Recreation & Outdoor Education

Profiles

Uma Costanza

~Student~

Uma smiles for a headshot
Uma smiles for a headshot

Uma Costanza

“I feel like our skills would be difficult to teach in a typical classroom setting. It’s difficult to teach when it’s a teacher, a projector and students in the seats."

Uma Costanza of Chicago, Illinois, decided she wanted to spend her life as an outdoor educator after spending summers in high school as a trail crew member in Yellowstone National Park. After completing her associate’s degree in community college, she transferred to Western upon a friend’s recommendation.

“My experience as an ROE student so far has been incredible. We focus mainly on experiential education, which makes my experience a lot different than every other student here,” Costanza said. “Of course we have lectures, but at the end of the day we’re really asked to do projects that are meaningful and reflect on our work in order to learn something.”

Costanza enjoys “anything outside,” especially backpacking, hiking, white water kayaking and hula-hooping. She quickly got involved on campus, joining the Black Student Alliance and attending several symposiums and guest lectures.

“That’s a great thing about being an ROE major. It forces you to be active outside of the classroom,” Costanza said.

Inside of the classroom, Costanza describes her professors’ abilities to impart crucial leadership and interpersonal skills.

“I feel like our skills would be difficult to teach in a typical classroom setting. It’s difficult to teach when it’s a teacher, a projector and students in the seats,” she said. “But everything is easier to understand when it’s experiential education and you have your own ‘light bulb moments.’ I think that’s something really unique to the ROE program.”

Over the summer, Costanza applied her skills while working as a Youth Conservation Corps Crew Leader in Yellowstone National Park, the place that started it all for her.

“Experiential education is all about transference and being able to use what you learn in the classroom somewhere else,” Costanza said. “We learn so many people skills, how to be around people, so that transfers super easily. We also learn empathy and compassion and how to put yourself in your clients’ shoes.”

“Our program helps you build patience. It helps you be a less judgmental person because you want to understand the experience of the other person in order to provide them with a really great experience outside,” she said.

After graduation, Costanza hopes to work for the National Park Service and other youth programs that facilitate personal growth through outdoor education.

“My end goal is to take all of my skills back to Chicago, because I think that’s where the youth really need exposure to the outdoors. I want to start an outdoor center or an orphanage that is tailored around outdoor experiences so that I can give those kids a taste of what is out there. I think that would really help heal a city that is in turmoil right now,” Costanza said. 

Dr. Brooke Moran, Ph.D.

~Faculty~

Brooke Moran smiles for a headshot
Brooke Moran smiles for a headshot

Dr. Brooke Moran, Ph.D.

"The approach-problem-based learning and experiential learning in the ROE program absolutely foster growth."

On a backpacking trek through Patagonia as an undergraduate, Brooke Moran realized her passion for experiential education and made it her mission to become a professor.

“On one very, very long day, carrying an 80-pound pack over glacial moraine through the rain and being extremely frustrated, I also realized how critical it was for my personal growth,” Moran said. “I got into my sleeping bag that night, which was soaking wet, and I made it my mission from that point to become a professor so I could train other outdoor leaders so that the availability of experiential and outdoor education was accessible to more people.”

After graduating from the University of New Hampshire, she worked with adolescent girls in a program called Connecting the Courage, whose mission it is to empower young women to find and use their voice.

“I also worked for NOLS [National Outdoor Leadership School] and I worked for Outward Bound,” Moran said. “I worked with adjudicated youth. I did corporate leadership executive education and then I went to the Harvard Graduate School of Education for my master’s degree. Then I went straight on to do my Ph.D. back at the University of New Hampshire, again in experiential education.”

In 2003 Moran brought her wealth of experience to Western, where she has taught in the ROE program, Environment & Sustainability program, Master in Environmental Management program and the Honors Program.

“I believe that students learn best when they are engaged,” Moran said. “That includes intellectually, socially, emotionally, physically sometimes. Some or all of those at one time. They need to be stimulated and challenged but also be supported.”

