Academics at Prescott College

Denise Mitten, MS, MS, PhD

Graduate Program Coordinator; Chair of the PhD in Sustainability Education & Adventure Education Master Program

Denise Mitten, MS, MS, PhD
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Cicada
220 Grove Ave.
Prescott, AZ 86301
928-350-1004
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Professor Denise Mitten loves to be outdoors and throughout her career has included this as a thread whether teaching group dynamics or researching. Internationally recognized for her innovative scholarship in outdoor and environmental pedagogy (including its use in adventure therapy), ethics, leadership, and gender, Dr. Mitten, is committed to the integration of theory and practice. She was involved in the early wave of sustainability in the 1970s, including ecosystem modeling.  After her forest ecology graduate work at Yale University, she worked with Donella and Dennis Meadows (Limits to Growth) at the Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College specifically on the feasibility study for the still-operating wood-fired power plant in Burlington, VT.  Dr. Mitten continued in research and education combining ecosystem sustainability and social sustainability (the ethic of care) with expert outdoor skills to help people learn sustainable community building skills though outdoor living and travel. Other efforts in sustainability included her work with international ecotourism, work at the Center for Spirituality in personal sustainability, and designing the Baldwin school project to help working poor youth understand the intersection of health, nutrition, physical activity and economics. She coordinated academic service learning on a university campus helping many faculty initiate service learning projects that supported student learning outcomes into their courses. Civic engagement is everyone’s responsibility and to that end, Denise coordinated a campus-wide political engagement project, sponsored by the Carnage Institute with measurable success in student involvement.

With a passion for teaching and group dynamics, Denise initiated programs to strengthen bonding between parents and children and a leadership program for women felons. As a writer and consultant Denise has advocated and written about caring and compassionate leadership combined with expert outdoor skills since 1985.  She developed an intensive and award winning leadership training and apprenticing program for women, opening the door to outdoor leadership to many women.

A widely experienced adventure guide, from SCUBA to mountaineering, Dr. Mitten has led climbs on Mt. McKinley, in the Swiss Alps, and in the Himalayas and has guided raft and kayak trips down the Colorado, Green, and Rio Grand Rivers.  She has taught rock climbing, skiing and whitewater canoeing, and led bicycle trips in Europe, New Zealand, and the U.S. She considers the more-than-human world her teacher. In trip guiding, it is about being in a place, rather than going through or using the place.

Denise advocates in her publications the need for contact with nature for human development and health and supports this assertion through research examining spiritual connections to outdoor spaces, how body image relates to participation in outdoor activities, and how to use time in nature to help women with eating disorders.

With an interdisciplinary background including parent education, forest ecology, outdoor leadership, complementary and alternative therapies, and health and wellness, Denise brings a unique perspective the experiential education and adventure education praxis. Starting with the Girl Scouts in the 1960s, she has worked in adventure, outdoor, and environmental education with men, women and youth (boys and girls) and women and children together, and many special populations, including youth at risk, girl survivors of abuse, youth offenders, socially and economically disadvantaged women and children, women survivors of abuse, nuns in recovery, women felons, and homeless people. Denise has taught science courses in maximum security men's prisons.

"I combine my backgrounds in sustainability, science, non-profit managing, corporate work, counseling, complementary medicine, higher education, and adventure trip leading to help students discover the tools and skills they need to continue passionate, high quality work that positively contributes to the global community.  "

Denise Mitten

Education

Education

Ph.D., Education, University of Minnesota  2003:  Dissertation title: An Analysis of Outdoor Leaders’ Ethics Guiding Decision Making

Master of Forest Science, Forestry Ecology, Yale University  1977

Master of Counseling, Prescott College, 2016 

Bachelor of Forest Science, Forest Resources, University of Washington  1974

 

CURRICULUM TRAINING

Leopold Education Project

Project Learning Tree Environmental Education

Wilderness Education Association, NSP Instructor

Project WILD

Leave No Trace

Parent education focusing on developmental attributes and transactional analysis

Certifications and Special Training

2009 Level III On-line Teaching Certification

2008 Critical Thinking Level III

2008 Critical Thinking Institute

2008 CPR, American Red Cross

2008 Rope Course rescue training

2007 – 2010 Wilderness First Responder 80 hour Re-Certification; Wilderness Emergency Medicine, Conway, NH

2005 Jim Crow Museum Facilitation training

2004 Wilderness First Responder 80 hour Certification

2003 American Canoe Association, Coastal Kayak workshop

2003 Wilderness Education Association, NSP Instructor Certification

2003 Wilderness Education Association, Outdoor Leader Certificate

2003 Critical Thinking Institute

2003 The Innovative Team, Leahy and Associates

1998 Adult Literacy Training

1997 Nonviolent Crisis Prevention Intervention

1996 Leadership Circles for Executive Directors, MAP for Nonprofits

1995 First Things First, Covey Leadership Center

1994 Managing Negativity in the Workplace, Skillpath

1993 Building Negotiation Skills, Padgett Thompson

1992 Managing Self-directed Work Teams, Smalley and Associates

1992 Boundaries in the Workplace, United Way

1991 Self-esteem: A Family Affair Facilitators Training, Jean Illsley Clarke, Minneapolis, MN

1990 Incorporating American Ethnic Minority Women into the Curriculum, Ford Foundation

1990 Science Literacy: What it means for Metro State, Metropolitan State University, MN

1989 Conflict Resolution, Wilder Foundation

1989 Rewarding Employees, Wilder Foundation

1989 Succession Planning for Organizations, United Way

1989 Working with the Metropolitan State University Prison Program

1986 PADI SCUBA Open Water Certification

1981 Environmental Management Policy Issues, Duke University

1979 Outdoor Educator's Course, National Outdoor Leadership School

1972 Educator's Course, North Carolina Outward Bound

Research

Research

My research background includes using numerous research design methodologies as well as employing various methods to collect quantitative and qualitative data. I believe that many research projects are strengthened using mixed methods as well as appreciative inquiry. I have helped students with innovative projects using bricolage, facet methodology, and art-based methods. I love research and welcome inquiry in all aspects of my life.

