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SPRING 2014 COURSES

Courses for the ES Major: Social and Cultural Perspectives Track
Courses for the ES Major: Environmental Science Track
Courses for the ES Minor
Special Topics Course Descriptions

COURSES FOR THE ES MAJOR

SOCIAL AND CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES TRACK

Foundation Courses:

Core Courses:

Cluster A Courses:

Cluster B1 Courses:

Capstone:

Methods:

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ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE TRACK

Foundation Course:

Disciplinary Foundation Courses:

Core Courses:

Cluster A Courses:

Cluster B2 Courses:

Capstone:

Methods:

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COURSES FOR THE ES MINOR

Foundation Courses:

Cluster A Courses:

Cluster B1 Courses:

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SPECIAL TOPICS COURSE DESCRIPTIONS:

AN 352C Ancient Ecosystem Engineers - Instructor: M. Kroot

Humans have been shown to consistently transform the environment for their own benefit. However, humans can also frequently be blind to many of the unintended negative consequences of such interventions. This course will look at anthropological case-studies of human-environment interactions in the past to understand how human practices have been shaping ecosystems for millennia. These studies range in time from the end of the last ice age over 10,000 years ago to the ethnographic present and across such diverse regions as North America, the Amazon, the Middle East, and Australia. It will primarily use archaeological methods as well as ethnographic, historical, and paleo-environmental data to show how new and frequently surprising examples of human ecosystem engineering in the past have been identified. Prerequisites: AN-101 and AN-102, or ES-100 and one anthropology course.

BI 152 Ecology of the Adirondacks - Instructor: Erika Schielke
 
An introduction to the basic principles of ecology through the lens of the Adirondacks. We will explore the habitats of the Adirondack region, how organisms adapt to these environments, how they interact with one another, and the flow of energy and nutrients through these systems. Particular emphasis will be paid to the way in which environmental issues such as acid rain, invasive species, and climate change affect the ecology of the Adirondacks. Students will become comfortable interpreting and applying findings from the scientific literature, and analyzing coverage of ecology and environmental issues in the popular media. We will focus on interpreting and presenting ecological data, and communicating research findings to the scientific community and the public.

BI 351 Microbial Biotechnology and Environmental Application - Instructor: Sylvia McDevitt

An advanced exploration of the seemingly unlimited variety of microbial metabolic activity and its possible applications. Students will study the metabolic processes in bacteria and how our understanding of these processes can be applied in microbial biotechnology. Linking physiology, basic genetics and microbial diversity, we will discuss the use of microbes in areas like bioremediation, bio-fuel production, plant biotechnology, as well as vaccine and antibiotic development. Prerequisite: BI106 and one 200-level BI or ES course.

ES 252D The Engineering and Ecology of Energy - Instructor: Julien Bouget

Energy is at the center of our lives.  Although it is a necessity for many of our daily needs such as cooking, heating, and transportation, the excessive consumption of energy is unsustainable.  Environmental awareness requires considerations about energy, but it is challenging to understand and quantify the advantages and disadvantages of an energy option, solution or technology. Energy choices should be based on a balance between engineering challenges, cost constraints, and environmental impacts. Keeping this in mind, we'll explore the world of energy, from energy efficiency to sustainable energy sources.  This class will introduce students to the fundamental physics of energy; the evolving designs, technologies and efficiencies of more traditional and alternative energy production; and the comprehensive ecological impacts of various energy sources and systems such as Solar, Wind, Hydro, and Biomass.   This class will also provide students with the analytical tools to seek and find answers to a myriad of questions about energy, from the big-picture to specific details.  

Course work includes a mid-term and final term examinations, individual and group case studies, a final written assignment as well as some workshops, labs, and field trips. The class shall be a dynamic interaction between the instructor and the students.  I expect students to come up with their own questions relevant to the subject and seek out the answers (case studies) under the instructor's guidance. Prereqs. ES 100 and QR1

ES 352C Environment and Development in the Middle East - Instructor: N. Atalan Helicke

The Middle East immediately brings to mind religious and political complexities.   However, Middle Eastern nations also face distinctive environmental and development challenges.   In this class, students will study the natural and human environment in the Middle East, addressing major development and environmental topics such as the impacts of oil and other natural resource use; modernization and large dam projects; population growth and access to water, energy and food; and climate change and transboundary environmental issues. Students will explore the complex and interdisciplinary characteristics of Middle East environmental issues at both the regional and global scales through the examination of case studies from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.

