Department: School of Humanities, Religion, and Social Sciences
Status: Faculty rank; non-continuing status track, clinical position
Time commitment: Full-time; 9-month faculty appointment
Start date: May 15, 2020

FPU Wilderness Programs Operations Director at FPU, is a faculty member responsible for the year-round coordination and execution of multiple educational and experiential opportunities, primarily in (but not limited to) the Sierra Nevada mountains, and is the primary Humanities faculty member teaching in the Wilderness Studies Minor. The central mission of FPU Wilderness Programs, is to offer truly transformative wilderness experiences to all FPU students (and where relevant, to the wider community) in a way that purposefully integrates an interdisciplinary academic focus on environmental issues and stewardship, with community experience, spiritual formation, and a variety of wilderness-relevant skills (such as backpacking). The person holding this position is therefore expected to demonstrate and embody sustained commitment to truly holistic wilderness-based experiential learning, including the intentional integration of academics, with the spiritual, sensory, embodied, personal identity and community formational aspects of wilderness experience.

In addition to relevant experience and certifications in wilderness guiding, risk-management and outdoor community formation and leadership, the position requires collaboration and professional interface with FPU administration, faculty, staff, students, national forest and parks services, and third-party vendors, as well as leadership and recruitment of FPU students and community organizations to participation in the various offerings through FPU Wilderness Programs. The position reports primarily to the FPU Wilderness Programs Director, and secondarily to the FPU Wilderness Programs Advisory Council. Depending on relevant experience, the person holding this position may also report to other FPU program or departmental directors, in the event of adjunct teaching opportunities, or shared responsibilities with other departments.


  • Report regularly, year-round, to the FPU Wilderness Program Director on all operational matters, including budgetary review and enrollment data
  • Serve as the primary faculty member teaching core courses in the Wilderness Studies Minor, depending on interests and qualifications:
    • The Minor includes a variety of interdisciplinary options that may be taught by this position, or by other faculty
    • The Minor includes skills-based courses (e.g. navigation, wilderness medicine), recreational courses (e.g. backpacking; rock-climbing) and courses that integrate humanities (e.g. philosophy, ethics) with wilderness and environmental issues
    • Teaching includes, at minimum, WILD-100: Introduction to Wilderness Studies, which integrates philosophical, theological, and/or ethical reflection in humanities with wilderness skills, knowledge, and issues
    • Position also includes helping to shape the content of WILD-300: Wilderness and the Liberal Arts, the common core course for the Summer Sierra Program, in conjunction with the Program Director
  • In consultation with the Program Director, serve as operational and logistical point person for the 1-month long (with fluctuating duration) FPU Wilderness Sierra Summer Program, including: 
    • Coordination of the 9-12 days of base camp experience (facility rental, food, transport, lodging, staff, faculty and student logistics, day trips, etc.)
    • Guiding the wilderness trip (typically 7-10 days) and related tasks including execution of wilderness reconnaissance
    • Route planning and risk management
    • Wilderness medical preparedness and execution
    • Food, logistics, and hiking group composition
    • Coordination of day hikes and fitness check of all participants 
    • Supervision and training of Sierra Student Leadership Team
    • Recruitment and registration of student participants
    • Securing of certified guide services
    • Securing and maintaining all necessary commercial, special use, and/or educational use permits for Sierra wilderness, national forest, and/or National Park area
    • Maintaining necessary wilderness insurance
  • Provision of ongoing training for faculty, staff, and student leaders in mountain guiding, risk management, leave no trace ethics, navigation skills, and as necessary, snow travel skills. (Ability to provide ongoing Wilderness First Responder and Wilderness First Aid training, through SOLO or NOLS, is preferred)
  • For all FPU Wilderness Programs, secure and maintain all necessary commercial, special use, and/or educational use permits for Sierra wilderness, national forest, and/or National Park areas
  • For non-Sierra programs secure and maintain the same as needed for the appropriate wilderness areas
  • Secure and/or train appropriately certified mountain guide staff (external and internal), at industry standard, appropriate guide-to-participant ratios for non-technical backpacking
  • Maintain or supervise physical upkeep and keep record of all gear inventory, and regularly purchase new gear as needed
  • Maintain pro-deals with relevant outdoor gear vendors as needed, to the advantage of FPU Wilderness Programs
  • In consultation (and at times cooperation) with Program Director, manage and responsibly maintain all FPU Wilderness Budgets, ensuring fiscal viability
  • Maintain and monitor appropriate insurance coverages relevant to wilderness programs
  • Develop and maintain a comprehensive risk-management and wilderness role manual
  • Coordinate community and spiritual formation practices in conjunction with experienced faculty, staff, student leaders, and if needed, the Program Director
  • Coordinate and execute all recruiting and registration activities for FPU Wilderness Programs
  • Under the supervision and direction of the Program Director, communicate and collaborate regularly and proactively with the Vice President of Student Life, on wilderness initiatives that may provide mutual benefit (such as “FPU Getaways for community building and recreation, or the “Bridge” program noted below).
  • Develop and implement a late summer, Sierra pre-enrollment ‘Bridge’ program (and/or other newly developed programs), in conjunction with the Program Director, in a way that (typically) integrates academics, community development, spiritual formation and back country skills
  • Develop and implement wilderness-relevant experiences or certifications for the broader community (e.g. high school students, at-risk youth, school opportunities, outdoor industry continuing education such as WFR and WAFA) for purposes of community mission, FPU recruitment, and/or generation of external revenue for FPU Wilderness Programs sustainability
  • Form collaborative partnerships and opportunities within FPU that support fiscal viability and sustainability of FPU Wilderness Programs (e.g. grant initiatives, ALAS partnerships, Continuing Education opportunities), in conjunction with Program Director when relevant
  • Track retention data of all FPU students involved in any FPU Wilderness Programs initiative, and annually report such data to the Program Director and Advisory Council
  • Direct regular meetings and/or recruitment activities with the FPU Wilderness Student Leadership team, as seasonally appropriate for program offerings and recruitment 
  • Once per semester, provide in-person reports to the Advisory Council, in consultation with the Program Director
  • If adjunct teaching for different departments, demonstrate consistent excellence in the classroom and in outdoor class settings, and report regularly (as requested) to the relevant Program Director(s), VP’s, and/or Department/Division Chair(s)
  • Develop and maintain a web presence and branding for FPU Wilderness Programs
  • Other duties as assigned