Current projects include understanding hidden curriculum in adventure education, the impact of outdoor activities on body image, nature’s impact on health and wellness, and gender topics. I support masters and PhD students’ research in areas such as place-based education, sustainability and restorative ecotourism, transformative experiences in the outdoors, curriculum design and efficacy, positive youth development, risk and risk management, citizen science and research designs that include action research, auto ethnography/ethnography, survey development and use, decolonizing approaches, new materialism, Delphi, and quasi-experimental approaches.

Beginning with research in dendrochronology (1975) and paleoecology/paleontology (1976) I was exposed to field data collection and lab analysis techniques.  Working as a forestry researcher I was involved in the feasibility and planning research for sustainability efforts such as the first wood-fired power plant in Burlington, VT (1978) and the use of second growth forests in New England (ecological economics), as well as plantation thinning trials and worker’s compensation issues in the Pacific Northwest, and researching and writing the first U.S. 208 Plan (non-point source pollution in forestry practices) in Minnesota (1982). 

I have examined how the ethic of care may influence outdoor leadership and adventure therapy, as well as the difference between instructors advocating for a stress model or a flow concept of human growth.  My dissertation research explored the ethics guiding outdoor leaders’ decision making using the Discerning Issues Test (DIT) and other methods.  Through observational research I found common themes and saw important possibilities for sustainable group development in outdoor and adventure settings.  This led to a specific concept of leadership for community development with an emphasis on sustainable communities, which I have presented at venues and as a chapter in Adventure Programming, edited by Miles and Priest (1999).  Working with Leo McAvoy on a comprehensive research project for the Coalition for Education in the Outdoors Research Symposium, I twice co-authored Group Development and Group Dynamics in Outdoor Education (1996). 

Working as a researcher for the Center for Spirituality and Healing (1999) I entered medical research (University of Minnesota), designed a survey instrument and the research design for an attitudes study about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) research and medical, pharmacy, and nursing faculty and students, and critiqued efficacy-based research in many CAM modalities. I also compiled efficacy research for many CAMs for use in designing learning modules and future research concentrations for the center and worked with the Anna Weston Foundation in the area of eating disorders (specifically in the areas of outdoor activity and residential program and building design). During this work I completed the course work for a graduate minor in Complementary and Alternative Therapies.

I completed an action research project working with Ferris State University college students to help underserved youth (7th grade -12th grade) understand the intersection of health, nutrition, physical activity and economics. Working with the Baldwin Schools Program staff in Baldwin, Michigan we designed a 12-week program and tested for physical and cognitive changes. Working with the Michigan MOISD Math Science Center I designed a measurement strategy to test for physical changes after a 10th grade backpacking trip for these students. I also have completed research about student learning preferences and instructors preferred teaching styles for people in higher education (see presentations about this below).

Throughout my career I have studied the intersection of health and wellness and being in nature. Project areas I have studied or assisted with include sense of place, spirituality and nature, body image and outdoor activity participation, eating disorders and outdoor activity, program development for socially and economically disadvantaged women and children and the impacts of outdoor time, and the impact of a college three-week outdoor orientation program on biophilic profiles. Some of my work is summarized in http://norwegianjournaloffriluftsliv.com/doc/122010.pdfhttp://wupcenter.mtu.edu/community/no_child_left_indoors/under_your_noses.html and http://norwegianjournaloffriluftsliv.com/doc/212010.pdf as well as in a book I co-authored, Human Health and Natural Environments (2014).

Other research topics have included nature’s impact on healing, spirituality and nature (Forest Service sponsored study), adventure therapy and eating disorders, incorporating nature into residential programs for women with eating disorders, women and body image, alternative care for asthma, hegemony in adventure therapy, legal issues in risk management, and stress management.

Graduate Students

I have worked with about 40 Master’s students and about 20 PhD students as a committee chair, advisor or evaluator, mentor, or core faculty. I enjoy helping students identify their research projects, the grounding theories, and methodologies. I am comfortable using many paradigms and methods. Once a student’s thesis or dissertation is completed I help many present and publish to help launch their careers.

I am proactive about helping students publish and present their research. I designed and implemented an Experiential Education Concentration in the Ferris State University, School of Education, Master of Education in Curriculum Design. I worked with a cohort of 10 students from Madison Wisconsin to complete their education Masters at Ferris State University. I have been a reader for PhD candidates when their institution required outside expert readers.

Expertise

Expertise

I love to keep learning and I continue my own professional development with rigor.

Experiential Education

Sustainability Education

Nature and Human Health

Adventure Education / Outdoor Education / Adventure Therapy

Group Dynamics

Leadership (ethics, outdoor, risk management)

Environmental Education

Eco-feminism

Ecopsychology

Research Methods

Feminist Research Methods

Eco & social justice Education

Gender topics

Publications

Publications

Books

In press Gray, T., & Mitten, D. (2018). (Eds.). The Palgrave MacMillan international handbook of women and outdoor learning. London, England: Palgrave Macmillan. http://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319535494

2014 A. Ewert, D. Mitten, & J. Overholt. Human health and natural environments. UK: Cabi Press.

2008 Warren, K., Mitten, D. and Loeffler, TA. The Theory and Practice of Experiential Education, Boulder, CO: Association of Experiential Education.

Mitten, D. & Hall, D. (1978). Field Ecology at the John Dorr Nature Laboratory, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.

Selected Publications

Mitten, D. Cheung, L., Yan, W., Withrow-Clark, R. (2017). Adventure education. In: Russ, A. and Krasny, M. (Eds.), Urban environmental education review. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Mitten, D. (2016). Connections, compassion, and co-healing: the ecology of relationship, in Malone, K., Gray, T., Truong, S. (Eds) Reimagining Sustainability in Precarious Times, UK: Springer.

