Santa Clara University

Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences

Mission and Goals

Our Mission

Strategic Plan 2011The Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences (ESS) is an interdisciplinary community of scholars -- composed of faculty, staff, and students -- dedicated to understanding the interactions between humans and the natural world. We serve local and global communities by addressing environmental issues through education, research, and leadership. Our bachelor-level degrees in Environmental Science and Environmental Studies challenge undergraduates to integrate knowledge and research in the natural and social sciences with ethics, service, and leadership to promote a sustainable world. The ESS Department offers a seminar series and opportunities for research, service, and study abroad.

ESS Goals and Objectives for Student Learning

1. Natural Science
Students graduating with a degree in environmental studies or environmental science should understand the physical and biological science relevant to the environment. Graduating seniors:

A. can explain key principles of ecology, evolution, geology, and chemistry; and  

B. can articulate natural science dimensions of sustainability and of initiatives that can lead to a more sustainable world.

2. Social Science

Students graduating with a degree in environmental studies or environmental science should understand the dynamic interplay between social and ecological processes. Graduating seniors: 

A. can interpret and analyze social institutions and dynamics that affect the environment; and

B. can describe broad patterns of social thought about human/nature relationships and can articulate the social, economic, and political dimensions of sustainability and of initiatives that can lead to a more sustainable world.

3. Critical Thinking

Students graduating with a degree in environmental studies or environmental science should possess the scholarly tools from the natural and social sciences to analyze major environmental challenges. Graduating seniors: 

A. can correctly identify which methodological tools and quantitative/qualitative skills are appropriate to address particular environmental questions; and  

B. are able to assess the quality of different types of evidence and understand the role that uncertainty and risk play in environmental decision making.

4. Values/Ethics

Students graduating with a degree in environmental studies or environmental science should apply a comprehension of ethics and social justice in their assessments of and responses to environmental challenges. Graduating seniors are able to identify the moral dimension of environmental problems, frame solutions using ethical reasoning, and articulate how social justice is integrally related to sustainability.

5. Communication

Graduating seniors can communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, to diverse audiences on environmental subjects and research. 

6. Environmental Commitment
Graduating seniors can articulate a vision for their lives that can guide progress within their communities toward a more just, humane, and sustainable world.

 

ASSESSMENT PLAN FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES MAJORS

 

Student Learning Goals and Objectives

Assessment

SL 1.a Natural Science: Graduating seniors can explain key principles of ecology, evolution, geology, and chemistry.

Senior exit exam. Faculty will apply scoring rubrics reflecting the expectation that Environmental Science majors will have a more advanced understanding and Environmental Studies majors a more basic understanding of relevant natural science principles.

SL 1.b Natural Science: Graduating seniors can articulate natural science dimensions of sustainability.

Senior exit exam. Faculty will apply scoring rubrics reflecting the expectation that Environmental Science majors will have a more advanced understanding and Environmental Studies majors a more basic understanding of relevant natural science principles.

SL 2.a Social Science: Graduating seniors can interpret and analyze social institutions and dynamics that affect the environment.

Senior exit exam and embedded assessment in ENVS 122 projects. Faculty will apply scoring rubrics reflecting the expectation that Environmental Studies majors will have a more advanced understanding and Environmental Science majors a more basic understanding of relevant social science principles.

SL 2.b Social Science: Graduating seniors can describe broad patterns of social thought about human-nature relationships and can articulate the social, economic, and political dimensions of sustainability.

Senior exit exam and embedded assessment in ENVS 122 projects. Faculty will apply scoring rubrics reflecting the expectation that Environmental Studies majors will have a more advanced understanding and Environmental Science majors a more basic understanding of relevant social science principles.

SL 3.a Critical Thinking: Graduating seniors can correctly identify which methodological tools and quantitative or qualitative skills are appropriate to address particular environmental questions.

Senior exit exam

SL 3.b Critical Thinking: Graduating seniors are able to assess the quality of different types of evidence and understand the role that uncertainty and risk play in environmental decision making.

Senior exit exam

SL 4. Values/Ethics: Graduating seniors are able to identify the moral dimension of environmental problems, frame solutions using ethical reasoning, and articulate how social justice is integrally related to sustainability.

Senior exit exam and embedded assessment in exams or assignments in ENVS 79

SL 5. Communication: Graduating seniors can communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, to diverse audiences on environmental subjects and research.

Embedded assessment in final project of ENVS 101 capstone course

SL 6. Environmental Commitment: Graduating seniors can articulate a vision for their lives that can guide progress within their communities toward a more just, humane, and sustainable world.

Question on senior exit survey and embedded assessment via ENVS 198 reflection exercises