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Environmental Studies

The Environmental Studies Program provides an interdisciplinary approach to the study of human interactions with the environment. Of central concern are the impact of technology on natural environments and its implications for human welfare. The program seeks to apply the different perspectives of the humanities, social sciences, biology, and the physical sciences to environmental and natural resource issues. These perspectives, combined with complementary training in a traditional discipline, will prepare students for graduate work and careers in the environmental sciences, law, public health, public policy, or public administration. The Environmental Studies Program is housed in the Adam Joseph Lewis Center which is an important example of an integrated building-landscape sustainable system and serves as a laboratory for students and faculty.

Because careful course selection is necessary to achieve specific objectives, students are urged to consult as early as possible with the Program Director and other members of the Environmental Studies Program Committee (names available in the Environmental Studies office). Students should consult the course descriptions for prerequisites and plan accordingly. Descriptions of new program courses and activities in addition to those listed below may be found in supplements to this catalog issued by the Office of the Registrar, and the Environmental Studies Course Description Supplement available in the Environmental Studies office. New students are encouraged to begin the social science component of the major with ENVS 101. Students seeking majors or minors in Environmental Studies must earn minimum grades of C– (or CR or P, as may be appropriate) for all courses that apply to the program.

Students who wish to major in Environmental Studies should:

1. Consult with a member of the Environmental Studies Program Committee or with the Program Director.

2. Pick up a checklist of major requirements form from the Environmental Studies office.

3. Select an advisor who is a member of the Environmental Studies Program Committee. See Resource Faculty listing with advisors denoted by an asterisk. (Names are also listed in the Environmental Studies office).

4. In consultation with advisor, complete the Registrar's Declaration of Major form along with the checklist of major requirements.

5. Submit these forms, signed by advisor, to the Program Director for approval. The proposal, when approved, constitutes an agreement between the student and the Environmental Studies Program as to the content of the student's major. Please consult with your advisor for approval before making any changes to avoid any problems at graduation time.

Deadline. Deadline for major proposal submission is normally the end of the student's sophomore year. If Environmental Studies is the student's second major, it may be submitted at the end of the student's junior year.

Major. The major consists of a minimum of 15 hours of coursework in the Natural Sciences, six courses totaling at least 18 hours in the Social Sciences and Humanities, and a statistics course. In addition, some of the courses have prerequisites that are not listed here. At least 20 of the credit hours counted toward the major must be taken at Oberlin. Courses must be selected to meet the following requirements. (N.B: If the ENVS requirements change after the major is declared, students can choose to comply with either the requirements in place at the time of their declaration of major or the revised requirements.)

Please consult individual departmental listings for full course descriptions and availability in a given semester and year. Not all of these courses are offered every year.

Social and Behavioral Sciences/Arts and Humanities Requirements. Majors must take six courses totaling at least 18 hours in Social Sciences and Humanities consisting of the following:

1. Environmental Studies 101 (Environment and Society) is required of all majors. It is normally to be taken during the first two years.

2. Students must take either ENVS 208 or ECON 231.

Students must take an additional 12 credit hours in either Social Science or Arts and Humanities. No more than two of four courses may come from a single department. ENVS 208 may count as an elective Environmental Studies course. Majors may take POLT 237 and 321 in addition to ENVS 208. At least one Humanities course is highly recommended. Certain courses previously offered can also be counted toward the Environmental Studies major.

Natural Sciences Requirements. Majors must take at least 15 hours of coursework in the Natural Sciences. Biology 120, Geology 120 and either Chemistry 101, 102, 103 or 151 MUST be included among these 15 hours. The balance of the 15 hours in natural science must be selected from courses in the Biology, Chemistry, Geology, and/or Physics Departments, and they must EITHER count toward one of those four majors OR be cross-referenced with Environmental Studies.

Additional Requirement. Majors must take ONE course in statistics or research methods selected from the following: Chemistry 211, Mathematics 090, 100, 113, or 114, Sociology 211. (N.B: Of these courses, only Chemistry can also be counted as part of the 15 hours in natural science).