Mitten, D., Overholt, J. R., Haynes, F. I., D’Amore, C. C., & Ady, J. C. (2016). Hiking A Low-Cost, Accessible Intervention to Promote Health Benefits. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 1559827616658229. 

Mitten, D.  (2016). The impact of time outdoors on human well-being and its relationship to sustainability’ at the Coalition for Education in the Outdoors (CEO) Thirteenth Biannual Research Symposium, Bradford Woods, IN, January 2016.

D’Amore, C. & Mitten, D. (2015). Nurtured Nature: The Connection Between Care for Children and Care for the Environment, in Thomas, P.L., Carr, P., Gorlewski, J., & Porfilio, B.(Eds) Pedagogies of Kindness and Respect: On the Lives and Education of Children. New York, NY: Peter Lang. 

2014 Bittner, A. & Mitten, D. (2014). Day hikers’ self-reported reasons for hiking in the Arizona wilderness, In D. Mitten, & S. Taniguchi (Co-Chairs), Symposium on Experiential Education Research. Symposium conducted at the meeting of Association for Experiential Education International Conference, Chattanooga, TN.

2014 Meltzer, N., Faircloth, W. B., Bobilya, A. J., & Mitten, D. (2014). An investigation of the influence of the instructor on participants’ biophilic expressions, In D. Mitten, & S. Taniguchi (Co-Chairs), Symposium on Experiential Education Research. Symposium conducted at the meeting of Association for Experiential Education International Conference, Chattanooga, TN.

2014 Hauk, M. & Mitten, D. Complex rubrics for teaching complexity: Catalyzing autopoiesis in graduate student innovation for ecosystem sustainability: Exploring Learning Processes and Assessment Through Complex Systems Theory [Conference Paper will appear in online proceedings]. American Educational Research Association (AERA). Conference theme of “The Power of Education Research for Innovation in Practice and Policy.” Philadelphia, PA.

 2014 Mitten, Denise. Wild women on the move: Understanding an ethic of earth care through an Artemis lens as part of a panel titled Accessing Wisdom through Journeys and Place. [Paper and presentation, conference paper will appear in proceedings]. ASWM Conference, 2014. Conference theme of “Borderlands.” San Antonio, TX.

2014 D’Amore, C. & Mitten, D. (2014, January). Relationship Between Outdoor Experience and Body Image in Female College Students.  In Coalition for Education in the Outdoors Twelfth Biennial Research Symposium (p. 38-40). http://www2.cortland.edu/dotAsset/d447c0c5-0bb4-4f4c-a1e7-47a7c4247043.pdf

2014 Meltzer, N. W., Faircloth, W. B., Bobilya, A. J., & Mitten, D. (2014, January). Moderators of Change in Biophilia Following an Outdoor Orientation Program. In Coalition for Education in the Outdoors Twelfth Biennial Research Symposium (p. 35-37). http://www2.cortland.edu/dotAsset/d447c0c5-0bb4-4f4c-a1e7-47a7c4247043.pdf

 2013 Johnsson, K., Hoppe, T., Mitten, D., D’Amore, C.  The Relationship between Body Image, Physical effectiveness, and Outdoor Experience in Female College Students. In S. Taniguchi, & D. Mitten (Co-Chairs), Symposium on Experiential Education Research. Symposium conducted at the meeting of Association for Experiential Education International Conference, Denver, CO.   http://www.aee.org/assets/docs/SEER/2013_seer_program_final.pdf 

2013 Meltzer, N., Bobilya, A. J., Mitten, D., & Faircloth, W. B. (2013, November). An investigation of the effect of an outdoor orientation program on participants’ biophilic expressions. In S. Taniguchi, & D. Mitten (Co-Chairs), Symposium on Experiential Education Research. Symposium conducted at the meeting of Association for Experiential Education International Conference, Denver, CO.  http://www.aee.org/assets/docs/SEER/2013_seer_program_final.pdf

Mitten, D., D’Amore, C., & Ady, J. (2013, October) The healing power of nature. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE), Baltimore, MD.

2013 Kristin Litz and Denise Mitten, Inspiring Environmental Stewardship:  Developing a Sense of Place, Critical Thinking Skills, and Ecoliteracy to Establish an Environmental Ethic of Care, Pathways: The Ontario Journal of Outdoor Education, 25(2) 4-8.

2012 Lotz, E. Mitten, D. Warren, K., D’Amore. (November). The Hidden Curriculum in Adventure Education: A Delphi Study. In A. Ewert & S. Taniguchi, (Co-Chairs), Symposium on Experiential Education Research. Symposium conducted at the meeting of Association for Experiential Education International Conference, Madison, WI. p. 37 – 40. http://www.aee.org/assets/docs/SEER/2012_seer_program_10-10-12.pdf

2012 Hauk, M. & Mitten, D. Deep green enterprise: Extending enterprise innovation through biomimicry, regenerative design, and systems ecology in a graduate course [Poster session, poster published in online proceedings]. Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) 2012. Los Angeles, California. Poster viewable here*:  http://www.aashe.org/files/aashe2012-materials/extending_enterprise_innovation_through_biomimicry_regenerative_design_and_systems_ecology_in_a_graduate_course_-_deep_green_enterprise_-_marna_hauk_denise_mitten_2012_aashe_final.pdf

2012 Mitten, Denise, Controversial Issue 15: Should transgender youths be encouraged to favor specialized camps over mainstream camps in B. Martin and M. Wagstaff (EDs) Controversial Issues in Adventure Programming (pp. 235 -240), IL: Human Kinetics.

