Director of Outdoor Education

Apply now Job no: 497535
Position type: full-time
Location: Lewisburg, PA
Categories: Other, Student Affairs

The Director of Outdoor Education and Leadership (OEL) is a key team member within the Division of Student Affairs who is charged with developing a vision for and leading a dynamic and growing outdoor education program. Serving an active community, OEL is committed to experiential learning, student leadership development, exposing students, faculty and staff to the outdoors, and providing diversity and inclusivity training for all student leaders.

This position reports directly to the Associate Dean of Students for Campus Activities and Programs and requires extensive evening, weekend and multi-week commitments due to workshops, trips and training schedules.

In this role you will be responsible for:

Risk Management:

Establish risk management best practices for each of OEL’s 9+ areas including different protocols, training materials and progress tracking. Engage in an extensive and thorough risk needs assessment. Determine areas of improvement and develop solutions that meet industry best practices. Implement a complete Incident Response Plan (IRP) including both an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) and Communication Plan for all applicable areas. Incorporate comprehensive satellite communication options for all off campus remote programming. Reconstruct first aid kits and assemble/implement practical emergency response supplies during applicable programming. Disseminate this information among full time exempt OEL staff, student managers and student leaders. Participate in active evaluation of risk management ongoing and preventively react accordingly.
Oversee risk management for 45+ off campus field based trips per semester including locations: statewide, domestic, international.
Implement and track an updated student driving training program for large capacity vans, pickup trucks and trailer use. Provide oversight of OEL vehicle fleet and provide recommendations to University transportation services on appropriate vehicle selection for OEL programming.


Supervise two full time exempt staff, a management team of 15-20 students and 125+ student staff and student volunteer leaders.
Implement a student behavioral multi-step review process with outcome determination.

Judgment and Confidentiality:

Ensure the information security and confidentiality of a revolving 7+ years of programmatic data and student records. Assure that past records are properly disposed of.
Implement and maintain a digital waiver process with 10+ topic specific logically programmed risk statements and a comprehensive health screening process. Oversee the intake and security of 1000+ of submissions annually from students, faculty, staff and public.
Implement and maintain a secure method of sharing sensitive student, faculty and staff information, including medical records, with other full time exempt OEL staff, student managers and student leaders.

Crisis Management and Intervention:

Implement sustainable solutions to complex situations regularly. Further develop and implement a satellite communication and 24hr on-call structure for all necessary programs. Ensure appropriate implementation of risk management expectations across all of OEL.
Respond to and negotiate all emergency situations associated with the program including off campus and remote field based programs. This includes all incoming programmatic requests from either regular cell phone or satellite communication and the determination of rescue and/or evacuation capabilities based on situational considerations. In such a situation, make informed decisions and guide the process through completion. Incorporate outside resources as necessary and conclude the overall situation appropriately.
Serve as primary university contact and program spokesperson for all associated crisis management and intervention.

Program Leadership and Development:

Provide comprehensive leadership and oversight in the various OEL program areas, facilities and spaces including:
Adventure Trips Program - weekend trips, technical skill clinics, campus-wide social and educational events and extended break excursions.
Bison Bike Program & Storage Facility - includes a fleet of 220+ rental bikes, helmets and locks that are available to students as a semester rental. Storage is at the Bucknell Stadium.
Buckwild - a wilderness pre-orientation experience designed to support up to 150 first-year students in transitioning to the University.
Bucknell Landing - a river access site, giving students, faculty and staff access to a recreational and academic resource.
Climbing Wall - an indoor climbing facility located in the Bucknell Fieldhouse that includes space for bouldering, strength training and a vertical classroom for related learning opportunities.
CLIMBucknell - a challenge course located at the Cowan D. Forest Brown Conference Center featuring low and high elements, a climbing tower and a zip line.
Rental/Outfitting Center & Boat Bike Barns - houses 15,000+ pieces of rental equipment including 2 vehicles, and 3 trailers between 4 campus locations.
University Fire Pit - an outdoor social fire pit site originally developed as a senior class gift and now utilized regularly by the Bucknell community.
Research, further develop and implement a comprehensive multi-faceted student leadership development program with active progression tracking, feedback and reward structure.
Implement and co-lead an extended break adventure trips program that provides students with regional, domestic and international opportunities during each of the 4 break periods - Fall Break, Winter Break, Spring Break, Summer Break. Propose, plan and see through all trip logistics including travel arrangements (e.g. flights, vehicle transfers), vendor relationships, food, lodging arrangements, etc. Be available 24 hrs per day when leading a trip and be prepared to handle emergency situations including compromise to student’s mental and/or physical health.
Implement diversity and inclusion initiatives for all designed program areas.

