The Brevard College Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education (WLEE) program delivers an innovative, intensive and experiential curriculum that promotes the development of strong leaders and teachers capable of effectively managing a variety of outdoor experiences for a wide range of audiences in various and dynamic environments. The program is grounded in the theory and principles of leadership and experiential education and is rich with opportunity for application. Embedded within a liberal arts educational community, the program embraces the many opportunities to enrich each student's experience through interdisciplinary study and fosters in each student qualities of responsibility and independent thought, respect for others, the spirit of collaboration, awareness of our environmental and cultural connections and a commitment to lifelong service and learning.
Located next to one of the most biologically diverse National Forests in the United States, Brevard College has developed a comprehensive and nationally-recognized undergraduate WLEE program. In addition to academic classes on campus, we learn, teach and lead in places like the whitewater rapids of the local rivers, the sheer granite outcrops of Looking Glass Rock, the trails of Pisgah National Forest and the high mountain balds above the Blue Ridge Parkway. Our program is integrated, matching the development of theoretical knowledge with opportunities for real-life application in the field. The field is where we experience and reflect upon the theories and research we learn in the classroom. With this integrated approach, we'll learn, through a wide variety of experiential education techniques, including traditional approaches of reading, discussion, case studies and research. Graduates leave with effective communication and teaching skills, applied experience in group leadership and development and a sound foundation for experience-based judgment and decision-making skills. Key components that make our program unique include:
- The Immersion Semester - For an entire semester, ten students are enrolled in six interrelated courses under the direction of one faculty member, and are immersed in many intentional opportunities to develop their technical outdoor skills in a variety of land- and water-based outdoor pursuits and most critically, fine-tuning their teaching and leadership abilities. Students have the opportunity to earn certifications through an eight-day Wilderness First Responder Course and a Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics Trainer Course. Highlights include many daily field experiences: whitewater canoeing and kayaking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and 35 overnight field days, including a six-day trip sea kayaking on the coast, three-day caving trip and a 21-day wilderness expedition.
- Advanced Skills Courses - Following the immersion Semester, students have the opportunity to refine their technical abilities and earn certifications from nationally-recognized organizations. These courses include Advanced Navigation, Advanced Rock Climbing, Advanced Swiftwater Rescue, Canoe Instructor, Kayak Instructor, and Open Water/Coastal Sea Kayaking.
- Recognized as one of the best paddling schools in the southeast by Paddler Magazine (August, 1998)
- Recognized as one of the Top 40 Outdoor Colleges/Towns in Outside Magazine.