2010 Medrick, R., & Mitten, D. (2010) Adventure education. Prescott College Master of Arts Program [course handout].

2010 Mitten, Denise, Friluftsliv and the Healing Power of Nature: The need for nature for human health, development, and wellbeing. Norwegian Journal of Friluftsliv In: Henrik Ibsen: The Birth of ‘Friluftsliv’. A 150 Year International Dialogue Conference Jubilee Celebration. North Troendelag University College, Levanger, Norway, Mountains of Norwegian/Swedish Border, 14–19 September 2009. Available at http://norwegianjournaloffriluftsliv.com/doc/122010.pdf                                              

2010 Mitten, Denise and Sarah Woodruff, Women’s adventure history and education programming in the United States favors friluftsliv. Norwegian Journal of Friluftsliv In: Henrik Ibsen: The Birth of ‘Friluftsliv’. A 150 Year International Dialogue Conference Jubilee Celebration. North Troendelag University College, Levanger, Norway, Mountains of Norwegian/Swedish Border, 14–19 September 2009. Available at http://norwegianjournaloffriluftsliv.com/doc/212010.pdf

2010 Mitten, Denise, Forward in Recipes for Wild Women: Tales from trail and kitchen goddess ‘Dish”, pp 4-5.

2010 Woodruff, S. L. & Mitten, D.  (2010). Control Group Conundrum: The Impact of Short-Term Outdoor Experiences on the Body Image Perceptions of Women over Forty at the Coalition for Education in the Outdoors (CEO) ninth Biannual Research Symposium, Bradford Woods, IN, January 2010, p. 21.

2009 Mitten, Denise & Sara Woodruff, The impact of short-term adventure experiences on body image perceptions of women over 40, Journal of Experiential Education 32 (3), 322-326.

2009 Mitten, Denise, Under our Noses: The Healing power of nature, Taproot Journal 19(1), 20-26.

2009 Mitten, D. & Itin, C. M.(Eds.) Connecting with the Essence of Adventure Therapy: Proceedings from the 4th International Adventure Therapy Conference (2006).  Boulder CO: Association for Experiential Education.

2009 Mitten, Denise and M. Whittingham, Be safe out there: Critically thinking risk in adventure education in B. Stremba and C. Bisson (EDs) Teaching Adventure Education Theory Best Practices, IL: Human Kinetics

2007 Mitten, Denise and K. Clement, Skills and Responsibilities for Adventure Education Leaders in R. Prouty, J. Panicucci and R. Collinson (EDs) Adventure Based Programming and Education, IL: Human Kinetics.

2004 Mitten, Denise, Adventure Therapy as a Complementary and Alternative Therapy in S. Bandoroff and S. Newes (EDs) Coming of Age: The evolving field of adventure therapy (pp. 240 – 257). Boulder, CO: Association of Experiential Education.

2002 Mitten, Denise, An Analysis of Outdoor Leaders’ Ethics Guiding Decisions, in , M. Bialeschki, K. Henderson, A. Young, and R. Andrejewski (EDs) Research in Outdoor Education, Volume 6, Bradford Woods, IN:  Coalition for Education in the Outdoors.

1999 Mitten, Denise, Leadership for community building, in J. Miles & S. Priest (EDs) Adventure Programming, State College, PA:  Venture Publishing, Inc.

1994 Mitten, Denise, Ethical Considerations in Adventure Therapy:  A Feminist Critique, in E. Cole, E. Erdman, E. Rothblum (EDs) Wilderness Therapy for Women:  The Power of Adventure, New York:  Harrington Press. pp 55-84.

1989 Mitten, Denise, Healthy Expressions of Diversity Lead to Positive Group Experiences, Journal of Experiential Education 12 (3).

1986 Mitten, Denise, Stress Management and Wilderness Activities, In M. Gass & L. Buel (ED) Proceedings Journal, Moodus, CT:  Association of Experiential Education 14th Annual Conference

1986 Mitten, Denise, Women's Outdoor Programs Need a Different Philosophy, The Bulletin of the Association of College Unions-International, Vol. 54, No. 5, Bloomington, IN.

Presentations

Presentations

Selected keynote presentations

  • • Adventure education for a sustainable future, keynote address at the Association of Experiential Education Rocky Mountain Regional Conference, Durango, CO. April 2017.
    • • What to keep and what to cull: Adventure education for a sustainable future, keynote address at the 2017 Adventure Research Symposium at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. February 2017.
      • • Girls and women in the outdoors, keynote address at the Girl Scout “Ignite the Force” Service Team Retreat, Prescott, AZ, September, 10, 2016.

    • Healing Power of Nature for People and the Land’, at the 2nd Hungarian Experiential Education Conference/ ÖSVÉNY konferencia, Dobogókő, Hungary, May 2016.

    • Research in Adventure Therapy. Keynote presentation at the Best Practices Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group (TAPG) conference Association for Experiential Education (AEE), Denver, CO, June, 2016.

    •  From a Parents Perspective: What leaders should know. Keynote presentation at the Outdoor Orientation Program Conference (OOPS), Portland, OR, October 2015

    • Girls and women in the outdoors: Loving the life style, Keynote presentation at the Girl Scout National Convention, Salt Lake City, Utah, October 2014.

    • Connections, compassion, and co-healing: Ecofeminism in the Anthropocene ,  Precarious Times: New imaginings for sustainability, The Centre for Educational Research, University of Western Sydney, Australia, June 2014

    • Girls and women in the outdoors: Loving the life style at the Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council event: A Girl’s World Today and Tomorrow, Phoenix, AZ, February 2014

    • Kurt Hahn Address, Association of Experiential Education International Conference, Jacksonville, FL, November 2011

    • The Healing Power of Nature, Get Outdoors, Michigan! Summit, Silver City, MI November 2009.

    • Taking it Further: Lessons learned on Denali and Himalayan Ascents, AEE Heartland Winter Conference in Montréal River Harbour, Ontario, Canada, February 2006.

