Environmental Science (ES) approaches environmental problem-solving from a multidisciplinary perspective that is grounded in the physical and natural sciences, including biology, chemistry, physics, math, and psychology. Students who choose to follow the Environmental Science track at New College are expected to develop scientific proficiency in more than one discipline and to apply that knowledge towards a type of environmental problem-solving that interests them. In the past, NCF students have conducted Independent Study Projects (ISPs), group tutorials, and theses on a wide variety of projects including environmental education, environmental toxicology, wetlands ecology, marine studies, and art, nature, and human cognition.
Students following an Environmental Science track must complete the core Environmental Studies curriculum required of all ES students AND a minimum of five additional courses or activities that are determined in consultation with one the faculty advisers listed below. Students are encouraged to meet with potential advisors by the end of their second year to discuss course/activity expectations beyond the core curriculum at that time.
Gordon Bauer (Professor of Psychology): Dr. Bauer, a specialist in animal sensory processes and behavior, conducts research on the relationship between mammal perceptual systems and the environment. In the past, students who have worked with Dr. Bauer have conducted research on provisioning wild animals and effects of noise on manatees. Typically, Dr. Bauer expects his ES students to take additional psychology classes to fulfill the ES degree requirements beyond the core curriculum and to show by their senior year a demonstrated competency in the experimental method as it pertains to cognitive psychology.
Sandra Gilchrist (Professor of Biology): Dr. Gilchrist, a specialist in crustacean population biology, has published widely on marine ecology, coral genetics, and marine education. She has served as an environmental consultant on watershed management, seagrass restoration, and wetlands, adding these experiences to her classes. Dr. Gilchrist brings an integrative approach to the study of ecology and has sponsored student theses on a topics ranging from the impact of boating on seagrass communities in Florida to coral-reef management strategies. Students working with Dr. Gilchrist are expected to supplement the core ES curriculum with selected work in biology, chemistry, and field work.
Heidi Harley (Professor of Psychology): Dr. Harley, a specialist in mammal cognition, works on the relationship between animal and human cognition and the environment. Dr. Harley’s current research focuses on the bottlenose dolphin, and she has supervised senior theses on topics ranging from the connections between art, nature, and sensory perception to the impact of noise and recreational fishing on dolphin communication and behavior. Students working with Dr. Harley are expected to supplement the core ES curriculum with both a methods or lab course in psychology and at least four other classes or activities worked out in consultation with her.
Elzie McCord (Professor of Biology): Dr. McCord, a specialist in environmental toxicology, focuses on the relationship between environmental toxins and plant and insect biology. Students working with Dr. McCord have in the past conducted research on insect distribution and conditions affecting invasive plants. Dr. McCord expects his students to supplement the core ES curriculum with at least five additional courses in the Natural Sciences that are worked out in consultation with him, and he strongly recommends that students complete basic sciences courses in their first two years at NCF.
Paul Scudder (Professor of Chemistry): Dr. Scudder, a specialist in organic reaction mechanisms, teaches broadly in organic chemistry and is interested in Green Chemistry. Green Chemistry is based on the principles of designing less hazardous routes, sustainability, energy efficiency, atom economy, recycling of solvents, and elimination or minimization of waste. Students who work with Dr. Scudder are expected to supplement the core ES curriculum with at least five additional courses in the Natural Sciences that are worked out in consultation with him, and he strongly recommends that students complete (and perform well in) General Chemistry, Environmental chemistry and if possible Organic Chemistry in their first two years at New College.