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Skidmore College
Environmental Studies and Sciences

ESS Program Mission Statement

The Skidmore College Environmental Studies and Sciences Program builds upon and enhances the mission of the College. First, the program helps students become environmentally literate citizens. Such citizens as consumers, parents, voters, and community leaders will serve society by acting responsibly as we face the environmentally related challenges of the coming century. Secondly, the program provides an understanding of the connections between academic fields and an interdisciplinary perspective in the preparation of students interested in environmentally oriented career paths in a wide diversity of disciplines.

Students and faculty in the ESS program investigate the interrelationships among cultural traditions, social change, and institutions, and the physical and biological environment in which we live. Because of their increasing complexity, emerging environmental issues require knowledge, methods, and responses that flow from many disciplines. Hence, the program depends heavily on an appropriately balanced understanding of many perspectives drawn from the natural and social sciences, humanities, arts, and pre-professional programs. The ESS major culminates in a team-oriented capstone project, ES 375, that merges theory into practice by employing the student's environmental skills and knowledge in the examination and presentation of an environmental issue. 

ESS Program Goals

Basic Concepts. The students should be able to:

a) understand ways that the social world and the natural world function as well as how they influence and are influenced by environmental issues.

b) understand the utility of an interdisciplinary perspective for studying interrelationships between humans and their environment and the issues that result from these interrelationships.

c) appreciate the complexity and importance of environmental issues across time and space. Specifically, students should be able to appreciate contemporary, historical and future environmental issues as well as the interrelationships of local, regional, national, international and global environmental issues.

d) understand various intended and unintended consequences of human responses to environmental issues.

e) appreciate environmental issues and personal responsibilities as a member of a community, which includes the Skidmore campus community and beyond.

Skills and application. The students should be able to:

a) work in collaborative and interdisciplinary contexts to address environmental concerns.

b) understand major methodologies for addressing particular environmental issues.

c) demonstrate basic problem solving and technical skills related to environmental issues (asking questions, analyzing empirical evidence, applying methodologies to answer questions, reporting results).

d) communicate effectively (both orally and in writing) regarding environmental issues.

e) examine personal and community values and ethical dimensions of environmental problems.

f) apply knowledge and skills to develop informed actions regarding environmental issues.