Faculty Portrait

Contact Information

Name: Ernest G. Olson

Title: Faculty Emeritus

Office Location: Solano Hall

Email: saclinkusername@csus.edu or ernieolson@gmail.com

Office Phone: (916) 278-6752

Mailing Address: Sacramento State 6000 J Street Sacramento, CA 95819-6043

Office Hours: By Appointment

Where to find me : Call (916) 278-7259


I have many interests and am a strong advocate of what I call “thematic leisure.”   In thematic leisure one identifies an interest that becomes the leisure focus for a set period of time.  During this time, one is free to investigate an area of interest to whatever depth time and resources allow. As I reflect on the different themes that define my interests, two overarching emphases emerge: (a) themes that relate to the arts, and (b) themes that relate to the quality of life. (Bob Stebbins, Ph.D. might refer to these major emphases as my “serious leisure.”)  And, it is true--I take these interests very seriously.   As a consequence, I have developed interests and some expertise in music and visual arts, as well as interests and research in the general area of human growth and development with an emphasis on living within what I call the Optimal Performance Zone (OPZ). An ongoing interest is my involvement with international affairs.  I am particularly interested in China and have for the past several years studied both the spoken and written language (an example of thematic leisure evolving into serious leisure).  I am a founding consultant for GATE International Educational Consulting, Inc. and remain both on the GATE board as well as serving as the U.S. GATE Liaison.


Degrees Earned

Ph.D. University of Illinois, Urbana

M.S. Brigham Young University, Provo Utah

B.A. Brigham Young  University, Provo, Utah


ABA Program Certified Legal Assistant

Traditional Asian Therapies  I and II

Liability Safety Inspector


For most of my career, I have taught RPTA 100, "Personal Growth and Development Through Leisure." It has become a rather popular course, and it has essentially been my career. When I retired, I received an award for teaching the most general education students in the history of the university.  People have asked me how I could devote my career to one class.  The answer is simple: it is a course that changes lives.  It is described as an Area E Personal Growth and Development Course.  But, when you go to its core, you find the subject is the student, and the goal of the core is helping that student achieve her or his human potential.

As you can imagine there are many objectives we try to achieve in this course; a complete list of these objectives is found on the class SacCT. They are not listed here because the list is a lengthy one.  However, I can summarize the goals and objectives of the course by simply saying the course is designed to examine ways and means that leisure contributes to one’s personal growth and development across the life span with particular reference to the following areas: psychological, personality, social, physical, and cognitive development.  I make a concerted effort to make the course timely, relevant, and enjoyable.  Although the course follows a traditional lecture format, there is also a strong online presence.  Sample essays, rubrics, example exams, photographs, and chat opportunities are provided on SacCT.  Two laboratory sessions round out the learning experience.


Phi Beta Delta International Scholars Fraternity, 1993- present

GATE International Educational Consultants, Inc., 2009-present

Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, 1999 - present

Golden Key Honor Society, 1993 - present

World Recreation and Leisure Association, 1990-present

Leisure Academy, 2003-present


Recent Professional Experiences

2013-2014:   CEO All Specialty Au Pair.  Provide specialist au pairs to U.S. families.

2013-2014:  Coordinator and Instructor Summer CCE Fashion Academy for High School Students.

2009-Present:  Consultant: Beijing GATE International Educational Consulting:  Provided educational and consultation to staff, students, and au pair candidates.

2008-2014:  Adjunct Instructor--International Academy of Design Technology.  Taught courses bothin general education and graphic design. 

June 2006-Present:  Emeritus status—part-time instructor California State University, Sacramento


Olson, Ernest G. Finding the Calm Within the Chaos:  How Leisure Can Help You Hang Loose in an Uptight World.  Sacramento, CA:  ASAP Publications, 2014. Print.

Olson, Ernest G., ed.  Perspectives on Leisure:  Toward a Quality Lifestyle.  3rd ed.Dubuque:  Kendall Hunt-Publishing, 2008.  Print.

Olson, Ernest G. and Katherine Martinez.  Games that Payoff:  Social Recreation Events for Every Occasion.  Dubuque:   Kendall-Hunt, 2005. Print.

Olson, Ernest G. and Wayne Bennett:  The OPZ:  A Place Where Everything is Better.  Sacramento: Leisure Worx Publications, 2006. Print.

Contributing author:   “WLRA Position Statement on Leisure and its Relation to Wellness”  World Leisure and Recreation Association. May10, 2002. Print.

Olson, Ernest  G., Personal Growth and Discovery Through Leisure. 4th ed. Dubuque:  Kendall Hunt-Publishing, 2000. Print.

Olson, Ernest G.  “A Westerner Looks at Traditional Chinese Medicine for Insights into Wellness Programming in Leisure Service Systems.”  Health Promotion, Wellness and Leisure:  Major Components of Quality of Life.  Proceedings of the Internationals Sports Science Conference.  5-6 October, 2002.  Hong Kong: Hong Kong Baptist University, 2003. Print.

Olson, Ernest G., et al., “A Position Paper  on Health Promotion and Leisure:  Major Components of Quality of Life.”  Hong Kong: Hong Kong Baptist University, 1 Nov.2002. Print.

Olson, Ernest G., ed.  Perspectives on Leisure:  Toward a Quality Lifestyle.  2nd ed. Dubuque:  Kendall Hunt-Publishing, 2000.

Contributing author:  “Conference Position Statement on:  Physical Fitness and Activity in the Context of Leisure Education.”  International Sports Science Conference, Hong Kong, August 2000.

Olson, Ernest G. and  Francis Lobo, “Children at Risk.”  Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, Spring 2000.

Francis Lobo and Ernest G. Olson, Children at Risk:  The Leisure Service Paradigm.  Abstract.  Blending a Nation the 2nd National Conference of Parks and Leisure in Australia, 2000. Print.

Eagle Lake

The library quad

bike rider below Guy West Bridge

Guy West Bridge

Mexican Volcanic Belt cinder cones

Mariposa Hall

University Union

University Union