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Goucher Launches Environmental Studies Major

Release date: August 18, 2010

Goucher College will launch an interdisciplinary environmental studies major during the fall 2010 semester. The program includes two concentrations-environmental science or environment and society-to give students a firm background in all facets of environmental studies.

"The major is designed so that all the students will be able to apply principles from the social sciences and the natural sciences to address complex environmental problems," said German Mora, the Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Associate Professor of Environmental Science and the chair of the environmental studies program.

Students will complete all required courses within their chosen concentration, as well as a set of core introductory, mid-level, and capstone courses designed to cultivate breadth. Students on the environmental science track will complete 58 credits, while students in the environment and society track will complete 54 credits.

Students choosing the environment and society concentration will begin coursework in economics, political science, and sociology and anthropology, while students choosing the environmental science concentration will complete an introductory biology and chemistry sequence. At the 200-level, all environmental studies majors will take Biosphere and Society, which draws from and integrates a range of disciplines to help students master a set of key concepts and analytical methods fundamental to environmental studies.

The major will culminate with a capstone course in which students will integrate what they learned at the 100- and 200-levels to complete further research on a particular problem, issue, or theme of their choosing.  Additionally, service-learning opportunities will be embedded within the core courses, as well as within several elective courses.

Current students can choose to pursue an environmental studies major after meeting with Mora and their academic adviser.  

A geologist by training, Mora's research has focused on environmental studies. He received a doctorate and master's degree in geology with a minor in environmental sciences from Indiana University. In 2000, he earned a postdoctoral fellowship from the Johns Hopkins University to study deciduous forests in the South to evaluate their possible response to rainfall changes. In 2001, he became an assistant professor of geological and atmospheric sciences, and later, an associate professor at Iowa State University. He served on the steering committee for the Interdisciplinary Environmental Science Program. In 2007, he became an associate professor of geosciences for Montgomery College in Maryland.

Nathan Dinneen will serve as the visiting assistant professor in environmental studies. Dinneen earned a doctorate in political sciences from Northern Illinois University and a master's degree in environmental ethics from the University of North Texas. His specialties include environmental politics, policy, and ethics.

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