Michael Gassner, an Oregon State University graduate with teaching, administrative, consulting and international outdoor leadership experience recently joined Oregon State University – Cascades Campus’ Tourism and Outdoor Leadership (TOL) program. Gassner will teach upper division courses and oversee the TOL program’s student internship offerings. Gassner joins Associate Professor Kreg Lindberg who helped develop the outdoor-focused TOL program and now manages it. Gassner’s position was newly created to accommodate the growth of the TOL program.
An Oregonian originally from Portland, Gassner has facilitated outdoor education in the United States and internationally. He has led groups mountaineering in the California Sierra Mountains, jungle trekking, sea kayaking, and sailing in Sabah, East Malaysia. Gassner led an Explorers Club flag expedition to the remote Maliau Basin in central Borneo and co-led a four-month trek in the Southern Alps in New Zealand.
His experience includes course instruction and instruction in a variety of outdoor and adventure skill areas, including sailing a 132-foot tall ship in Hong Kong with Outward Bound. He has designed Outward Bound courses for school groups of all ages, as well as for public and corporate clients. Gassner taught adventure education at Minnesota State University Mankato, the University of Hong Kong School of Professional and Continuing Education, the University of Minnesota and St. Cloud State University.
The TOL program has nearly 50 students currently enrolled and to date, 21 students have graduated from the program. Its curriculum is well suited to the Central Oregon recreation environment and helps students develop the business, critical thinking and outdoor leadership skills that can be applied in the tourism and outdoor education fields. As part of their curriculum, students complete a 10-week internship. Many TOL students undertake internships with local outdoor oriented companies, including Wanderlust Tours, Sun Country Tours and Mt. Bachelor.
Gassner received his bachelor of science in geology from OSU, his master’s in experiential education from Minnesota State University – Mankat. He received a doctorate in education with an emphasis in outdoor education and a minor in international education from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.