Michael Gass is a Professor in the Outdoor Education Program in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of New Hampshire. He received his Ph.D. in Experiential Education from the University of Colorado at Boulder and completed postdoctoral studies in marriage and family therapy. He is one of the creators of the Browne Center, a program development and research center on adventure learning that serves over 8,000 clients a year with educational, therapeutic, and corporate clients. He also is the co-coordinator of the newly established dual degree program in adventure therapy where students receive Masters degrees in both social work (MSW) and outdoor education (MS).
He enjoys teaching classes in Rock Climbing, Adventure Therapy, Organization and Administration of Outdoor Education, Program Evaluation of Outdoor Programs, and Adventure Therapy Research. Mike is the current Director of the newly established Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Center (see obhcenter.org). He also serves as the Director of the NATSAP Research Database Network.
He has presented over 300 professional presentations and written over 200 professional publications. His book, Effective Programming in Adventure Programming written with Dr. Simon Priest, is the largest selling textbook in the field. His latest book, written with Dr. Lee Gillis and Dr. Keith Russell, Adventure therapy: Theory, research, and practice, was published by Routledge Press in 2012. Mike’s current research projects include joining efforts with Play for Peace (Guatemala), the Santa Fe Mountain Center (New Mexico), and members of the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council. His research interests are in the areas of Adventure Therapy, Social Development of Adolescents in Adventure Programs, Risk Management, Adventure Program Accreditation, Adventure Programming and Middle School Students, Wilderness Orientation Programs.
In 1998 Mike received the Association for Experiential Education’s Outstanding Experiential Teacher of the Year Award, in 2002 he delivered the Kurt Hahn Address for AEE, and in 2011 received AEE’s Distinguished Researcher Award. In 2005 he received the UNH School of Health and Human Service’s Distinguished Career Research Award as well the University’s Award for Excellence in International Engagement in 2011.
In a recent teaching evaluation, a student stated: “This was the hardest class I have ever taken but definitely the most rewarding. I learned so much about outdoor education that I feel will be incredibly valuable in my career. Mike encouraged me to step up my game on all levels, but gave me the support to be able to do so. I cannot say how grateful I am for his insight and kindness. I hope that one day I can repay in some way for all of learning that he is given me.”