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Environmental Studies

Department Chair: Derek Larson

Faculty: Corrie Grosse, Troy Knight, Derek Larson, Jean Lavigne, Joseph Storlien

The environmental studies department takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the environment and sustainability issues, integrating perspectives from the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and fine arts, and applies these perspectives to issues ranging from global warming to the environmental impacts of our own lifestyle choices. Because environmental problems and their potential solutions do not stop at disciplinary boundaries, our curriculum teaches students to approach a particular topic not simply as a question of biology, politics, or theology, but rather to combine these (and many more) perspectives to better understand environmental and sustainability issues in all their complexity. Particularly important to this process is the inclusion of social science and humanities viewpoints, as even the most technical solutions to environmental problems must be implemented by individuals working within cultural, political, and economic contexts. Five environmental studies faculty and supporting faculty from over a dozen different academic departments contribute to the program; students also have access to professional staff with responsibility for environmental and sustainability issues on both campuses in areas ranging from physical plant to grounds, dining services to transportation, including Environmental Health and Safety, the College of St. Benedict Office of Sustainability, the St. John's Outdoor University, and other related offices. The unique ecological resources of our two campuses include nearly 3,000 acres of deciduous and coniferous forests, restored oak savanna, tall grass prairie, wetlands, and a diversity of large and small lakes. This setting, which is carefully managed in the tradition of Benedictine stewardship, provides a wealth of opportunities for the hands-on exploration of environmental issues as well as venues for outdoor recreation and reflection.

Students majoring or minoring in environmental studies come from a wide range of backgrounds and areas of interest, but all share an essential curiosity about and concern for the environment and a sustainable future. The interdisciplinary nature of the program requires students to hone their skills in reading, writing, critical thinking, quantitative analysis, and argumentation to become well-rounded thinkers adept at developing and expressing reasoned opinions not only about environmental and sustainability issues, but in all aspects of their intellectual lives. Undergraduate research is central to the major curriculum; all graduates must complete a senior thesis and competitive summer research fellowships are regularly available. Experiential learning components are incorporated into many courses, including laboratories, service learning projects, field studies, and a required internship for majors. A variety of co-curricular and volunteer activities offer students interested in environmental education, outdoor recreation, food and agriculture, environmental activism, campus sustainability practices, and other related topics frequent opportunities to directly connect with others who share their interests, often alongside faculty and staff affiliated with the program. Majors and minors in environmental studies pursue a wide range of careers, not only in environmental and sustainability fields but in many other professions for which a traditional liberal arts education serves as preparation. Many also go on to advanced study in related fields such as energy development, environmental law, public policy, natural resource management, journalism, landscape architecture, and environmental education. Complete information on the environmental studies program is available on-line at http://www.csbsju.edu/environmentalstudies.

Assessment
The Environmental Studies Department's curriculum emphasizes research, writing, and problem-solving skills in an environmental/sustainability context. The departmental assessment program thus focuses on evaluating student outcomes via problem-solving and skill-building exercises embedded in required courses and a variety of research activities. The assessment program culminates with the senior research theses, all of which are evaluated as a group annually by the department faculty.


Environmental Studies Major: 54 total credits

Required Core Courses: 25 credits

Students must complete all seven of the courses listed below:

ENVR 150: Intro to Environmental Studies (4)
ENVR 175: Earth Systems Science (4)
ENVR 250: Environmental Methods and Analysis (4)
ENVR 275: Humans in the Environment (4)
ENVR 320: Research Colloquium (4)
ENVR 395: Research Seminar (4)
ENVR 397: Internship (1)


Environmental Perspectives: 12 credits

Students must complete three courses, one from each category below:

1. Environmental Science

ENVR 300T: Sustainable Agricultural Science (4)
ENVR 331: Science of Global Climate Change (4)

2. Environmental Social Science

ENVR 300X: Energy and Society (4)
ENVR 310: Environmental Geography (4)

3. Environmental Humanities

ENVR 315: American Environmental Classics (4)
ENVR 360: U.S. Environmental History (4)


Environmental Electives: 16 credits

Students must complete four elective courses selected from the following lists. Note that the courses in Environmental Perspectives above are listed here as well; the options that were not selected to meet a Perspectives requirement may be taken as electives. ENVR 397: Internship credits beyond the one required for majors may not be counted toward elective requirements.

Departmental Courses (4 credits each):

ENVR 200A: Environmental Art and Architecture
ENVR 300Q: Environmental Health
ENVR 300R: Sustainable Urban Planning
ENVR 300T: Sustainable Agricultural Science
ENVR 300X: Energy and Society
ENVR 310: Environmental Geography
ENVR 311: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
ENVR 315: American Environmental Classics
ENVR 330: Environmental Politics/Policy
ENVR 331: Science of Global Climate Change
ENVR 360: U.S. Environmental History

Cross-listed and Non-departmental courses (4 credits each):

BIOL 334: General Ecology
BIOL 337: Aquatic Ecology
COMM 309: Environmental Rhetoric
PCST 354: Global Environmental Politics
PHIL 322: Environmental Ethics

Environmental Studies Minor: 24 total credits

Required Core Courses: 12 credits

ENVR 150: Intro to Environmental Studies
ENVR 175: Earth Systems Science
ENVR 275: Humans in the Environment

Environmental Electives: 12 credits

Choose any three courses from the following list.

ENVR 300Q: Environmental Health
ENVR 300R: Sustainable Urban Planning
ENVR 300T: Sustainable Agricultural Science
ENVR 300X: Energy and Society
ENVR 310: Environmental Geography
ENVR 311: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
ENVR 315: American Environmental Classics
ENVR 330: Environmental Politics/Policy
ENVR 331: Science of Global Climate Change
ENVR 360: U.S. Environmental History

Only 300-level courses that are formally listed as ENVR are accepted as elective in the minor. Courses from other departments that are not cross-listed (i.e. BIOL 334) may not be counted toward the minor. Courses taken through other institutions (i.e. study abroad) must be approved by the department chair on an individual basis.

Courses (ENVR)