Environmental Studies

Program Director: Lawrence H. Tanner

Environmental issues and problems arise at the interface of complex human and natural systems, and addressing them requires a synergistic combination of scientific, social and cultural knowledge. Addressing these issues and problems also requires scientific, social and cultural skills. The program described below has been designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms of society, as well as the scientific foundations of environmental science. The goal of the program is to train students to draw on their knowledge in one area to consider problems in another. Students need to understand the scientific basis of environmental issues just as much as the workings of the government agencies that have the power to address these issues. It is only through acquiring this interdisciplinary knowledge and skill-set that students can be prepared to work for a more ecologically sustainable and socially just world.

The director of the major is the director of environmental science systems; however, because of the interdisciplinary nature of the program, curricular oversight is shared with the Department of Biological Sciences.

Student Learning Outcomes in Environmental Studies

Students who graduate from this program will be able to:

Scientific knowledge
Demonstrate scientific knowledge sufficient to understand causes of environmental problems.
Origin and exploitation
Demonstrate an understanding of the origin of natural resources and the environmental and societal consequences of their exploitation.
Communication skills
Demonstrate skills in technical writing and oral communication of scientific information

Environmental Studies (ENS)

ENS 130. Ecology of Place: England's River Thames. 3 Credit Hours.

This core science course seeks to combine the science of stream structure and function and its interactions with the near-stream terrestrial ecosystem with the historical and cultural development of the human populations living along that stream. Our focus will be the River Thames, chosen because it is a large river system, but at the same time one that is contained in a fairly small, logistically workable watershed within which humans have a long, rich national history.

ENS 260. Sustainability: Ecological Entrepeneurship. 3 Credit Hours.

The concept and practice of Sustainable Growth and Development have generated increasing concern over the past four decades. Recently, due to a heightened focus on climate change, ecological damage, rising inequalities of resource distribution, etc., even more attention and effort have been directed toward the concept of Sustainability. This course explores the connections among science, technology, products, and markets in the service of society, (emphasizing that none of these forces works in a vacuum), in order to study the many aspects of sustainability. Students are encouraged to be entrepreneurs of sustainability, acting to find a balance among social, ecological, and economic needs. Course satisfies core natural science requirement. Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor.

Cross-listed Courses: ESS 260