Face to Face – Adventure Based Experiential Education

This cohort will start Spring 2020 and is limited to 20 learners.
Led by our experienced facilitator, Carla Hacker and also Catherine McCollister.
Applications for this spring start program can be accepted starting September 3rd.
Contact Cindy George to be placed on the list to hold your spot.  cgeorge@uwlax.edu 
It is filling up fast!

Cohort meeting dates:
January 25-26, 2020 tentative                      November 21-22, 2020
February 28-Mar 1, 2020                               December 12-13, 2020
March 27-29, 2020                                         January 23-24, 2021
April 10-12, 2020                                            February 20-21, 2021
May 9-10, 2020                                               March 13-14, 2021
September 26-27, 2020                                 April 10-11 2021
October 24-25, 2020                                      May 1-2, 2021

This 30 credit program is designed for teachers and other education professionals seeking to meet desired professional advancement goals.

Overall Goal:
Develop independent thoughtful educators who understand the role of group process by experiencing the process and importance of creating a caring and experiential learning environment in order for their students to be able to thrive.

Masters program designed for educators with a focus on:

  • Understanding and applying the power of learning in community
  • Learning focused on your professional development
  • Applicability - Learn today, apply tomorrow
  • Improving your impact and reaching more students
  • Using reflection to improve your practice
  • Implementing action research to transform your practice
  • Integrated curriculum enriches learning experience
  • Applying teaching standards in innovative ways
  • Constructivist philosophy


  • Foundations of Experiential Education and community building
  • Deep understanding of group process through study and living the process
  • Outdoor living skills and adventure education in and out of the classroom.

Every UW-La Crosse ME-PD graduate student will:

  • Improve content and pedagogical knowledge.
  • Experience professional and personal transformation.
  • MMSD teachers will complete a comprehensive literature review.  All other students will conduct action research.
  • Exhibit teacher leadership.
  • Improve PK-16 student learning.
  • Support PK-16 student development and self efficacy.
  • Create and sustain a professional learning community environment

Furthermore it is designed to provide and emphasize:

  • Experiential education: learning by doing
  • Skills and techniques that are transferable/applicable to your life and your work as an educator
  • Shared leadership
  • A fluid and dynamic approach: be ready to be flexible!
  • Connections to people in the group and other resources
  • Experiencing group development and group process as we work and play together in community and then using these tools in your classroom.
  • Conviction in the importance of having groups work together
  • Authenticity
  • Trust
  • Ownership of learning
  • FUN!


  • One weekend a month during the school year. Location will be MacKenzie Environmental Education Center near Poynette, WI, which is just north of Madison. Group will stay overnight the Saturday evenings of weekend meeting times at the Center at no cost.
  • Wilderness Institute during the summer. While this has typically been a  10-14 day backpacking trip, the type of activity, length and location will be decided by each group.

With a planned January 2020 start, those enrolled in the program will graduate in May 2021.


  • Monthly readings and reflections
  • End of semester reflections
  • Professional Development Plan (PDP)
  • Literature review or action research  
  • Conference planning, hosting and presentation.

All of these requirements will be directly related to student areas of interest and applicable to their work as educators.

Course of Study

  • Academic study of Experiential Education:
    • Philosophy
    • Theories
    • Models
    • Foundations
  • Outdoor living skills
    • Trip/Route planning
    • Food for wilderness travel
    • Packing for wilderness travel
    • Wilderness hygiene
    • Leave no trace
    • Shelters
    • Local outdoor adventures to be decided by the group: Can include: Rock climbing, canoeing, caving, backpacking
    • Group formation and community building
  • Academic requirements:
    • Monthly reflections and readings
    • Introduction of Professional Development Plan
    • Literature review or Action Research project
    • End of semester synthesis
    • Plan, host and present at a conference with an experiential education focus
    • Attendance at UWL Fall for Education conference the first weekend of November
  • Wilderness Institute: 2 weeks in the summer 2020.
    • Reflection and readings

Gear you may need to buy or borrow:

Backpack, sleeping bag, camping pad, hiking boots, trekking poles, rain jacket, rain pants, clothing suitable for backpacking/camping. UW LaCrosse Outdoor programs has some gear that is available for rent. More information on gear to follow during the first semester.