    • Gender Considerations for Everyone, Keynote plenary Session, Association of Experiential Education Heartland Region Conference.  Kalamazoo, MI, March 2003

    • Adventure Therapy as Complementary Medicine, 3IATC, Victoria BC, Canada April 2003

    • In relationship to each other:  Using experiential education to honor individuals, Opening keynote, Association of Experiential Education 7th Annual Northwest Region Conference.  Stanwoood, WA, February 1998

    • Leadership and education in the outdoors:  An exploration of gender, the feminine and feminist concerns, Keynote Panelist, 2nd annual Conference on Women's Leadership in the Outdoors, Asheville, NC, November, 1997

    • Gender Considerations in Adventure Education, Master Practitioner, Southeast Association of Experiential Education Conference, Greenville, NC, April 1997

    • Women Outdoor Adventurers, 10th Annual International Conference on Outdoor Recreation and Education, Salt Lake City, Utah, November, 1996

    • Outdoor Adventures for Women, The 4th Annual Midwestern Professional Women's Conference, Richmond, IN, October, 1996

    • Leadership for Diaconal and Clergywomen, The Fall Diaconal and Clergywomen's retreat, Koininia, Annandale, MN, September, 1996

    • The Connection Between Nature and Self, Wilderness Wellness Retreat for the Center for Outdoor Adventures, University of Minnesota, Annandale, MN, February 1996

    • Ethical use of Challenge Courses and Integrated Leadership Seminar, The Challenge Program, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, January 1996

    • Ethics in Experiential Education, Association of Experiential Education, Lake Geneva, WI, November 1995

    • Women's Environmental Leadership Conference, Opening address, Hollins College, VA, April 1995

    • Out of Their Corsets and into the Woods:  An Historical look at Women Adventurers, Forum of Executive Women, St. Cloud, MN, November 1995

    • Women as Outdoor Leaders, Women Outdoors New Zealand, Auckland, NZ, March 1990

    • Leadership for women and men, Radford College, Radford, VA, October 1987

    • Ethics and objectivity in science, Science and Social Responsibility Conference, College of St Scholastica, Duluth, MN, October 1980 

    • Weyerhaeuser's High Yield Forestry, University of Minnesota, Forestry School, St Paul, MN, September 1978 

    • The role of women in industrial science, Association for Women in Science, Minneapolis, MN, September 1978

    Selected invited presentations

    • • Defining Moments: Women’s contribution to outdoor education leadership and an examination of the gender divide with Tonia Gray (Western Sydney University, Australia) and TA Loeffler, (University of St Johns, Newfoundland, CA) at the 7th International Outdoor Education Research Conference, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada, July 2016.
    • • The Relationship Between Outdoor Experience and Body Image in Female College Students’ at the 7th International Outdoor Education Research Conference, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada, July 2016.
    • • Understanding the hidden curriculum in adventure education: A Delphi Study’ at the 7th International Outdoor Education Research Conference, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada, July 2016.
    • •  Psychological Depth: How Far Should You Really Go?’, at the 2nd Hungarian Experiential Education Conference/ ÖSVÉNY konferencia, Dobogókő, Hungary, May, 2016.
    • •  Social work and the Healing Power of Nature’, at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary, May, 2016.
    • • Healing Nature / Tapasztalati Tanulás, a day-long workshop in Budapest, Hungary, May, 2016.
    • • Women in Sustainability Network session, drawing more than 75 women at The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) in Minneapolis, MN. October 2015.
    • • Galvanizing Gaia: A Social Incubator for Women Leaders and Innovators, The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) in Minneapolis, MN. October 2015.
    • • Down to earth: Bringing biocultural complexity to life. (with Marna Hauk) Association of Experiential Education International Conference, Portland, OR, October 2015.
    • • Starting up Sustainability: Research Process with Ecosocial Incubators. (with Marna Hauk) North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE) annual conference, San Diego, CA, October 2015.
    • • Human Development and nature: The need for attachment. 7th International Adventure Therapy Conference (7IATC), Denver, CO, June 2015.
    • • Healing power of nature for people and the land. Maryland Association of environmental; and Outdoor Educators (MAEOE). Ocean City, MD, February 2015
    • • Galvanizing Gaia: A social incubator for women leaders and innovators. Featured post-conference half-day workshop. (with Marna Hauk) Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). Conference theme: Innovation for Sustainable Economies and Communities. Portland, Oregon. Portland, OR, October 2014.
    • • Earthflow regenerating hope, innovation, and agency for planetary flourishing [Research presentation]. Part of a rapid-fire panel of the Hope Research Collaborative on Hope and Sustainability Agency entitled “Sustainability and Agency: What’s hope got to do with it?” (with Tina Evans, Lee Ball, Rachel Forbes, and Marna Hauk), Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). Conference theme: Innovation for Sustainable Economies and Communities. Portland, OR, October 2014.
    • •  Women in sustainability [Session co-chair]. Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). (Marna Hauk) Conference theme: Innovation for Sustainable Economies and Communities. Portland, OR, October 2014.
    • • Psychological Depth: How Far Should You Really Go? Association of Experiential Education International Conference, Chattanooga, TN, October 2014.
    • •  Nature, experiential education philosophy, and transformative learning, Outdoor Recreation Industry Council NSW, Berry, Australia, June, 2014
    • • Thinking Creatively about Sustainability in Higher Education, Arizona Higher Education Sustainability Conference, Tucson, AZ, March, 2014
    • • Community and Student Managed Initiatives, Arizona Higher Education Sustainability Conference, Tucson, AZ, March, 2014
    • • Wild women on the move: Understanding an ethic of earth care through an Artemis lens as part of a panel titled Accessing Wisdom through Journeys and Place, the Association of women in Mythology Conference, San Antonia, TX, March 2014
    • • Complex Rubrics for Teaching Complexity: Catalyzing Autopoiesis in Graduate Student Innovation for Ecosystem Sustainability as part of a panel: Exploring Learning Processes and Assessment Through Complex Systems Theory, the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Philadelphia, PA, April 2014
    • • Relationship between outdoor experience and female body image, Coalition for Education in the Outdoors (CEO) Twelfth Biannual Research Symposium, Bradford Woods, IN, January 2014.
    • • Critical thinking and the use of risk in adventure education, Association of Outdoor Recreation & Education (AORE), College Park, MD, November 2013
    • • Women in Experiential Education (Panel), Association for Experiential Education International Conference, Denver, CO, November 2013
    • • The Relationship Between Body Image and Outdoor Experience in Female College Students, Symposium for Experiential Education Research, SEER, Association for Experiential Education International Conference, Denver, CO, November, 2013
    • • The Healing Power of Nature, North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE) annual conference, Baltimore, MD, October, 2013
    • • Personal Health, Nature, and Experiential Education: What is the connection? Adventure Therapy Best Practices Conference, Prescott, AZ, May 2013
    • • Be safe out there: Critical thinking and the use of risk in adventure education, Association for Experiential Education, Rocky Mountain Regional Conference, Keystone, CO, April 2013.
    • • Adventure Education and Sustainability, Association of Experiential Education Northeast Conference, MA, April 2013
    • • Leadership for the 21st Century, Association of Experiential Education International Conference, Madison, WI, November 2012.
    • • Hidden Curriculum, Association of Experiential Education International Conference, Madison, WI, November 2012.
    • • Trends in Adventure Education, Association of Experiential Education International Conference, Madison, WI, November 2012.
    • • Hidden Curriculum, Symposium for Experiential Education Research, SEER, Association of Experiential Education International Conference, Madison, WI, November 2012.
    • • Investing in the Future: Extending Enterprise Innovation through Biomimicry, Living Systems Design, and Systems Ecology in a Graduate Ecopreneurship Course, Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), Los Angeles, CA October, 2012.
    • • Starting and leading vibrant earth schools and programs [Panel workshop with M. Hauk and R. Medrick]. International Sustainability Symposium. Prescott College, Prescott, AZ. May, 2012.
    • • The Journal of Sustainability Education: Nurturing ecology in action toward sustainability [poster], Conference Theme: Life on Earth: Preserving, Utilizing and Sustaining our Ecosystems. The 97th annual Ecological Society of America Conference, Portland, OR August, 2012.
    • • Be safe out there: Critical thinking and the use of risk in adventure education, Association for Experiential Education, Rocky Mountain Regional Conference, Durango, March, 2012.
    • • Understanding the hidden curriculum in adventure education, Association for Experiential Education, Rocky Mountain Regional Conference, Durango, CO March, 2012.
    • • Current Trends in Adventure Education panel, Association of Experiential Education International Conference, Jacksonville, FL, November 2011.
    • • Kurt Hahn Address, Association of Experiential Education International Conference, Jacksonville, FL, November 2011.
    • • Exposing the Hidden Curriculum Effecting Women in Adventure Education, Consortium for Innovative Environments in Learning, Mini-grant Curricular Collaboration, Olympia, Washington, October, 2011.

