Outdoor Leadership (ODL)

Course meets General Education Aims Curriculum Requirement(s) in specified area(s).

Outdoor Leadership Program of Study

Link to Outdoor Leadership Program of Study

ODL 100 – History and Philosophy of Outdoor Adventure Education 2cr

Through discussions, guest speakers, readings, and student presentations, this course explores the history, philosophies, approaches, and prospects for outdoor adventure education and recreation. Students become familiar with private, state, and federal organizations that offer outdoor adventure education and recreation programming.

ODL 210 – Backcountry Skills and Techniques 4cr

This course provides students with the opportunity to learn and practice the skills necessary to become a competent backcountry instructor. To accomplish this goal, students are required to participate in two overnight field trips that take place on two separate weekends. During these trips, students have the opportunity to refine existing outdoor skills, develop new ones, and practice methods of relaying these skills to others. This is not a survival skills/minimalist course. Rather, students learn about and use specialized equipment associated with backcountry travel, while emphasizing safety and risk management. Students are asked to demonstrate a strong commitment to teaching others in a group setting, and to participating in the trip planning process. This course includes two required weekend field trips.

ODL 215 – Initiatives for Adventure Education 4cr

Many outdoor adventure education/recreation programs and school systems across the country utilize initiatives as part of their program offerings. This course is designed to help students learn about a program component that emphasizes the development of self-concept, group cooperation, and physical abilities. Students experience a variety of activities designed to promote group development and personal growth, while also developing skills in the areas of facilitation and debriefing. Students design and facilitate programs with local community groups as part of the course.

ODL 220 – Wilderness First Responder 1cr

This is a nine-day course in emergency medical care that addresses the issues of long-term patient care, backcountry rescue techniques, and survival skills. This is a professionally focused course for those individuals working with groups in back country settings. Participants who successfully complete the course are certified in Wilderness First Responder and CPR. The course normally takes place during our January break and is held off campus. A fee is required.

ODL 225 – Universal Adventure Programming 4cr

“Universal Adventure Programming” has traditionally been defined as “accessible” adventure programming on a programmatic, environmental, leadership, legal, and equipment modification level for people with and without disabilities. This course expands that definition to assist students in gaining the knowledge, understanding, and abilities to provide quality adventure programming in relation to staff and clientele’s race, class, gender, and ability – thereby seeking to create socially just outdoor education opportunities for all. Students gain knowledge and experience in “universal adventure programming” through field experiences, guest speakers, experiential course sessions, readings, reflective writing, and active leadership opportunities.

Aim 15 Social Justice

ODL 226 – Instructor Development for Outdoor Leadership 8cr

This is a field-based course with an extensive off-campus component. Students examine teaching, leadership, and safety issues pertaining to outdoor adventure education. The course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to learn and develop knowledge and skills that assist them in teaching, living, and traveling in a backcountry environment. The course has a strong commitment to the Outward Bound philosophy and methodology. It emphasizes group process, effective communication, wilderness medicine, risk management, and basic technical skill development including wilderness skills, no trace camping, rock climbing, orienteering, canoeing, and trip planning. Students may not be enrolled in any other courses during the term that this course is offered because of the off campus component.

ODL 227 – Top Rope Site Management 2cr

This course expands on topics introduced in PED 125 Introduction to Rock Climbing. Top rope site management techniques are covered, including site evaluation, hazard evaluation, and minimum impact techniques. Introduction of anchors specific to top roping and rappelling are taught. Rescues specific to top roping and rappelling are also covered. Students leave the course having a solid understanding of anchoring, belaying, rappelling, and partner rescues, as well as knowledge related to the safety and management of top rope sites. A fee is required.

Prerequisite: PED 125 Introduction to Rock Climbing or permission of instructor.

ODL 241 – Natural Environments and Health 4cr

This course approaches the issues of human health and quality of life from the perspective of interaction with the natural environment, as opposed to the more common foci of toxicity and environmental degradation. In other words, the content of this course strives to answer the question: in what ways do natural environments impact human health and an individual’s reported sense of quality of life and well-being? In order to accomplish this task, this course encompasses a variety of readings, class discussion, guest speakers, and experiential learning components. Students become familiar with a variety of demonstrated theories regarding this relationship, and work towards articulation of their own views and application of course material to current issues.

Aim 2 Research and Academic Discourse


ODL 310 – Leadership for Adventure Education 4cr

This course is designed to examine the principles and practice of leadership in adventure education programs. Course time is spent on the examination of theories, practices, and problems of leadership in a backcountry environment. The course provides direct, firsthand experiences where students are expected to plan and be in a leadership position.

Prerequisites: Any PED Outdoor Recreational Activities course and ODL 210 Backcountry Skills and Techniques, or permission of instructor.

ODL 315 – Group Process 4cr

The basic principles of small group interaction are explored in both didactic and experiential components of the course. Part of becoming an effective group leader is exploring the nature and consequences of one’s interaction with others. Students are asked to participate in a number of activities that allow them to learn with their own personal styles of interacting with others. These activities are supplemented with theory in group dynamics. It is the intent of the course that students are able to transfer skills learned in the course to settings where group leadership is required (i.e., almost any job).

Prerequisite: PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology.

ODL 320 – Program Planning and Design 4cr

This course takes an in-depth view of the role that program planning and development plays in adventure and environmental education programs, camps, and other educational organizations. Students design programs with specific emphasis on developing goals, philosophy, needs assessment, curriculum, budgeting, marketing, and evaluation. This is a technical writing course.

Aim 3 Research and Disciplinary Discourse

Prerequisite: Junior or senior status.

ODL 322 – Challenge Course Facilitation and Management 4cr

The major focus of this course is to provide students with the opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge that help them become effective, confident, competent, and safe challenge course leaders. The course is highly experiential and takes place out at the Gossmann and Cannon Adventure Learning Lab. Course topics include: policies and procedures of a challenge course; safety systems and standards; maintenance, inspection, and set up of courses; program planning and design; leadership issues; briefing/debriefing, accessible challenge programming; risk management, record keeping, and forms. Students work with both on- and off-campus groups on the challenge course.

Prerequisite: ODL 215 Initiatives for Adventure Education or permission of the instructor.

ODL/GDS 325 – Women’s Voices in Experiential Education 4cr

This course is taught in a seminar format, involving students in the exploration of feminist theory and practice as it relates to experiential education and outdoor adventure education. Through readings, discussions, speakers, and presentations, students explore feminist perspectives of outdoor leadership, the historical contributions of women, and some current issues and concerns for women in the field.

Prerequisite: Sophomore or junior standing.

ODL 351 – Leadership Practicum 1-2cr

This practicum allows students to integrate and apply high-level leadership experiences within outdoor adventure programming. Students work with a faculty member to develop the practicum experience.

Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor only.

ODL 410 – Administration and Management of Adventure Education Programs 4cr

This course is an advanced study of outdoor adventure program management and administration. Special attention is placed on staffing, fiscal management, public relations, liability, and risk management. Students acquire knowledge and understanding in planning and administration related to safety and risk management in outdoor adventure programs through participating in a Liability Court case. Students also develop research and grant writing skills during the course.

Aim 4 Capstone Synthesis

Prerequisite: ODL 320 Program Planning and Design or permission of instructor.

Course meets General Education Aims Curriculum Requirement(s) in specified area(s).