Course Offerings

Each semester, the Outdoor Program offers a variety of for-credit and non-credit courses for all students. These courses are offered depending on the season and may include the following:

ODST 100: Outdoor Studies Core Course- An introduction to outdoor studies that includes many elements of the minor. The course integrates lecture and field experiences that explore the basic theories, concepts and skills in the field of outdoor leadership and education. It also examines personal outdoor recreational ethics as well as knowledge about environmentally sensitive recreation in the outdoors.

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 during January or Spring break 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 3012: 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 3011: Fundamentals of Rock Climbing- This primarily field-based course will cover basic to advanced rock climbing techniques, technical climbing skills, and climbing safety. Students will learn about the climbing environment in which the field component is located by studying the land management, stewardship, and history of that land. These topics will be covered by classrooms sessions, readings, podcasts, videos, and reflecting on the recreational experiences students will get while in the field. This course has a mandatory field component during Winter or Spring break.

ODST 251: Advanced Topics of Outdoor Leadership and EducationThis course is an intensive course designed to prepare participants to teach and facilitate outdoor leadership skills. With the nearby mountains and rivers of the Adirondacks as their classroom, students focus on furthering backcountry and outdoor skills and teaching. We will explore what it means to be a leader in the outdoors and how being a good leader requires creating an inclusive space where all voices feel welcomed and heard. We will also learn skills such as safe backcountry travel and etiquette, teaching principles and techniques, and considerations and concerns related to specific outdoor pursuits such as climbing, kayaking, biking, or skiing.

ODST 3013: Wilderness First Responder- This course is designed to provide outdoor leaders, guides, rangers and counselors with the knowledge needed to deal with crises in remote settings. This course meets all DOT national standards for First Responder with additional protocols for extended care situations. The course is taught by SOLO, a widely considered complete medical training for outdoor professionals. All students who successfully complete the  course will receive a Wilderness First Responder Certification card from SOLO and a two year American Heart Association "Healthcare Provider" certification.