The Inclusivity and Belonging in the Outdoor Recreation Economy graduate certificate focuses on developing a more welcoming and inclusive outdoor recreation economy and expanding access to the outdoors to everyone by offering you tools and strategies to effectively lead the transition to a more equitable outdoor industry. 

You will learn global best practices in inclusivity through coursework, resources and access to thought leaders who are guiding global organizations to a more diverse and inclusive future. The certificate has an intention to create a safe space for deep learning, honest exploration and open dialogue.

This certificate can be taken as a standalone offering or as part of the Master of Science in Outdoor Recreation Economy program.

At the end of this certificate, you should be able to:

  • communicate the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion and access within the Outdoor Recreation Economy,
  • identify opportunities for increasing access and inclusion within the outdoor recreation economy,
  • lead outdoor industry organizations in developing diverse and inclusive recruiting and hiring practices,
  • recognize and champion the outdoor recreation economy’s role in addressing issues of diversity, equity, inclusivity and outdoor access in all communities and
  • play a leadership role in creating a natural environment where all people feel not only welcome but encouraged to become active participants as outdoor enthusiasts, industry professionals and stewards dedicated to the protection of the land.

Course Descriptions

Asynchronous Subject Courses (2 Credits Each)

We start by creating a safe space for deep learning, honest exploration and open dialogue. This course will expand your knowledge and understanding around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Everyone has the right to be treated fairly with dignity and respect. These are our human rights. Building a community, work environment and society that is diverse, inclusive, equitable and just requires a foundation from which to develop. DEI is an ongoing learning process and requires commitment, personal leadership and accountability. This course will enable students to be a part of developing an inclusive foundation for their respective organizations and communities with knowledge, tools and best practices from global leaders within the outdoor recreation economy and beyond. The course sets the intention to be a stepping stone to help break down the barriers to entry and participation, while creating a more inclusive natural environment where all people can not only feel welcome but encouraged to become active participants as outdoor enthusiasts, industry professionals/leaders and stewards dedicated to the protection of the land.

At the end of the course, you should be able to:

  • describe what Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is and explain why it matters in organizations, communities and society at large,
  • be familiar with DEI concepts and language,
  • evaluate the business benefits which arise from maintaining a diverse workforce and Outdoor Recreation Economy industry,
  • examine the key challenges for DEI within the Outdoor Recreation Economy and understand possible solutions (inclusive of barriers to entry and participation),
  • understand legal frameworks that can help strengthen an inclusive foundation in the workplace,
  • conduct an inquiry-based process to advance DEI-forward policies and operations in the workplace and
  • have awareness of their own implicit biases and learn ways to consciously build more inclusive environments.

Research shows that promoting diversity alone does not ensure a culture of inclusion and belonging. In this course, we work to create a secure and supportive environment for deep learning, honest exploration, and open dialogue. Belonging is a fundamental aspect of human existence and plays a crucial role in creating inclusive environments. This course aims to enhance your understanding and knowledge of how to center belonging as a part of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts in organizations (the workplace), communities, and within. Finally, this course explores the importance of accountability by focusing on 3 of the 5 success factors for DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging) integrated work: Having a meaningful definition of success, accountable and invested business leaders, and rigorous tracking and course correction. 

At the end of the course, you should be able to:

  • define and explain the importance of what it means to Belong in organizations, communities, and society;
  • demonstrate familiarity with DEI concepts and terminology (summarized from Foundations of Inclusivity Course);
  • recognize the limitations of promoting diversity alone in establishing a culture of inclusion and belonging;
  • analyze the primary challenges associated with creating environments where people feel they belong and explore potential solutions;
  • develop personal awareness of their own identity, sense of belonging, and ability to foster inclusivity within their respective communities and environments;
  • comprehend the five critical tenants and pillars for cultivating belonging in organizations and be able to apply strategies to foster a sense of belonging within those organizations.
    • Five Tenants: Psychological Safety, Empathy, Acceptance, Connection, Embraced
    • Five Pillars: Welcomed, Known, Included, Supported, Connected
  • understand how accountability contributes to the success of establishing inclusive environments where no one feels their inclusion is questioned and all are welcomed; and
  • learn methods for measuring accountability through trackable and measurable metrics.

In this course, we strive to create a secure and nurturing environment that fosters deep learning, honest exploration, and open dialogue. Through the practice of inclusive and conscious leadership, we shift our focus from "I" to "We," igniting interconnectedness across all aspects of life and work. The journey begins with the self-awareness to drive meaningful change. The course specifically concentrates on vital areas that inclusive leaders must cultivate to drive conscious change within their domains effectively. It provides a framework for transitioning from inclusive leadership to intentional and transformative change within organizations, communities, and personal growth journeys. This course offers ample opportunities for personal growth and introspection, equipping students with the necessary skills to spearhead impactful change initiatives. Additionally, it examines how leadership contributes to the five fundamental success factors of DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging) integration: Nuanced understanding of root causes, meaningful definition of success, accountable and invested business leaders, solutions designed for context, rigorous tracking, and course correction.

At the end of the course, you should be able to:

  • acquire a comprehensive understanding of conscious and inclusive leadership principles;
  • develop the essential skills and behaviors to lead impactful change initiatives and identify personal growth opportunities;
  • understand how self-management/leadership precedes effective leadership externally;
  • recognize the influence of leadership on the fundamental success factors of DEIB integration;
  • engage in critical reflection of traditional leadership approaches, embracing inclusive methods to address barriers and challenge assumptions that sustain exclusivity;
  • foster an inclusive and positive working environment;
  • understand the impact of personal leadership and communication styles on productivity and the cultivation of positive working relationships; and
  • be equipped to effectively lead the change leadership process and communicate the benefits of inclusive leadership.

Designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted forces that have shaped diverse communities, both historically and in the contemporary context. By the end of this course, students will possess the knowledge and analytical skills necessary to contribute meaningfully to discussions and actions aimed at advancing social justice and equity in the Outdoor Recreation Economy and beyond.

During the course, you will have the opportunity to:

  • analyze the historical and present-day socio-economic factors that influence social justice and equity in the Outdoor Recreation Economy and beyond to understand the interconnection;
  • examine the cultural and political dimensions impacting diverse communities;
  • explore strategies for promoting fairness and equity in economic, community and workplace settings;
  • assess the role of social justice in ensuring the safety and security of individuals and communities in the Outdoor Recreation Economy; and
  • engage in critical discussions and research to deepen their comprehension of these vital topics.

Synchronous Project Course (2 Credits)

In this course, you apply the concepts, knowledge, and skills gained in the other courses within this certificate to complete a real-world project. You analyze, research, develop and implement innovative strategies, processes and designs, and solutions as relevant to the outdoor recreation economy. This course has an experiential foundation and requires collaboration with colleagues, stakeholders, and partner organizations. 

This course should empower you to:

  • apply the skills and knowledge acquired during the certificate courses to complete a solutions-focused project;
  • practice how to successfully engage with a team and stakeholders; and
  • communicate professionally with the outdoor recreation industry and relevant stakeholders.

You must complete all other courses in this certificate prior to enrolling in this course.