The course work includes an exam, a research project, individual and group work on case studies.  Prerequisite: Familiarity with international policy making and world geography; permission from the instructor. Fulfills the Nonwestern requirement

ES 352C Human Rights and Development - Instructor: N. Atalan Helicke

Human rights and development have evolved largely in separate tracks historically. However, we observe convergence between these fields in theory, applied research and practice. Many bilateral and multilateral aid organizations, non‐governmental organizations and development workers now profess to implement “rights‐based approaches” to development. These re‐orientations have been warmly embraced in some, but not by all, quarters.  This course will critically examine the convergence between human rights and development, through a mix of lectures, group‐work discussions and practical exercises. The course will explore the contemporary conceptions and meanings of human rights and development, laying the ground for a more detailed examination of the points of convergence ‐ as well as tensions ‐ between these fields. We will consider how international human rights standards and principles have influenced technical approaches of development agencies, and key public policy debates concerning international aid, trade, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), poverty reduction strategies, climate change and anti‐globalisation critiques. We will closely examine the roles and functions of United Nations development agencies, international development and financial institutions including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, transnational corporations and business entities, set against political debates on human rights and development in inter‐governmental bodies.
                                                                                            
This is a separate class from GO 340, The International Human Rights Regime: Promise and Peril. Students who have taken EC316, Economics of Development, and GO 340 are welcome to take the class.  Prerequisites: IA 101 or GO 103 or GO 201 or ES 100.

ES 352D Environmental Education - Instructor: AJ Schneller

Do you have a deep appreciation for environmental protection and a genuine concern about environmental problems that will affect the Earth and future generations for years to come? Maybe you also feel the need to share this positive passion for the environment with children, your friends, and interested members of the community? Then it's very possible that YOU should explore the field of environmental learning, and how to become an effective environmental educator! This course will especially be of interest to future teachers, non-formal environmental educators and advocates, and students interested in outreach, education, and communications for the non-profit and government sector. Students will learn about the history and current state of environmental learning in the US, as well as the various pedagogical tools, programs, and resources that are available for the global dissemination of environmental learning.  We’ll explore the innovations and philosophies behind experiential and authentic environmental learning; sustainability education; research on environmental learning (knowledge, perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors); environmental service learning; earth education; emancipatory education; critical pedagogy; and issues investigation and action training (IIAT), etc.  Students will research and critique existing environmental education programs as well as undertake a partnership with a local school, outdoor education center, National, State, or City Park, youth organization, hospital, non-profit organization, etc. in order to design and implement an age appropriate, innovative, and inspirational environmental learning unit. Students will be required to take one mid-term examination, take quizzes, as well as submit various written assignments.

ES 352D Environment and Systems Thinking - Instructor: S. Brown

Most if not all environmental problems are “complex” in their nature. Air pollution, watershed degradation, waste mismanagement, habitat destruction, and global warming are just some of the problems that typically involve the interaction of many variables, time scales, and even perspectives, frustrating our attempts to understand, let alone address, them using conventional analytic approaches. Ironically, in many cases, environmental policies have compounded the problems they were designed to fix. As they tackle issues such as environmental risk communication and management, new environmental governance approaches are beginning to take into account complexity using ideas and tools that fall under the heading ‘systems thinking. New This course introduces students to the basic concepts and methods of complex systems thinking which are currently redefining environmental science, policy, and governance. Through readings and classroom discussion of works by some of the field’s leading proponents, students will learn precepts of the “systems approach,” with its emphasis on relations, and how this approach differs from the more conventional focus on entities and quantities. Applying these concepts, students will then survey problems currently being posed by complex systems research within the field of environmental studies, including socio-ecological systems coupling, cusp catastrophes, resilience, and sustainability. Students will also get a broad overview of systems modeling methods ranging from qualitative techniques (including storytelling) to computational modeling. Case studies will illustrate how systems concepts and methods have been applied to environmental problems, including those afflicting our urban areas. The course culminates with a research project where students will build a rudimentary model of an environmental problem with the aim of identifying potential leverage points for bringing about system change. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to reflect on both the advantages and limitations of modeling and the role modeling should play in environmental decision-making. Participation in class discussions is crucial to success in the course.  Assignments include weekly reading digests, collaborative in-class exercises, and a research project.  Prerequisites ES 100 or the permission of the instructor.

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