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

August 25, 2016

August 25, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

This week we began a new and exciting academic year and the campus came alive as students and faculty returned after the summer break. We welcomed 449 new first-year students and 146 transfer students. They joined an estimated 1,500 returning undergraduate students and 560 graduate students. Final enrollment numbers and net tuition results will be in flux until the end of September, at which time we'll know better the impacts on our budget.

First-Year Student Orientation 2016

President's Breakfast

Over 300 faculty and staff attended the President's Breakfast on Monday where I presented our institutional priorities for the year, along with our plans to increase enrollment. You can find a full transcript of my remarks online.

Planning and Priorities Committee

Over the last few years, we've been faced with the challenge of trying to do too many things with too few resources.We've had a lack of focus.To help address this, we created the Planning and Priorities Committee, which is made up of faculty and staff representatives, in addition to key senior leaders and student representatives.Together, they will work to provide input into campus planning and help link the budget process with the strategic plan. They will help us focus and decide what things not to do.

The committee will meet twice a month starting in September and I encourage everyone to take time to evaluate your own departments' priorities. Have the hard conversations, figure out where you should be focusing your time and energy, look for areas to cut back, and share your ideas with the Planning and Priorities Committee.

Planning and Priorities Faculty & Staff Representatives

  • Bonnie Baxter, A&S
  • Peggy Cain, Education
  • Rich Collins, GSB
  • Monica Ferreira, Environmental Center Assistant
  • Candy Greenwald, Director of Budgets
  • Nichole Greenwood, Director of Institutional Research
  • Jennifer Harrison, GSB
  • Helen Hodgson, A&S
  • Julie Honey, Nursing
  • David Luhr, Senior Web Designer
  • Claire Martinez, Director of Advancement Events
  • Tamara Stevenson, A&S
  • Syd Tervort, Managing Director of Financial Affairs

Northwest Accreditation

I'm pleased to report that the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities accepted Westminster's Spring 2016 Mid-Cycle Report at its meeting in June. The Commission encouraged Westminster to build upon our Mid-Cycle Evaluation and to utilize our assessment strategies toward producing data-driven student learning outcomes that inform mission fulfillment and sustainability.

Presidential Ambassadors

Each year, we select a group of enthusiastic, engaged students to serve as Presidential Ambassadors. Throughout the year, they participate in a wide array of college and alumni events, sharing a bit about their experiences as students at Westminster and creating connections with donors, prospective students, and local organizations. You can find more information about our 2016-17 ambassadors on the Office of the President page on our website.

If you would like the Presidential Ambassadors to help with an upcoming event, please fill out our online request form at least two weeks prior to the event.

Westminster Wednesdays

Westminster Wednesdays

Our student leaders have invited us to join in spreading school spirit by celebrating our newest campus tradition—Westminster Wednesdays! This year, everyone on campus is encouraged to wear purple, gold, or any of your Griffin gear each Wednesday. Anyone who takes part in Westminster Wednesdays will receive a free fountain drink from Bon Appetite with a $5.00+ purchase.

Back-To-School Barbeque

Don't miss our Back-To-School Barbeque this Friday evening where we'll celebrate a successful start to the new year. It's a wonderful opportunity to meet many of our new faculty and staff. Please RSVP here


Final Thoughts

I started the Presidential Post one year ago in the hopes of increasing communication from the Office of the President to the campus community. In that time, I've received a lot of feedback, comments, and suggestions. I really appreciate all of you reading the Post and sharing your thoughts along the way.

In the hopes of making the Post as useful and informative as possible, we are going to be making a few changes. Moving forward, you can expect to receive the Post once a month. This may mean each Post is a little bit longer than in the past, but I will do my best to keep the information relevant and concise.

I encourage you to continue sharing your feedback as we continue looking for better ways to share pertinent information across campus.

I'm excited for what the 2016-17 year will bring and extend my thanks and appreciation to each of you for the role you play in making Westminster the very best it can be for our students and our community.

Kind regards,

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

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