Environmental Studies Courses
Introduction to Environmental Sciences
(3.5 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #6 and #11) (LER–ENV)
This course explores current environmental issues with the goal of evaluating how the integration of biological, chemical, geological, and physical principles is vital for identifying and understanding environmental problems and for shaping policies for effective solutions. The laboratory centers on the application of scientific principles and protocols to investigate both natural and urban environments. Discussions will focus on global environmental issues, including global warming, water and air quality, urbanization, biodiversity, human population growth, and food production. This course involves required field trips. Four hours lecture/laboratory. Fall and spring semesters. Mora.
Intermediate Reading in Spanish and Environmental Studies in Ecuador
(6 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #2, #3, and #11) (LER–ENV, LER-SA, LER-FL)
This interdisciplinary course allows students to study environmental sustainability issues and Spanish in Ecuador, which is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. This course encompasses a pre-program course and an international field experience that includes field trips to the rain-forest and the San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos Islands. Using current environmental problems in Ecuador and elsewhere, this course focuses on environmental politics, economic development, and/or ethical considerations about the relationship between human populations and their surrounding ecosystems. This course also examines the intellectual history of the idea and discipline of ecology, including Darwin’s legacy and the importance of the Galapagos Islands in shaping Darwin’s thought. Credits will be distributed as follows: 3 credits during the pre-program course in the Spring semester at Goucher (2 Environmental Studies and 1 Spanish), and 4 credits during the three week intensive course in Ecuador (1 Environmental Studies and 3 Spanish). This course will be offered every other year in the Spring semester at Goucher, in combination with a three week intensive course in Ecuador during May/early June. Offered May/June 2012 and every other year. Department.
Intermediate Reading in Spanish: Environmental Studies
(6 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #2, #3, and #11) (LER-ENV, LER-SA, LER-FL)
This interdisciplinary course allows students to study environmental sustainability issues and Spanish in Ecuador, which is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world. This course encompasses a pre-program course and an international field experience that includes living on San Cristóbal Island, visiting several other islands in the Galapagos, and visiting Otavalo (an indigenous community) in Ecuador. This course will examine the tensions that exist in the Galapagos between preserving one of the world’s most pristine ecosystems and sustaining the people who live and depend on the islands’ resources. We will also consider the role of the indigenous cultures in helping the government of Ecuador advance progressive sustainability initiatives in the face of demands to extract the non-renewable resources that exist in this bio-diverse country. 3 credits during the pre-program course in the Spring semester at Goucher (2 Spanish and 1 Environmental Studies), and 3 credits during the three week intensive course in Ecuador (2 Environmental Studies and 1 Spanish). Prerequisite: SP 130. Students will receive credit for SP 229 or for independent work in Spanish (1-3 credits, the equivalent to SP 299). Spring/summer. Offered 2014 and alternate years. Cortes-Conde and Kasniunas.
Introduction to Environmental Studies
(3 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #11) (LER–ENV)
An introductory course intended to broaden and deepen understanding of the environmental issues facing humanity today. The course focuses on how human institutions and ways of living create—as well as offer resources for solving—the problems that we face. We examine a selection of topics that have become central environmental issues of our time: climate change, biodiversity loss and conservation, food production, energy and sustainable development. We then consider how contemporary social activists and thinkers are defining central problems and questions. Finally we investigate our role in creating humanity’s collective social-environmental future. Fall and spring semesters. Billo.
(3 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #11) (LER–ENV)
This course examines the interconnectivity of geologic processes, climate change, and life on Earth. Topics include rock formation, soils, earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, floods, and river and groundwater pollution. Emphasis will be placed on the application of geologic principles to solve some environmental problems. Variable semesters. Mora.
(3 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #11) (LER – ENV)
Critical examination of current problems related to environmental engineering approaches applied to protect resources, human health, and the environmental quality. Topics include: Environmental Health Microbiology (drinking water, sewer processes and wastewater), Xenobiotics (Man-made toxic compounds), Sustainable Waste Technology and Life Cycle Assessment (evaluation of products from “Cradle-to-Grave”). Emphasis is on the environmental impacts of the Greater Baltimore area and the Chesapeake Bay including water sheds and on the protection of resources. Lectures, student presentations & discussion, guest lectures and field trips to facilities such treatment plants for drinking water and wastewater. Prerequisites: BIO 104 or ES 100 or CHE 106/CHE 111. Spring Semester. Offered 2014 and alternate years, Kjellerup.