Moran has worked with students on a variety of projects and research endeavors, facilitating personal and professional development. Students have devised and delivered original sustainability lessons in community schools and created online guidebooks for local recreational attractions.

“The approach-problem-based learning and experiential learning in the ROE program absolutely foster growth,” Moran said. “We expect that students are building their resumes through many of our classes. They’re not simply reading and regurgitating or being lectured to and regurgitating. We expect them to struggle, to make mistakes, fail, succeed and learn from all of those experiences and grow from them.”

Moran looks forward to continuing to educate the outdoor leaders of tomorrow and encourages students to study in the ROE program at Western for two main reasons.

“One, is we have the most phenomenal set of classrooms in the world,” Moran said. “We have incredibly diverse landscapes we can access. The other thing is we encourage and support students in tailoring the program to their personal and professional goals.”

Scholarships

Scholarships associated with academic programs usually have a specific scholarship application form that can easily be obtained by contacting that academic program's office or visiting that academic program's web page. If you have any questions, please contact the Financial Aid office at 970.943.3085 or 800.876.5309. To find scholarships based on year of study (e.g. - Freshmen Scholarships), please see the navigation to the left.

 Eastman Awards in Recreation & Outdoor Education (ROE)

Eastman Awards in Recreation & Outdoor Education (ROE)

Available to:

The Eastman Awards recognize and encourage ROE majors who show diversity and outstanding achievement in the recreation field.

There are four Eastman Awards available:

1.) New Student Award

Open to both new freshmen and new transfer students. Students must have a 3.0 cumulative grade point average and freshmen must also have a 21 ACT or 990 SAT. Students must also show a documented commitment to recreation as their major field of study at Western. Must show outstanding achievement in at least three of the following five areas:

  • Special Recreational Talents
  • Unique Recreational Endeavors
  • Obstacles Overcome
  • Community Service
  • Leadership 
2.) Achievement Award

Available to junior and senior ROE majors with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Students must act as an outstanding role model in and out of the classroom and uphold the values of the recreation and leisure profession.  Must show outstanding achievement in at least three of the following five areas:

  • Special Recreational Talents
  • Unique Recreational Endeavors
  • Obstacles Overcome
  • Community Service
  • Leadership
3.) Service to Humanity Award 

Available to junior and senior ROE majors. Must provide documentation of their outstanding service project(s).

4.) Eastman Academic Award

Available to junior and senior ROE majors with a minimum GPA of 3.6 in the ROE program. Students must act as an outstanding academic role model.

Provided by:

Don Eastman.

Amount: 

Amount depends on fund availability.

Selected by: 

ROE Faculty.

Application:

Contact the RESS Department for application and deadline information. 970.943.2010 - Wright Gym 209  

 RESS Student Professional Development Fund

Available to:

Exercise & Sport Science and Recreation & Outdoor Education majors who are full-time students at Western.The Student Professional Development Fund is to support professional activities such as professional certification exams, conference attendance, research, or other professional preparation activities. 

Provided by:

Alumni Donations 

Amount:

Approximately $400 awarded every semester.

Selected by:

Western RESS faculty committee  

Application:
Contact the RESS Department for application and deadline information. 970.943.2010 - Wright Gym 209

Learn more about Western's Exercise & Sport Science Program

Learn more about Western's Recreation & Outdoor Education Program

 Ernest Degutis Scholarship

The Ernest Degutis Scholarship

This scholarship is available to Exercise & Sport Science (ESS) majors with demonstrated excellence in academics and outstanding achievement in personal fields.

Eligibility Criteria:
  • ESS Major
  • Junior or senior class standing
  • 3.0 Minimum GPA
  • Demonstrated excellence in academics
  • Show outstanding achievement in four of the following:
    • Special talents
    • Leadership
    • Obstacles overcome
    • Community service
    • Unique endeavors
Application Procedures:
  • A written letter of application - please include local address
  • Unofficial transcript (may use DegreeWorks)
  • Two letters of recommendation from Western faculty or staff
    • Letters must NOT be from ESS department members
    • At least one letter must be from a faculty member
  • Essay addressing at least four of the five areas listed above

The Ernest Degutis Scholarship is Provided by:

Ernest Degutis

Amount: 

Amount depends on fund availability.

