2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Jul 21, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Outdoor Education

This program uses the outdoor classroom environment to develop and enhance wilderness skills while incorporating educational practices to support adventure and wilderness leadership. 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 environmental science, sport and recreation management, education, and other departments are designed to enable students to support students in developing broad scope skills in order to find careers in a variety of fields requiring leadership or education. Some students may benefit from more electives leading to a double major or a minor.  These decisions are made in conjunction with meeting with the advisor and discussing professional goals. 

Learning Outcomes

Students completing the Outdoor Education will:

  • Demonstrate effective leadership & professionalism 
  • Teach effectively, utilizing theories of education 
  • Promote environmental stewardship and ecological literacy 
  • Demonstrate mastery of technical skills and competencies 

Experiential Learning Component

At the core, all Outdoor Education courses embrace Experiential Education methods of teaching and learning. A balance between experiencing, reflecting, learning, and teaching in each course. 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 experience while in the classroom.  Theories and experiences are aligned through a strong connection to the commitment to experiential education practices. The program begins with an introduction to the theories of education. Students are then provided opportunities to apply theory to practice through trips, skills courses, and culminating with the capstone course that is conducted through an immersion experience off campus.  

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, x-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.