Course Offerings - Catalog 2013-14


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Environmental Studies

Interdisciplinary Program


The mission of the Environmental Studies program is to help students to gain an understanding of the ways that humans influence and are influenced by their non-human surroundings and to learn to fashion ways of living equitably and sustainably on the earth. This task is fully compatible with Centre College’s institutional mission of preparing students for lives of learning, leadership, and service in a global society. Environmental awareness is a key attribute of global citizenship, and an Environmental Studies major is an important component of promoting that awareness. Environmental Studies is inherently interdisciplinary, and it reflects and exemplifies the core values of a liberal arts college.
The ENS major is structured to provide students with a fundamental grounding in environmental studies and an exploration of interdisciplinary approaches to environmental issues. Students also focus on a particular area, or track, in the Humanities, Social Studies, or Sciences. Within the track, the careful and thoughtful selection of electives – in close consultation with their advisor and the ENS program faculty in general – gives students an important exercise in choosing wisely and planning ahead to produce a coherent course of study. Many of the courses fulfilling ENS major or minor requiements, especially in the sciences, have prerequisites, and several courses are not offered regularly or are offered only once every two years. Students interested in the major are encouraged to consult with a program committee member early on to plan their preparation for the major and to discuss course offering schedules and options for a track.
The major culminates in an advanced seminar incorporating a capstone project in which students apply the lessons they have learned in confronting a pressing environmental problem.
An internship in a relevant environmental organization and directed research experience are strongly recommended, although they are not requirements of the major.

Faculty

Endre Nyerges, (chair), David Anderson, Daniel Kirchner, Matthew Klooster, Sarah Lashley, Anne Lubbers, Preston Miles, Conrad Shiba, Brett Werner

Students
Alex Hurley, Emilia Williams

Recommended First-year/Sophomore Preparation

ENS 210, ENS 270 or BIO 110 and BIO 210 if planning to take BIO 370.
NOTE: Many “ENS-credit” courses have prerequisites that should be taken in the first or second years:
ANT 110 or ANT 120 recommended for ANT 350;
either CHE 131 and 132 or CHE 135 required for CHE 251;
BIO 110, BIO 210, NSC 120, MAT 110, and/or PSY 110 variously required for other science course options;
BIO 225, BNS 210, and PSY 305 recommended for BNS 330

Requirements for the Major

Fundamental Background:
ENS 210 Introduction to Environmental Studies;
One of ENS 270 Introduction to Ecology or BIO 370 Principles of Ecology

Interdisciplinary Cores
Students take one course from each core. Two of the three courses must be 300-level or higher.

One of the following humanities courses:
CRW 270 Creative Writing on Nature and the Environment, ENG 386 Getting Back to Nature or
PHI 305 The Ethics of Food
One of the following social studies courses:
ANT 360 GIS and the Environment or ECO 355 Environmental Economics or HIS 361 American Environmental History
One of the following science courses:
BIO 315 Freshwater Biology or BIO 375 Conservation Biology or CHE 251 Chemistry of the Environment or NSC 140 Environmental Geology

Tracks

Students take five courses from the following list of ENS-credit courses, if not previously taken
as Interdisciplinary Core course options.
At least three of these courses must be numbered 300 or higher, adding to a minimum of six courses numbered 300 or higher for the major (including core course options and advanced seminar). Three of the five courses are chosen from one of the three tracks in humanities, social studies, or sciences, and two are chosen from one or both of the other tracks.
Humanities:
CRW 270 Creative Writing on Nature and the Environment
ENG 354 Thoreau
ENG 386 Getting Back to Nature
ENS 253 The Art of Walking
PHI 305 The Ethics of Food
PHI 452 Environmental Ethics
Social Studies:
ANT 350 Ecological Anthropology
ANT 360 GIS and the Environment
ECO 355 Environmental Economics
ECO 365 Sustainability
ECO 459 Regulating the Environment: The Economist’s Perspective
ENS 251 Human Ecology in the Yucatan
ENS 310 Environmental Risks and Inequality in America
HIS 361 American Environmental History
POL 454 Environmental Governance and Policy
REL 453 World Hunger and the Environment
Sciences:
BIO 315 Freshwater Biology
BIO 253/453 Malaysian Borneo: Biodiversity and Conservation
BIO 280 Into the Great Abyss: Cave Ecology
BIO 375 Conservation Biology
BNS 330 Animal Behavior
CHE 251 Chemistry of the Environment
NSC 140 Environmental Geology

Senior Seminar

ENS 500 Senior Seminar

Note
: Upon program committee approval, additional courses may be added to the list of courses fulfilling major requirements.



