Environmental Studies Program Learning Goals

Photo credit: Heather Perry, Merrymeeting Bay

EVIRONMENTAL STUDIES AT BOWDOIN

Mission:
Our mission is to help students understand and respond wisely to environmental challenges facing our planet through rigorous training in the natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities and arts. We aspire to train leaders in the liberal arts who can raise questions and propose answers that transcend any one discipline or way of thinking through engaged teaching in the classroom, field and laboratory, directed and independent research, exposure to diverse ideas and communities, and community-based fellowships and internships. Through our coordinate major, which combines environmental studies with any other field of study, we teach students to discover possible vocations, acquire practical skills, and form lifelong habits of learning to become responsible citizens.

Learning Goals.

Content: Students should demonstrate fluency in basic principles of the social sciences, humanities and arts, and natural sciences as they relate to environmental inquiry.

1. Engage principles and methods of the humanities and the arts to consider ethical, cultural, historical, literary and artistic dimensions of environmental questions (ENVS 1101, ENVS 2403)
2. Engage principles and methods of the natural sciences to understand the physical, chemical and biological processes that characterize natural and human systems (ENVS 1101, Required Introductory Science Course, ENVS 2201)
3. Engage principles and methods of the social sciences to analyze and evaluate political, economic, psychological, anthropological and sociological dimensions of environmental questions (ENVS 1101, ENVS 2302)
4. Synthesize these disciplinary perspectives to understand the complexities of environmental questions (ENVS 1101, ENVS 3000 courses)

Skills: Student should acquire and refine the following skills as part of their coordinate major in environmental studies:

1. To locate and critically assess varied sources of information, data, and evidence (ENVS 1101, ENVS 2201, ENVS 2302, ENVS 2403)
2. To identify appropriate methods of inquiry to address research questions. (ENVS 2201, ENVS 2302, ENVS 2403)
3. To obtain fluency in quantitative, qualitative, statistical, and spatial analyses (ENVS 1101, ENVS 2201, ENVS 2302, ENVS 2403)
4. To understand the importance of place and locality in environmental inquiry and evaluate its significance and applicability to other contexts (ENVS 1101, ENVS 2201, ENVS 2302, ENVS 2403)
5. To understand the importance of temporal and spatial scales in environmental inquiry. (ENVS 1101, ENVS 2201, ENVS 2302, ENVS 2403)
6. To discern underlying values and criteria used to evaluate alternatives for addressing environmental problems. (ENVS 1101, ENVS 2302, ENVS 2403)
7. To work collaboratively and communicate across disciplines, while acknowledging and seeking out diverse perspectives (ENVS 1101 and ENVS 3000 courses)
8. To develop the ability to identify and engage various communities and stakeholders, while acknowledging questions of equity and power (ENVS 3000 courses)
9. To research, write, and present within multiple disciplines (ENVS 1101, ENVS 2201, ENVS 2302, ENVS 2403)