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

September 30, 2015

September 30, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

Campus Updates

What an honor I felt on Saturday to be officially inaugurated as the 18th President of Westminster College. It was a grand weekend of events that brought many alumni, trustees, faculty, staff, donors, students, and special guests back to campus to celebrate their reunions and this historic occasion. I was a little embarrassed by all of the attention and fanfare, but it was a rare opportunity to celebrate the wonderful traditions and success of Westminster.

I would like to recognize Claire Martinez for her leadership in all of the event planning and Michelle Barber and Lexi Banks for all of the reunion weekend activities. Thank you to the Inauguration Committee and to Preston Chiaro as our honorary chairperson. Many, many thanks to all of you who worked so hard to put on the Campus Showcase as well. It truly exemplified the spirit of teamwork and inspiration that makes Westminster special. If you weren't able to attend the ceremony on Saturday, I have attached my inauguration speech. It expresses my hopes for the college and the goals I hope to accomplish as your president.

Inauguration Ceremony 2015

Westminster's Athletic Program is now competing in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference as an NCAA Division II provisional member. (More info at: http://rmacsports.org/#) Our new competitors in the RMAC are definitely stronger and more athletic and will require our teams to bring their very best to every competition. I invite you to attend one of the upcoming games and cheer on our Griffins!

Westminster College is proud to be a member institution in The New American Colleges and Universities (NAC&U), which is a national consortium of selective, small to mid-size, independent colleges and universities dedicated to the purposeful integration of liberal education, professional studies, and civic engagement. (http://newamericancolleges.org). This month three new members were added to strengthen the consortium: California Lutheran University, Roger Williams University and the University of New Haven. I believe our alignment with NAC&U is important way to remain connected to the national higher education landscape and promote nationally the great work we are doing at Westminster.

One of my priorities is to add to and enhance our strategic partnerships. Recently, I met with the Utah leader of Goldman Sachs, David Lang, who told me how valuable our graduates are to his firm. Goldman Sachs currently employs 124 Westminster alumni globally across 10 divisions and 9 cities, and many are in emerging leadership roles. What's more, the firm is growing its workforce in Salt Lake and would like even more Westminster students and graduates as interns and employees.

Upcoming Events

As September comes to a close, many of our staff have been busy completing reports (such as FISAP, IPEDS, and CLERY) that are required by federal and outside agencies. Along with our financial audits and our reports to credit rating agencies and various accrediting bodies, these reports provide a snapshot of our current condition. Many of them are accessible on our website, and I would encourage you to review them. I will be sharing information from the reports at the upcoming All College Meeting on October 8th.

Finally, I must also announce the upcoming departure of our General Counsel, Melissa Flores. Melissa has played an important role in a number of areas related to risk management, federal compliance, legal claims management, and diversity and inclusion initiatives. Her leadership in establishing and organizing the Title IX Symposium in particular has helped our campus to better understand Title IX and be leaders on this issue in our community. Melissa is moving on to Salt Lake Community Council as their General Counsel. I know you join me in wishing her all the best in her future endeavors and in thanking her for her service to Westminster College.

Campus Invitations

The All College Meeting is next week on October 8th from 3:00 – 5:00 in the Gore Auditorium. The agenda will include updates on enrollment, retention, and the budget as well as planning and priorities for the coming year. It is an important opportunity to be together as faculty and staff.

All the best,

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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