Financial Management:

Manage and balance the operating budgets for all areas of OEL which includes capital budgets, endowments and donor funds.
Manage vendor relationships and negotiate purchasing agreements for all areas of OEL. Act as primary buyer and contact for all purchasing needs.

Internal and External Constituent Relationships:

Act as primary contact for University Advancement and provide regular updates and information regarding OEL’s operations, student impact and growth potential. Directly interact with prospective donors in an effort to aid in their understanding of the OEL program.
Represent OEL by serving on Student Affairs and/or University committees.
Attend and actively participate in office, departmental and divisional staff meetings, retreats and trainings.
Collaborate with offices within the Division of Student Affairs and other university departments to ensure cohesive programming and services.
Maintain a high degree of visibility to students, faculty and staff.

Administration and Planning:

Manage and regularly evaluate/update the backend infrastructure of OEL to increase operational efficiency and contribute positively to programmatic growth and sustainability.
Implement and maintain a user-friendly student facing digital platform that can be used to share upcoming student opportunities (i.e. student employment, adventure trip registration, Bison Bike Lottery, etc.) and allow for ease of growth among the different areas of OEL.
Engage in regular discussions regarding additional OEL asset development including an outdoor bouldering park, OEL specific building and modern indoor climbing facility that accommodates bouldering, top rope climbing, lead climbing and vertical classroom space.
Engage in ongoing strategic planning efforts and implement a multi-year OEL specific plan.
Conduct best practice research and assessment efforts.

What we are looking for: 

Master’s Degree in Higher Education, Outdoor Recreation Leadership, Outdoor Experiential Education, Recreation and Park Management, Environmental Studies or related field
5-7 years of work experience in an outdoor education field or setting
Experience working with students in a collegiate setting
Successful supervisory experience
Challenge course facilitation with a variety of populations
Experience with managing an indoor climbing facility
Proficiency in outdoor technical rock climbing, both top site management, lead climbing and winter climbing activities
Technical experience, including teaching experience and risk management knowledge, of at least three of the following: whitewater kayaking or rafting; flat water canoeing, kayaking or paddle boarding; 3 to 4 season backpacking; caving; indoor climbing wall; outdoor rock climbing; winter climbing activities; mountaineering; backcountry skiing or snowboarding; mountain biking; cross country skiing; rescue and challenge course management
Demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion through programming, training/workshops or mentoring
International travel and group adventure learning facilitation experience abroad
Demonstrated ability to work in a student affairs environment, with programming, academic engagement and supervisory experience at the collegiate level
Marketing skills, computer skills (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Google Apps)
Budget management experience, including oversight of multiple budgets
Valid driver's license is required, plus the ability to drive oversized hauling vehicles with trailers
Valid passport is required or the ability to obtain one within 6 months of hire
Certifications including Red Cross, or American Heart, or equivalent CPR/AED Certification, Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician
Proficiency in Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics
Familiarity with resources necessary to support the health and wellness of students, including mentorship and advising of students
Excellent communication and interpersonal skills - written and oral
Ability to remain calm and work effectively in crisis situations
Ability to effectively work with multiple constituencies, organize and manage tasks
Ability to develop and facilitate presentations
Working knowledge of equipment rental inventory and climbing wall software systems

Preferred Qualifications:

Terminal Degree in Higher Education, Outdoor Recreation Leadership, Outdoor Experiential Education, Recreation and Park Management, Environmental Studies or related field
7-10 years of work experience in an outdoor education field or setting
Licensed Inspector for PA Agricultural Rides and Amusements
American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA) Single Pitch Instructor (SPI) or equivalent/greater certification (or willingness to work towards certification within a 1 year period)
Certified to instruct CPR/AED and wilderness medicine courses
Certified to instruct and examine AMGA Single Pitch Instructor (SPI) programs
Certification in two or more of the preferred industry certifications such as Swift Water Rescue, AMGA (beyond SPI), ACA, LNT Trainer or Master Educator, PCIA, Avalanche Certifications, Wilderness Medical Instructor, ACCT Challenge Course Manager Certification, ACCT Level II Rescue Training for Challenge Course Operation

Physical Demands:

Must have the physical abilities to perform all tasks associated with Experiential Education (i.e. lifting gear/kayaks, hiking with 40lbs. Backpack, climb challenge course poles)

Work Type:

This is a full-time, 12-month, exempt benefits-eligible position based in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.  