Course Course Name Credits
Term 1    
EDU 601 Learning Community 1 credit
EDU 641 Educational Research 1 credit
EDU 621 Best Practice Pedagogy 1 credit
EDU 631 Curriculum Development and Assessment 1 credit
EDU 651 Democracy, Diversity and Social Justice in Education 1 credit
EDU 611 Technology in Education 1 credit
EDU 661 Teacher Leadership 1 credit
Term 2    
EDU 602 Learning Community 1 credit
EDU 642 Educational Research 2 credits
EDU 622 Best Practice Pedagogy 1 credit
EDU 632 Curriculum Development and Assessment 1 credit
EDU 652 Democracy, Diversity and Social Justice in Education 1 credit
EDU 612 Technology in Education 1 credit
EDU 662 Teacher Leadership 1 credit
Term 3    
EDU 703 Learning Community 1 credit
EDU 743 Educational Research 1 credit
EDU 723 Best Practice Pedagogy 1 credit
EDU 733 Curriculum Development and Assessment 1 credit
EDU 753 Democracy, Diversity and Social Justice in Education 1 credit
EDU 713 Technology in Education 1 credit
EDU 763 Teacher Leadership 1 credit
Term 4    
EDU 704 Learning Community 1 credit
EDU 744 Educational Research 2 credits
EDU 724 Best Practice Pedagogy 1 credit
EDU 734 Curriculum Development and Assessment 1 credit
EDU 754 Democracy, Diversity and Social Justice in Education 1 credit
EDU 714 Technology in Education 1 credit
EDU 764 Teacher Leadership 1 credit
TOTAL   30 credits


EDU 601/EDU 602/EDU 703/EDU 704               Learning in Community 
In this course, students will come to understand the value of learning in a collaborative setting. Students will examine theories and key aspects of community development.  Students will practice creating and sustaining community within the learning community and within their workplace.  Opportunities will also be given to explore developing professional learning communities beyond the program.


  • Students will understand what it means to learn in community.
  • Students will examine theories of community development.
  • Students will create and sustain learning in community within the ME-PD Learning Community.
  • Students will create and sustain learning in community within the professional workplace.


EDU 641/EDU 642/EDU 743/EDU 744               Educational Research 
In this course, students will gain knowledge of action research and implement an action research study in the workplace.  Students will understand and experience all stages of the action research process.  Students will recognize the value of data in making decisions regarding PK-16 teaching and learning.  Students will complete an action research study and disseminate the results.


  • Students will recognize different methods of educational research.
  • Students will identify and implement various data collection tools.
  • Students will understand and implement an action research study.
  • Students will write a scholarly action research article.


EDU 621/EDU 622/EDU 723/EDU 724               Best Practice Pedagogy 
In this course, students will study and apply research-based best practices for teaching and learning.  They will be challenged to reflect upon current practice, incorporate best practices, and improve future practice as they seek continuous improvement.  Students will be provided a variety of forums to investigate, analyze and reflect upon their implementation of multiple instructional methodologies for the purpose of improving PK-16 student learning.


  • Students will study and apply best practices and current research to teaching with the purpose to improve PK-16 student learning.
  • Students will understand brain development as it relates to student learning and the learning environment.
  • Students will align teaching and instruction to the developmental needs of their students.
  • Students will be familiar with and apply instructional strategies appropriate for specific content area subject matter.


EDU 631/EDU 632/EDU 733/EDU 734               Curriculum Development and Assessment 
In this course, students will evaluate current curriculum, investigate curricular frameworks, and align curriculum to teaching standards and academic standards.  Students will experience, investigate and implement various forms of assessment.  Students will design classroom curriculum that aligns curriculum and assessment for the purpose of improving PK-16 student learning.


  • Students will evaluate current curriculum and assessment practices.
  • Students will improve their knowledge of academic content area.
  • Students will align classroom curriculum and assessment with teaching standards and academic content standards.
  • Students will collect and analyze evidence of PK-16 student learning and modify instruction as necessary.
  • Students will utilize ongoing assessments to monitor and promote student learning and to guide curriculum development.
  • Students will critique, identify and develop quality curriculum.


EDU 651/EDU 652/EDU 753/EDU 754                   Democracy, Diversity and Social Justice in Education 
In this course, students will examine social issues that influence the Learning Community, personal behavior, professional settings, and institutional systems.  Issues explored will include (but will not be limited to) class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, and religion, as well as harassment and bullying.  Through this exploration, students will understand how social issues influence relationships in order to take action regarding equity and justice in the workplace.


  • Students will examine areas of diversity that influence the Learning Community and current professional settings.
  • Students will examine reflectively the issues of diversity including, but not limited to class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, and religion.
  • Students will promote issues of equity and justice. 
  • Students will understand how diversity influences relationships at a personal and institutional level. Students will understand harassment and bullying.


EDU 611/EDU 612/EDU 713/EDU 714               Technology in Education
In this course, students will distinguish between informational and instructional technology.  They will be exposed to a variety of technology tools and software and gain practical technology skills.  Students will use a variety of online tools and programs to communicate and collaborate. They will analyze and implement developmentally appropriate instructional technology in their workplace.  They will explore current technology and how it relates to the culture of PK-16 students.  Students will document competency related to student-created goals in a professional development portfolio.


  • Students will distinguish between informational technology and instructional technology.
  • Students will be exposed to various informational and instructional technology tools and software.
  • Students will be able to create, communicate and collaborate online.
  • Students will explore the role of current technology and PK-16 student culture.
  • Students will discover what technology is developmentally appropriate for their students.
  • Students will critically choose when, where, and how to integrate technology within their classrooms.


