Aspen Times Weekly: ‘Outdoor Product Design’ now a university degree |

Aspen Times Weekly: ‘Outdoor Product Design’ now a university degree

by Stephen Regenold

Last week, students at Utah State University absorbed a lecture on primitive snowshoes and the baidarka, a watercraft created by the native Aleut people. The lesson was a part of a class, the three-credit “History of the Outdoor Product Industry,” that builds toward a first-of-its-kind degree focusing on outdoors gear.

“We we’re looking at the Native roots of modern [outdoors] products,” explained Sean E. Michael, Ph.D., who teaches the session. “It fueled some great learning moments for the students.”

New this semester (spring 2016), Utah State University’s Outdoor Product Design & Development program is a 120-credit bachelor of science degree. Through a four-year series of classes, students will gain a comprehensive base of knowledge to kick off a career in the outdoors industry.

About 100 students have committed to the degree. The first graduates will finish as soon as 2019 after completing a diverse course load of classes focused on the business, legal, design, art, and engineering facets of making gear for outdoor recreation.

For more on this article, visit Stephen Regenold is the founder and writes about outdoors gear for Gear Junkie.

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