Meet professor Benjamin Rush

by Jessica Young  |   

Benjamin Rush is the new Assistant Professor of Outdoor Leadership. He emphasizes 2 points in the world of outdoor leadership: learning is through doing and best practices. His teaching style is more often than not to address a student’s question with a form of his own: ‘I’m more interested in what you think.’ According to Rush, in our business when outdoors and surrounded by nature, the variables abound, and those variables aren’t limited to the whims of weather and its effect on your environment, but also include the most complex and unpredictable variable of all…people. For that reason says Rush, “My goal is not only to ensure students master the requisite outdoor skill set, but also to challenge them into becoming independent thinkers. Best practices are introduced from day 1. From their first trip until their last, it’s what students learn. Never settle for “almost”. We want our students to know that when they are guiding in the field, you do it 100% or you don’t do it. We teach best practices to students so when they leave, its imbedded in their style of leadership.

Ben’s experience is vast and varied. Most recently he served as an assistant professor of the Outdoor Education Leadership and Tourism Department at Northern Vermont University. Prior to that, he taught in Taiwan for more than 20 years. He has a deep connection to Asia and the outdoor program he helped build over his 20 year tenure there. Rush has recently returned to Alaska and to what he considers his dream job…and he definitely lives what he teaches. From skiing and winter camping to hiking, climbing, and sea kayaking, Ben is constantly on the move. His lifetime travels, associated outdoor experiences, and teaching credentials are many. They include but are not limited to:

  • O.L.O. Wilderness Medicine Instructor
  • Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician
  • American Canoe/Kayak Association Instructor Trainer
  • National Outdoor Leadership School Instructor
  • Leave No Trace Master Educator Instructor
  • Wilderness Education Association Instructor 
  • Ph.D. from the National Taiwan Sport University (2014)