Program Director: Bob Stremba
See Exercise Science for faculty listing.
Through the interdisciplinary umbrella of the liberal arts, Adventure Education prepares students in the scholarship, communication, and technical skills for a variety of professional leadership and instructional opportunities. Students learn how to lead and teach in a variety of settings that use outdoor and adventure environments to promote positive change in individuals, organizations, and society. They learn how to use human-powered outdoor pursuits including backpacking, ropes-challenge courses, rock climbing, mountaineering, and river paddling to expose individuals and groups to new growth opportunities. Students develop the leadership, teaching, and facilitation skills to promote a sustainable environment and help others apply challenge and adventure to a broader life context. Adventure Education students study the “why” behind the “what,” the theory and philosophy underlying challenge and adventure, to be critical thinkers and informed professionals.
Adventure Education, as a profession and an academic major, is demanding and requires serious commitments of time, energy, scholarship, and professionalism. A block semester includes a 15-credit package of courses where students are in the mountains, canyons, and on the rivers several days and weeks at a time, and in full-day class sessions throughout the entire semester. Adventure Education students also have options of taking a semester course at Outward Bound or the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). To earn course credit, such experiences should occur after the student’s matriculation into the program.
Along with the 24/7, semester-long commitments described above, many of the field-based courses occur on weekends, over College breaks, and in summer sessions. Therefore, the schedule for Adventure Education students may limit extra-curricular and job involvements some semesters. Students must complete a minimum of 60 days of pre-approved, documented adventure leadership and instruction experience prior to the Internship and have a minimum 2.5 grade point average. Prior to the Practicum, 30 days of pre-approved, documented adventure leadership and instruction experience is required. This leadership/instruction experience must occur after the student’s matriculation into the Adventure Education program. Some of this experience will be gained through Adventure Education course work, while some must be accrued through summer jobs in camps or outdoor programs. Students are encouraged to actively participate in the Fort Lewis College Outdoor Pursuits co-curricular program.
The Adventure Education major is academically rigorous and prepares students for professional positions in leadership, instruction, and administration with school and college outdoor programs; non-profit and commercial outdoor education organizations; and therapeutic adventure, environmental, and community recreation programs.
ADVENTURE EDUCATION PROGRAM ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS
The professional adventure educator must be competent in a variety of technical, instructional, leadership, and intellectual skills. In order to properly prepare students for this profession, and to help ensure that students are able to maintain satisfactory academic progress (which includes space available in scheduled courses), students must first declare Adventure Education as their major or minor before being able to enroll in Adventure Education courses. After completing the Adventure Education 100-level courses described below, students must meet program admission requirements to remain in the degree. Upon admission to the program, there are continuing grade and course prerequisites required for enrollment in subsequent Adventure Education courses.
All applicants for the Adventure Education program must submit the following materials to the program director by the Tuesday following spring break in March (for Fall admittance) or the second Tuesday in November (for Winter admittance). Once the application has been received, an interview with a faculty screening committee will be conducted to discuss the application. A completed application, interview, and meeting all admittance requirements does not necessarily guarantee acceptance into the program.
- Proof of enrollment in or completion of:
- AE 101 - Foundations of Adventure Education with a grade of C+ or better.
- Two of the following courses with a grade of C+ or better: AE 121 - Top Rope Climbing; AE 131 - Paddling Fundamentals; AE 141 - Backcountry Skiing; AE 151 - Challenge Course Fundamentals.
- A current minimum overall grade point average of 2.5, and a minimum Adventure Education grade point average of 2.5.
- Completed application form, which includes a statement of personal and professional philosophy related to adventure education.
- A current professional résumé and two letters of recommendation, one from a Fort Lewis College faculty member (excluding Adventure Education faculty), and one from an adult professional (excluding immediate family) who is familiar with the student’s professional goals and work ethic.
- A copy of all unofficial college transcripts.
- Interview with faculty screening committee.
Students applying for admission to the Adventure Education program while they are still completing the courses described in #1, above, may be granted conditional admission until proof of completing these courses with grades of C+ or higher is provided, along with proof of 2.5 grade point averages overall and in Adventure Education courses. Students not meeting these admittance requirements must select a different major.