Debunked! Environmental Writing & Communication
This 200-level environmental communication and writing class will focus on improving scientific literacy across a variety of media. We will prepare students to be intelligent consumers of popular environmental discourse, able to distinguish valid science-based information from disinformation. As well, the course will stress competent science-based environmental writing. Students will be expected to understand science-based articles in newspapers, magazines, and journals; and scientifically-themed television programming. Assignments will include a letter to the editor, a storyboard for a television episode, a corporate press release, an NGO white paper, and an in-depth research article. The course will focus on environmental and sustainability-based subjects. Prerequisite: College Writing Proficiency requirement. Fall semester. Offered 2014 and alternate years. Peroutka.
Biosphere and Society
This course employs interdisciplinary inquiry and mixed methodological approaches towards understanding current environmental issues. Built around critical evaluation and analysis of current scientific reports and other primary materials, the course focuses on topical issues at the intersection of ecological questions and social institutions. Emphasis is placed on cultivating the ability to understand disciplinary abstraction and apply such knowledge to context-dependent explanations of environmental challenges. The course is intended to support development of key intellectual and practical tools for upper division work and future careers in environmental studies. Satisfies requirement for writing proficiency in the major. Enrollment restricted to Environmental Studies majors and minors. Prerequisite: ES 100 and ES 140/PSC 140. Fall semester. Department.
Fossil Fuels and Society
In this course students will approach societal relationships to fossil fuels from a contemporary perspective. We will cover multiple conceptual themes, including envrionmental justice and corporate social responsibility. The course concentrates on consumption patterns in shaping specific social and political relationships. By studying the social and political aspects of fossil fuel consumption, students should be able to apply this knowledge to current events and politics, and begin to develop practical real-world solutions for our current energy challenges. Prerequisite: ES 140. Offered 2014 and alternate years. Billo.
Directed Readings in Environmental Studies
Directed reading permits a student to learn a topic or area within the field of environmental studies at a deeper level. Under the direction of a faculty member, readings tailored to a topic or area are selected, and a formal written report is submitted by the student at the end of the semester. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing as an environmental studies major and permission of instructor. Fall and spring semesters.Department.
Qualitative Environmental Research
The research process encompasses a wide continuum, from the articulation of a research theme or question to the determination of how to collect data to considerations about what to "count" as evidence. This class focuses on the process of knowledge production within human-environment interactions through an in-depth engagement with qualitative research methods. We will examine the epistemological, methodological, and political implications of specific methods as well as learn and practice the techniques for conducting qualitative social-science research. Prerequisite: ES 140 or PSC 140 or sophomore standing. First offered 2014. Billo.
Political Ecology: Culture, Politics, and Environmental Change
This course examines various interpretations of political ecology, outlining the crucial theoretical and methodological problems in the field. Emphasis will be placed on the interpretation that views political ecology as an analytical tool that seeks both to unravel the political and cultural forces at work in environmental change and to provide for a more comprehensive understanding of how global and local environmental issues relate to each other. Prerequisite: ES 140/PSC 140, ANT 107, or permission of instructor. Variable semesters. Department.
(3 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #11) (LER–ENV)
An introduction to the diverse terrestrial, marine, and aquatic habitats of the Earth and how the organisms found these habitats interact with their biotic and abiotic environment. Individual, population, community, and ecosystem levels of ecology will be discussed, with an emphasis on environmental sustainability and how climate change and other human induced activities may impact the ecology of organisms. Lecture, discussion, and some fieldwork. Course not open to students enrolled in BIO 240 or biological science majors or minors. Prerequisite: BIO 104. Spring semester. Offered 2013 and alternate years. Kicklighter.
Psychology of Environmental Problems
(3 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #11) (LER ENV)
This course outlines current environmental problems and their historical bases. The course then explores how different psychological perspectives view the relationship between individuals and the environment, as well as reviews psychological research related to environmental sustainability. Guidance for improving environmental sustainability based on the different psychological perspectives are examined. A major goal of this course is for students to develop an understanding of how psychology can contribute to promoting sustainability of the environment. Prerequisite: ES 140, PSC 140, or PSY 111. Fall semester. Mills.
Transnational Security & Sustainability
(3 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #11)
The course will examine non-traditional threats to the national security of the United States or any other nation. New threats arising from changing environmental and social conditions are no less dangerous than armies, and no less applicable to the field of international relations and environmental studies. This course will examine the effect that climate change, resource availability, demographics, and globalization are having on the foundation on which nations build their security. Prerequisite: PSC 111 or PSC 114 or ES/PSC 140 or permission from instructor. Spring. First offered 2012. Chalecki.