Scholarship Recipients Selected by: 

Western Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science (RESS) Faculty.

Completed applications must be turned in to Terri in the RESS Department office in Wright Gym no later than the second Friday of April for the upcoming academic calendar year.

 Eastman Awards in Recreation & Outdoor Education

Eastman Awards in Recreation & Outdoor Education (ROE)

Available to:

The Eastman Awards recognize and encourage ROE majors who show diversity and outstanding achievement in the recreation field.

There are four Eastman Awards available:

1.) New Student Award

Open to both new freshmen and new transfer students. Students must have a 3.0 cumulative grade point average and freshmen must also have a 21 ACT or 990 SAT. Students must also show a documented commitment to recreation as their major field of study at Western. Must show outstanding achievement in at least three of the following five areas:

  • Special Recreational Talents
  • Unique Recreational Endeavors
  • Obstacles Overcome
  • Community Service
  • Leadership 
2.) Achievement Award

Available to junior and senior ROE majors with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Students must act as an outstanding role model in and out of the classroom and uphold the values of the recreation and leisure profession.  Must show outstanding achievement in at least three of the following five areas:

  • Special Recreational Talents
  • Unique Recreational Endeavors
  • Obstacles Overcome
  • Community Service
  • Leadership
3.) Service to Humanity Award 

Available to junior and senior ROE majors. Must provide documentation of their outstanding service project(s).

4.) Eastman Academic Award

Available to junior and senior ROE majors with a minimum GPA of 3.6 in the ROE program. Students must act as an outstanding academic role model.

Provided by:

Don Eastman

Amount: 

Amount depends on fund availability.

Selected by: 

ROE Faculty

Application:

Contact the RESS Department for application and deadline information. 970.943.2010 - Wright Gym 209  

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Matthew Ebbott, M.S. headshot
Senior Lecturer in Recreation and Outdoor Education
B.A., John Carroll University, M.S., Western Illinois University
Phone: 970.943.2115
Office Location: Wright Gym 222
Mark A. Gibson, Ed.D. headshot
Chair, Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science Department; Professor of Recreation and Outdoor Education
B.A., Eastern Washington University, M.S., Colorado State University, Ed.D., University of Northern Colorado
Phone: 970.943.7129
Office Location: Wright Gym 224
Brooke Moran, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Recreation and Outdoor Education for MEM Graduate Program, Adjunct Graduate Faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA
B.S., University of New Hampshire, M.A., Harvard Graduate School of Education, Ph.D., University of New Hampshire
Phone: 970.943.2118
Office Location: Wright Gym 223
Paul Tame, M.A. headshot
Senior Lecturer in Recreation & Outdoor Education
B.A., University of Western Sydney , M.A., University of New England at Armidale
Phone: 970.943.2292
Office Location: Wright Gym 232
Jay Whitacre, Ph.D. headshot
Lecturer in Recreation & Outdoor Education, Adjunct Faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA
B.A., Western Colorado University, M.A., Indiana University , Ph.D., Indiana University
Phone: 970.943.2202
Office Location: Paul Wright Gymnasium 231

Courses

FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a sample of courses offered by Western Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the university course search.

 ESS 282 - Principles of Sport and Fitness Management (3 credits)

A focus on the administration of programs within the sport and fitness industries. Topics include administrative theories and concepts, personnel, communication and problemsolving, fiscal management, budgeting, ethical considerations, and program evaluation. Prerequisite: ENG 102 with a grade of "C-" or above, ESS 181, or instructor permission.

 ESS 382 - Management of Sport and Fitness Facilities (3 credits)

A study of principles, guidelines and recommendations for planning, construction, and the use and maintenance of indoor and outdoor sports, physical education, recreation, and fitness facilities. Prerequisite: Junior Standing.