Note: ENVS 490 and ENVS 491 combined count for three hours.

Minor. A student may pursue a minor in Environmental Studies by submitting a plan of study for approval (the minor form is available from the Office of the Registrar) and a one-page rationale to the Program Director. A minor must include a minimum of 15 hours in at least five Environmental Studies courses, including two or more components of work at the non-introductory level. There must be at least seven hours of work in the natural sciences and at least seven in social sciences and/or humanities. At least 10 hours must be taken at Oberlin.

General. In addition to coursework, the following opportunities are available to students interested in environmental problems.

1. Internships with government agencies (e.g., public schools, Forest Service, EPA) or private organizations (e.g., Nature Conservancy, International Audubon Society, National Science Foundation) involved in some aspect of environmental research, regulation, or advocacy may be a valuable learning and career planning experience. Internships may be undertaken during Winter Term, an off-campus semester, or in the summer. Normally these internships do not earn academic credit. Files of volunteer and paid internships are maintained in the Resource Center of the A.J. Lewis Center for Environmental Studies.
2. During Winter Term the Environmental Studies Program often sponsors an on-campus group project which provides an opportunity for students to earn Winter Term credit as either participants, group leaders, or coordinators. In recent years projects dealt with architecture and ecological design, Black River Watershed education, and community gardens.
3. The Honors Program in Environmental Studies involves completion of an independent research project during the student's senior year and an oral examination on the research. The project involves ongoing consultation with at least two faculty members. Qualified majors will be invited to apply during their junior year, with applications due April 4. Acceptance into the Honors Program is based on the student's academic achievements, the suitability of the proposed project, and his or her potential to do substantial independent research. Detailed guidelines for the Environmental Studies Honors Program are available in the program office.
4. The program sponsors a series of public lectures by guest speakers and faculty members.
5. Students may schedule a private reading course during their junior or senior years. In the past, students have taken private readings in ecological design, ecological economics and eco-feminism. Work done through Private Reading does not count toward completion of the major.

Joyce Gorn Memorial Prize. In the spring semester, the Program Committee awards the Joyce Gorn Memorial Prize to one or more students for outstanding work on an extracurricular or off-campus environmental project.

Ann Schaening Memorial Fund. Funds are available to assist students with Winter Term projects in Environmental Studies. Interested students may submit a project proposal to the Chair of the Environmental Studies Program Committee for approval by the Committee.

Social Science Courses:
Economics (ECON)
231 Environmental Economics
331 Advanced Topics in Environmental and Resource Economics
431 Seminar: Topics in Water Resource Economics

Environmental Studies (ENVS)
101 Environment and Society
208 Environmental Policy
291 Colloquium on Sustainable Agriculture
310 Ecological Design
317 Global Environmental Issues: Disaster Risk Reduction
318 Global Environmental Issues: Food Security
320 Gender, Nature and Culture
322 Energy and Society
324 Fundamentals of Building Performance
350 Practicum in Ecological Design of the AJLC
360 Dynamics of Consumption

History (HIST)
145 Water in American History
252 American Environmental History
338 Colloquium in U.S. Urban Environmental History

Politics (POLT)
237 Environmental Political Theory

Psychology (PSYC)
221 Environmental Psychology

Humanities Courses:
Art (ARTS)
048 Visual Concepts and Processes: What's Natural Isn't Real
050 Visual Concepts and Processes: What's Real Isn't Natural

English (ENGL)
255 The Concept of Nature in Early American Writing
366 Nature and Transcendentalism

Philosophy (PHIL)
225 Environmental Ethics

Russian (RUSS)
329 Literature and the Land: Writing Nature in Russia and America

Natural Science Courses:
Biology (BIOL)
120 Genetics, Evolution and Ecology
205 Community Ecology
206 Population Ecology
218 Evolution
411 Seminar: Conservation Biology

