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

January 27, 2016

January 27, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

As I walk around the campus, everyone seems to have settled into spring semester, working hard and focusing on the most critical matters at hand. With half of the academic year behind us, much needs to be accomplished over the next few months.


Enrollment for spring is coming in about as we predicted. Total headcount as of this week is 2,743, which is 36 students fewer than budgeted. Total enrolled credit hours are slightly ahead of budget but are expected to decline to budget levels over the next few weeks as students continue to adjust their schedules.

Retention from fall to spring semester was an impressive 96%, so once we get students enrolled, we're doing a great job retaining them. Keep up all the good work!

Our attention is now focused on next fall, and we still have much to do. Based on the most recent enrollment data, we are still behind on first-year applications for fall 2016, but several of our graduate programs (MSNA and FNP in particular) are exceeding expectations. Last Saturday, we held a first-year Preview Day with 81 students and their families, and the Admissions counselors are now turning their attention to yield: pushing for applications, deposits, and starting the financial aid process. We will need everyone's help to meet our enrollment goals for next year.

First Destination Outcomes

We also recently received data on first destination outcomes for our 2014-2015 graduates, and the numbers are very impressive! 95% are employed or in graduate school, the average salary for graduates and undergraduates is $55,680, and 86% of our graduates are employed in Utah! I am so proud of these graduates, and I wish them all continued success as they take their Westminster education out into the world. They are truly our best ambassadors.

MLK Week

I want to thank everyone who was able to participate in our events honoring Martin Luther King Jr. last week. The march, keynote speaker Dr. Robin DiAngelo, the conversations about lived experiences, and the Day of Service were all very successful, and I am proud of everyone who came together to put on this great program. Thank you again for all your hard work.

Steve, Robin, and Tamara

MLK Week

Mayor Jackie Biskupski

Last week, I had the privilege of hosting Mayor Jackie Biskupski for lunch here on campus, and during our conversation, we explored many exciting possibilities for partnerships between Westminster and the Mayor's office, including student internships and volunteer opportunities. I look forward to continuing to work with Mayor Biskupski, and I am encouraged by her interest in Westminster.

Aviation Award

We have some exciting news! Our Aviation program has been chosen as a partner school for Cessna's 2016 Top Hawk program! As part of the award, we will welcome a new airplane into our fleet on February 19 at our new Flight Operations Center. The new plane will be used for flight training, program promotion/recruitment, and a summer camp.

The Aviation Department is asking for your help with naming the new plane, so if you have a great idea, send it to aviation@westminstercollege.edu. The top five submissions will be voted on, and the contest winner will receive a free flight in the new plane!

I want to congratulate John Schaefer, whose application to the Top Hawk program on behalf of Westminster made this exciting opportunity possible!

Westminster's New Plane

Employee Appreciation Event

Just a friendly reminder that this year's Employee Appreciation Event will take place on February 26th from 3:00pm – 5:00pm in the Jewett Center & Emma Eccles Jones Conservatory. RSVP to save your seat!

All the best,

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