 ESS 450 - Risk Management in Physical Activity Settings (3 credits)

A focus on risk assessment and management for physical activity professionals. Topics covered include risk assessment, standard of care, negligence, forms to limit liability, constitutional law as relevant for physical activity professionals, development of a risk management plan, and risk reduction strategies. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing.

 MATH 495 - Senior Seminar (3 credits)

A small group of graduating seniors pursue a practical project necessitating professional levels of problem solving, research, written and oral prowess, critical thinking, and familiarity with core curriculum. Final projects are of high quality, so they can be used by professionals and decision-makers in the field. Prerequisites: senior standing. Corequisite 490.

 ROE 182 - Introduction to Recreation and Outdoor Education (3 credits)

An introduction to the history, philosophy, founders, and principles of recreation and outdoor education, the agencies providing programs, and an investigation of professional employment opportunities in recreation.

 ROE 189 - Principles of Outdoor Education (3 credits)

An exploration of the theory and practice of outdoor education, with emphases on group dynamics, risk management, leadership, Leave No Trace, technical skills, and teaching, which are applied in a backcountry setting. This backcountry block course is offered outside the confines of the regular semester, so check dates before registering. Students who drop the course within two weeks of the start date will not have their course fees refunded. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.

 ROE 240 - Alternative Programming (3 credits)

Course participants gain insight into alternative programming for special populations. Students explore case studies, specialized equipment, and profiles of special populations. Guest speakers and site visits will help students understand the intricacies of alternative programming and requisite career qualifications. Field trips required.

 ROE 283 - Leadership and Facilitation (3 credits)

A study of recreation and outdoor education leadership, including leading activities, managerial leadership, and the art of facilitation. Emphasis is placed upon appropriate theories and techniques for varying populations.

 ROE 293 - Outdoor Pursuits Education- Water (with laboratory) (3 credits)

Skill development in areas such as leadership, facilitation, rescue techniques, white water rafting, stand-up paddle boarding, and kayaking, as well as a focus on environmental education. This backcountry block course is offered in summer only, so check dates before registering. Students who drop the course within two weeks of the start date will not have their course fees refunded. Prerequisites: ROE 189; ROE 283; and instructor permission.

 ROE 295 - Outdoor Pursuits Education- Snow (with laboratory) (3 credits)

Skill development in areas such as leadership, teaching, traveling in avalanche terrain, backcountry skiing, and winter camping. This backcountry block course is offered outside the confines of the regular semester, so check dates before registering. Students who drop the course within two weeks of the start date will not have their course fees refunded. Prerequisites: ROE 189; ROE 283; and instructor permission.

 ROE 296 - Outdoor Pursuits Education- Land Based (with laboratory) (3 credits)

Skill development in areas such as leadership, teaching, rock climbing, mountain biking, and backpacking. This backcountry block course is offered outside the confines of the regular semester, so check dates before registering. Students who drop the course within two weeks of the start date will not have their course fees refunded. Prerequisites: ROE 189; ROE 283; and instructor permission.

 ROE 333 - Recreation and Sport Marketing (3 credits)

A survey of recreation and sport marketing topics: buyer behavior, segmentation, positioning, demand analysis, information and research, pricing, promotion, channels, 'product' policies, destinations, sponsorship, endorsement, merchandising, and fundraising. Prerequisites: ENG 102 with a minimum grade of C- and completion of at least 30 credits; or instructor permission.

 ROE 351 - Inquiry into Sustainability (3 credits)

An investigation of sustainability and the interconnectedness of environment, economics, and society. Students are provided opportunities to examine their thoughts and behaviors as they pertain to sustainability. The course examines theoretical and practical examples of sustainable businesses, communities, and other systems. Teaching, applied projects, field trips, and/or participation in conferences may be required. Prerequisites: ENG 102 with a minimum grade of C- and completion of at least 30 credits; or instructor permission.

