Katie Fales of Carbondale, Colo., a politics-environmental studies major, is currently traveling on a 7-state, semester-long academic journey as part of Whitman College's Semester in the West program in which 21 students, one professor, two staff members and a dog tent-camp and meet with an eclectic mix of activists including, writers, ranchers, miners, labor organizers, historians, economists, cowboys and Native Americans.
Led by Phil Brick, Miles C. Moore Professor of Political Science at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., the Semester in the West interdisciplinary traveling classroom will meander from the Northwest through California, Utah and Nevada to New Mexico, Idaho, Colorado and New Mexico, taking a first-hand and in-depth look at some of the most timely and significant environmental, social and political issues facing the western U.S.
"The goal of the program," said Brick, "is to integrate traditional academic learning with a series of rigorous experiences in the field."
The group left campus Aug. 28 and will remain on the road through November. Students receive 16 credit hours for successful completion of the class. They earn four credits each in each of four academic disciplines – politics, environmental studies, biology, and rhetoric and film studies.
Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., is nationally renowned for offering a rigorous, well-rounded liberal arts undergraduate education. And independent, non-sectarian residential college, Whitman fosters intellectual vitality, confidence and leadership in its 1,450 students. Also noted for its commitment to environmental principles, Whitman is characterized by intellect, down-to-earth sensibilities, collaboration over competition and active lifestyle.