EDU 661/EDU 662/EDU 763/EDU 764               Teacher Leadership
In this course, students will explore teacher leadership that strengthens professional practice.  They will reflect upon political issues and educational issues in developing their personal and professional identity.  Students will be challenged to demonstrate educational leadership beyond their own classroom.  Students will explore initiatives related to systems and trends that improve and contribute to learning.


  • Students will develop an awareness of and a means of utilizing their personal and professional identities.
  • Students will share newly acquired skills and knowledge with others in the profession.
  • Students will demonstrate leadership in the educational profession beyond teaching in their own classroom.
  • Students will develop political awareness of educational issues.
  • Students will develop an understanding of school systems.
Credits Rate $450 per credit
Masters or Certificate
WI residents and non-residents
8 Credit Semester $3,600
7 Credit Semester $3,150
6 Credit Semester $2,700
5 Credit Semester $2,250
4 Credit Semester $1,800


SCHOLARSHIPS ~ take tuition down to only $396/credit

We are pleased to announce the offering scholarships.jpgof scholarships to our entering students for our programs. Scholarships will be available to students with an undergraduate grade point average (GPA)  minimum of 3.4.  Scholarship will be in the amount of $54/credit. Since our existing tuition is $450/credit, the applied scholarship to qualified applicants will take this amount down to $396/credit. For new students, we will look at your entering undergraduate GPA at application and use that GPA for qualification standards. After initially qualifying for the scholarship at time of application, a 3.4 GPA must be maintained throughout the program to continue receiving the scholarship each term. Check out further scholarship opportunities here.  Scholarship program contingent upon funding.

Other Fees
A $56 application fee is charged at time of application. There will be a
 Fall for Education Conference special course fee of $60 in addition to your fall tuition. Each semester there is also a $25 registration charge and a $2 per credit fee for D2L services.  There is a $38 graduation fee charged your last semester to cover the cost of the diploma, cover and commencement ceremony. 

The WI Department of Public Instruction (DPI) requires that candidates for admission to a teacher education, administration, or pupil services program successfully pass a criminal background check (CBC) as one criterion for admission. Minimum cost of the CBC is $24.This is not a requirement for any of the ME-PD programs that don't result in licensure.

If you have questions about fees, contact the Cashier's Office or the Office of Admissions.  The Board of Regents reserves the right to change tuition and fees without published notice.

In addition to tuition, book costs will average $100-200 per semester.  Your facilitators will communicate required book lists throughout the semesters. Also budget for school supplies (paper, pens, folders, etc.).

Financial Aid
Financial aid is available for the Director of Instruction program if completed in the term immediately following the completion of the ME-PD Educational Leadership emphasis program.


  • Maximum enrollment for Adventure based experimental learning is limited to 24 degree seeking students.
  • Your completed Application for Graduate Admission secures a seat in the program.
  • Have a group of interested individuals in our program?  We will bring a Learning Community to your location.

Step One: Application to Graduate School

Complete the Application for Graduate Admission form and remit a $56* nonrefundable application fee online at: https://apply.wisconsin.edu/
*Nonrefundable: The $56 application fee will be refunded if the class session does not reach the minimum enrollment of 10 students for online or 18 students for blended and face-to-face sessions.

When completing the application, here are some helpful hints to use on certain pages of the application in order to apply for the correct program.

  • Post-Secondary: Choose Graduate Degree (Master, Doctoral, Specialist, Professional)
  • Reason for Applying: Choose Graduate Degree, Licensure or Certificate
  • Graduate Programs: Choose…..
    • Professional Development - Educational Leadership for the Educational Leadership Master’s program. Get your master’s and your Principalship (5051).
    • Professional Development - Learning Community for…. Blended cohorts, ME-PD Adventure Based, ME-PD Math Emphasis, ME-PD Culturally Responsive Emphasis, ME-PD Leadership Emphasis, ME-PD Trauma Informed Care Emphasis
    • Professional Development - Learning Community (Online) for… ME-PD Online.

Request ALL OFFICIAL UNDERGRADUATE transcripts from ALL previous post-secondary     institutions attended.  This includes transfer credits even if they appear on another school transcript.  If you attended UW-La Crosse, you do not need to request those transcripts.  Please contact each institution individually to request your academic records.  Most universities allow you to request transcripts online.

All official transcripts must be sent directly to:
Graduate Admissions Office
142 Cleary Center
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
1725 State Street
La Crosse, WI 54601

Or by email to:

Step Two: Financial Aid - IF APPLICABLE

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at www.fafsa.ed.gov/.  You will be asked to insert the Federal School Code for UW-La Crosse which is: 003919

Step Three: Registering for 1st Semester Courses

Registration opens when the Learning Community (LC) is confirmed.  Once the LC is confirmed, registration materials, book lists and other information will be emailed to you a couple weeks prior to the beginning of your first weekend.
Register for your first semester courses using our WINGS system at: wings.uwlax.edu