Five Questions for Faculty:
Josh Bossin is Faculty of Outdoor Education. Originally from Massachusetts, Josh graduated with his undergraduate degree in Outdoor Education from Johnson State College. Josh worked and lived in Northern Vermont for seven years, guiding and instructing outdoor education, before spending two years in Ohio earning his Master’s degree in Recreation Studies from Ohio University.
1: Describe three cool things you do in your classes:
Most of my classes include theory and practical application. If we talk about leadership styles, we then go out and practice them in real-life settings. The addition of the practical application helps cement the learning.
In some of my classes, we go out and interview or work with the local community, in planned or spontaneous ways. This helps connect our students to the world outside the classroom. A student can leave class and conduct a survey in five minutes and get answers from faculty, staff, students and sometimes even the president of the college.
Every student who comes to Sterling goes on a backpacking trip as part of A Sense of Place: Expedition I on our local section of Vermont’s Long Trail. I love getting to work with returning students who are learning to become backcountry leaders as well as incoming students getting their first taste of Sterling, all on this one course. I can’t think of a better way to start the year.
2: What do you love about working at Sterling?
I work at Sterling because of its size. We can do things that larger schools cannot. We can make college-wide changes and design new curriculum in a fraction of the time it would take at a bigger school. I love that I get to work with students on an individual scale both due to small class size and in settings outside the classroom, such as through the Work Program. If a student is motivated, they can access one-on-one mentoring with faculty, even if they’re not currently in their class.
I love living and working in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont because of its access to the outdoors, especially the amazing winters with incredible recreation opportunities out the backdoor.
3: What do you learn from your students?
I learn a lot from my students. I get an inside look at where we might be headed in the future of my professional field. Sterling students are comfortable challenging assumptions and notions that have been in place for a long time. This means they respectfully challenge ideas I present, and that moves all of us forward in a better direction.
4: What do you do in your off-time (after-hours, weekends, in between semesters)?
I spend a lot of time with my dog. We spend time outside skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, mountain biking and hiking. My “after-work” hobbies include amateur pickle making, sugaring and repairing gear. On longer chunks of time off, I usually go on a trip focused around some form of outdoor recreation, often to South America or the American West. This renews my passion for teaching Outdoor Education and gives me new projects to bring back to Sterling and my classrooms.
5: What do you think is the most pressing challenge/greatest opportunity facing the world today?
One of the biggest concerns I have about the world today is our disconnection, mainly from nature and each other. This is one of the things that gives my work so much meaning. To regain this connectedness, we need to interact positively with the natural world. I strive to help students build that connection every day and to gain the skills they need to become leaders who can create community and positive experiences in nature for others.