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Richard M. Oxhandler, Ed.D.                                                                                                                January, 2000

email - richard.oxhandler@wmich.edu



Course Syllabus

Risk-Taking and Change




Risking is essential to living full and rewarding lives.  Life without risk taking is stagnant and growth inhibiting.  Through discussion, reading, and direct experiences we will learn what risking is, how we go about risking and how we stop ourselves from risking for change which could be essential for living life more fully, responsibly, and lovingly. 


The highlight of the course will be a nine-day (Feb 25-Mar 4) trip to the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee and the cave country of southern Indiana.  Six days of backpacking in the Big South Fork River and Recreation Area and a day of caving will enable us to maximize the learning opportunities provided through outdoor adventure education; physical activity, intentional use of stress, small group activity and the immediate employment of newly acquired skills and knowledge.  The course will be demanding physically and emotionally and persons going should be committed to their personal growth and the growth of others.


The course is success-oriented and is founded on the belief in the enormous potential and innate goodness in all of us.


Course Objectives


1.             Enhance self-awareness, self-confidence and sensitivity to others.

2.             Identify fears and demonstrate appropriate risk taking.

3.             Improve interpersonal communication skills.

4.             Improve ability to cope with stress.

5.             Enhance understanding and appreciation of your environment and your relationship to that environment.

6.             Open up to your own spontaneity, creativity and capacity to experience increased love and joy.


Student Responsibilities


1.             Complete the outdoor experiential learning component.

2.             Read assigned materials; complete written assignments.

3.             Participate in class discussions and activities (including confer and email)

4.             Evaluate the course at the end of the semester.

5.             Pass the competency test.

6.             Keep a journal - one entry on confer each week (total of ten); one entry per day during trip (total of 7).  This makes a grand total of 17 journal entries.

7.             Complete the service project.


Instructor Responsibilities


1.             Present materials for discussion.                                      3.             Facilitate outdoor experiential activities.

2.             Facilitate group experiences.                                          4.                Coordinate logistics and equipment.

5.                    Arrange for an end-of-course evaluation.


Format of Course


We will meet in the Lee Honors College, Room 1030 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. on Thursdays.

You will need to be available Saturday, February 19th, from 4-7 pm for shopping and to pack food for the trip.


Required Reading


Peck, M. Scott.  The Road Less Traveled, New York:  Simon & Schuster, 1978.




In addition to the cost of a two-credit class, a fee is necessary to cover trip expenses.  The fee of $195.00 covers all transportation from Western Michigan University to the Cumberland Mountains and back, equipment rental, camping and other fees and food while backpacking plus one breakfast, a lunch after caving, and one dinner.