Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access

The Value of Accreditation for Outdoor Leadership Education Programs

Will Hobbs, Kelli McMahan, Jeannette Stawski

Abstract


More than 50 years have passed since the first programs emerged in the United States for outdoor leaders. In that time, the Wilderness Education Association (WEA) has equipped countless outdoor leaders to plan and implement safe, enjoyable expeditions in the backcountry with minimal environmental impact (Petzoldt, 1984). In 2017, the WEA Board of Directors hosted a diverse group of professionals who examined and discussed the value, constraints, and benefits of accreditation for outdoor leadership education. While the meeting has implications specific to the ongoing efforts and initiatives of the WEA, the outcomes from these conversations provide insight and direction far beyond the scope of WEA operations and products, indicating general and specific challenges for any accepted accreditation scheme. Until the outdoor industry can collectively agree on minimum qualifications and expectations for outdoor leadership education, the “professional” status of leaders, managers, and educators will remain in question both within and outside the industry. This commentary shares the primary goals and structure of the gathering and perspectives from the participants, representatives from other accreditation schemes, and the leadership of the WEA and the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE) to add to the discussion on the value of formalized external review and its application to applied curriculums.

Subscribe to JOREL


Keywords


outdoor leadership; Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education; Wilderness Education Association; accreditation; training and development; standards

Full Text:

PDF

References


Association of American Colleges & Universities. (2016). Higher education learning outcomes assessment movement moves away from standardized tests, according to new national survey: increasing focus on rubrics applied to student work products and on student engagement in research and hands-on projects. Retrieved from https://www.aacu.org/press/press-releases/higher-education-learning-outcomes-assessment-movement-moves-away-standardized.

Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors. (1995). Values for success in accreditation. Retrieved from: http://www.aspa-usa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/values-for-success-in-accreditation-1995.pdf.

Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors. (2013). ASPA - Member code of good practice. Retrieved from: http://aspatest.rwksolvesit.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Code-of-Good-Practice-apr-2013.pdf.

Association for Experiential Education (2012). Manual for the accreditation of adventure programs (6th ed.). Boulder, CO: Association for Experiential Education.

Bureau of Economic Analysis (2018). Outdoor recreation satellite account: Prototype statistics for 2012-2016. Retrieved from: https://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/industry/orsa/2018/pdf/orsa0218.pdf.

Cain, K. D. (1985). Wilderness Education Association certification. In J. Miles and R. Watters (Eds.), Proceedings of the 1984 Conference on Outdoor Recreation (pp. 53-61). Pocatello: Idaho State University Press.

Caneday, L. (2017, February). WEA & accreditation. Lecture presented at the Wilderness Education Association Accreditation Summit, Glorieta, NM.

Cockrell, D. (1991). The Wilderness educator: The Wilderness Education Association curriculum guide. Merrillville, Ind.: ICS Books.

Drury, J., Bonney, B., Berman, D., & Wagstaff, M. (2005). The backcountry classroom: Lessons, tools, and activities for teaching outdoor leaders (2nd ed.). Guilford, Conn.: Falcon/Globe Pequot Press.

Outdoor Industry Association. (2013). The outdoor recreation economy report. Retrieved from: https://outdoorindustry.org/pdf/OIA_OutdoorRecEconomyReport2012.pdf.

Pelchat, C. & Krup, G. (2012). A historical view of outdoor leadership curricular development and the future with action research, Schole, 2, pp. 1-13.

Petzoldt, P. K. (1984). The new wilderness handbook. New York: W.W. Norton and Co.

Seaman, J., Bell, B.J., & Trauntvein, N.E. (2017). Assessing the Value of a College Degree in Outdoor Education or Recreation: Institutional Comparisons Using the College Scorecard and Surveys of Faculty and Employers. Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership, 9(1), pp. 26-41.

Sugerman, D. (1999). Outdoor leadership education: The past, present, and future. In ICORE ’98: Proceedings from the International Conference on Outdoor Recreation and Education. Available from Eric Document Reproduction Services. (No. ED427926)

Wilderness Education Association. (2016a). Six Educational Components. Retrieved from: http://www.weainfo.org/wea-curriculum.

Wilderness Education Association. (2016b). Six Educational Components. Retrieved from: http://www.weainfo.org/accreditation.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.18666/JOREL-2018-V10-I4-8356

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c) 2018 Sagamore Publishing LLC