Environmental Science and Leadership, Central Wyoming College
Program Design & Assessment
The Environmental Science and Leadership (ESL) degree program is provided through a partnership with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS).
Strengths of this program
This unique program combines the wilderness experience courses offered through NOLS, with a rigorous science curriculum offered through CWC. The wilderness experience courses are designed to develop skills and attitudes consistent with NOLS philosophies on environmental awareness and conservation. The CWC science courses form the basis of a sound two-year program in natural science.
Types of students served
This program serves students from traditional freshman to post-baccalaureate students. The students in this program are off-campus for a full semester but that the same General Education and core courses as other transfer programs on campus. Because of the collaboration with NOLS, this program attracts students from all over the country, bringing a diversity of perspective to our campus.
The goals of this program are as follows:
- To supplement the NOLS experience with a strong science background.
- To serve as a gateway to further education or employment in an environmental science field.
The learning goals were informed by the following resources:
The proximity of NOLS and CWC begs a natural connection. Many schools accept credit for a NOLS course, but none integrates their program, making this a unique experience. The Lander community thrives and survives on income from the outdoor recreation industry. Students have an abundance of opportunity to practice their leadership skills.
How program goals are assessed
There is not a formal assessment program. We will be developing one this year.
Design features that allow goals to be met:
Collaboration with NOLS.
There has been a steady trickle of majors since the programs inception in 2000. We have never had more than 5 students per year in the program and 1-2 graduate each year. Many of our students come with completed bachelors degrees and do not necessarily finish our curriculum. We have had a few students complete our program at a distance, by blending courses from their local community college with a semester at CWC. Some find the cost of a NOLS course to be prohibitive and change their major to Earth and Environmental Science. In the early days of the program it became obvious that we had more students interested in outdoor skills rather than science, so we developed an Outdoor Education and Leadership program that is growing steadily to around 20 students per year.
Careers pursued by our alumni
Our graduates find employment in their fields. Having connections to so many agencies and outdoor educators in the Lander area is to their advantage. Some continue as transfer degrees to UW or online programs. Many are satisfied earning the AS.
Courses and Sequencing
Diagram of course sequencing and requirements
Entry into the degree
Any NOLS semester. Physical or Environmental Geology, Environmental Science, Outdoor Edcuation.
Physical OR Environmental Geology
Natural History of Regional Ecosystems*
General Chemistry I
General Chemistry II
Outdoor Education & Leadership*
Environmental Ethics & Management*
Earth System Science
*These courses taken together constitute the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) semester course and must be taken concurrently. In addition Wilderness First Responder may be taken concurrently for select NOLS semesters. Other outdoor leadership courses or NOLS courses may be substituted, only with approval of academic program advisor.
Elective courses and Requirements
General Biology I
Chemical Problem Solving I
Chemical Problem Solving II
Wilderness First Responder OR Wilderness EMT
The NOLS semester would be a capstone if taken last but not all students choose that path.
Supporting Science and Math Courses