This program balances the theories of wilderness leadership and experiential education utilizing skills development with active and intentional opportunities to lead. In doing so, this major prepares students for careers in outdoor education and to lead wilderness and adventure trips within the field of Outdoor Education. The blending of experiences in education, science, sport and recreation management and other departments is designed to enable students to support students in developing a broad scope of skills in order to find careers in a variety of fields requiring leadership and/or education. Some students may benefit from more electives leading to a double major or a minor. These decisions are done in conjunction with meeting with the advisor and discussing professional goals.
Students completing the Outdoor Education will:
- Demonstrate a working application of a variety of leadership and educational theories
- Demonstrate teaching practices that support and enhance the goals of learning in all academic and wilderness settings for all ages
- Demonstrate environmental stewardship and ecoliteracy through sustainable and Leave No Trace practices
- Demonstrate technical and social-emotional skills and management in a variety of outdoor education settings
- Be able to communicate effectively and emotionally both verbally and written
- Be able to lead individuals and groups effectively and accurately in a variety of wilderness and educational settings
- Demonstrate judgment and decision-making skills by applying prior knowledge attained during previous experiences
- Experience failure in a safe and intentional environment and learn from those mistakes in a manner that promotes sound judgment and skill development.
Experiential Learning Component
At the course level all OE courses embrace the Experiential Education mindset and maintain a comfortable balance between experiencing, reflecting, learning, and teaching. Many of the courses within the OE major are enhanced by student developed projects and incorporate the skills based courses as links to the lecture based courses to provide depth of the experience while in the classroom. Theories and experiences are aligned through a strong connection to the commitment of experiential education practices.
In addition to the courses within the major and minor New England College’s Adventure Bound Programs for Educational and Leadership Opportunities is a prominent source of engagement for the students in the OE field. Adventure Bound programs (AB) are led primarily by students within the Outdoor Education (OE) field, however few non OE majors and minors participate. AB offers a wide variety of programs to faculty, staff, students, sports teams, and surrounding communities. The programs offered are team building on or off the Ropes course, Frisbee Golf, Camping, snowshoeing, XC skiing, nature education, wilderness skills, connecting with nature, and similar. Students are expected to participate in one AB offered experience during the OE 1110 course. In the upper level courses students are expected to lead/co‐lead AB offered programs of their design.
All AB/OE programs are aligned with standards for Association for Experiential Education (AEE), Wilderness Education Association (WEA), and Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) and the students of NEC are an important part of the process. NEC Outdoor Education students are encouraged to manage the AB operations and maintain connections and relationships with outside communities. Each year new programs are offered to develop awareness and meet the needs of our NEC community and members of the outside community.
Examples of trips and programs: Indoor and Outdoor rock climbing, hiking, backpacking, ropes course experiences, xc skiing and snowshoeing, weekend camping trips, weekend ski trips, parent child overnight for grades 1‐3, zip lining, aerial adventure park, back country skiing, week long adventure experiences, and more.
All undergraduate courses are 4 credits unless otherwise noted.