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Recreational Sports and Fitness (RSF)

Graduate Assistantship (GA) for Outdoor Recreation: Outdoor Instructional Programs

The below listed application materials must be submitted to Dan Sandberg at  [email protected] by March 12, 2023. We will continue to accept applications until the GA position has been filled.

Description of Opportunity

This Graduate Assistant will join a team of four dedicated professionals at the Montana State University Outdoor Recreation Program and work closely with a second Graduate Assistant and undergraduate student staff. 


Position Duration

This position requires a commitment of 19 hours/week, including office hours, for 10 months.

Position dates: August 1- May 31.


Position Description – GA for Outdoor Instructional Programs

  • Act as a lead instructor on a variety of outdoor skills-based courses under the activity classes for credit (ACT) rubric in the college of Health and Human Development alongside undergraduate student staff instructors
  • Assist in the overall administration and management of the outdoor ACT program, including grading, marketing, logistics, curriculum development, assessment, risk management, and student staff supervision
  • Assist in the planning, curriculum development, and delivery of a comprehensive student staff leadership and technical skill development program, with a major focus on ongoing mentorship
  • Assist in the overall administrative and management of the Outdoor Recreation Program through participation in weekly administration team meetings and monthly all-staff meetings
  • Support other areas of the Outdoor Recreation Program including the rental shop, climbing wall, and promotion at on-campus events
  • Assist in the overall administrative and management of the Recreational Sports and Fitness Department, including regular participation in committee work
  • GA’s will enroll and be accepted to an MSU Graduate program prior to formal acceptance of the assistantship.
  • The GA is intended to be a 2-year assistantship
    • The GA will be evaluated and reviewed each semester
    • RSF and/or the academic department may terminate the assistantship at any time with proper cause

Field-Based Skill Description

  • Act as an instructor on American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) avalanche courses OR AERIE Wilderness Medicine courses
  • Act as a lead instructor in two or more additional disciplines, to include: avalanche education, bouldering, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, fly fishing, backcountry skiing/riding, backpacking, wilderness medicine (wilderness first aid/wilderness first responder), cross-country skiing, swift water rescue, ice climbing, mountaineering, paddle sports (canoeing, kayaking, and stand up paddle boarding), orienteering, bike maintenance, Climbing Wall Instructor certification, and wilderness survival
  • Ensure for high standards of programmatic risk management (physical and emotional risk) in a dynamic outdoor environment
  • Role model a high standard of lesson planning and delivery utilizing a variety of teaching techniques
  • Provide feedback to student instructors that aids in their individualized leadership progression
  • Facilitate meaningful debriefs after the completion of each field experience to allow for personal and program growth

Required Skills/Qualifications

  • 2-5 years’ experience in experiential education and/or outdoor recreation programming
  • Proven experience in a mentorship role
  • Current certification to teach AIARE avalanche courses OR AERIE Wilderness Medicine Courses (or the skills and experience necessary to gain certification during the first semester of assistantship)
  • Certifications and/or equivalent experience that demonstrate a proven ability to act in a lead instructor role on two or more additional disciplines listed above
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Competence in basic word processing and spreadsheets
  • Current CPR/AED at the time of hiring (can be taken internally)
  • Current Wilderness First Responder at the time of hiring (can be taken internally)

Preferred Skills/Qualifications

  • Certifications and/or equivalent experience that demonstrate a proven ability to act in a lead instructor role on multiple disciplines listed above
  • Two years working with a campus recreation department or other similar organization
  • Experience working with university outdoor recreation programs
  • Undergraduate degree (preferred course work in recreation management, business, natural resource management, education or related field)

Graduate School Qualifications

  • Enroll in 6 or more credits at the 5xxx level each semester, be degree-seeking in a graduate program at MSU Bozeman
  • Cumulative and program of study GPA of 3.00 or better
  • Make progress toward the achievement of the graduate degree as judged by annual academic performance review

*This position is part of the Graduate Student Union. As such, the student must pay either monthly union dues or representation fees. If workplace issues arise, the student in the position will need to take concerns to their supervisor or the University’s Human Resources department.

Transferable/Portable Skills

Candidates will:

  • Gain experience as both a staff and faculty member within the field of university administration
  • Apply planning, scheduling and marketing skills
  • Learn leadership and management strategies to work with a wide variety of college students
  • Work with a variety of campus professionals
  • Develop management and business skills transferable to any industry
  • Learn how to be a team player on a very dynamic, visionary, and fast moving student wellness team


  • Direct Supervisor: Daniel Sandberg, [email protected]
  • The GA will have the opportunity to interact closely with the entire team of professionals throughout ORP and RSF

Works primarily with:

  • Undergraduate students
  • Staff

GA Focus

  • College students and their development
  • Higher education leadership, administration, and organization
  • Institutional and program evaluation, assessment, and accreditation

Performance and Feedback

  • Each GA will receive a formal evaluation each semester. This is important to make sure both the assistant and the supervisor are achieving the goals set out at the beginning of the semester
  • We believe that regular feedback is critical. This will come in the form of personal 1:1 meetings as well as staff meetings


  • Stipend: Minimum of $1,500/month for an appointment requiring no more than 19 hours a week
  • RSF will cover the cost of 9 credits tuition/semester for GA’s accepted into this program. University fees and other fees are the responsibility of the student
  • Additional payment by RSF: Mandatory additional payment of $170 per month for health insurance or other living expenses, as per the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)
  • Professional development is very important to us: RSF will provide compensation to attend a limited number of regional professional development conferences and workshops. There are also funds available to attend national or international conferences, but the Assistant must apply for these funds as they are available

GA Conduct

  • Exercise a sense of responsibility, judgment, and integrity on and off campus. This includes, but is not limited to, compliance with all RSF and MSU policies; the Student Conduct Code; local, state, and federal laws
  • Know, understand and adhere to University policies. Be well versed in the rationale behind them so that you can inform students of this information properly

To apply:

  • To apply for a position, please submit the following to
    [email protected],the Outdoor Program Senior Coordinator:
    • Cover letter
    • Current resume or CV
    • List of three professional references