Outdoor Education and Leadership

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Outdoor Education and Leadership Courses

Program Goals

  • Students will demonstrate the ability to effectively teach diverse learners in front and backcountry settings.
  • Students will graduate with an understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of outdoor education and recreation.
  • Students will become experienced leaders with the ability to facilitate successful group experiences and foster leadership in others.
  • Students will demonstrate competence in specific outdoor skills at a level where they can model, teach, and manage novices.
  • Students will integrate natural science, cultural history, land management, literature, and environmental studies into impactful place-based outdoor programming.
  • Students will understand and articulate the transference of outdoor education & leadership skills to other disciplines and will graduate highly qualified to work professionally in the outdoor field.

 

Objectives

The Outdoor Education and Leadership program offers an academic major leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree as well as an academic minor. The Outdoor Education & Leadership academic degree provides students the opportunity to develop leadership, technical, and critical thinking skills through field-based, experiential, and integrated learning. The OEL major curriculum explores the concept of place, not only in our natural environment but also in the historical, cultural, political, and social connections and implications within these spaces.

The Outdoor Education & Leadership academic degree provides students the opportunity to develop leadership, technical, and critical thinking skills through field-based, experiential, and integrated learning. The OEL major curriculum explores the concept of place, not only in our natural environment but also in the historical, cultural, political, and social connections and implications within these spaces.

Students will engage in the field of outdoor education, understanding how diversity, equity, and inclusion are critical to the philosophy and transformative possibilities of outdoor education. Students will learn how to work with diverse groups of learners and develop strong community relationships through outdoor education.

Graduates will be prepared to work in the outdoor education profession in one or more settings, including:

  • Expedition-based outdoor education programs
  • Guiding
  • Non-profit management
  • Adventure/outdoor program administration
  • Adventure therapy
  • Environmental education and interpretation
  • Public land management
  • Camp programs
  • Community recreation programs
  • Programs specializing in working with people with disabilities

 

Program Requirements

All students must maintain a 2.75 cumulative GPA and a 3.0 GPA in OEL courses and have a minimum grade of C in all OEL coursework. OEL courses may only be repeated once.

Students can select coursework to emphasize in a particular discipline. All students complete foundations coursework, Engaging the World coursework, WCore coursework, electives, and an internship.

Students considering the major are encouraged to meet with the program advisor as early as possible in their studies so that a program plan of coursework can be mapped.

In addition to major or minor requirements, students must meet these college-wide graduation requirements in order to obtain the OEL major or minor:

  • 124 total hours
  • 30 upper-division hours
  • WCore or Honors College requirements

 

Major Requirements

Requirement Description Credit Hours Prerequisites
I. Required Lower-Division Courses 23-24  
OEL 110 Foundations and Techniques of Outdoor Education and Leadership (4)    
OEL 120 Outdoor Leadership (4)    
OEL 210 Wilderness Education (4)   OEL 120
OEL 220 Adventure Programming (4)   OEL 110
OEL 230 Instruction and Facilitation (4)    
OEL 240 Skills Practicum (2)   At least 1 OEL Skills Course
OEL 245A/245B Wilderness First Responder (1-2)    
II. Required Upper-Division Courses 16  
OEL 301 Outdoor Program Management (4)    
OEL 410 Seminar in Outdoor Education and Leadership (4)    
OEL 440 Internship (8)    
III. Electives 23-24  
Complete 9 credit hours of OEL courses from the following:    
OEL 250 Desert Writing (3)    
OEL 251 Adventure Therapy (3)    
OEL 252 Adventure Media (3)    
OEL 253 Western Rivers: An Expedition (3)    
OEL 254 History of U.S. Outdoor Recreation (3)    
OEL 255 Curriculum Design for Outdoor Education (3)    
OEL 351 Public Lands Policy (3)    
OEL 352 Avalanche Ecology (3)    
OEL 353 Gender and Leadership (3)    
     
Complete 6-7 credit hours of other department courses from the following:    
ANTH 377 Environmental Anthropology (4)    
COMM 250 Introduction to Human Communication (4)    
EDUC 302 Foundations of Education in a Diverse Society (4)    
EDUC 305 Classroom Management (3)   EDUC 302
EDUC 315 Learning Theories   PSYC 105
EDUC 352 Management of Nonprofit Organizations (3)    
ENVI 370 Theories of Nature (4)   ENVI 101
PHIL 307 Environmental Ethics (4)   PHIL 102
PLSC 327 Environmental Politics and Policy (4)    
PSYC 305 Adolescent Development (4)   PSYC 203 or PSYC 270
SPED 385 Behavioral Supports in Special Education (3)   SPED 303
     