 ROE 364 - Entrepreneurship and Commercial Recreation (3 credits)

An analysis of the types of commercial and private enterprises, along with the qualities of the entrepreneur specific to recreation businesses. The student is also exposed to smallbusiness management practices as they relate to commercial recreation. Case study analysis and field investigation methods are emphasized to provide the student the opportunity to learn through active participation. Prerequisites: ENG 102 with a minimum grade of C- and completion of at least 30 credits; or instructor permission.

 ROE 398 - Program Planning (with laboratory) (3 credits)

Equips students with a variety of program-planning methodologies and skills. Emphasis is placed on the planning, organization, implementation, and evaluation of recreation programs. Theories are applied in an experiential setting. Prerequisites: ENG 102 with a minimum grade of C- and completion of at least 30 credits; or instructor permission.

 ROE 454 - Human Development and Counseling for Outdoor Educators (3 credits)

An investigation of human development theories enabling students to better understand their own motives in outdoor pursuits and allow them to more effectively program for, manage, and support a variety of client needs. Prerequisite: ROE 182; ROE 189; ROE 283; and one of the following: ROE 293, ROE 295, or ROE 296; and senior standing; or instructor permission.

 ROE 466 - Facilities Management (3 credits)

A study of management, clientele considerations, facilities, outdoor area planning,and operation. Also addressed are personnel, finance, architectural and environmental barriers, plus equipment as related to recreation areas and facilities. Field visits required. Prerequisites: ENG 102 with a minimum grade of C- and completion of at least 30 credits; or instructor permission.

 ROE 468 - Leadership and Administration (3 credits)

A focus on the implementation of recreation and outdoor education programs, including planning, management and leadership, administrative duties, risk management, and specialized populations. Practical projects are employed as a means to provide students authentic experience in the field. Field trip(s) may be required. Prerequisites: senior standing or instructor permission.

 ROE 490 - Recreation Philosophy and Ethics (3 credits)

An exploration of recreation philosophy from Plato to Petzoldt and its implications toprofessionals in the field. Designed to prepare ROE majors for the ethical challenges and time use dilemmas of the 21st century. Prerequisites: senior standing; corequisite: ROE 491.

 ROE 499 - Internship in Recreation and Outdoor Education (3 to 9 credits)

A course providing full-time concentration on a specific practical experience at anapproved agency. It allows for comprehensive involvement in an agency program withfaculty and on-site supervision. Prerequisites: senior standing and instructor permission.

Major
Bachelor of Arts
Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science 

Recreation & Outdoor Education is about creating opportunities for people to live healthy, engaged and happy lives.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Recreation & Outdoor Education is a professional preparation program for individuals seeking a career in recreation, outdoor leadership or outdoor environmental education. High value is placed on experiential education, as well as field-based learning through participation in backcountry inter-semester expeditions.

THE PROGRAM

The Recreation Management emphasis immerses students in applied and service-learning courses, learning the skills necessary to develop recreation programming in many environments.

The Outdoor Environmental Education emphasis is for students who want to teach and lead education programs in environmental and experiential education. 

The Outdoor Leadership emphasis exposes students to expeditions, leadership challenges, risk management scenarios and therapeutic recreation in preparation to guide and facilitate adventure programming.

The Environmental Management emphasis is for students who intend to enroll in the Master in Environmental Management 3+2 program. All students work or volunteer in their area of specialization for 600 hours over four years.

CAREERS

The outdoor recreation industry in the U.S. is made up of 7.6 million jobs and generates $887 billion in annual consumer spending, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. Companies where Mountaineers now work:

  • Adaptive Action Sports
  • Adaptive Sports Center
  • Adrift Adventures
  • Aspiro
  • Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Cold Smoke Splitboards*
  • Colorado Parks & Wildlife
  • Finca Bellavista Treehouse Community*
  • International Wilderness Leadership School
  • National Park Service
  • NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School)
  • Outward Bound
  • Romp Skis*
  • U.S. Forest Service

*companies started by Mountaineers

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

Our friendly faculty would love to hear from you!

Mark A. Gibson, Ed.D.