More than 20 students and three faculty members from WCU’s Parks and Recreation Management Program attended the 22nd Annual Adventure Education Conference held at Brevard College on Nov. 7.
The first conference was initiated by WCU faculty member Maurice Phipps and the 20th annual gathering was held at WCU.
WCU student Myranda Sherrill, Irish exchange student Josh McGloin and Ben Tholkes, associate professor of parks and recreation management, presented a workshop titled “Extreme Adventure Sports.” In addition, Andrew Bobilya, associate professor of parks and recreation management, co-presented a workshop titled “Should Wilderness Instructors Aways Accompany Their Students: Three Views.”
The Adventure Education Conference draws more than 200 students, faculty and staff from regional institutions, including the University of North Carolina – Asheville, Warren Wilson College, Montreat College, North Greenville University, Young Harris College, Southwestern Community College, UNC-Charlotte and Appalachian State University, and is hosted by a different institution each fall.
The conference provides students at the host institution an opportunity to gain experience in conference and event planning in addition to encouraging student presentations. The 2015 conference will be hosted by Southwestern Community College at its new conference center in Sylva.
Andrew Bobilya, associate professor of parks and recreation management, recently published an article titled “Participants’ Perceptions of their Outward Bound Final Expedition and the Relationship to Instructor Supervisory Position” in the Journal of Experiential Education.
The manuscript represents the latest publication from an eight-year research partnership involving Bobilya and his research team and the North Carolina Outward Bound School headquartered in Asheville and operating programs in the mountains of Western North Carolina and at Outer Banks National Seashore, the Florida Everglades and Patagonia, Chile.
The purpose of the mixed-method study was to understand participants’ perceptions of their Outward Bound Final Expedition experience and, more specifically, the relationship between the instructor supervisory position and participant’s perception of learning. The results suggest that minimizing instructor involvement enhanced perceived personal growth by increasing self-reliance and self-awareness, and enhanced perceived group development by encouraging greater group reliance, responsibility and cohesion, said Bobilya.
The findings may serve instructors, program managers and educators utilizing the Final Expedition in the existing programs as well as those interested in integrating autonomous student experiences in their programs.