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 and 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 and 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.

Outcomes

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.

Academic Major

Course Requirements

Requirement DescriptionCredit Hour
I. Lower Division Courses
24
OEL 110 Foundations of Outdoor and Experiential Education4
OEL 120 Outdoor Leadership4
OEL 210* Wilderness Education4
OEL 220* Adventure Programming4
OEL 230* Instruction and Facilitation4
OEL 240* Skills Practicum2
OEL 245 Wilderness First Responder1–2
II. Upper Division Courses
16
OEL 301 Outdoor Program Management4
OEL 410 Seminar in Outdoor Education and Leadership4
OEL 440 Internship8
III. Electives
23–24
OEL Electives
9
OEL 250 Desert Writing3
OEL 251 Adventure Therapy3
OEL 252 Adventure Media3
OEL 253 Western Rivers: An Expedition3
OEL 351 Public Lands Policy3
OEL 352 Avalanche Ecology3
OEL 353 Gender and Leadership3
Other Electives
6–7
EDUC 205 Service Learning in Salt Lake3
EDUC 302 Found. of Ed. in a Diverse Society3
EDUC 305 Classroom Management3
EDUC 315 Learning Theory3
EDUC 348 Environmental Education3
EDUC 350 Management of Nonprofit Orgs.3
PSYC 305 Adolescent Development3
SPED 385 Behavioral Supports in Special Ed. PHIL 307 Environmental Ethics3
ANTH 377 Environmental Anthropology3
PLSC 327 Environmental Politics and Policy3
ENVI 370 Theories of Nature3
COMM 250 Intro to Human Communication4
Skill Electives
8
OEL 150 Indoor Rock Climbing1–2
OEL 151 Introduction to Outdoor Rock Climbing2
OEL 152 Women’s Indoor Rock Climbing1–2
OEL 153 Indoor Rock Climbing Level Two2
OEL 154 Introduction to Route Setting OEL 155 Introduction to Canyoneering2
OEL 160 Introduction to Backcountry Touring2
OEL 161 Backcountry Touring Level Two2
OEL 162 Avalanche Level One1–2
OEL 163 Introduction to Winter Camping2
OEL 164 Introduction to Mountaineering2
OEL 165 Introduction to Ice Climbing2
OEL 166 Introduction to Alpine Climbing2
OEL 170 Introduction to Flyfishing2
OEL 171 Introduction to Whitewater Kayaking2
OEL 172 Introduction to Packrafting2
Total Hours for the Academic Major

63–64

*210, 220, 230, 240, and 245 are part of the immersion semester

Plan of Study

YearSemesterCourse
First YearFall SemesterOEL 120 Outdoor Leadership
First YearFall SemesterSkill Electives
First YearSpring SemesterOEL 110 Foundations of Outdoor and Experiential Education
Sophomore YearFall Semester (Immersion Semester)OEL 210 Wilderness Education
Sophomore YearFall Semester (Immersion Semester)OEL 220 Adventure Programming
Sophomore YearFall Semester (Immersion Semester)OEL 230 Instruction and Facilitation
Sophomore YearFall Semester (Immersion Semester)OEL 240 Skills Practicum
Sophomore YearFall Semester (Immersion Semester)OEL 245 Wilderness First Responder
Sophomore YearSpring SemesterOEL Elective
Sophomore YearSpring SemesterOther Elective Course
Junior YearFall SemesterOEL 301 Outdoor Program Management
Junior YearFall SemesterOEL Elective
Junior YearFall SemesterOther Elective Course
Junior YearSpring SemesterOEL Elective
Junior YearSpring SemesterSkill Elective
Senior YearFall SemesterOEL 440 Internship
Senior YearSpring SemesterOEL 410 Senior Seminar

Academic Minor

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

Up to 4 credits can count toward a student's major and minor (outside of OEL). Westminster College requires all participants of activity-based classes and trips to carry personal health insurance.

In case of accident, injury or illness your personal health insurance will be the primary provider with Westminster college insurance as secondary if necessary. Other courses may be used in the elective category as approved by a program advisor—Up to 4 credits. 6–7 elective credits must not be skills-based courses.

Course Requirements

Requirement DescriptionCredit Hour
I. Courses
12
OEL 100 Foundations of Outdoor and Experiential Education4
OEL 110 Outdoor Leadership4
OEL Skills Courses4
II. Elective Courses
9–10
OEL 250 Desert Writing3
OEL 251 Adventure Therapy3
OEL 252 Adventure Media3
OEL 253 Western Rivers: An Expedition3
OEL 351 Public Lands Policy3
OEL 352 Avalanche Ecology3
OEL 353 Gender and Leadership3
OEL 410 Seminar in Outdoor Education and Leadership4
See OEL Major for Skills Course Listings2

Total Hours for the Academic Minor

21–22