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, August 18, 2016

August 18, 2016

Dear colleagues, welcome—to those of you new to Westminster and to those of you returning for the start of the 16-17 academic year. A few updates are below as we head into next week, and some start-of-year reminders from past summer notes (end of note).

  • Title IX training: Please see Jason Schwartz-Johnson’s email from 8/8, completion due by 9/9 (the module is up in Canvas). Jason will also be at the faculty retreat on Monday updating us on policy changes from last year and answering questions.
  • Convocation and parent reception: Parent reception (faculty and deans meet with parents of incoming students: Tanner Atrium, Sat 8/20 at 3:30 PM) and the fall convocation (Saturday 8/20, line-up outside of the library by 4:45 p.m.).
  • Back to school breakfast and faculty retreat, Monday 8/22: Breakfast starts at 7:30 a.m. (fieldhouse) immediately followed by the faculty retreat and lunch (see email from Han on Tues with details).
  • Welcome back bbq, Fri 8/26: 5:30 p.m. Alumni House.
  • New Board of Trustees committees: Listed here are the 4 new main board of trustees committees and the faculty representatives: Enrollment & Marketing (James Hedges), Student Life & Learning (Peggy Cain), Operations & Finance (Michael Chipman), Advancement (Richard Badenhausen). In addition to these 4 main board committees, one other board committee has a faculty representative: Investment (Lauren LoRe). These committees will first meet at the Nov board meeting.
    Board Meeting Dates
  • 4 Year Guarantee: The 4 year guarantee has been simplified from last year.
  • Fall-16 reminders from past notes

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