MAT, Pacific University; BS – Physical Education, New Mexico State University
Adam Elson is a senior instructor in the OAL degree program and has taught at SOU since 2005. As one of the chief designers of the OAL curriculum, he has been a part of the program since its inception in 2008. Adam has professionally guided for 25 years in various fields, such as whitewater rafting, climbing, sea kayaking, backpacking and mountain biking. He lived in New Zealand for two years working at Outdoor Pursuit Centers which focus on delivering adventure education for grades 2-12, working mainly with high school students. He also led university adventure education groups on eight-week expeditions throughout New Zealand and Australia for several years. Adam is also a certified SCUBA Diving Instructor Trainer, having worked and lived in Hawaii, the Great Barrier Reef, and SE Asia. Adam is currently serving as the OAL Coordinator and teaches Outdoor Living Skills, Wilderness Navigation, Adventure Literature, Adventure Programming, Sustainability in Outdoor Programming, Advanced Techniques in Adventure Leadership, Expedition Planning, Mountain Biking, Whitewater Kayaking, Whitewater Rafting, Sea Kayaking, Backcountry Skiing/Splitboarding, Mountaineering and Avalanche Awareness & Rescue. Adam received his Bachelor of Science in Physical Education from New Mexico State University and his Master of Arts in Teaching from Pacific University. His focus in his Master’s program was on experiential education.
BS – Adventure Education, Northland College, May 2000; Licensed Massage Therapist – Ashland Institute of Massage, December 2010
Jon McLaughlin is an assistant instructor in the OAL degree program and a recent member of the OAL faculty team. He has a degree in Outdoor Education – Adventure Education from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin. Jon has been a professional guide and instructor in various fields of outdoor education and industry for over 15 years. Some of these experiences include Field Instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in river, canyoneering and backpacking courses; head kayak instructor, raft guide, canoe expedition in the Canadian Arctic and Marketing Director for Sawyer Paddles and Oars. Jon has studied massage therapy since 2010 and is has been a licensed massage therapist (LMT) in the state of Oregon since February 2011 focusing his business and practice in sports massage. Jon teaches Adventure Kinesiology. His passions reside in mountain biking, backcountry skiing, whitewater kayaking, canoeing, and rafting. Jon is currently a member of the US Men’s Whitewater Raft Team – Masters Division and competes around the world with his team.
MA – California Institute of Integral Studies, Transformative Leadership, May 2016; BS (x2) – Southern Oregon University, Anthropology & Psychology with Honors, June 2012
Over twenty-five years ago, Eric started working as an outdoor adventure leader in the southwestern Oregon and northern California area. He has guided trips in rafting, kayaking (rivers, lakes, and ocean), canoeing, fishing, biking, skiing, and hiking. He began his career as an outdoor adventure leader as a ski instructor and ski patroller at Mount Ashland, as well as a whitewater river guide on rivers like the Rogue, Klamath, North Umpqua, Scott, and California Salmon. At the age of twenty-six, he started a year-round adventure company in Ashland, Oregon, which he ran successfully for a few years before deciding to focus on teaching Swiftwater Rescue. At the age of forty, he returned to Southern Oregon University (SOU) where he earned Bachelor of Science degrees in anthropology, psychology, and a minor in Native American Studies. Eric graduated from California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) with an MA in Transformative Leadership and is continuing his inquiry at CIIS in the Doctoral Transformative Studies program (Ph.D., 2020). Eric’s passion is in the therapeutic and transformative powers of nature, and how humans relate to the more-than-human world. His current studies lie within the intersections of transformative leadership, social and environmental justice, and pedagogies and curriculums that nurture ecological consciousness. He utilizes a systems thinking approach to understanding how all our contemporary human problems are interrelated and interconnected and believes that outdoor adventure leaders hold potential great influence for positive socio-cultural transformation.
MIIS, Southern Oregon University; BS, Southern Oregon University
Erik Sol is a senior instructor in the OAL degree program and has been at SOU for 12 years, 5 years as the Outdoor Program Coordinator and 7 years as a faculty member. Erik has professionally guided and instructed for the past 25 years in various outdoor fields, particularly as a whitewater rafting guide, taking him to Nepal, Tibet, India, New Zealand, Chile and throughout the United States. He is a Rescue 3 International Swiftwater and Technical Rope Rescue Instructor and teaches Backcountry Split-Boarding, Wilderness First Responder, Avalanche Rescue, Whitewater Rafting, Ski and Boat maintenance, Minimal Impact Adventuring, Rock Climbing, Outdoor Living skills, Practicum, Capstone projects and Expedition Planning. Erik’s passion no doubt revolves around whitewater rafting and backcountry split-boarding.
PhD – Prescott College, Sustainability Education, May 2010; MEd – Portland State University, Education with Honors, April 2002; BA – Portland State University, History and Spanish with Honors, June 2000
Dr. Thatcher has spent his whole life exploring and adventuring throughout the world. His passion centers around exploration and helping others discover their inner explorer. He is an accomplished guide, educator, and administrator of outdoor, experiential, international, and adventure education for over 25 years. He has an extensive background in developing and implementing interdisciplinary curriculum that incorporates adventure, international, sustainable and academic components. He brings hands on experience with conceiving and building adventure education programs from the ground up through curriculum development, risk management, staff development, marketing, program management, administration, planning, technical knowledge and effective communication.