Whitewater Rafting Healthcare Science Outdoor Adventure Track during Fall 2019

New courses provide adventure, leadership growth 

Alvernia is widely recognized for its health care degrees and is at the forefront of addressing the rapidly growing need for specialized, professional employees within the field of health care.


To this tradition of excellence, the Healthcare Science program recently introduced a new academic track, the Outdoor Adventure Track. Starting in the fall 2019 semester, the track includes two new courses to the Healthcare Science major. The courses foster the concepts of overall well-being, program facilitation, risk management, technical skill development and teamwork.


This track was birthed from a 1-credit outdoor adventure course that began in 2013, piloted by Alicia Sprow, assistant professor of leadership and healthcare science. Sprow was influenced by her father, who instilled a sense of adventure in her from an early age. “Because of those experiences, I developed a great respect for our natural environment and wanted to incorporate that into my work and share it with others,” she said.


One of the new courses was HCS 210: Introduction to Outdoor Adventure. It offered students a variety of learning activities that were enjoyable and interesting while being closely aligned with the course curriculum. Students participated in a whitewater rafting adventure that allowed them to apply the concepts they were learning in the classroom.


Along with traditional instruction from their professor, students interacted with community partners and with Alvernia’s Expeditionary Leadership Club, a student-led organization. During one class, the PA Game Commission presented a demonstration on wildlife forensics. Seasoned outdoor adventurer and author, Cindy Ross, also presented a homesteading program to the class, teaching students how to churn ice cream, build a log cabin, and live a sustainable lifestyle.


Students showcased their expertise by organizing and implementing a lesson plan to teach their classmates. On the truly adventurous side of the courses, were a lesson in target shooting and a step-by-step demonstration of a skydiving experience.


“I gained more real-world experiences in this class than almost any other class that I have taken in my college career,” said Michael Tepedino, ‘20. “This class put you into the role of a leader, facilitator, group member and student. Not only did this class help me greatly improve my leadership skills, but it also opened my eyes to some parts of the world that I did not have much knowledge about.” 


- by Sidney Goodman '21