Dr Grant Cushman was born in Hamilton, grew up in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, and was a student at the School of Physical Education from 1968-1970. After completing a Diploma in Teaching at Christchurch Teachers College in 1971, he then studied in the United States, gaining his PhD in Leisure Studies at the University of Illinois in 1978.
After holding tertiary teaching positions in Australia, he was appointed as the inaugural Head of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism at Lincoln University in 1987. In 1991, he was promoted to the rank of Professor.
A leading academic in leisure studies, Professor Cushman was on the Board of Directors for the World Leisure Organisation from 1985-2001 and has been President of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Leisure Studies since 2005. Professor Cushman's research has focused on national and international studies on leisure and sport participation, and on leisure, sport and social/public policy.
More recently, Professor Cushman was Director of the Science and Resource Divisions and Director of the Undergraduate School at Lincoln University, but has returned to a full-time academic role teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students and undertaking research in leisure and sport studies.