OPO announces interim co-directors and new hires

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 7/12/19 2:15am

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by Michael Lin / The Dartmouth

The Outdoors Program Office has announced interim management following the resignation of director of outdoor programs Timothy Burdick ’89 Med ’02 on June 20. According to a College press release, the search for the next OPO director will begin this fall. 

Under the interim management, associate dean for student life Eric Ramsey will oversee administrative operations and OPO assistant director Rory Gawler ’05 and Paul “Coz” Teplitz will serve as co-directors. Teplitz has previously supervised the outdoor program at Harvard University for nine years and spent six years working at the North Carolina Outward Bound School.

Prior OPO deputy director Brian Kunz, who retired last year, will also assist in the transition, serving as a consultant and advisor to the interim staff.

Ramsey wrote in an email statement that “supporting outdoor programs” is his “highest priority” during the transition.

“I look forward to working closely with the students, faculty, alumni and staff to continue to provide many opportunities for engagement in the out-of-doors,” Ramsey wrote.

He added that he is committed to finding “the best educator” to permanently fill the director of outdoor programs position.

The College also announced the hiring of Willow Nilsen and Gunnar Johnson. Nilsen will serve as OPO program coordinator and will support the Dartmouth Outing Club, while Johnson will work as the program coordinator for community and educational programs.

OPO will solicit feedback and opinions from students, faculty, staff and alumni in the summer and fall terms regarding what qualities the community hopes to see in a new OPO director, according to the press release.

Burdick’s resignation came following an incident on an outdoor programs office-led trip on Mount Moosilauke in May in which a student was separated from the group and went missing. The external investigation into the incident concluded on the day of Burdick’s resignation. College spokesperson Diana Lawrence confirmed Burdick’s resignation, but declined to speculate on the motive at the time of his departure. The College has not released a full report of the investigation.

The OPO falls under the student life area of Dartmouth’s Student Affairs Division and works on outdoor programming such as overseeing the Dartmouth Outing Club and Moosilauke Ravine Lodge.