    • Intentional Group Development: Getting the group you want, The International Conference on Outdoor Leadership, Wilderness Education Association, Estes Park, CO February, 2011.

    • Health, Nature, and Experiential Education: What is the connection? Association for Experiential Education, Las Vegas, November 2010.

    • Women’s Adventure History and Education Programming in the United States: A Legacy of Mentoring, Association for Experiential Education, Las Vegas, November 2010.

    • Theoretical underpinnings of humans wanting and needing to spend time in nature, Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE), University of Michigan Biological Station, Pellston, MI, October, 2010.

    • Academic service learning: Engaging undergraduate students in ecology education and civic responsibility, Ecological Society of America (ESA), Pittsburgh, PA, August 2010.

    • Adventure & Wilderness Therapy: The Opportunities of the Outdoor Environment - Even for Technology Integration, Adventure Therapy Best Practices Conference, Columbus, OH, May, 2010.

    • Integrating Brain-Based Researched Teaching Methods: Using Technology During an Experiential Adventure Program, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Academy Conference (SoTl Academy), Ypsilanti, MI, May, 2010.

    • Control group conundrum: The impact of short-term adventure experiences on body images perceptions of women over forty, Coalition for Education in the Outdoors Tenth Biannual Research Symposium, Bradford Woods, IN, January 2010.

    • Academic Service Learning: A Form of Community Action Research, Michigan Sociological Association, Big Rapids, MI, November 2009.

    • The Impact of Short-Term Adventure Experiences on the Body Image Perceptions of Women over Forty, Symposium of Experiential Education Research, Montreal, Canada, November 2009.

     • How much nature is too much: Are there limits on our nature immersion needs? Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education, Dearborn, MI October, 2009.

    • Friluftsliv and the Healing Power of Nature: The need for nature for human health, development, and wellbeing, Henrik Ibsen: The Birth of Friluftsliv, A 150 year international dialogue, Levanger, Norway, September 2009.

    • Women’s adventure history and education programming in the United States favors friluftsliv, Henrik Ibsen: The Birth of Friluftsliv, A 150 year international dialogue, Levanger, Norway, September 2009.

    • Don’t throw your Students to the Wolves: Helping Students Survive and Prosper in Group Work, 7th Annual Lilly North Conference North, Traverse City, MI, September, 2009.

    • The politics of green: Civically engaging undergraduate students, Ecological Society of America, Albuquerque, NM, August, 2009.

    • Civic Engagement in Action Series: Political Engagement Project Part 2, Panel with Richard Griffin, Tony Baker, Wendy Samuels, and William Potter, American Democracy Project National Meeting, Baltimore, MD, June 2009 .

    • Creating a Civically Engaged University: The Ferris State University/Carnegie Foundation Model, Panel with Richard Griffin, Tony Baker, Wendy Samuels, and William Potter, 13th Annual Institute on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement of the Michigan Campus Compact, Grand Rapids, MI, February, 2009. 

