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, July 2016

July 15, 2016

Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Search

Four candidates visited campus the week of July 5. An announcement regarding the results of the search will be made in the next few days.

Policies—Title IX and Title VI

Jason Schwartz Johnson and Kathryn Holmes are updating Title IX policy and procedures. Jason and Julie Freestone are also working on updating policy and procedures for all non-gender based discrimination and harassment (Title VI) to be released at the same time. Target date is 8/15. These policies will provide for a more comprehensive framework for the college to address all forms of unlawful discrimination and harassment.

Work on the Title IX “Dear Colleague” letter that applies to transgender students

Jason Schwartz Johnson has convened 5 working groups to discuss specific ways in which Westminster could fully support transgender students: policy review; gender identity transition planning; facilities/accommodations; records; athletics. The group will reconvene on 8/10/16 to review progress and plan additional steps.

Great Colleges Survey

On July 12 more than 40 faculty and staff members attended the open session to discuss the survey results. This group identified key areas to consider for improvements across campus – some were related to issues of diversity and inclusion. The next open session will be held on Wednesday 8/3. After this meeting Julie Freestone will be able to report back on the direction of our work groups and how issues of diversity and inclusion will be incorporated.

Legacy Scholars

Program for first-generation and traditionally underrepresented students, which provides student cohorts with academic support, scholarship enrichment, faculty mentorship, scholastic and professional preparation. The Legacy Scholars Program is a collaboration between the Student Diversity and Inclusion Center and the Dumke Center for Civic Engagement. Contact Dan Cairo.

First-generation parent and student meeting at Orientation

Joint meeting for parents and students who identify as first-generation. This session will be coordinated by the Diversity and Inclusion Office (Dan Cairo) and Christie Fox.

Bastian Lecture Series

In the wake of sentiments and incidents demonstrative of significant social, cultural, political, and economic discord across the nation and, subsequently, many college and university campuses, the theme for the 2016-2017 Bastian Foundation Diversity Lecture Series, Culture, Resistance, and a New America, seeks to explore the causes, challenges, and consequences of these conditions that impact various identities, groups, and communities in equally varying ways. This year’s keynote will be presented by veteran political strategist/commenter and author Donna Brazile. Thursday, 10/27, 7-8:30pm. Her keynote is titled, “Political Outlook: A Comprehensive Picture of What's Going On in Washington.” Contact Tamara Stevenson or Gary Marquardt, Faculty Fellows for Diversity & Inclusion.

Vice President for Enrollment Management

We have hired the firm of Keeling & Associates to conduct the search. Sheila Yorkin is heading up the search committee. Meanwhile, Cicero Group will be reviewing and assessing our current recruiting and enrollment functions to identify strengths, weaknesses, and strategies to improve our overall enrollment results.

Meldrum First-Generation Student Scholarship

WM recently received a $1 million grant from the Meldrum Foundation to establish this scholarship fund that will assist students in their quest to become the first members of their family to graduate from college. Contact Jenny Ryan, Financial Aid.

Betty and Edward Fingl Scholarship

WM received this bequest to support scholarships for Native American students and the first awards are being made ASAP. Contact Darlene Dilley, Admissions.

MOSAIC: Uniting Together to Champion Change

MOSAIC celebrates and welcomes dynamic high school students of all forms to continue their success at Westminster College and empowers them to make change. Contact Jelani Taylor or Rob Myers.

Reading groups/opportunities to learn more


Starting on 7/26, for four weeks, Dan Cairo and Christie Fox will be providing four sessions on exploring privilege. These sessions will connect literature with active learning activities where participants will have an opportunity to dialogue about their target and agent identities. The four topics we will be addressing are white supremacy, meritocracy, white guilt, and coalescing. Tuesdays from 11am-12pm, location TBA.


On 7/27/16, at 11am, Scott Gust is hosting a webinar presented by HigherEdLive on LGBTQ+ and Latinx issues on campus. The webinar will address: what is Latinx? What are the issues facing LGBTQ+ and Latnix student affairs educators? How can we support LGBTQ+ and Latinx students on our campuses?


Jo Hinsdale and Gary Marquardt are planning to run another entry-level workshop series, “Understanding Isms,” that will be a starter course created for staff and faculty who want to raise their awareness of issues surrounding race, gender, sexual identity, and ability, among others. The course will use Allan Johnson’s book Privilege, Power, and Difference to explore major ideas surrounding these issues in our society and work climate. It will meet on alternate Tuesdays in the fall semester, including: 9/13, 9/27, 10/11, 10/25 and (likely) 11/2 from 12–1 p.m.


Jo Hinsdale and Gary Marquardt are also leading a reading/learning group this fall on Mondays, specifically for the members of the pilot summer reading group, “Allies 101.” This will include scenarios presented by the group, probably embellished with selected reading(s) for each week. It will meet 10/3, 10/10, 10/24, and 10/31 from 12-1pm. Those participating in the summer pilot will be offered the first spots in this group. If it doesn’t fill, spaces will be offered to those participating in the summer reading group led by Karnell Black and Christie Fox.


Scott Gust will be facilitating a Be A Human reading group on a drop-in basis. Everyone is welcome and people may come every week or whenever they’re available. Meetings will be one hour per week in the fall. The purpose is to keep the discussion moving forward on the Be A Human call to activism in our community, with specific attention to the kinds of research and scholarship you find compelling and missing from your Westminster curriculum.


Hard Conversations: An Introduction to Racism. We have secured a group rate of $49 for Westminster people who wish to participate in this online class exploring racism and having the hard conversations. We need 10 people to get the group rate (we have three as of 7/19). Contact Christie Fox for more information. The course runs from 9/12-10/10.

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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