Recreation, Parks and Tourism 476

RCPT 476: Wilderness Institute

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor

Credit Hours: (9) Lectures, labs and field trips integrated into an intensive, heavily experiential primarily off campus course

Incorporates a broad overview of the field of outdoor recreation. Emphasis is placed on land management agencies and the social and environmental issues that impact on management policy. This course involves skill acquisition and practical field experiences in hiking, orienteering, camping, backpacking, rock climbing, caving, ropes coursing and/or paddling.


Detailed Description of Content of Course:

This course is intended to familiarize students with the scope of outdoor recreation resources in the United States. The various missions of National Park Service, USDA Forest service, and the Bureau of Land Management will be discussed. Environmental concerns and social issues facing land managers will be explored as the class travels to and utilizes local and regional outdoor recreation sites. In this course students will also cover topics related to the selected outdoor adventure activities: technical/activity skills, environ- mental ethics and issues, individual and group safety, group dynamics, accessibility, and the philosophy, methodology, leadership, programming, and administration of adventure activities.


Detailed Description of the Conduct of the Course

An interdisciplinary and environmental approach to outdoor adventure education has been incorporated into this course. This approach transcends the distinction between "hard skills" (technical skills) and "soft skills" (counseling, facilitation, group dynamics). This approach also incorporates an environmental or ecological ethic, which emphasizes both knowledge of and an appreciation for the environments in which outdoor adventure activities occur. A minimum impact approach to outdoor activities is emphasized throughout the course.

In addition, the experiential learning cycle is integrated into the various aspects of the course. The major components of this model are individual and group goal setting, the process or debriefing of experiences, personal growth contracting (the full-value contract), challenge by choice, and the "conscious use of metaphor". Lastly, to insure safety and graduated learning, a sequence of progressively challenging experiences is provided.

The methods used in this course include most if not all of the following: lectures, simulations, case studies, clinics, readings, small group discussions, guest speakers, peer presentations and field trips.


Goals and Objectives of the Course:

Students will:

1. Compare the missions of major federal and state land management agencies in written assignments.
2. Identify and articulate the problems and issues facing land managers in our society.
3. Explain the political considerations that influence the way in which public lands are managed.
4. Demonstrate the basic skills and knowledge involved in selected outdoor recreational sports.
5. Be prepared to assist in the leadership, programming and/or administration of outdoor recreation sports.
6. Be able to distinguish the professional issues as well as career opportunities in the outdoor recreation/adventure education field.
7.  Be able to adapt/modify outdoor activities so that they are accessible.
8. Generate a philosophy of outdoor recreation leadership.


Assessment Measures

Assessment is based on participation field trips, exams on various topical areas, oral presentations, tests, practical exams and demonstration of basic outdoor skills.


Other Course Information

General Policies and Considerations

1). The safety standards and guidelines for the adventure practices utilized in this course have been formulated through consideration of those provided by the Association for Experiential Education, the Virginia Council for Outdoor Adventure Education, the American Canoe Association, the American Whitewater Affiliation, and the National Speleological Society.
2). All Radford University rules and policies apply to ALL adventure field trips.
3). NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES PERMITTED during adventure field trips. Please see student handbook for RU alcohol policies.
4). Specific policies/procedures appropriate to each trip will be provided. It is essential to the safety and quality of these trips that all policies/procedures discussed prior to and/or during the adventure activity be by all participants.

By accepting admission to Radford University, each student makes a commitment to understand, support, and abide by the University Honor Code without compromise or exception. This class will be conducted in exact accordance of the Honor Code. Refer to your Student Handbook for details.


Review and Approval

May 2004 Reviewed by Susan R. Van Patten, Acting Chair