     • Group dynamics and development: State of theories and practice, Association of Experiential Education International Conference, Portland, OR, November, 2008

    • Developing a Culture of Critical Thinkers through Learning Communities in Critical Thinking, 6th Annual Lilly Conference North, Traverse City, MI, September, 2008

    • Bring Critical Thinking into your Teaching: Let’s go from theory to application, 6th Annual Lilly Conference North, Traverse City, MI, September, 2008

    • The Healing Power of Nature: Evidence-based studies, Coalition of Educators Outdoors Symposium, Bradford Woods, IN, January 2008

    • Good stress / Bad stress / Real stress / Preceived stress:  Is there a difference? Association of Experiential Education International Conference, Little Rock, AR, November, 2007

    • An Analysis of Outdoor Leaders’ Ethics Guiding Decisions, Symposium on Experiential Education Research (SEER), Association of Experiential Education International Conference. St Paul, MN, November, 2006

    • The Feminine Value in Experiential Education (a panel), Association of Experiential Education International Conference. St Paul, MN, November, 2006

    • Understanding Student Learning Styles, at the 6th Annual Lilly Conference North, Traverse City, MI, September, 2006

    • Hegemony: Who’s Powerful in Adventure Therapy, 4th International Adventure Therapy Conference (4IATC) Rotorua, New Zealand, February, 2006.

    • A critical exploration of power dynamics and boundaries on outdoor trips, Association of Experiential Education International Conference. Tucson, AZ, November 2005.

    • Retaining dignity through dissonance, disequilibrium, and risk, Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group, Association of Experiential Education International Conference. Tucson, AZ, November 2005.

    • Brain-based learning and experiential education, Prescott College Master of Arts Program Colloquium, Prescott, AZ, August 2005.

    • Let’s apply critical thinking to common assumptions in adventure education,” Association for Challenge Course Technology Conference Indianapolis, IN, January 2005.

    • What do we learn when we are challenged or scared?” Association for Challenge Course Technology Conference Indianapolis, IN, January 2005.

    • A critical exploration of power dynamics and boundaries on outdoor trips. Wilderness Education Association (WEA), Indianapolis, IN, February 2004

    • Taking learning Styles and Teaching Styles Forward, Coalition of Educators Outdoors Symposium, Bradford Woods, IN, January 2004

    • Helping leaders get girls outside, Girl Scouts USA Midwest Professional Conference, April, 2003

    • Increasing the quality of learning for youth, Battle Creek Outdoor Centre, Dowling, MI, February, 2003

    • Beyond Storming, Association of Experiential Education International Conference, St. Paul, MN 2002

    • An Analysis of Outdoor Leaders’ Ethics Guiding Decisions, Coalition for Education in the Outdoors, Bradford Woods, January, 2002

    • I may be teaching content, but my clients are learning process, Association of Experiential Education Southeast Regional Conference GA, March 2000

    • Paradoxes of gender:  What do you do when men want to cook and women want to set up the tents? With TA Loeffler and Martha Perkins, Association of Experiential Education 27th International Conference, Rochester, NY, October 1999

    • Leadership for community building, Association of Experiential Education International Conference, Incline Village, NV, November 1998

    • Adventure programming and facilitating when you don't know your participant is a survivor of sexual abuse, Association of Experiential Education International Conference, Incline Village, NV, November 1998

    • Ethics and experiential education, University of Michigan School of Social Work, Ann Arbor, MI, October 1998

    • Providing adventure therapy for women offenders, Adventure Therapy Conference, Aurora University, Aurora, IL, October 1998

    • Therapeutic applications of experiential education.  TOMCA XXXI (Top of Michigan Children's Agencies, Inc.) Thirty-first Training Conference, Gaylord, MI, December 1998

    • Group Development Theory:  Boring or Fun?  A model for the 90s.  Association of Experiential Education International Conference, Asheville, NC, November 1998

    • Women in Experiential Education:  A journey of Strength and vision.  Association of Experiential Education International Conference, Asheville, NC, November 1998

    • Gender Considerations in Adventure Education, National Outdoor Leadership School, Lander, WY, May 1997, June 1997, August 1997, September 1997

    • Experiential Activities, Initiatives, and Ropes Courses:  Their relationship to Play Therapy.  Association of Experiential Education 6th Annual Heartland Region Conference.  Brookstone, IN, March 1997

    • Outdoor Adventures for Women, The 4th Annual Midwestern Professional Women's Conference, Richmond, IN, October, 1996

    • Leadership for Diaconal and Clergywomen, The Fall Diaconal and Clergywomen's retreat, Koininia, Annandale, MN, September, 1996

    • The Connection Between Nature and Self, Wilderness Wellness Retreat for the Center for Outdoor Adventures, University of Minnesota, Annandale, MN, February 1996

    • Ethical use of Challenge Courses and Integrated Leadership Seminar, The Challenge Program, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, January 1996

    • • Women choosing to spend outdoor pursuit leisure time with other women – Why do some women choose all-women groups and some women avoid all-women groups? International Conference on women and leisure: Toward a new understanding, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, May 1995

    • Theory and Research Supporting Women-Only Programs, Association of Experiential Education, Austin, TX, November 1994

    • Do Men Navigate Better then Women, Department of Army 8th Annual Recreation Conference, Colorado Springs, CO, October 1994

    • Sports and Outdoor Recreation for Girls/Women:  Issues and Ideas, National Recreation and Parks Association, Minneapolis, MN, October 1994

    • Group Dynamics for County Park Workers, Hennepin Parks All Program Retreat, Minneapolis, MN, September 1994

    • Leadership and Diversity, Minnesota Naturalists' Association Workshop, Working to include Everyone:  Recognizing Diversity, Minneapolis, MN, November 1993

    • Adventure Therapy and Women, Minnesota Women Psychologists Annual Retreat, Annandale MN, September, 1993

