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

June 8, 2015

June 8, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

Commencement and graduation ceremonies were held last week under bright blue skies that signaled the beginning of a new chapter for our most recent alumni. Thank you, Karnell Black, for your leadership in planning wonderful commencement activities that our graduates, parents, and families were able to enjoy. And thank you to everyone who got those students to that amazing point in their lives. Every single one of us is responsible for that moment when a student walks across the stage and receives their diploma.

The Board of Trustees met the day before Commencement. It was a productive meeting composed of engaged conversation regarding institutional priorities and the strategic direction of the college. The board approved several actions, including passing the authorization for the implementation of the W-Core. I want to thank Drs. Barb Smith and Lisa Gentile for their work on this innovative liberal education program that will become a distinctive and notable part of the Westminster experience. After the board meetings and commencement weekend, the senior team and cabinet met for retreats to do some yearly planning and goal setting. Work will be done over the summer to schedule our feedback sessions for the staff and faculty as we develop and refine our strategic goals for the next year.

On Thursday, I celebrated with the enrollment management team for meeting the freshman admissions goal of 490 incoming students. I thank John Baworowsky and his team for leading this charge and all the faculty and staff for your efforts to bring in our new freshman class.

Friday was our annual golf tournament, presented by Eureka Casino Resort and held at Jeremy Ranch. More than 110 golfers trustees, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends participated, raising $28,000 for our student-athlete scholarship fund!

Congratulations to Melissa Koerner on her new role as interim dean of the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business, and thank you to Michael Pacanowsky for his willingness to serve in a key role as facilitator of our Westminster culture initiatives. In the retreats last week, campus culture was paramount to the discussion and is an area where I am committed to continuous improvement. You will be hearing more in the coming months regarding initiatives in this area. Thank you in advance for your participation and positive efforts in moving the college (and our workplace environment) forward.

I will continue intermittent communications through the summer, but the regularity may be less frequent. I always welcome your input and feedback. Thanks for your hard work this school year!

Best regards,

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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