Assistant Director for Outdoor Programs

Appalachian State University invites interested experienced applicants for the position of Assistant Director for Outdoor Programs to become a part of the University Recreation (UREC) team as we facilitate an inclusive environment where recreation and wellness opportunities transform, engage, and care for the App State community. 

The Assistant Director provides leadership, vision, and supervision of a comprehensive Outdoor Program work team comprising five areas: Trips, Outdoor Gear Rental, Team Building - Challenge Course, Bike Shop, and Climbing Gym. This position oversees all the multiple aspects of the Outdoor Program, including daily operations, fiscal & risk management, policies & procedures, scheduling & event planning, and staff development & supervision. The Assistant Director directly supervises two full-time Coordinators and a team of approximately 75 student staff.

You will succeed in this position if you are

  • An advocate for fostering opportunities with everyone for everyone.

  • Passionate about providing and creating meaningful student development opportunities.

  • A strong believer in the benefits of experiential and adventure-based learning activities.

  • A champion to bring a positive attitude.

  • Constantly looking for feedback.

  • A visionary and a strategic professional who possesses determination and initiative.

  • Committed to building genuine connections between students to promote engaged communities.

  • Available to work in a flexible schedule that requires some evenings, weekends, and designated holidays.

Who we are

At the Outdoor Program, we believe we are educators who develop and positively impact students using experience as our textbook and the Outdoors as our classroom. We excel in building connections through experiential and adventure-based activities. At University Recreation (UREC) we believe in an equitable University Recreation community with opportunities for everyone, with everyone. Learn more about UREC at this link

You will have the opportunity to:

Program Operations

  • Develop and implement a plan to intentionally create inclusive opportunities with everyone in mind.

  • Provide leadership, direction, and supervision to all Outdoor Program areas - Trips, Outdoor Rental Center, Climbing Gym, Bike Shop, and Teambuilding-Challenge Course,

  • Complete appropriate processes to hire, access, evaluate, separate, and adjust pay for all part-time non-benefited employees and student staff.

  • Design and implement all program area outreach strategies, including social media, website, and special events.

  • Revise and maintain up-to-date policy manuals for all staffing areas as well as standard operating procedures for all Outdoor Program areas and related facility spaces.

Community & Belonging

  • Administer and continually refine student staff training plans to foster a sense of belonging and welcoming environment for participants we are serving

  • Promote and advocate for everyone’s needs

  • Maintain a sustainable open-minded environment that is open to different perspectives.

Student Development

  • Design, coordinate, and lead training opportunities that focus on the growth and development of student self-awareness, cultural identity, and employability skill sets.

  • Responsible for the recruitment, hiring, training, supervision, and evaluation of two professional coordinators and (4 to 6) Student Managers. Indirectly oversee approximately (65) student employees and (10) student volunteers.

  • Design, implement, and deliver skill-based staff training and leadership seminars to ensure competencies to lead groups in the backcountry and the challenge course.

Fiscal Management

  • Per department guidelines and direction, develop, protect, defend, revise and monitor all assigned departmental budgets.

  • Responsible for all budgetary decisions related to the Outdoor Program (Trips, Outdoor Rental  Center, Teambuilding-Challenge Course, Bike Shop,  and Climbing Gym accounts) as well as making recommendations related to capital expenditures

  • Responsible for overseeing an annual budget of $225,000. 

  • Plan, budget, administer, and complete monthly reconciliations related to assigned accounts.

  • Produce and monitor payroll.

  • Budget and reconcile all university travel and expenses related to field-based programs.

Risk Management

  • Establish and maintain a comprehensive risk management plan for all areas of responsibility, which includes maintaining wilderness protocols for trips; maintaining staff certifications for first aid, CPR, AED, and wilderness medicine; providing continuing education related to risk management; maintaining emergency response plans; manage emergency communications;  and routine evaluation and assessment of program risk management practices.

  • Coordinate and assist with routine facility maintenance for all areas of responsibility.

At a minimum you should have

  • Bachelor degree.

  • Three (3) years of administrative/coordinative professional / graduate assistant level experience working in a leadership capacity in outdoor recreation with an emphasis on staff development & supervision, fiscal & risk management, and program implementation. Two (2) years as a graduate assistant equals one (1) year of work experience.

  • Proof of record of 100 field days of practical experience in leading experiential learning-based outdoor expedition trips varying from 5 to 10 days in extension. (Documented in a Trip Log)

  • Technical outdoor competency in at least two (2) of the following skill areas: (a) whitewater (class III-IV) rafting and/or kayaking, (b) rock climbing, (c) backpacking, and/or (d) canoeing.

  • Demonstrated commitment to valuing a welcoming and learning environment.

  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience in outdoor equipment usage and maintenance.

  • Demonstrated field experience facilitating teambuilding and challenge course programs in high and low elements.

  • Current Wilderness First Responder Certification.

  • Valid driver’s license upon the first day of employment with a minimum of two years of driving experience and a clean driving record.

  • Ability to lift 50 pounds.

  • Ability to work occasional evenings, holidays, and weekend hours flexing with regular weekday office hours.

The preferred candidate will have

  • Masters degree.

  • Five (5) years of administrative/coordinative professional / graduate assistant level experience working in a leadership capacity in outdoor recreation with an emphasis on staff development, fiscal management, and program implementation. Two (2) years as a graduate assistant equals one (1) year of work experience.

  • Experience managing an indoor climbing gym.

  • Experience in additional outdoor pursuits, including, but not limited to: mountain biking, sea kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding,  lightweight backpacking, geocaching, fly fishing, etc.

  • Experience working professionally with collegiate outdoor programs, outdoor pre-orientation programs, and/or outdoor education programs such as Outward Bound, NOLS, or High Mountain Institute.

  • Hold one of more of the following certification as Swift Water Rescue, Level II and/or CCM Challenge Course Practitioner (ACCT), Climbing Wall Instructor or higher (AMGA, PCIA)

  • Demonstrated professional involvement such as presenting or committee work, particularly involvement with organizations such as AORE, NIRSA, NRPA, NASPA, or ACPA

Salary and benefits 

$52,000 to 57,000 plus an excellent benefits package is available for eligible employees; for more information, visit: 

How to apply


For full consideration, applicants must submit all the required documents, which should clearly demonstrate how the applicant meets the requirements of the position.

1. Cover letter, which summarizes qualifications and expresses interest in the position.

2. Current resume, which includes dates of employment. 

3. Trip Log (Attach in the Miscellaneous Document Option on the online application)

4. Answers to supplemental questions (on the online application)

5. Name and contact information of at least three professional references.


Deadline to submit applications is April 12, 2023

For questions about the position, please contact Rich Campbell, Associate Director of University Recreation at

This position is anticipated to start no later than July 5, 2023

About the University: As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, grow holistically, act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 20,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio, and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors. Learn more at

About Boone: Boone is a college town in the best sense — a place where people say hello on the street and a vibrant downtown is just a block from campus. Its eclectic hub, known as King Street, features specialty shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions. The surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains attract outdoor enthusiasts year-round for hiking, skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, cycling, fishing, kayaking, rock climbing, and other activities. Learn more at this link