Complete eight credit hours of OEL Skills courses from the following:    
OEL 150 Indoor Rock Climbing (2)    
OEL 151 Introduction to Outdoor Rock Climbing (2)    
OEL 152 Women's Indoor Rock Climbing (2)    
OEL 153 Indoor Rock Climbing Level II (2)    
OEL 154 Introduction to Route Setting (2)    
OEL 155 Introduction to Canyoneering (2)    
OEL 160 Introduction to Backcountry Touring (2)    
OEL 161 Backcountry Touring Level II (2)   OEL 160
OEL 162 Avalanche Level I (2)    
OEL 163 Snow Camping (2)    
OEL 164 Introduction to Mountaineering (2)    
OEL 165 Introduction to Ice Climbing (2)    
OEL 166 Introduction to Alpine Climbing (2)   OEL 120 and OEL 151 or 153
OEL 170 Introduction to Flyfishing (2)    
OEL 171 Introduction to Whitewater Kayaking (2)    
OEL 172 Introduction to Packrafting (2)   OEL 120
OEL 173 Teaching Practicum in Outdoor Education and Leadership (1-2)    
TOTAL HOURS FOR THE OEL MAJOR 62-64  

 

Recommended Plan of Study for the Outdoor Education and Leadership Major

  Fall Semester Spring Semester
Freshman Year OEL 110 Foundations and Techniques of OEL
Skills Elective
OEL 120 Outdoor Leadership
Skills Elective
Sophomore Year IMMERSION SEMESTER
OEL 210 Wilderness Education
OEL 220 Adventure Programming
OEL 230 Instruction and Facilitation
OEL 240 Skills Practicum
OEL 245 Wilderness First Responder
OEL Elective
Other Department Elective
Junior Year OEL 300 Outdoor Program Management
OEL Elective
Other Department Elective
OEL Elective
Skills Elective
Senior Year OEL 440 Internship OEL 410 Senior Seminar

 

Minor Requirements

Students must maintain a minimum 2.3 GPA in all courses required for the Minor.

Westminster College requires all participants of activity-based classes and trips to carry personal health insurance. In the case of an accident, injury, or illness, your personal health insurance will be the primary provider and Westminster College insurance will be secondary if necessary. Up to 4 credit hours of other courses may be used in the elective category as approved by a program advisor. Six to Seven elective credits may not be skills-based courses.

Requirement Description Credit Hours Prerequisites
I. Required Courses 12  
OEL 110 Foundations and Techniques of OEL (4)    
OEL 120 Outdoor Leadership (4)    
Complete four credit hours of OEL Skills courses from the following:    
OEL 150 Indoor Rock Climbing (1-2)    
OEL 151 Introduction to Outdoor Rock Climbing (2)    
OEL 152 Women's Indoor Rock Climbing (1-2)    
OEL 153 Indoor Rock Climbing Level II (2)    
OEL 154 Introduction to Route Setting (2)    
OEL 155 Introduction to Canyoneering (2)    
OEL 160 Introduction to Backcountry Touring (2)    
OEL 161 Backcountry Touring Level II (2)   OEL 160
OEL 162 Avalanche Level I (1-2)    
OEL 163 Snow Camping (2)    
OEL 164 Introduction to Mountaineering (2)    
OEL 165 Introduction to Ice Climbing (2)    
OEL 166 Introduction to Alpine Climbing (2)   OEL 120 and OEL 151 or 153
OEL 170 Introduction to Flyfishing (2)    
OEL 171 Introduction to Whitewater Kayaking (2)    
OEL 172 Introduction to Packrafting (2)   OEL 120
II. Required Electives 9-10  
Complete nine or ten credit hours from the following:    
OEL 250 Desert Writing (3)    
OEL 251 Adventure Therapy (3)    
OEL 252 Adventure Media (3)    
OEL 253 Western Rivers: An Expedition (3)    
OEL 254 History of U.S. Outdoor Recreation (3)    
OEL 255 Curriculum Design for Outdoor Education (3)    
OEL 351 Public Lands Policy (3)    
OEL 352 Avalanche Ecology (3)    
OEL 353 Gender and Leadership (3)    
OEL 410 Seminar in Outdoor Education and Leadership (4)    
An OEL Skills Course (see section I for full course and prerequisite listing) (2)    
TOTAL HOURS FOR THE OEL MINOR 21-22