  • Masters degree in relevant field (humanities or outdoor education preferred)
  • Ability to teach core courses in a Wilderness Studies Minor, with its integrative emphasis on humanities and wilderness/environmental issues
  • 4+ years’ experience in education, outdoor recreation, program management, youth development or related field, preferably in a leadership or faculty role in higher education contexts
  • At least 3 years facilitating outdoor programs and related field activities, including strong skills in developing and facilitating camping, backpacking, and hiking programs
  • Commitment to the Christian faith and the Fresno Pacific University’s mission of Christ-centered teaching and learning, and involvement in a local church
  • The ability and background to integrate humanities related issues and questions (for example, in philosophy, theology, literature, ethics, or communication) with outdoor experiences. 


  • Ph.D. in relevant field (humanities or outdoor education preferred)
  • At least 2 years of relevant program administration, including some background in marketing and communications, and budget management
  • Experience working with a variety of people representing socio-economically, culturally and racially diverse backgrounds and including youth, adults, volunteers and staff. 

Certifications and Skills

  • Wilderness First Responder certification required (may be obtained upon hire).
  • Wilderness Medicine & CPR BLS Instructor status, SOLO or NOLS Instructor status, strongly preferred, but not required.
  • Demonstrable, extensive experience in wilderness risk management and Class I-IV wilderness navigation (no certification required).
  • American Mountain Guides Association, Single Pitch Instructor Certification is desirable, but not required.
  • American Mountain Guides Association Alpine Guide Certification is desirable, but not required. 
  • Experience in Class I-IV alpine guiding, and formal training or experience in avalanche and swift water skills, risk management, and rescue is desirable, but not required.


Dependent on qualifications and experience, and paid out over 12 months.


Send a letter of application, a completed faculty application form (including personal statements), curriculum vita, three letters of reference (including one pastoral), and transcripts or placement file to:

Dr. Ron Herms, Dean
Fresno Pacific University
School of HRSS, Box 2301
1717 S. Chestnut Avenue
Fresno, CA 93702

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University description

Fresno Pacific University offers undergraduate and graduate programs that stress solid academic preparation and a strong ethical foundation. Some 4,000 traditional and adult students attend classes on the main campus in southeast Fresno or centers in North Fresno, Visalia, Bakersfield and Merced as well as online. The university also reaches about 10,000 students through professional development studies. FPU has the highest four-year graduation rate of any Central Valley college or university, is a Hispanic Serving Institution, with a Hispanic student population of 44 percent, and is one of the top 10 HSIs nationally in graduating Hispanic students. The Valley’s only comprehensive Christian university granting master’s degrees, the university is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and ranked in the top tier among western universities—master’s category by U.S. News & World Report. FPU is affiliated with the Mennonite Brethren Church, and all employees express a personal Christian commitment and support the Christian mission of the university. A description of the unique quality of FPU as an academic community can be found in the Fresno Pacific University Idea.

Fresno Pacific University is an equal employment opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnic or social background, sex, age, or disability. Committed to excellence and actively supportive of cultural diversity, FPU invites individuals who contribute to such diversity to apply.

The university reserves the right to fill positions before the application deadline or to extend the deadline as circumstances may warrant.