June 26, 2019


Professor Hobbs in the mountains


MSU Billings professor embarks on international education tour

 Will Hobbs shares outdoor adventure leadership expertise abroad


University Communications and Marketing, 657-2266


MSU BILLINGS NEWS—Montana State University Billings Assistant Professor of Health and Human Performance Will Hobbs recently returned from a faculty trip abroad to Taiwan and Japan. During his time overseas, Hobbs represented both MSU Billings and the Wilderness Education Association (WEA), working alongside his counterparts and guest lecturing at other universities. 

Professor Hobbs giving a keynote addressThe trip originated with an invitation to deliver the keynote address at the 2019 International Conference on Adventure Physical Education and Wilderness Education at the National Taiwan Sport University in Taoyuan City, Taiwan, on June 2. The conference focused on sharing the practical application of and experiences in the fields of adventure physical education and wilderness education. Hobbs also presented on the WEA outdoor leadership certification while in Taoyuan.

Following his keynote address, Hobbs designed and instructed a three-day outdoor leadership development program in the Taiwanese mountains near Keelung, where he worked with Taiwanese and Chinese students and guides. The introductory course for the WEA curriculum on outdoor leadership training and development was a backpacking course that involved student teaching, outdoor living skills, education, leadership, risk management, planning and logistics, environmental integration and judgment development. The group hiked alongside Teapot Mountain, exploring old mining trails consisting of thousands of stone steps with numerous shrines and temples along the route.

After learning of his invitation to present at the international conference, Hobbs reached out to colleagues in Japan and was invited to guest lecture and present at the seventh annual Wilderness Education Association – Japan conference.

His journeys took him to the Hiranjo Nature Camp in Shiga, Japan, where Hobbs worked with Japanese youth at a traditional rice planting day camp following the seasonal changes in food sources. While in Shiga, Hobbs also delivered a guest lecture on trends in outdoor adventure education in the United States for a research methods course at Biwako Seikei Sport College.

Finally, Hobbs traveled to Gunma, Japan, where he attended the seventh annual WEA-Japan Conference at the Akagi National Youth Friendship Center and gave a presentation on American wilderness ideals and practices in comparison with Japanese ideas of nature and wilderness. While there, Hobbs represented the WEA as Vice-President of their Board of Directors, signing a memorandum of understanding between the WEA and WEA-Japan.

“I am impressed by the demand in Taiwan and China for high-quality leadership development through outdoor adventure,” Hobbs said. “The interdisciplinary opportunities for international study, partnerships and collaboration in wilderness education are significant: from outdoor education, organizational leadership, and environmental impact to wilderness ideals and management, camp programs, and outdoor behavioral healthcare. I look forward to continuing and extending this relationship in the future!”

Hobbs traveled to Taiwan and Japan from May 30 to June 18.

For more information, contact Will Hobbs, Ph.D., at 406-657-2372 or will.hobbs3@msubillings.edu.