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

October 14, 2016

November 8, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

There’s been a lot of change over the last few weeks on campus and while that can be unsettling at times, the changes we are making are important for the future of Westminster.

Faculty Approve Two New Programs

During the faculty meeting last week, the faculty voted to move forward with two new programs: a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) and the Honors College. Both of these programs were proposed over the course of the last year and are part of our strategic plan to strengthen academic programs and boost enrollment.

The DNP program was proposed in response to high demand in the nursing workforce for more highly trained nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists. It will offer an alternative course of study to the research-focused nursing doctoral programs at other universities. Similarly, creating an Honors College will address the increase in demand for the Honors program, which has seen record numbers of applications in the last few years and is currently at maximum capacity.

Brand Launch

Westminster College Brand Launch

I hope you were all able to attend the internal brand launch event last week when we announced Westminster’s new logo and visual identity, and discussed how our brand helps us communicate what is truly special about a Westminster education.

The office of marketing and communications will be working with departments across campus over the next few months to help implement the brand in the day-to-day work of the college. They will also be hosting four workshops—two focused on brand messaging and narrative, and two focused on visual identity—in the coming months.

The brand messaging workshops are scheduled for November 1 and 4 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. The visual identity workshops are scheduled for December 6 and 9 from 2:00–3:00 p.m.

I encourage you to attend at least one of each workshop. To learn more about the brand in the meantime, or to register for the workshops, visit our new brand website.

Website Launch

Earlier this month we also launched our newly redesigned website. This has been a year-long project aimed at providing the best possible experience for prospective and current students and we will continue to develop the website over the next few months, adding visual elements from the brand for the public launch in January.

Developing a new website is an ongoing process, one that we have just begun. While there is certainly a learning curve in adjusting to the new layout of the site, there are also many new opportunities for portraying Westminster in the best light and I’m confident that our new website will be a powerful enrollment tool moving forward.

Emergency Management Plan

We recently posted an updated emergency management plan to the website. Providing the safest possible living, learning, and working environment for our students, faculty, and staff is one of our top priorities, so I hope you’ll all take some time to familiarize yourself with the plan.

Planning and Priorities Committee

The Planning and Priorities Committee has met twice so far this year and will meet again on October 28. You can review minutes from all of the meetings online using your Westminster login credentials.

Final Thoughts

When I see our students living the values of Westminster it makes me so proud of the work we’re doing. Just this past month I received an email from one of the coaches at Utah Valley University. He told me that our men’s soccer team sent a jersey signed by the entire team to one of their athletes who was recently diagnosed with cancer. He shared with me that it was incredibly meaningful not just to that particular athlete, but to the whole team to know that they had the support of Westminster.

A few days later I learned that Honors student Charlie Saad is the winner of the state-wide McCarthey Family Journalism Essay Contest for his paper “Subjectivity and Selectivity in Media Outlets.” And last Saturday I joined our student leaders at the ASW Retreat, where they discussed ways to be more impactful leaders on our campus.
ASW Retreat

I am constantly impressed by the work our students are doing and their drive to make the world a better place and I hope we can all remember to do the same. Support each other. Respect each other. Find ways to engage in constructive dialogue with people you might disagree with and look for opportunities to give back to your community.

I hope you all have a restful and relaxing fall break and find time to enjoy the beautiful weather and changing fall colors.

Kind regards,
Steve Morgan

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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