    • Throw a Party:  The Hostess Concept of Leadership, National Conference for Outdoor Leaders, Crested Butte, CO, September 1991

    • The Opportunities of Homogeneous Groups, National Conference for Outdoor Leaders, Crested Butte, CO, September 1991

    • I Never Expected Someone to Die on my Trip, Association for Experiential Education Conference, Santa Fe, NM, October 1989

    • Ecotourism, Horizontes, Inc. Costa Rica, April 1989

    • Eco-Feminism:  The correlation between feminism and the environment; S.E.A.L. at Anoka-Ramsey College, MN, January, 14, 1988

    • Tibetan Travels and People, Travel in the East Series, St. Paul, MN, February 1987

    • For Men:  Taking the mystery out of working with women as co-leaders and participants, Association for Experiential Education Conference, Port Townsend, WA, November 1987

    • In Search of a Feminist Standard for Outdoor Programs, Conference Panel Discussion, Mitten, Denise, Miranda, W., Warren, K., Tippett, S., Waller, K. (Speakers).  Moodus, CT:  Association of Experiential Education 14th Annual Conference 1986

    • Outdoor programming with women who are survivors of domestic violence and rape, Association for Experiential Education Conference, CT, October 1986

    • Wilderness challenge courses for women: Do they foster personal growth? Association for Experiential Education Conference, CT, October 1986

    • Working effectively with women, leadership styles from a women's tradition, Association for Experiential Education Conference, Junaluska, NC, October 1984

    • Meeting the Unknown:  Bonding in the Wilderness, Association for Women in Psychology Conference, Seattle, WA, April 1983

    • Science and Social Responsibility Conference, Minneapolis, MN, April 1980

    Awards

    Awards

    2017 Outdoor Leadership Visiting Professor at Indiana University

    2016 Symposium for Experiential Education Research Chair

    2016 Visiting Scholar Experiential Education Dobogókő Hungary

    2015 Distinguished Researcher Award

    2011 Kurt Hahn Address for the Association of Experiential Education

    2009 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Social Justice Award from Ferris State University

    2009 Carnegie/AASCU PEP Fellow for work in planning, organizing, leading, teaching, mentoring, and presenting on behalf of the Political Engagement Project 2006-2009

    2007 Michael Stratton Practitioner of the year Award “for her dedication of furthering the field of experiential education through her devotion to teaching, willingness to share, and desire to place participants in control of their own learning. Denise is a mentor to many, a dedicated and active member of AEE, and someone who has the respect of all those who have known her.” Association of Experiential Education, Boulder, CO

    2006 Recognition of continued dedication, service and leadership on the AEE Board of Directors

    1996 Award of Outstanding Service for advancing Woodswomen’s service mission in support of women and children 1979 – 1996

    1993 Entrepreneur of the Year Award, National Association of Professional Saleswomen

    1992 The Nancy Rehm Memorial Award for 15 years of providing challenging opportunities for women through outdoor and wilderness experiences

    1991-1992 Excellence in Teaching Award, Metropolitan State University, Minneapolis, MN

    1987 Radford College visiting scholar

    Supported research and grants include

    2010 Baldwin Community Schools Optimal Health Program

    2010 Women over 40 perceptions of boy image

    2009 Bridging Program

    2008 Women and leadership project

    2004 Student learning preferences

    1989 Wilderness Experiences for Women Offenders Program; wrote the major grant; chaired the advisory committee for the project; designed the program; guided the first several trips

    1987 Women and Children Bonding in the Outdoors Program; wrote two major grants; designed the program; compiled program documentation

    Media

    Media

    Interviews

    2010 Staying in shape during winter, Pioneer Press, Big Rapids, MI

    1993 Suburban Spotlight, Suburban Community Channels, White Bear Lake, MN

    1992 Woodswomen Outdoor Adventures, CBS, Seattle, WA

    1992 Woodswomen Adventures; MN Women's Consortium program, WLTE, MN

    1991 The Judy Corraeo Show, Cable TV, Minneapolis, MN

    1991 Women and Kids Rock Climbing, Good Company, Minneapolis, MN

    1990 Women's Sports Night, KANA Radio 1470 AM, Blaine, MN

    1989 Winter Wonderland, Tales of Travel, Channel 33, Cable TV, Minneapolis, MN

    1989 "Focus", K102 FM Radio, St Paul, MN

    1989 "Woodswomen", Good time Cable TV, Minneapolis, MN

    1988 "Woodswomen: Rockclimbing", 10:00 p.m. Report ABC Channel 4, Minneapolis, MN

    1987 Profiled in Climbing Magazine, Vol 103 August

    1987 "Woodswomen:  Rockclimbing at Taylor's Falls", North Central Cable TV, Minneapolis, MN

    1987 Profiled in Woman of Achievement, Perspectives, The Review, St Paul, MN, March 11, by Marilee Jackson

    1986 Arthur Frommer Travel Show, Cable TV, New York, NY

    1986 It isn't how far you've come, but where you are that's important on a Woodswomen trip, by Sam Cook, News-Tribune & Herald, Outdoors, Duluth, MN Sunday, January 26

    1980 The Hardy Girls, Learning not to fear Mother Nature, MS. Magazine, October

    Instruction at Prescott College

    Instruction at Prescott College

    Adventure Education

    An Adventure Education graduate may be found guiding clients safely up a vertical rock face, forecasting avalanche... Read More

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    Ph.D. in Sustainability Education

    The desired outcome for the Limited-Residency Ph.D. degree in Sustainability Education an informed, involved citizenry... Read More

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    Experiential Education

    Educators using the philosophy of experiential education learn how to construct meaningful learning experiences grounded... Read More

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    Integral Adventure Education

    The integral approach to Adventure Education seeks to integrate the mind, body, and spirit of the individual and/or... Read More

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    Therapeutic Use of Adventure Education

    The past couple of decades have seen the development of adventure-based, therapeutic wilderness programs, integrating... Read More

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