Outdoor Ed. program undergoes major overhaul

Next semester, there will be some big changes coming to the Outdoor Education department on both NVU Johnson and Lyndon campuses.

The new program will be called “Outdoor Education Leadership and Tourism.” “Essentially what we’ve done, is when we merged and became NVU, we began examining what programs are similar on both campuses,” says Brad Moskowitz, NVU Johnson’s Professor of Environmental and Health Sciences. “Where is there redundancy?”

Johnson has had the Outdoor Education major for more than 20 years. Lyndon has had one for many years as well, but it is a little different. “One of their tracks of studies is Adventure Leadership, which is very much congruent with what we do in Outdoor Education, specifically in our adventure based programs,” says Moskowitz.

Noting that both campuses have similar programs, this new structure would help to consolidate them. “We saw these similarities and then the question was: Well, do we try to change our programs so that they’re completely different, or do we try to find some way to align our programs and work in concerted effort to benefit the institution.”

NVU-Lyndon has had its Mountain Recreation Management Program as its primary Outdoor Education emphasis with two focuses of study: Adventure Leadership and Mountain Resort Management.

NVU-Johnson has, in addition to Adventure Leadership, a therapeutic track, outdoor program management track and an environmental education track. “Our take on Outdoor Education is that it’s quite a broad area of study, with different things that people can focus on,” says Moskowitz.

Because the two campuses have such similar adventure programs, the goal is to try to revamp both programs to run on each NVU campus so that both sites could offer the same group of core classes with the same structure.

Each campus will still be offering the different focuses, however, so that the Outdoor Education Program will still have a variety of specialties to offer. “We’ve overlapped with our core, and we’ve overlapped with our Adventure Education track, but the other tracks are still remaining unique to the two different campuses,” says Moskowitz.

For students already enrolled in the old program, some courses will only be offered for a little while longer. The department will be flexible with students so they can mix and match courses from the old program and the new, at least for the moment.

For incoming students, however, the programs will look very different because of the new layout and the opportunities that students will have available to them. “A new prospective student is going to need to choose,” says Moskowitz. “If they want to study adventure education, they have to decide [on which campus]. But if they want to do Mountain Resort Management, they should go to Lyndon. If they want to do Environmental Education or Therapeutic or Outdoor program Management, they should come to Johnson.”

The faculty will also be reduced on the NVU-Johnson campus due to Professor of Health Sciences Karen Uhulendorf’s pending retirement. Moskowitz’s department has just been granted authorization to advertise for a one-year replacement position. Currently, they are drafting up what that position will look like. He is hoping to find someone to fill a full-time position to delegate some of the work and help deliver the new program.