March 22, 2010
*Environmental Studies News: Changes to the Major and Minor
Two important changes to the Environmental Studies major and minor have been approved by the University Curriculum Committee, and will take effect beginning next fall. These changes reflect both our own sense of how the program needs to be modified, and what we have heard from students.
1) The elective requirements have been streamlined and simplified.
2) A new required course, "ENVS2a: Fundamentals of Environmental Challenges",
will replace AMST20a: “Environmental Issues” for both the major and the minor.
Students who are already majors may continue with their programs as planned under the old requirements or take advantage of the new requirements, which are more flexible. The only change in requirements for the minor is the substitution of the new required course for the old course. Majors or minors who have already taken AMST20a Environmental Issues will not have to take the new course.
Changes to the Major: The changes for the major are summarized on the attached excel spreadsheet. The total number of courses remains the same. However, instead of the requirement to take at least one course from each of the four categories: Environmental Law and Economics, Environmental History, Ecological Sciences, and Physical Sciences (the "core courses"), students now can simply take four electives --two from among our Social Sciences/Humanities group of courses, and two from among our Natural Sciences group of courses. This should make it easier for students to find the courses they need to fulfill the requirements, while still ensuring a broad foundation in the field of environmental studies.
The good news: students who have already satisfied these requirements under the old rules will discover that they have also satisfied them under the new rules.
The new required course for both the major and the minor, "Fundamentals of Environmental Challenges," is similar to the existing one in many ways, but has been designed to more deliberately introduce the subjects and approaches that students will encounter elsewhere in the program. It has also been designed so that teaching it can be rotated among the core faculty in the program. It will be offered every year. Because Professors Perlman, Goldin, and Donahue will be on leave during three successive years, Fundamentals will be offered this fall and next by Prof. Charles Chester, who has also helped design the course.
The new course has been approved in general outline -- however, it can always be improved, and we believe students can help us with this. We will be setting up a process to solicit student input on the design of the course over the next few weeks.
Environmental Studies Core Faculty