students at a campfire

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

July 1, 2016

July 1, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

Today marks the start of our 2016-17 fiscal year. I know most people don't measure time based on the fiscal year, but after so many years working in the financial world, old habits die hard. I've always seen a new fiscal year as a fresh start, and much like the personal resolutions many of us make every January, I get excited about the opportunity to set new goals for the year ahead. In particular, I've been reflecting on my first year as president and assessing what went well and what I still need to work on.

Vigil for Orlando

We were deeply saddened by the tragic events in Orlando earlier this month and continue to think of and pray for the victims and their loved ones, all of our friends in the LGBTQ+ community, and the people of Orlando. Sandy and I had the privilege of participating in a special vigil at the Salt Lake City and County Building and it was a sober reminder of how important it is to build communities that we can turn to in times of pain and sadness. We are lucky to have such a strong community here at Westminster, but our work is never done. Now, more than ever, we need to pull together, support each other, and stand up for one another.

Planning Priorities for 2016-2017

The senior team, deans, faculty and staff representatives, and other institutional leaders met this week to establish priorities for the next year as we work towards accomplishing the goals outlined in the strategic plan. This group will continue to refine our goals and priorities and will provide a more detailed update at the welcome back breakfast on August 22. Some of our key priorities include developing a strategic enrollment plan, strengthening campus culture, focusing more effort and energy on diversity and inclusion initiatives, implementing core curricular changes, and developing a more sustainable business model.

Associate VP of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The search committee for the new associate vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion has invited four candidates to campus next week for presentations and interviews. I encourage you to attend one of the open sessions and share your feedback.

Great Colleges to Work For Survey Results

Last week I sent out the results of the Great Colleges to Work For Survey. I hope you will take the time to review the results and share your candid feedback. Julie Freestone will be organizing work groups to begin exploring the results and recommend ways to address areas for improvement. Please contact Julie directly if you're interested in participating.

Final Thoughts

As I reflect on the past year, I know there have been many high points, but we've also struggled through some low points. I am so thankful for the hard work and commitment of everyone here at Westminster and hope we can look back on all that we accomplished this year and feel proud.

I hope you all have a fun and enjoyable Fourth of July.

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

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