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Associate Director of Outdoor Education

Bucknell University
Pennsylvania, United States
Salary Not specified
Date posted
Oct 18, 2023

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Position Type
Administrative, Student Affairs, Student Activities & Services
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

Associate Director of Outdoor Education

Job No: 497536
Position Type: full-time
Location: Lewisburg, PA
Categories: Other, Student Affairs

The Associate Director of Outdoor Education and Leadership (OEL) is a key team member within the OEL Program responsible for risk management compliance, student leadership development, staff mentorship and collaborates with the OEL Director on policy development, implementation and evaluation. The Associate Director serves in place of the Director in their absence. 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 Director of Outdoor Education and Leadership (OEL) 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:

Implement risk management best practices for each of OEL's 9+ areas including different protocols, training materials and progress tracking. Assist the OEL Director in determining areas of improvement and help to 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. Ensure the utilization of a comprehensive satellite communication option for all off campus remote programming. Help to oversee the reconstruction of first aid kits and assembly and implementation of 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.
Assist in the oversight of risk management for 45+ off campus field based trips per semester including locations: statewide, domestic, international.
Designated risk compliance officer. Responsible for ensuring staff and student compliance of all risk management policies and procedures throughout all areas of the OEL program.


Supervise a management team of 15-20 students and 125+ student staff and student volunteer leaders.
Implement a student behavioral multi-step review process and assist in outcome determination.

Judgment and Confidentiality:

Assist in maintaining the information security and confidentiality of a revolving 7+ years of programmatic data and student records. Assist in assuring that past records are properly disposed of.
Intake 1,000+ digital waiver and health screening submissions from students, faculty, staff and the public. Oversee the screening of sensitive information (e.g. medical records) and distill pertinent components into the program's digital participant information infrastructure which securely provides full time exempt OEL staff, student managers and student leaders with necessary information prior to and during programming.
Act as the program's initial medical screening officer and make informed decisions on whether a student should or should not participate in related programming. When needed, consult with Student Health and seek further advice given a student, faculty or staff's shared medical condition. Act as the primary point of contact for students with concerns regarding the physical and psychological expectations/requirements of a program's experience.

Crisis Management and Intervention:

Implement sustainable solutions to complex situations regularly. Maintain a satellite communication and on-call structure for all necessary programs. Ensure appropriate implementation of risk management expectations across all of OEL.
Assist the OEL Director in responding to and negotiating 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 secondary university contact for all associated crisis management and intervention.

Program Leadership and Development:

Provide collaborative 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 gift and now utilized regularly by the Bucknell community.
Oversee the completion of all programming proposals and manage applicable approval processes for all OEL opportunities as needed.
Assist in researching, developing and implementing a comprehensive multi-faceted student leadership development program with active progression tracking, feedback and reward structure.
Assist in developing, implementing and co-leading, 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 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:

Assist in managing and balancing the operating budgets for all areas of OEL which includes capital budgets, endowments and donor funds.
Create, submit and track through completion all financial quotes and invoicing for requested and custom programming.

Internal and External Constituent Relationships:

Act as secondary contact for University Advancement and assist the Director in providing regular updates and information regarding OEL's operations, student impact and growth potential.
Act as primary point of contact and manager for all requested programming with campus and community partners.
Provide collaborative coordination of various OEL programs on campus such as Canoe Battleship, Bouldering Competitions and Bison Bruisers.
Manage administrative tasks by collaborating with campus partners including Events Management, Facilities, Athletics and Risk Management.
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:

Provide collaborative leadership in the planning and implementation of BuckWild, an outdoor pre-orientation experience designed to support first-year students in transitioning to the University.
Implement 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.

What we are looking for:

Master's degree in Outdoor Recreation Leadership, Outdoor Experiential Education, Recreation and Park Management, Environmental Studies or related field
3-5 years of work experience in an outdoor education field or setting
Challenge course facilitation experience with a variety of populations
Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) Level 1 or equivalent/greater certification (or willingness to work towards certification within a 1 year period)
Experience with managing an indoor climbing facility
Technical experience, including teaching experience and risk management knowledge, of at least two of the following: whitewater kayaking or rafting; flat water canoeing, kayaking or paddle boarding; 3 to 4 season backpacking; caving; mountaineering; backcountry skiing or snowboarding; mountain biking; cross country skiing; international or domestic travel with groups
International travel and group adventure learning facilitation experience abroad
Demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion through programming, trainings/workshops or mentoring
Marketing skills, computer skills (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Google Apps).
Budget management experience
Valid driver's license 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 (or willingness to work towards certifications within 6 months) 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

Preferred Qualifications:

Terminal degree in Higher Education, Outdoor Recreation Leadership, Outdoor Experiential Education, Recreation and Park Management, Environmental Studies or related field
Experience working with students in a collegiate setting
Successful supervisory experience
Experience with whitewater rafting and kayaking with various levels of difficulty
Licensed Inspector for PA Agricultural Rides and Amusements
Proficiency in outdoor technical rock climbing, both top site management, lead climbing and winter climbing activities
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 one 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 or others deemed appropriate to this role
Working knowledge of equipment rental inventory and climbing wall software systems
Ability to effectively work with multiple constituencies, organize and manage tasks

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 $54,080 - $67,600 (E08). 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.

To apply, visit


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