SOU’s Newest Masters Degree is an Adventure

By Victoria Humbard, Staff Writer

rock climbing“Reignite the explorer within you”, says SOU’s newest faculty member to the Outdoor Adventure Leadership program, Doctor Chad Thatcher.

Thatcher is an avid outdoor enthusiast who has explored 54 countries on 29 different expeditions. He has his PhD in Sustainability Education, and was previously at Colorado Mesa University as their outdoor program director and Kinesiology professor. A driven force behind outdoor education and experience, Thatcher is developing a Masters degree for the Outdoor Adventure Leadership program. “A Masters degree will take this program up another level, through professionalism that is well deserved”, Thatcher states.
Thatcher explains his philosophy that learning occurs when you push your own boundaries. This degree is designed to target those who perceive the problems of the world, and desire the leadership skills to solve them. “Think about what your passion is, figure out what the obstacles are, and go for it”, Thatcher said.
Thatcher expresses that this new program will raise up passionate game changers who desire to be the transformation they want to see in the world. “Were not just the fun degree, we’re leaders. We gain transferable skills by bringing well-deserved professionalism to experiential learning. Education shouldn’t take the explorer out of us” Thatcher stated.
The program is projected to take off the ground during the 2016-2017 school year. Students in the program will collaborate together to develop an international, expeditionary skill set. The program intends to use a cohort model of teaching, and aspires to span the curriculum across four quarters.
Adam Elson, senior director in SOU’s OAL program describes how this new program will benefit the school. Elson said, “this will bring more undergraduate and graduate students to campus which will enrich the outdoor community. In addition it will provide more opportunities for non-OAL students to get outside and learn”. Elson goes on to describe the importance of developing a program such as this, “Outdoor Adventure Leadership is a conduit to understand more about our place in the world and how the world works. It teaches us the understanding of doing something for the sake of doing it rather than doing something, because we think it’s going to get us somewhere”.
This new degree has already taken shape with a beta program using current SOU student, Seamus McMorrow. McMorrow is presently getting his Masters in Education with an emphasis in Outdoor Adventure Leadership. “I’m a constructivist, so I’m sold on the idea that learning should be student centered, and featuring a variety of different delivery methods. I think students are able to more effectively learn when presented with lectures, demonstrations, and hands on activities”, McMorrow said.
“This is about developing leaders, and we do it through means of adventure”, Thatcher said.

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