Westminster Expedition Students in the Open American West

During the 2017 Fall Semester, 14 students, two professors, and a program coordinator will load books, camping gear, and themselves into a couple of vans and hit the road for a semester-long tour of the American West.

The trip is designed as an exploration into the issues at the heart of the contemporary West. Students will earn 16 credits in environmental studies and history as they study Environmental Cooperation and Conflict, Landscape and Meaning, the History of Public Lands, and the Native West.

This prolonged journey into the field will allow us to learn directly from landscapes and ecosystems, as well as from people who live, work, and study in those places. Together, we expect to build a cohort of impassioned scholars with a particular breadth and depth of experiential knowledge who are equipped to build a better future for the West.

We will visit iconic, protected sites like Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, contentious places like the Little Bighorn and the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, working landscapes like the Butte Copper Mines, and communities from present-day Native nations to "New West" towns like Bend, Twisp, and Moab.

Meet the Expedition

Learn More About the Students and Faculty on the Expedition

Read the Latest Journal Entry

Provost's Notes on Diversity, February 2016

February 15, 2016
  • Director of Student Diversity & Inclusion position. Daniel Cairo accepts Director of Student Diversity & Inclusion position, to start March 1.
  • New Scholarships.  December 4, 2015: Intermountain Healthcare donates $100,000 to support scholarships to promote diversity in the healthcare workforce.
  • Continuing Scholarships. For the 7th year in a row, Westminster will name a Somos scholar (full tuition scholarship for one student from Hispanic or Latino/a descent). The Daniels Foundation will fund a second year of Boundless Opportunity scholarships for Venture students. Other continuing scholarships include: Michael and Mary Bassis Scholarship Fund, Michael F.G. Bills and Amy Keller-Bills Scholarship, Castle Foundation Nursing Endowed Scholarship, Class of 1987 Scholarship, David Cuch Scholarship, The Fang Family Foundation Scholarship, Joe Gunderson Memorial Scholarship, Dr. Henry C. and Ruth Hecker Endowed Scholarship, Louise Kelly Scholarship, Beatrice F. Kroesche Fund Scholarship, Paez-Garcia-Schow Endowed Scholarship, Adele Schwenke Ta’afua Annual Scholarship, Kimi Vlahakis Fine Arts Scholarship.
  • Culture Initiative. The group (Bill Bynum, Michael Pacanowsky, Karnell Black, Audrey Maynard, Jane Jerman, Cliff Hurst, Costa Laisy, Julie Honey, Julie Freestone, Tam Stevenson, Marc Weyerstall, Preston Chiaro, Syd Tervort, Hikmet Loe, Janine Wittwer, Betsy Kleba, Bill Stone, Tim Carr, Annalisa Holcombe, Amy Kelly, Gary Marquardt, Jo Hinsdale, Bonnie Baxter, Arikka Von, David Robles, Lisa Gentile) will next meet on 1/28to study materials from the Acknowledging Lived Experience conversations and determine a focus for the semester.
    • Updates fom the 1/28 meeting (updates/details will be posted as progress is made in each area):
    1. “Chief diversity officer” definition/search
      Please see below
    2. Campus training plan for staff, students, FT and adjunct faculty, senior team, and board of trustees; target start date for the training: F-16
      We are exploring options for F-16 training
    3. 5 year diversity & inclusion plan
      The diversity council has started work on a multi-year diversity and inclusion plan
    4. Long-term enrollment plan and long-term hiring plan for faculty and staff
      This will be part of the diversity and inclusion plan and will be a collaboration between the diversity council and the senior leadership team
    5. Campaign plan
      In progress
    6. Expanded great colleges to work for survey
      Faculty and staff will be participating in this as a way to pinpoint areas of strength and weakness in our Westminster culture
    7. Venue to continue conversations
      The Culture of Whiteness, happened 2/23
      Microaggressions, Wed 3/16, 2-3 PM, lower level of the alumni house

      Implicit bias online seminar- how to recruit, hire, manage, and retain a diverse team of academic faculty, Tues 3/22, 12-1PM, will be shown in the HWAC special events room
      Report from the Commission on Women’s Success, Tues 4/12, 11 AM-12PM, lower level of the alumni house
    8. Safe space
      The space outside of Dan Cairo’s office in the Bassis Center will be evaluated as a safe space. 
    9. Exploring the possibility of spring semester ally training
      There will be a May/June program for interested faculty/staff
    10. Design of training modules for adjunct faculty
      Funded by a Griffin Grant, this is in progress.  It will be shared with the community upon completion
    11. Suggested reading list
      Amy Kelly in the library is working on this.  Please send her your recommendations
  • “Chief Diversity Officer.” Julie Freestone and Lisa Gentile are assembling a representative group from across campus to discuss job responsibilities, write a job ad, and search for this position.
    • 3/14: the committee met with the search consultants.  We are creating a job ad and leadership profile that we will share with the community upon completion.
    • Updates from 1/17: the search committee (Julie Freestone, Lisa Gentile, Karnell Black, Angela Wong, Cozy Huggins, Robert Rendon, Gary Marquardt, Giancarlo Panagia, Ginny Dewitt, Jo Hinsdale) has met and begun their work.  Updates will be posted as the search progresses.
  • ASW Letter to President Steve Morgan
  • President's Response to ASW Diversity Letter
  • Diversity Plan 2012. The Diversity Council (Ru Wood, Kara Barnette, Natasha Saje, Giancarlo Panagia, John Contreras, Debbie Samaniego, Karnell Black, Vicki Whiting, Heather Batchelor, Alan Rogers (fall)/Lauren Lo Re (spring), Collin Wallace, Julie Freestone, Marc Weyerstall, Tanesha Tyler, Kevin Martinez) will be working to revise this plan during the spring semester. Updates will be posted.

View All Journal Entries →

Expedition in the News

Two people on a canoe
Group of Students around Campfire

The Route

Our proposed route is an enormous figure eight, heading northwest first (because of potential early winter weather) and including Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. Course-related sites include sites of environmental/cultural conflict or cooperation (e.g., Malheur National Wildlife Refuge; East Tavaputs Plateau tar sands; Klamath River dams; the Berkeley Pit, the Nevada Test Site, Owens Lake); National Parks (e.g., Yellowstone, North Cascades, Olympic, Redwood, Grand Canyon, Great Basin); wilderness areas (e.g., Bob Marshall, Glacier Peak); Native nations and sites (e.g., Burns Paiute, Coast Salish, Miwok, the Nez Perce trail, Colville, Pyramid Lake, Hopi); dam sites (e.g., Teton, Grand Coulee, Hoover, Hetch Hetchy, Snake River); and relevant towns/cities (e.g., Bozeman, Bend, Cody, Moab, Winthrop, Page).

Expedition Route

Course Descriptions


Follow the Expedition's Progress