Jayson Seaman

Faculty Fellow
Phone: (603) 862-1162
Office: Kinesiology, New Hampshire Hall, Durham, NH 03824
image of seaman

Jayson's research focuses on two areas: (1) youth learning and development in nonformal educational settings, and (2) historical foundations of outdoor experiential education. Recent prior work has examined links between social capital, outdoor activities, and youth outcomes in rural communities, how youth involved in an experiential ‘diversity education’ program developed more sophisticated understandings of race and schooling, and how a collaborative, real-world project in an urban middle school shaped children’s appropriation of school-related goals and identities. His historical research concerns how ideas and practices form the human potential movement, a late-20th century program of social reforms, were incorporated into outdoor experiential education. (You can read about some of his recent work here, here, here, and here.)

Jayson is currently the Editor in chief of the Journal of Experiential Education. He teaches undergraduate courses in theories of adventure education and field-based leadership (water-based settings), and masters and PhD courses in the historical foundations of education, qualitative research, and theories of learning and development.

View Carsey School Publications

As a Carsey Faculty Fellow, Jayson's research focuses on the ways experiential learning is socially, culturally, and institutionally organized. He is especially interested in the design of institutional supports for youth learning and development, especially when they connect youth to substantive areas of social concern, maximize their opportunities to contribute, and open new pathways for individual development. His recent empirical research has dealt with how youth learn about 'diversity' in non-formal settings, and he is presently studying student engagement in "Learning Expeditions," which are school-based curricular units that involve youth in solving meaningful community problems while addressing academic standards. His projects also include examining how the key twentieth century educators John Dewey and Kurt Hahn conceived of 'experience' as they advanced their intellectual and practical goals. His broader interests include curriculum theory and design, motivation, and engagement in learning activities, social practice theories, linguistic ethnography, and qualitative research methods.

Jayson has worked with experiential education at multiple levels in public and private education - as a classroom teacher, trip leader, district-level program administrator, curriculum writer, and state and federal grants manager. He implemented and has helped other teachers implement adventure education, environmental education, place-based education, and service learning programs in K-12 schools since 1994. He stays professionally active in the areas of challenge course training and whitewater paddling. He also maintains his English teaching certification at the secondary level. Jayson received his PhD in education from the University of New Hampshire in 2006. He holds a master's degree in kinesiology from the University of New Hampshire (1999) and a BS in secondary education English teaching from New England College (1994).

Jayson lives with his wife, Kim, in Durham, New Hampshire, and his daughters Eliza, Carrigan, and Moriah. His recreational interests include cleaning up after small children, and when possible, whitewater kayaking and canoeing, hiking, and telemark skiing.


  • Ph.D., Education, University of New Hampshire
  • M.S., Kinesiology: Outdoor Education, University of New Hampshire
  • B.A., English, Secondary Education, New England College

Courses Taught

  • EDUC 985: Contemp Issues Human Developmt
  • INCO 790: Adv Rsrch Exp/Kinesiology
  • KIN 546: White Water Canoeing
  • KIN 551: Adventr Prog/Backcountry Exper
  • KIN 552: Adventur Prog/Water Based Exp
  • KIN 681: Theory of Adventure Education
  • KIN 693: Teaching Assistantship
  • KIN 787: Theory of Adventure Education
  • KIN 884: History of Outdoor Education
  • KIN 887: Theory of Adventure Education
  • KIN 993: Teaching Practicum

Selected Publications

Seaman, J., Sharp, E. H., Tucker, C. J., Van Gundy, K., & Rebellon, C. (2019). Outdoor activity involvement and postsecondary status among rural adolescents: Results from a longitudinal analysis. Journal of Leisure Research, 50(1), 18-27. doi:10.1080/00222216.2018.1544472

Middleton, M., Rheingold, A., & Seaman, J. O. (2018). Activity settings as contexts for motivation: Reframing classroom motivation as dilemmas within and between activities. In D. Kritt (Ed.), Constructivist Education in an Age of Accountability (pp. 231-266). Palgrave MacMillan.

Seaman, J., Brown, M., & Quay, J. (2017). The Evolution of Experiential Learning Theory: Tracing Lines of Research in theJEE. Journal of Experiential Education, 40(4), NP1-NP21. doi:10.1177/1053825916689268

Grenier, M., Seaman, J. O., & DiFloures, N. (2017). Examining teacher and student disability sporting experiences in physical education. Journal of Physical Education Research, 4(III), 31-47.

Mirkin, B., Strunk, J., & Seaman, J. O. (2017). The Backcountry Play Book. Bethany, OK: Wood-n-Barnes Publishing.

Seaman, J., & Rheingold, A. (2013). Circle Talks As Situated Experiential Learning. Journal of Experiential Education, 36(2), 155-174. doi:10.1177/1053825913487887

Middleton, M., Abrams, E., & Seaman, J. (2011). Resistance and disidentification in reflective practice with preservice teaching interns. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 2011(126), 67-75. doi:10.1002/tl.445

Seaman, J., Beightol, J., Shirilla, P., & Crawford, B. (2010). Contact Theory as a Framework for Experiential Activities as Diversity Education: An Exploratory Study. Journal of Experiential Education, 32(3), 207-225. doi:10.1177/105382590903200303

Seaman, J. (2008). Experience, Reflect, Critique: The End of the “Learning Cycles” Era. Journal of Experiential Education, 31(1), 3-18. doi:10.1177/105382590803100103

Seaman, J., & Coppens, A. D. (2006). Repertoire of practice: Reconceptualizing instructor competency in contemporary adventure education. Journal of Adventure Education & Outdoor Learning, 6(1), 25-37. doi:10.1080/14729670685200721

Most Cited Publications