About the Program
In the Outdoor Education and Leadership program, you'll help plan and lead outdoor trips, learning through practice and experience, and honing your leadership skills. Program curriculum explores the concept of place in the natural environment as well as in the historical, political, and social connections and implications of those environments. By the end of the program, you will know how to engage in the field of outdoor education using an understanding of how diversity, equity, and inclusion are critical to the philosophy and transformative possibilities of outdoor education.
What You'll Learn
- Become an experienced leader with the ability to facilitate successful group experiences and foster confidence and leadership in others
- Develop impactful place-based outdoor programming that integrates natural science, cultural history, land management, literature, and environmental studies
- Develop the ability to teach diverse learners in front and backcountry settings.
- Develop competence in outdoor skills at a level where you can model, teach, and manage novices in the field
- Understand the history, theory, philosophy, and foundations of outdoor education
- Understand diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of outdoor education and recreation
- Understand, and develop the ability to articulate, how outdoor education and leadership skills transfer into other disciplines
- Become qualified to work professionally in the outdoor field following graduation
Plan of Study
You'll start by taking introductory-level courses in education, leadership, and outdoor skills. As you progress in the program, you'll take upper-level courses and choose electives that match your interests and career goals, including courses related to media, policy, and more. Additionally, you will be required to complete an internship.
You will start participating in immersive field experiences as early as your first year at Westminster. One of these experiences, the Outdoor Education and Leadership Field Semester, takes you off campus and into the field for an entire semester between your sophomore and senior year. During the 75-day field-based experience you will apply key skills and concepts while earning credit for a variety of courses as well as some certifications.
In addition to the field-based courses and global learning programs offered at Westminster, including May Term Study Experiences, you are encouraged to take advantage of external study abroad programs and international research programs, such as:
Learn all aspects of planning and implementing an institutional outdoor trip and develop the skills necessary to effectively lead and manage participants in a wilderness setting, including basic wilderness camping and travel skills and leadership skills (communication, judgment, and decision-making).
Take on a significant role in planning and implementing an expedition, becoming highly involved in leadership, teaching, ration planning, assessment of group abilities, evaluation of group goals, hazard evaluation, and equipment needs. Through this course, you'll explore the concept of wilderness by traveling though wilderness spaces and reading and reflecting on course materials.