Internship in Environmental Studies
Students hone their critical and problem-solving skills by addressing issues in environmental studies through positions in non-profit, academic, governmental, or industrial institutions. Prerequisite: ES 100 or ES 140 . Fall and Spring semesters. Department.
The Role of Science in World Affairs
This class will examine the role that science and scientific discoveries play in world affairs. As science-driven discoveries and topics take a greater place of prominence among nations, students will need to be able to separate scientific truths from political expediency. We will discuss some of the earliest modern scientific discoveries and their international ramifications, and how international scientific cooperation has borne fruit for many nations. We will examine some of the most contentious modern-day scientific topics that bear on current world affairs such as GMO foods, climate change, space technology development, global disease, and weapons systems. We will also consider ethics in science, the intersection of science and politics on the world stage, and how science and technology can change the global balance of power. Prerequisites: ES 140 or PSC 114 , and junior standing, or permission of instructor. Every other Fall semester. First offered 2012. Chalecki.
This course critically examines the science of climate change, the predicted effects of this change on the planet, and the proposed approaches to address it. This examination also involves an analysis of both domestic and international policy debates and an evaluation of the ecological, social, and economic costs and benefits of the leading solutions that have been proposed to mitigate or to adapt to climate change. Prerequisites: ES 100 or ES 200 , and junior standing, or permission of instructor. Fall semester. Offered 2013 and alternate years. Mora.
Environmental Political Theory
This course begins with an examination of the origins of environmental thought through a reading of several, well-known nature writers, namely, Thoreau, Muir, and Leopold. It then turns to a discussion of how aspects of the relatively new field of environmental political theory intersect with the tradition of political thought, reinterpreting and broadening the meanings of citizenship, justice, and other political concepts in light of the ascendancy of environmentalism. Prerequisite: ES 140/PSC 140 or permission of instructor. Variable semesters. Department.
With over half of the world's population living in cities and with an increasing trend toward urbanization to continue for the foreseeable future, it is imperative that we evaluate different approaches to make cities sustainable. This course examines the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of urban sustainability in an effort to examine resource consumption in cities and to assess critically the urban policies designed to reduce environmental damage and improve quality of life. Emphasis will be placed on the use of ecological principles on both the biophysical environment of a city and its societal dimensions to provide a novel context to the functioning and structure of cities and to create a useful framework upon which different policies can be evaluated. Prerequisites: Junior standing, ES 100 , and ES 140. Fall semester. Offered 2013 and alternate years. Mora.
Globalization & Environmental Sustainability
This course explores the international dimensions of envrionmental issues, including the effect of economic globalization on the environment and globalization of environmental conservation. The course is grounded in histories of globalization, particularly as a process of uneven development. We will explore the rise of "sustainable development", a term that links economic globalization and global conservation. By studying the ongoing linkages between globalization, environment, and inequality, students will better understand why mainstream environmentalism fails to achieve sustainability. Prerequisite: ES 140 and junior standing. Spring, every other year. First offered 2014. Billo.
Advanced Topics in Environmental Studies
This course examines advanced topics in environmental studies through an in-depth evaluation of contemporary environmental concerns. Topic varies from year to year, and they may include political ecology, environmental justice, conservation, environmental governance and policy, land-use transformation, sustainable development, or environmental activism. Course may be repeated for credit if a different topic is offered. Prerequisites: Junior standing and ES 140. Fall semester. Department.
Environmental Studies Senior Capstone
This course for majors and minors integrates concepts covered in the Environmental Studies curriculum by providing students with opportunities to synthesize knowledge and to apply skills and methods learned throughout their study in the major. Emphasis will be placed on developing skills that are critical for students in their future careers, including communication, analytical, research, critical thinking, and problem solving. Students work on individual and group projects to further their understanding of a particular environmental problem, issue, or subject area. The central activities of the course are a semester long project designed to further integrative thinking and a series of exercises designed to hone students’ preparedness for careers and/or further studies in the environmental field. Students will have the option to embed service-learning opportunities into their semester project. Prerequisite: Senior standing as an environmental studies major or minor. Spring semester. Department.
Independent Research in Environmental Studies
(1-3 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #7)
Library research work and/or laboratory-based project carried out under the supervision of a faculty member affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program. Results of the research will be presented in the form of an annotated bibliography, an oral presentation/examination, a formal written report, a public presentation, or a combination of the above. The type of research presentation will be established in consultation with the faculty member supervising the research. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing as an environmental studies major and permission of instructor. Fall and spring semester.Department.