Requirements for the Minor

ENS 210;
Sciences Core: BIO 370 Principles of Ecology or ENS 270 Ecology for the Non-Scientist;
Social Studies Core: HIS 361 American Environmental History or ECO 355 Environmental Economics or ANT 360 GIS and the Environment;
Humanities Core: CRW 270 Creative Writing on Nature and the Environment or ENG 386 Getting Back to Nature or ENS 253 The Art of Walking or PHI 305 The Ethics of Food;
Two electives chosen from the "track" lists above (if not used as a core requirement);
One additional course, consisting of one of the following: an internship or independent study in an area of envrironmental studies (subject to approval by the Environmental Studies committee), or an unused elective from the approved courses listed above, including ENS 500.

NOTE: Many of the courses listed above have prerequisites, and several courses are not offered regularly or are offered only once every two years. Students are encouraged to consult with a program committee member early on to discuss course offering schedules and options for an emphasis in the major or minor. Upon program committee approval, additional courses may be added to the list of courses fulfilling major and minor requirements.

Environmental Studies Courses

ENS 210 Introduction to Environmental Studies
A survey of human impacts on our environment, including the ecological bases for, and the ramifications of, these impacts. Includes a consideration of policies that would protect our environment for the long term while incorporating cultural, political and economic realities. A variety of views are discussed, and the policy implications of differing values are considered.

ENS 220 Introduction to Environmental Ethics
An examination of the ethics of our relationship to various components of the non-human world, including other animals and plants as well as ecosystems and the planet. Students debate questions such as whether or not non-human entities have moral status or rights, and what the implications are of such status for protection of other species, sustainability of our behaviors, and obligations to future generations. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or higher.

ENS 225 Environment Justice and Rights

Through a number of compelling and provocative case studies, from indigenous land rights in the Brazilian Amazon to the safety of silicon valley “clean” tech workers, this course examines how some segments of the global population have been deprived of equal access to environmental benefits while bearing a disproportionate burden of environmental risks. Environmental justice combines a concern for environmental health with recognition of gender, ethnic or racial discrimination. After examining a series of case studies that illustrate contemporary environmental injustices, the course traces the development of the environmental justice and rights movement. 

ENS 251 Human Ecology in the Yucatan
What do humans need to live in a sustainable manner for generations to come? How do the actions of the human species limit this potential? This course will focus on the sustained needs for human population: food and fiber, shelter, water, and waste disposal. We will see how technology and the services of natural ecosystems collaborate to provide these services in the Yucatan and compare them to strategies used elsewhere.

ENS 253 Art of Walking
Readings in the non-fiction and fiction of walking; daily walks and rambles in local environs and farther afield. Authors include Wordsworth, Hazlitt, Stevenson, Chesterton, and Dickens; some study of the philosophy of art (readings in Kant and Heidegger) for walks into parks, gardens and museums.

ENS 270 Introduction to Ecology
An introduction to ecological principles designed for non-science majors.   Emphasis is on the general principles governing how populations, communities and ecosystems operate in nature, with the goal of better understanding human impacts on those systems and the ability to recover from those impacts. Topics include population growth, species interactions, community disturbance, succession, sustainability of ecosystems, biodiversity, invasive species, soils, climate. Prerequisite: BIO 110 or NSC 120, MAT 110.

ENS 310 Environmental Risks and Inequality in America
Although environmental conditions impact all people, environmental risks and amenities are not equitably distributed across places or populations. These inequities have prompted a consideration of the linkages between environmental issues and social justice. Drawing upon social theory, and contemporary and historical case studies, the roles of race, ethnicity, class, and gender in domestic environmental controversies are explored. Particular emphasis is placed upon understanding the connections between human and environmental health, how and why environmental inequalities arise, and why some communities are able to more effectively work towards environmental justice. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.

ENS 500 Senior Seminar
In this capstone for the ENS major or minor, students crystalize their interests, experience, and research using interdisciplinary approaches to environmental problems. Students devise a research project, conduct that research, and present completed research to the ENS program faculty. Each year the course has a unifying theme to connect student project topics. Prerequisite: ENS 210, ENS 270 or BIO 370, senior status and declared major or minor in ENS, or permission of the instructor.