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Environmental Studies and Sciences

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 program challenges undergraduates to integrate social and natural science approaches with ethics and service to promote a sustainable world. Our mission is to train leaders and citizens, develop new knowledge, and promote inclusive, collaborative problem-solving to sustain humanity and the environment.


Program Goals

    • To provide transformative educational opportunities that examine relationships between humans and the natural world.
    • To foster critical engagement with environmental issues and potential solutions.
    • To promote an inclusive, broadly interdisciplinary community of scholars dedicated to environmental education, research and leadership.
    • To cultivate wisdom and passion to serve the common good.


    Student Learning Goals and Objectives

    Foundational concepts

    1. Describe the energy flows, biogeochemical interactions, evolutionary processes, and human activities that shape the changing earth system. (This is emphasized in environmental science.)
    2. Explain the dynamic interplay among cultural, socio-economic, political, and ethical contexts and environmental processes. (This is emphasized in environmental studies.)
    3. Evaluate environmental problems and solutions across multiple spatial and temporal scales.

    Information literacy, methods, problem solving and critical argumentation

    1. Collect and interpret diverse sources of information using appropriate qualitative and quantitative methods.
    2. Construct and critically evaluate arguments using the scientific method and other evidence-based approaches.
    3. Use quantitative reasoning, observation, analytical and visualization skills for environmental problem-solving.

    Communication and collaboration

    1. Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, to diverse audiences on environmental subjects and research.
    2. Collaborate effectively in diverse groups.

    Interdisciplinarity and integration

    1. Assess and propose equitable and just solutions to environmental problems.
    2. Solve problems by integrating relevant natural and social science perspectives, knowledge and methodologies.