WCU to offer new master’s degree in experiential and outdoor education

Western Carolina University has announced a new master’s degree in experiential and outdoor education that will be offered through the College of Education and Allied Professions beginning with the fall semester.

WCU’s Debby Singleton instructing a paddle boarding course on Cedar Cliff Lake.

The program is designed for professionals and those seeking careers in positions such as environmental educators, camp directors, wilderness therapy instructors, park rangers and outdoor adventure instructors. The program will be a two-year hybrid design with both online and classroom coursework beginning with a five-day intensive session on campus in August followed by four weekend sessions in the fall and spring semesters in year one.

The format will allow working professionals to further their education while remaining on a career path. It also allows enrolled students to hold internships at regional agencies.

“A master’s degree in experiential and outdoor education is a unique, cross-disciplinary program that further equips non-formal educators to serve in a variety of program settings and schools,” said Andrew J. Bobilya, professor and program director. “This program is ideal for those currently working in the field and those considering further graduate training.”

WCU is well-regarded as a leader and educator in the outdoor recreation and outdoor education industries. At October’s Outdoor Economy Conference in Asheville, WCU Chancellor Kelli R. Brown said that the university is committed to being an active partner in the region for the outdoor recreation industry, citing the development of innovative curricula for the new master’s degree program in experiential and outdoor education as a prime example.

Twenty states and 39 North Carolina counties were represented at the conference, which focused on harnessing business opportunities available in the outdoor recreation industry and boosting the Western North Carolina economy.

For more information about the experiential and outdoor education master’s degree program, go to eoe.wcu.edu or contact Bobilya at 828-227-3326.

WCU’s Andrew Bobilya instructing land navigation in Panthertown Valley.