Course Offerings

The Outdoor Program hires students that demonstrate exceptional leadership and outdoor proficiency to be Outdoor Program Guides. O.P. Hadwen Guides lead and teach their peers in the disciplines offered, whether it is on snow, water, or rock. Guides are also hired to co-lead or facilitate Outdoor Program faculty during extended trips at breaks and between semesters. Many Guides further their experience by working for outdoor-oriented organizations during the summer months.

To become best qualified to work for the Outdoor Program, students should register for, and complete "ODST 247A: Principles of Outdoor Leadership and Education," offered in the fall and spring semesters and "ODST 248A: Advanced Topics of Outdoor Leadership and Education" offered in the spring. In addition, individuals hired to work as Guides for the Outdoor Program must have a Wilderness First Responder certification. This 80 hour course is offered through our office at a discounted rate during the spring semester; dates vary. If a student ops to take both classes in the spring, he or she must commit to an overloaded schedule; that is, five classes during the Spring Semester.

Registration in other ODST course listings such as ODST 115: Introduction to Snow Science and Avalanches, and ODST 249A Introduction to River Dynamics and Safety, and ODST 101 Modern Outdoor Recreation and Ethics are also recommended but not mandatory.

In addition, participating in not-for-credit courses and clinics offered on weekends and afternoons by the Outdoor Program throughout the academic year is helpful in gaining the experience needed to be considered for employment in the Outdoor Program. Introductory clinics in whitewater kayaking, sea kayaking, fly-fishing, rock- and ice-climbing, skiing, orienteering and canoeing are offered seasonally and advertised on SLUwire. Course descriptions are as follows:

ODST 101: Modern Outdoor Recreation and Ethics-By means of study, experience, and reflection, this half-unit lecture and required lab course attempts to foster a personal environmental ethic as well as knowledge about environmentally sensitive recreation in the outdoors. Course content focuses on historical and present-day philosophies and practices of outdoor pursuits, including backcountry travel, canoeing, climbing, first aid, and expedition planning. The course requires five overnight field trips to practice the material covered during the course.

ODST 115: Introduction to Snow Science and Avalanches-This course taking place in January integrates theory with scientific technical skill on a unique field expedition in a mountain range in North America. Students learn the foundation principles of snow science and avalanche study through readings, classroom learning and field experience, and explore the relationship between human behavior and decision-making, and how it affects snow pack stability. Topics include snow science, mountain weather, geology, avalanche search and rescue, backcountry travel, and the human-nature interaction and relationship in a mountainous winter environment, as well as backcountry wilderness skills necessary to recreate, travel, and study safely in a mountainous winter environment.

ODST 249 A: Introduction to River Dynamics and Safety-Primarily field-based, this course will look at river hydrology and dynamics, objective and subjective hazards associated with the riverine environment, swift water risk assessment and mitigation, leadership challenges in river settings, heuristics and group management strategies. Students will learn the foundation principles, history, and environmental considerations of river travel through case studies, videos, discussion, and extensive field experience.

ODST 247 A: Principles of Outdoor Leadership and Education-- This course is an intensive, field-based course that will teach the basic principles of outdoor leadership and education. With the nearby mountains and rivers of the Adirondacks as their classroom, students will focus how to effectively teach and lead in wilderness settings, and develop backcountry and outdoor skills. The course will explore teaching styles, leadership strategies, modern risk management models, environmental and outdoor recreation resource impact, backcountry navigation, and wilderness medicine. The course will require a multi-day field experience during mid-semester break.

ODST 248 A: Advanced Topics of Outdoor Leadership and Education-- This course will build on the knowledge and skills learned in ODST 247 A and will expand on the student's knowledge base. This intensive, field-based course will involve a two-week expedition in which students will be required to apply the leadership and teaching skills acquired previously. This course is a student-designed and instructor-facilitated experience where students will develop risk management plans, course itineraries, and outdoor education lesson plans specific to the expedition and have direct leadership roles during the course.