This role is not budgeted for visa sponsorship at this time, all candidates must be authorized to work in the US at the time of submission of the application.

Salary Range:

This is a staff exempt position with a hiring range of $65,680 - 82,100 (E10). The offer rate will be based on a review of the candidate's credentials compared to the qualifications of the position, internal equity, and our overall compensation philosophy.


Eligible full- and part-time employees are compensated beyond base salary through our total rewards package that includes (but is not limited to):
- flexible scheduling options determined by role; 
- medical, prescription drug, vision, dental, life, and long-term disability insurance options
- an outstanding 10% employer contribution to your retirement plan (no contribution requirement for non-exempt positions)
- generous paid time off, including vacation and sick time, a community service day, and 19 paid holidays (including two full weeks off for Winter Break!)
- full-time and part-time members of the faculty and staff are eligible for tuition remission for themselves. Additionally, full-time members of the faculty and staff are eligible for tuition remission for their spouse/spousal equivalent and are eligible for various tuition programs for their children. Credit for full-time benefits eligible employment at other institutions of higher education will be applied to waiting periods.
- a comprehensive employee wellness program including program incentives
- a myriad of other benefits, including parental leave, an employee assistance program, fitness center membership, and the power of your Bucknell ID card 

To learn more about Bucknell's benefits, click here! (*Eligibility criteria and waiting periods may apply.)

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion:

Bucknell is committed to fostering an environment that embraces diversity, equity and inclusion, and seeks candidates who will contribute to a climate that supports the growth and development of a diverse campus community.  We endeavor to enhance our capacity to value and capitalize on the cultural richness that diversity brings.  We encourage all individuals to apply and do not discriminate in admissions, employment, educational programs and/or activities on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, disability, pregnancy, sex/gender, gender identity and/or expression, sexual orientation, marital or family status, military or veteran status, or genetic information.


About Bucknell

Founded in 1846 and located along the banks of the Susquehanna River in historic Lewisburg, Pa., Bucknell University is an undergraduate-focused institution that stands uniquely at the intersection of top-ranked liberal arts, engineering and management programs. Our students choose from more than 60 majors and 70 minors in the arts, engineering, humanities, management, and natural and social sciences, as well as extensive global study, service-learning and research opportunities. Bucknell’s 3,700 undergraduate and 30 graduate students enjoy a low 9:1 student-faculty ratio and exceptional opportunities to collaborate with faculty mentors on scholarly and artistic projects.

Bucknell’s beautiful 450-acre campus includes first-rate facilities and is home to more than 90 percent of its undergraduate students. Student life is vibrant with about 200 student-run organizations, 27 NCAA Division I athletics teams, a robust arts culture, and a commitment among many of the students to community and global service work.

Bucknell is committed to fostering an environment that embraces diversity, equity and inclusion, and we seek candidates who will contribute to a climate that supports the growth and development of a diverse campus community. The University provides equal opportunity without regard to race, color, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, national or ethnic origin, marital status, veteran status or disability in admissions, employment and in all of its educational programs and activities. We encourage individuals from historically underrepresented groups to apply.

The Community

Lewisburg (pop. 5,700) is located in central Pennsylvania and features beautiful Victorian homes, the restored art deco Campus Theatre (owned by the University), a variety of restaurants, shops and boutiques, and the Barnes & Noble at Bucknell University Bookstore. It is the seat of Union County, which has about 44,000 residents.

The city of Williamsport is about a 30-minute drive from campus, and Penn State University’s main campus is about an hour away, as is Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s state capital. Bucknell is within a three-hour drive of New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

The cost of living is low compared to that of major U.S. cities and suburbs. Bucknell’s surroundings yield fresh produce, cultural activities and events, and outstanding opportunities for outdoor activity on the Susquehanna River and in the nearby state parks and forests. The Lewisburg Area School District receives excellent reviews for its schools at all grade levels. Lewisburg Area High School consistently ranks among the top 50 high schools in Pennsylvania for SAT scores and statewide exams.

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