About Ben Mirkin
Ben Mirkin’s students find out quickly that this is one outdoor adventure expert who takes hands-on learning literally. “I firmly believe in the need for extensive time in the field. This means everyone needs to learn to be competent and comfortable in the woods – which is done by spending a lot of time there. If someone wants to be a climbing guide, they must spend lots of time climbing. Experience is key.” The goal is to bring theory to life by having students be a part of it. “This does not necessarily mean playing,” Professor Mirkin says, “although sometimes it does.”
He lives what he teaches at NVU-Lyndon. In the winter, you will find him scaling the ice cliffs at Lake Willoughby. In the summer, he points his mountain bike toward the paths at nearby Kingdom Trails.
Professor Mirkin is an avid backcountry skier, mountain biker, and a rock and ice climber. He came to NVU-Lyndon in 2013 as the coordinator and full-time assistant professor of the Adventure Leadership concentration. Prior to the university, Professor Mirkin spent nine years at The White Mountain School working with students with learning difficulties and as director of White Mountain Climbing Camp. He has taught college Adventure Education courses at UNH, Plymouth State University, and the University of Northern Colorado, in addition to leading extended wilderness courses throughout the American northeast, northwest, Canadian Rockies and Alaska. He is excited to share his passion for using the outdoors to help students learn and teach.
When he meets a student for the first time, he will ask, “What’s your dream job?” The answers fascinate him. “I have heard everything from a rock climbing guide to a naturalist, to a game warden, and many things in between. The students are pretty great.” He is particularly impressed with first-in-family students and veterans. “They tend to be motivated to learn in order to better themselves and their position in life, and if they enter the field I teach in, they are following their passion.”
MRM 1080 Leadership and Small Group Dynamics
MRM 1110 Introduction to Adventure Programming
MRM 1121 Fundamentals of Rock Climbing
MRM 2121 Advanced Single Pitch Rock Instruction
MRM 3121 Advanced Rock and Rescue
MRM 1126 Fundamentals of Ice Climbing
MRM 2126 Advanced Ice Climbing
MRM 2150 Backcountry Ski and Ride
MRM 1128 Level 1 Avalanche
MRM 2128 Level 2 Avalanche
MRM 1810 Practicum in Outdoor Education
MRM 2150 Advanced Backcountry Ski and Ride
MRM 2240 Backcountry Leadership
MRM 2850 Adventure Programming II
MRM 2900 Outdoor Expedition
MRM 4740 Research and Evaluation Capstone
Publications and Presentations
Mirkin, B., Struck, J., & Seaman, J. (2017). Backcountry Play Book: Games and Activities to
Enhance Educational Field Experiences. Wood N Barnes Publishing.
Mirkin, B. (2014). Group social climate and individual peer interaction: Exploring complex
relationships on extended wilderness courses. Research in Outdoor Education, Vol 12, p.
Mirkin, B. (2014). Social climate and peer interaction on wilderness courses. Paper presented at
the Coalition for Education in the Outdoors: Twelfth Biennial Research Symposium,
Bradford Woods, Martinsville, Indiana.
Mirkin, B., & Middleton, M. (2014). The social climate and peer interaction on outdoor courses.
Journal of Experiential Education, Vol 37(3), 232-247. DOI:
Mirkin, B., Struck, J., & Seaman, J. (2015, October). Games and Activities for Backcountry Field
Instructors. Workshop presentation at the Association for Experiential Education
International Conference, Portland, Oregon.
Mirkin, B. (2014, January). Social climate and peer interaction on wilderness courses. Paper
presented at the Coalition for Education in the Outdoors: Twelfth Biennial Research
Symposium, Bradford Woods, Martinsville, Indiana.