Chemistry (CHEM)
101 Structure and Reactivity
102 Chemical Principles
151 Chemistry and the Environment

Environmental Studies (ENVS)
316 Systems Ecology
340 Environmental Systems Modeling
350 Practicum in Ecological Design of the AJLC

Geology (GEOL)
115 Coral Reefs: Biology, Geology and Politics
120 Introduction to Earth Science
212 Earth Surface Processes
242 Groundwater Hydrogeology
330 Sedimentary Geology

Physics (PHYS)
066 Energy Technology I
067 Energy Technology II

Extra Divisional Courses:
Environmental Studies (ENVS)
490 Introduction to the Black River Watershed
491 Practicum in Environmental Education


In this Department

General Information

Courses
101. Environment and Society
3 hours, 3SS
First and Second Semester.

An introduction to social, economic, technological, and political aspects of environmental problems with emphasis on major theorists and ideas that have influenced the environmental movement. Different schools of thought on the relationship between humankind and nature will be discussed with the aim of providing students with a broad understanding of issues, causes, and possible solutions to the array of environmental problems. Enrollment Limit: 50. Note: Open to first- and second-year students, including consent seats.
Mr. Orr, Staff

208. Environmental Policy
3 hours, 3SS
First Semester.
An introduction to national environmental policy with emphasis on major issues of climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and the issues of growth. This course includes discussion of regulatory policies, taxes, market solutions, and other policy options applied to energy policy, transportation policy, endangered species, and materials use. Recommended Preparation: One course in politics or environmental studies. Identical to POLT 208. Enrollment Limit: 25.
Mr. Orr

231. Environmental Economics
3 hours, 3SS, QPh
First Semester.
Identical to ECON 231. For description, please see "Economics" in this catalog. Enrollment Limit: 40.
Ms. Gaudin

291. Colloquium on Sustainable Agriculture
3 hours, 3SS
Second Semester.
A conversation on farms, farming and the agrarian foundations of civilization, with special attention to the interaction between philosophy, policy, and practice. This course includes discussion of different schools of thought about agriculture, culture, and rural life including Thomas Jefferson, Liberty Hyde Bailey, Albert Howard, Louis Bromfield, Wendell Berry, and Wes Jackson. The course includes visits to farms in central Ohio. Enrollment Limit: 25.
Mr. Orr

310. Ecological Design
3 hours, 3SS
Second Semester.
An upper-division seminar for seniors on ecological design, i.e. the intersection of human intentions with the ecologies of particular places. This course will include a broad survey of ecological design strategies from different cultures along with special emphasis on recent work in architecture, community design, energy systems, landscape management, and ecological engineering and the work of Carol Franklin, John Lyle, William McDonough, Sim van der Ryn, and John Todd. Enrollment Limit: 12.
Mr. Orr

316. Systems Ecology
4 hours, 4NS
Next offered 2006-2007.

318. Global Environmental Issues: Food Security
3 hours, 3SS
First Semester.
This seminar explores the world food system—asking about distributive justice, security, sustainability, and human health. We look at U.S. food, in this context, inquiring into the causes of hunger. Environmental questions: potential for GM foods to reduce malnutrition, erosion of natural biodiversity, misuse of land and water resources. Social issues: land distribution and the landless movement worldwide, employment and income, how micro-credit might stabilize household income. Consent of instructor required. Enrollment Limit: 14.
Mr. Wisner

320. Gender, Nature, and Culture
4 hours, 4SS
Second Semester.
This interdisciplinary course draws upon a variety of materials and offers the opportunity to reflect critically upon how culture, gender and nature in Western society have been and continue to be shaped. The starting point will focus on ecosocial context, then students will explore the complex role of humans as dominant agents of biogenetic and ecosocial transformation. Students will immediately apply theory via academically-based community service (ABCS) projects. Recommended Preparation: Background in Women's Studies, African American Studies, Religion, Sociology, or Environmental Studies. Consent of instructor required. Enrollment Limit: 15.
Ms. Blissman

