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About Us

Our Mission

The 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.