UNH Dept. of Kinesiology
UNH Professor Chosen for Highest Honor in Experiential Education
By Sharon Keeler
UNH News Bureau
November 14, 2002
DURHAM, N.H. -- University of New Hampshire Professor Michael Gass was chosen to deliver the Kurt Hahn Address -- one of the highest honors in the field of experiential education -- at the International Association of Experiential Education Conference in St. Paul, Minn., this month.
Since 1983, the Kurt Hahn Address has been given annually by a person who has contributed to the development and advancement of experiential education with "the tenacity and conviction" exemplified by Kurt Hahn, founder of Outward Bound and the United World College.
"This award represents the highest professional honor I have received, and I'm still a bit overwhelmed, but deeply honored," Gass said. "I'm also thankful for the people who have supported me at UNH over the years I've been here. The award comes from an organization interested in working with clients in organizational, educational and therapeutic settings focused on processes centered on justice, service, humility and compassion. This epitomizes many of the processes I have tried to use in my professional career."
Gass, a professor in UNH's Department of Kinesiology, has been coordinator of the outdoor education program for 21 years. He is the creator and director of the university's Browne Center, which develops programs, conducts research, and delivers programming in experiential education. The educational programs at UNH are recognized as some of the leading outdoor education and experiential programs in the field.
In 1998, the Association for Experiential Education honored Gass as the Outstanding Experiential Teacher of the Year. Highly recognized for his work in adventure therapy, he is the author or editor of several books, including "Adventure Therapy: Therapeutic Applications of Adventure Programming" and "Effective Leadership in Adventure Programming."
Gass also conducts research for the New Hampshire Department of Education on various experiential learning processes in public schools, including learning and character education. At UNH, he teaches courses in adventure programming, challenge course management, organization and administration of outdoor education, mountaineering, and rock climbing.
Gass received his doctorate in experiential education from the University of Colorado at Boulder and did his postdoctoral work in clinical marriage and family therapy. He is married with three children and lives in Durham.