Assistant Director for the Adirondack Semester

Company: St. Lawrence University

Job Type: Seasonal

Job Description

The Adirondack Semester is a unique program of place-based environmental education, involving 3.5 months of residence and academic study at a base camp in the Adirondacks, an extended backcountry trip, and a variety of outdoor activities. The program situates students on the boundary between modern civilization and wild nature and encourages them to study and reflect on their relationship with each of these and on the choices, we must make in order to preserve the natural world. Faculty members commute to the site to teach a full university semester, including cultural and natural history of the Adirondacks, perceptions of nature, and a creative expressions course. (See https://web.stlawu.edu/adksemester/.) This is a full-time, six-month appointment beginning July 6, 2023.

The Assistant Director will work under the supervision of the Director and in collaboration with one other Assistant Director and will live on site 5 days/week. The two Assistant Directors share the following responsibilities.


Teach the half credit ODST 101: Modern Outdoor Recreation course

  • Help to plan, coordinate and mentor students through the Capstone Internship, a 3-week experiential capstone that takes place during the final weeks of the semester.
  • Help to foster critical reflection on and discussion of the mission, goals and guiding principles of the program

Administration: (Communication, Logistics & Fiscal Responsibilities)

  • Responsible for communication with faculty, staff, students, and parents
  • Recommend and oversee annual purchase of new equipment and supplies
  • Set up and oversee food purchasing including a CSA, grocery store accounts and orders through dining services
  • Coordinate and help plan orientation, the semester schedule and weekly calendar

Oversight: (Risk Management, Facility & Community)

  • Primary responsibility for updating and observing best risk management practices
  • Set up and maintain program site including, yurts, buildings, solar array, composting toilet, and other infrastructure
  • Facilitate and develop a living and learning community that is physically and emotionally safe for all to enjoy while participating in community activities such as cooking meals, chores and community meetings

Trip Leader & Planner:

  • Plan, organize, and lead 5-14 day back country trips
  • Plan and lead weekend outdoor activities for students during semester

The Assistant Directors are expected to comfortably operate motor vehicles, including a 12-passenger van with a canoe trailer, on un-maintained roads. Successful candidates will also be able to lift up to 50lbs and travel on foot up to 8 miles per day.

The anticipated start date for this six-month appointment will be July 6, 2023. This appointment may be renewable in successive years. Compensation package will include salary, health insurance, and room and board on-site during the 3.5 months of the base camp residence and expeditions.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Wilderness First Responder and CPR
  • Demonstrated experience as an outdoor educator and trip leader

Preferred Qualifications

  • Demonstrated strong interpersonal, team and community building skills
  • An individual who has a combination of administrative, teaching, outdoor leadership and backcountry experience.
  • The successful candidate will serve as a model for students, demonstrating a positive attitude, tolerance, patience, openness to new ideas and application of the program’s environmental ethic.
  • A familiarity with and an appreciation for the role and mission of a small, private liberal arts institution
  • Familiarity with canoes and boats and/or professional canoe instruction certifications (ACA)
  • Basic handy person/carpentry skills are very helpful

St. Lawrence University is an Equal Opportunity Employer. For additional information about St. Lawrence, please visit https://www.stlawu.edu.

How to Apply

Interested applicants must apply online at https://employment.stlawu.edu/postings/3230 uploading all required materials which are defined in the “special instructions to applicant” section.  Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Questions may be directed to Jacob McCoola, Director of Outdoor Studies & Adirondack Semester, [email protected]. All offers of employment are contingent upon the finalist successfully passing a background (including criminal records) check. St. Lawrence University policy requires all employees and students to be up to date with available vaccinations against Covid-19 including, as applicable, a booster shot. Individuals may apply for a medical or religious exemption from this policy.
Posted on: March 22, 2023
Job Type: Seasonal
Job Starting Date:
July 6, 2023
Application Closing Date:
May 28, 2024
Preferred/Required Degree Level: Bachelor’s degree
Population(s) Served: Youth - College
Region(s): US