National Outdoor Leadership School Announces Expanded College Credit
December 19, 2003
Contact: Bruce Palmer, 800-710-NOLS ext. 2230
The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) has announced
a significant expansion to its college
credit program, which allows high school and college students
from across the country the opportunity to earn credit toward
academic degrees. NOLS' college credit program is unparalleled
in the field of outdoor education, with over 400
colleges and universities around the country accepting NOLS
credit through the University of Utah. Many other colleges also
offer their own credit for NOLS courses.
Now students wanting to take time away from the traditional
classroom to develop leadership, study the environment and learn
skills in the wilderness will earn more credit hours for their
experience—up to 19 hours on a 94-day NOLS Semester in the
Rockies. That's more credit than some students receive right on
their college campus, says NOLS Curriculum Manager John Gookin.
The increase also bumps NOLS courses into a new financial aid
category, allowing more students to get more scholarship dollars.
Most NOLS Semesters have increased from 12 semester credit hours
to 16 credit hours. All NOLS 30-day courses will now grant 6 credit
hours, up from 4 hours previously. Credit, both undergraduate
and graduate, is offered through the University of Utah's departments
of Biology, Health Education, and Parks, Recreation and Tourism
in courses including Natural History, Environmental Ethics, Leadership
Techniques, Wilderness Medicine and Skills. A new course credit
is being offered in Risk Assessment and Management. About 75%
of eligible students currently receive college credit for their
Kirk Nichols, a faculty member at the University of Utah's Department
of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, believes the increase recognizes
the hard work students are putting into their education while
at NOLS. "The new college credit hours are going to be a
much closer match to a very intensive semester on campus,"
Nichols says. "These students are living their semester rather
than doing it in conjunction with everything else in their lives.
It's a very intense education, and now the college credit hours
NOLS has offered credit through the University since 1980. “Our
relationship with the University is a great one," says Gookin.
“We share some faculty, have a strong internship relationship,
and Utah faculty and graduate students have embarked upon a study
of NOLS student outcomes that is the most comprehensive ever attempted
in outdoor education.”
One thing that won't change for NOLS students receiving college
credit will be the grading system, says Gookin. "We're known
as tough graders," he says of the letter grades students
receive on each course. "This increase to college credit
hours won't make it easier to get an 'A' on a NOLS course."
In addition, NOLS and Central Wyoming College in Riverton, Wyoming
have partnered to offer an Associate of Science degree in Environmental
Science and Leadership and an Associate of Arts degree in Outdoor
Education and Leadership. These programs include classroom instruction
at the college and field instruction with NOLS.
Either way, now taking time away from a traditional classroom
doesn't have to mean falling behind your less adventurous classmates
back on campus.
The National Outdoor Leadership School, a non-profit organization,
is the leader in wilderness education and offers courses in the
world’s most spectacular classrooms. From two-weeks to three
months, NOLS offers over sixty-five different course types in
skill areas including backpacking, mountaineering, sea kayaking,
canoeing, skiing, caving, horsepacking and rock climbing.