Nature is a powerful tool for personal wellness and community building. Whether you want to work with at-risk youth, design programs for corporate team building or teach outdoor education to others, the Outdoor Leadership program will provide you skills to make a positive impact in the world.

Program Overview

Follow your passion to your purpose.

The Outdoor Leadership emphasis will immerse you in expeditions, leadership challenges, risk management scenarios and therapeutic recreation in preparation to facilitate adventure programming. You’ll have the opportunity to study in water-, snow- and land-based courses to prepare you for work in diverse environments all over the world. Before you graduate, you’ll earn your Wilderness First Responder (WFR) credentials which will supplement your degree and provide you the skills to handle emergency situations. Through a comprehensive curriculum and experiential learning opportunities, you’ll graduate ready to lead a course in backcountry skiing or work in wilderness therapy programs. No matter what your ambition, the program will impart the knowledge, skills and experience you need to embark on an adventurous career in the billion-dollar outdoor industry.

Becoming leaders

Surrounded by peaks and rivers, Western’s Outdoor Leadership program is positioned to develop decision-makers with self-awareness, emotional intelligence, risk-sensitivity and resilience.


At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

Code Title Credits Description
BIOL 130 Environmental Biology (GT-SC2) 3 View
ENVS 100 Introduction to Environment and Sustainability (GT-SS2) 3 View
ROE 230 Interpretation of Natural and Cultural History 3 View
ROE 235 Foundations of Teaching Environmental Education 3 View
ROE 293 Outdoor Pursuits Education- Water Based (with laboratory) 1-20 View
ROE 295 Outdoor Pursuits Education- Snow Based (with laboratory) 1-20 View
ROE 296 Outdoor Pursuits Education- Land Based (with laboratory) 1-20 View
ROE 333 Recreation and Sport Marketing 3 View
ROE 364 Entrepreneurship and Commercial Recreation 3 View
ROE 391 Experiential Education Theory and Pedagogy 3 View


Outdoor Leadership

Kevin Fox


“Western helped me develop soft skills, such as strong communication and problem-solving, through a wide variety of opportunities across campus.”


Career preparation starts your first year at Western and is the primary focus of every degree.

Visit Career Services in Library 120 or online to discover your interests, define your goals, and land the career of your dreams.

The data below is automatically collected by Burning Glass Technologies, a firm that sources job market data and provides analytics. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.


Alumni Association Future Alumni Scholarship

The Alumni Association Scholarship is a one-time scholarship of $1,000 and is applicable for the student’s junior or senior year at Western.

Any child or grandchild of an alumni is eligible to receive the Future Alumni Scholarship.

  • This is a one-time non-renewable scholarship of $1,000.
  • Only one Future Alumni Scholarship will be awarded per academic year.
  • GPA must be 3.2 or above (college).

Due date has been extended to April 15 for 2021. An Alumni selection committee, appointed by the Alumni Advisory Board, will review applicants and select awardee by June 1.


Alumni Legacy Scholarship

The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western (incoming freshman or new transfer students are eligible).

Do you have a son or daughter looking at college? Have they considered attending Western? As an alumni, your son, daughter and/or grandchildren are eligible for certain benefits distributed through this scholarship, as follows:

  • This is a one-time scholarship of $1,000.
  • Nominee must be an incoming freshman or new transfer.
  • The cost of orientation is reduced by half (a $45 value).
  • The admission application fee is waived (a $30 value).
  • GPA must be 2.5 or above (high school or college of transfer).

The applicant must fill out the application form found here (click). Application forms are accepted year-round. If the applicant meets the GPA guidelines, the scholarship will be awarded.


Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.


The Western Presidential Honors Scholarships, established by the Jack and Marilyn MacAllister Foundation shall be an elite class of scholarships awarded to Western’s highest achieving and most deserving students, celebrating the ideals of academic excellence and service to the campus and community. Recipients of the Scholarships will be members of the Western Colorado University Honors Program.

There are eight Presidential Honors Scholarships of $2500 each. Each year two new Presidential Honors Scholarships will be awarded to two incoming freshmen.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student’s GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

Get Involved

Make your education a life changing experience.

A college education is so much more than just taking classes. Expand your community and network, while gaining hands-on experience in your field.

  • Advanced Leadership Expedition: Students expand their global perspectives and hone their leadership skills by traveling to developing nations.
  • Certifications: Students are required to obtain 100 hours of professional certifications in addition to their Wilderness First Responder certification.
  • Field Courses: Four courses feature multiple days and nights spent in the backcountry.
  • Internships: Students often land full-time professional positions in the agencies they intern with for their capstone experience.
  • Teaching: Many students apply to work as TAs after their freshman year.

Exploring further

Outdoor Leadership students take part in Outdoor Pursuits Education courses that teach skills in areas such as leadership, facilitation, outdoor education, rescue techniques, rock climbing, mountain biking, backpacking and more.

News & Research

Western campus, student crowned AORE Campus Challenge Rocky Mountain regional champions

Western campus, student crowned AORE Campus Challenge Rocky Mountain regional champions

Read More
Colorado Outdoor Recreation Office Leader Luis Benitez Headed to VF Corp

Colorado Outdoor Recreation Office Leader Luis Benitez Headed to VF Corp

Read More

Department Chairperson

Lance Dalleck, Ph.D.

Professor of Exercise & Sport Science

Administrative Assistant

Terri Stinson

Administrative Assistant

Contact Information



Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Paul Wright Gym 209
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231