322. Energy and Society
3 hours, 3SS
Next offered 2006-2007.

324. Fundamentals of Building Performance
3 hours, 3SS
Next offered 2006-2007.

331. Natural Resource Economics
3 hours, 3SS, QPh
Second Semester.
Identical to ECON 331. For description, please see "Economics" in this catalog. Enrollment Limit: 20.
Ms. Gaudin

340. Environmental Systems Modeling
3 hours, 3NS
Next offered 2006-2007.

350. Practicum in Ecological Design of the Adam J. Lewis Center
3 hours, 1.5NS, 1.5SS
Next offered 2006-2007.

360. Dynamics of Consumption
3 hours, 3SS
Next offered 2006-2007.

431. Seminar: Topics in Water Resource Economics
3 hours, 3SS
Second Semester.
Identical to ECON 431. For description, please see "Economics" in this catalog. Enrollment Limit: 10.
Ms. Gaudin

490. Introduction to the Black River Watershed
2 hours, 2EX
First Semester.
An interdisciplinary examination of the local Black River Watershed, through a combination of lectures, field trips, and discussions. Principles of place-based, interdisciplinary watershed education will be introduced, and students will work with a teacher in the local public schools. Notes: This course is required for enrollment in ENVS 491. Restricted to juniors and seniors. Preference given to Environmental Studies majors. Consent of instructor required. Enrollment Limit: 24.
Ms. Wolfe-Cragin

491. Practicum in Environmental Education
1-2 hours, 1-2EX
Second Semester.
Students will apply what they learned in ENVS 490 by working intensively with a selected teacher in one of the local schools to develop curricula centered on the local watershed. Students will continue to learn about the dynamics of the Black River Watershed as they gain first-hand teaching experience. Discussion group format. Prerequisite: ENVS 490 or equivalent. Note: CR/NE or P/NP grading. Consent of instructor required. Enrollment Limit: 16.
Ms. Wolfe-Cragin

Individual Projects
Projects for original investigations developed by students in consultation with faculty. Research is typically undertaken after advanced coursework. Honors students enroll in research for both semesters during their senior year. A maximum of three credit hours (four for students who complete Honors) count toward the major. Consent of a faculty sponsor is required.

501, 502. Research in Environmental Studies
1-5 hours, 1-5HU
Research sponsored by Mr. McMillin and Mr. Newlin.

503, 504. Research in Environmental Studies
1-5 hours, 1-5NS
Research sponsored by Mr. Benzing, Ms. Garvin, Ms. Hubbard, Mr. Hubbard, Ms. Janda, Mr. Laushman, Ms. Moore, and Mr. Petersen.

505, 506. Research in Environmental Studies
1-5 hours, 1-5SS
Research sponsored by Ms. Gaudin, Ms. Janda, Mr. Orr, Mr. Petersen, Mr. Schiff, Ms. Stroud, Mr. Wilson, and Ms. Wolfe-Cragin.

995. Private Reading
1-3 hours, 1-3EX
Consent of instructor required.

In this Department

General Information

Resource Faculty
Resource Faculty
Art: Ms. Schuster
Biology: Mr. Benzing*, Ms. Garvin*, Mr. Laushman*
Center for Service and Learning: Ms. Blissman
Chemistry: Mr. Elrod
Economics: Ms. Gaudin*
English: Mr. Hobbs, Mr. McMillin*
Environmental Studies: Ms. Janda*, Mr. Orr*, Mr. Petersen*, Mr. Wisner, Ms. Wolfe-Cragin*
Geology: Mr. Hubbard*, Ms. Moore*, Ms. Parsons-Hubbard*, Mr. Simonson*
History: Ms. Stroud*
Philosophy: Mr. Ganson
Politics: Mr. Schiff*, Mr. Wilson*
Psychology: Ms. Frantz, Mr. Mayer
Rhetoric and Composition: Ms. McMillin
Russian: Mr. Newlin*

*Denotes advisor for the Environmental Studies Program
    
   
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