education Council from 2005 – 2007 and was awarded the United Nations Ulysses Medal for contributions to tourism education and policy in 2009. He was Co-Founder of Progress in Tourism, Hospitality and Recreation Research and the International Journal of Tourism Research and is now the Co-Editor of Current Issues In Tourism. He is a member of the editorial board for leading tourism, hospitality and leisure journals and has authored a number of leading textbooks in tourism. He is the co-series editor of the influential book series ‘Aspects of Tourism’. Chris is married to Gerardine, a speech pathologist specializing in severely mentally handicapped children, and has two daughters, Amy and Robyn and a Yorkshire terrier/Chihuahua cross - Coco.

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